San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica accepts new U.S. ambassador

President Oscar Arias formally has accepted Peter Cianchette, a Maine businessman and politician, as U.S.Costa Rica.   ambassador to

Cianchette, 46, who met with Arias yesterday at the Casa Presidencial, said his priority is to help Costa Rica join the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA). The country ratified CAFTA in an October referendum but has not yet passed all the laws required to enter the pact.

In the coming weeks, Cianchette (pronounced chin-KET) will meet with ambassadors and government ministers. He will speak to the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and tour the country, said Magda Siekert, a public affairs officer at the embassy. 

Cianchette, who has never before visited Costa Rica, spoke to reporters yesterday in English while an embassy spokeswoman translated. 

“I am now … going to work very hard at learning Spanish, and (will try) to learn as much as possible about the country and its culture and its heritage,” he said.

Cianchette served in Maine’s state legislature from 1996 to 2000 and was state chairman for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 2004.

He is a partner in the private investment firm CHK Capital Partners and president of The Cianchette Group, a public affairs and business consulting firm.

He now lives in San José with his wife, Carolyn, and their children, Evan and Maria. 

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