San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Chinchilla Names Security Team

With citizen safety dominating discussion on the campaign trail, president-elect Laura Chinchilla’s choice for the post of public security minister drew much speculation and friendly wagers, until Tuesday.

In a conference room at Hotel Corobicí, Chinchilla revealed her pick to replace Janina del Vecchio, Security minister in the current administration of President Oscar Arias.

José María Tijerino, an intellectual and former attorney general, was tapped to head the ministry upon Chinchilla’s inauguration on May 8, thus inheriting the problem of greatest concern to the Costa Rican people. “We all want the Costa Rica of before,” he said in accepting the appointment. “We want the Costa Rica where we could walk in the streets, the plazas, the parks in absolute peace … Perhaps this is our last opportunity to rescue safety without losing our liberties.”

He said his first goal will be to build police presence in the streets. He also stressed collaboration with the international community and improved technology as initiatives he would pursue.

Chinchilla appointed Mauricio Boraschi, presently director of the Costa Rican Drug Institute; Mario Zamora, immigration director; and Jorge Chavarría, international consultant, to accompany Tijerino as members of her security team. Boraschi will occupy the new post of drug czar, while Zamora and Chavarría will be vice ministers in the Public Security Ministry.

Chinchilla also took advantage of the press conference to announce her chief of staff, a position known in Costa Rica as the minister of the presidency.

Calling him a “close adviser” and accessible, Chinchilla announced that Marco Vargas would be the next minister of the presidency. Vargas currently holds the post of public works and transportation minister.

Before that, Vargas served as coordination minister, with responsibility for the port privatization project in Limón. Vargas has also occupied the position of economy minister.

“We have a trusting relationship (developed through years) of sharing ministerial roles. We know each other well enough to know what we want, and, furthermore, we have an immense capacity to negotiate and look for points in common,” Chinchilla said.

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