San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

'Good times ahead' for Costa Rica’s economy, says Chinchilla

Days after Sunday’s election, President Laura Chinchilla hoped to regain the public’s attention with the announcement of positive economic news. But election news and questions about whether the unpopular president hurt the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) at the polls lingered.

“The message from the Central Bank is that our economy is solid, stable, and Costa Rica has good times ahead,” said the president, citing growth of gross domestic product, low inflation and improving unemployment numbers.

The Central Bank’s economic outlook, released late last week, estimated that Costa Rica’s GDP could grow 3.8 percent in 2014, and 4.1 percent in 2015. The estimate is similar to estimates from the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean released in December 2013 that forecasted 4 percent growth for the Central American country.

Vice President Luis Liberman said that preliminary figures from the National Statistics and Census Institute suggested that unemployment had fallen to 8.5 percent from 8.9 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2013. If the figure holds, it would mean the fewest Costa Ricans out of work in the last three years.

Despite the presidency’s optimism on improving economic conditions, poverty has remained stubbornly high at nearly 20 percent.

“The government’s policies have worked because the poverty level stayed even and did not rise,” said Liberman, defending the administration’s response, including keeping inflation at historic lows.

The vice president said that the global recession cost Costa Rica some 73,000 jobs. Since 2010, Liberman claimed that the economy generated 168,000 jobs.

“There are people who enter and leave poverty, and much of it has to do with employment,” he said, adding that if Costa Rica could maintain the current trend in growth and unemployment for “2, 3, 4 years,” poverty levels would eventually drop.

Questions about the timing of the news sparked questions about whether the ruling PLN was attempting to campaign for its candidate, Johnny Araya.

Araya finished a disappointing second in Sunday’s election after Luis Guillermo Solís of the Citizen Action Party surpassed him in polls and pushed the election to a runoff.

“I think that question is absurd, I feel like I shouldn’t even answer it,” Chinchilla said, denying the timing of the bank’s report was politically motivated.

When asked to comment on how perceived fatigue shown by her government might have hurt Araya and the PLN’s chances in the elections, the president responded, “When someone does nothing, there’s no fatigue.”

Chinchilla added: “These are circumstances to feel optimistic about as we open the year. We trust that the elements that we’ve achieved will pass on to the government that will take over on May 8.”

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Mudd – Your comments are way too common of the ignorance of the political system here in CR. When a country has a congress or congressional assembly that are not elected by the people (which by the way is what we see in the Bolivian block of countries like Venezuela, etc.) then you run the risk of a locked down government due to extreme corruption. Politically appointed legislative representatives is like giving the keys of the hen house to a fox. And you cannot expect any president to be able to function will in this type of government. The USA is not much different even with elected officials so I am not sure what is better but neither seems to be working very well…so it does not matter who the president is in this country, but it does matter how people are put into public sector government positions that are supposed to represent the people but are there based on who they who or who that have done favors for or who they have paid off to be where they are. Costa Rica is on the short list of corrupt governments in the Americas and one cannot expect more than the system is built to support.

Look at the model of Chili which is considered one of the corruption free models of government in the world. With its 17 million population the government has managed to operate with an multi billion dollar excess in the bank. and with an infrastructure almost as modern as Europe or the USA and a bureaucracy that actually responds to good service and less red tape for its citizens….just look around and open your eyes and be involved in insisting in a change rather than sit in your comfortable chair at home and complain about how someone “fails.” It is the system that is failing, not the people in the system that all mean well mostly but are involved in such a corruption of government that their hands are tied to do justice to the people, so it makes room for more and more corruption till we wind up being another Venezuela!

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I am not to upon the candidates, But anyone is better than Chinchilla.She did absolutely nothing for Costa Rica.. Talk about an empty suit..

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If you want to watch what is happening to Costa Ric, there are models throughout the Americas indicating the trends occurring here. The extreme example is now Venezuela where 37,800 people were violently killed in 2013, and you never heard about this in the media. During the USA’s involvement in Vietnam for 11 years there were around 55,000 killed soldier, and Venezuela will have more murders than that by the end of this year.

And why does the media not scream about this is a major question to me. The model of government that appeals to more and more people stuck in poverty, increasing crime trends, increased corruption, control of the media, and human rights abuse is so clear throughout the Americas and we see a back slide in Costa Rica with patterns that are very similar to those governments who are already arrived with their new agendas of extending presidential terms, changing their constitution to favor a ruling class, diminishing of human rights, increased costs of basic living goods and property, and who could deny that these same patterns are indicators of a deteriorating democracy and takeover by the corrupt few who want to control everything including the very private lives of its citizens. Open your eyes to the truth and it is right in front of you!

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Well, you know how statistics are. If your head were in an oven and your feet in a freezer, a statistician would describe you as being “quite comfortable” on the average. In PZ, unemployment is rampant and is at least at 25%.

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I hear that unemployment is much larger than the goverment say. close to 15%. I noticed tha goverment is not talking about the debt at all. How much is the debt of Costa Rica?

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Jose Espinoza

I can not understand PLN they are not understanding what is happening in Costa Rica. I know lots of people that have been out of work for 1 year. I also heard that Hewlet Packard is laying off and shipping some staff to cheaper subcontractors. I heard that Florida ICE and Farms layed off 200+ people a few month ago no mention in media. Lets start talking about the truth.

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