San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arias Proposes Moving Office to Cultural Center

Casa Presidencial could be relocated to an historic complex of buildings within walking distance of the Legislative Assembly, the courts, the Supreme Elections Tribunal and several ministries, in the heart of San José, if new President Oscar Arias gets his way. However, the artist community is already objecting to the possible move.

Arias proposes moving the President’s headquarters to buildings of the National Cultural Center (CENAC), on the southwest corner of the National Park

The idea is to have a civic center in the northeast of the capital, an idea also pitched by previous Presidents, according to the daily La Nación. Arias, who hopes to make the move in the first half of his administration, told the daily the cost of the move and remodeling would be “small.”

While Guido Sáenz, Culture Minister until Monday, said CENAC is an ideal place for the presidency, others disagree.

Approximately 200 actors, dancers, writers and painters met last week in CENAC to express their opposition to the idea, claiming that the Culture Center is for everyone, not one person, and the move would constitute an attack against art. The group plans to protest tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Parque España, in front of CENAC.

A special commission of former Culture Ministers and representatives of the arts and culture community will begin meeting next week to offer their input regarding the possible move.

CENAC’s facilities consist of a museum, two theaters, an amphitheater and Culture Ministry offices within the 150-year-old buildings of the former National Liquor Factory.

Casa Presidencial has been located in Zapote, southeastern San José, since 1980.


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