Leaving office ranked the least popular leader in the Americas, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla has spent the last days of her presidency clamoring for recognition of her administration’s successes. Though perhaps not as entertaining as the blunders that may come to define the Chinchilla years, here is a list of her administration’s actions that Doña Laura wants to promote.
1. Heightened security
As the cornerstone for Chinchilla’s presidential campaign, security improvements sat at the top of a voters’ list of expectations at the beginning of Chinchilla’s term. Now leaving office with drastically reduced crime and homicide rates and record highs in drug seizures, Chinchilla can say she finished what she started.
2. Better marine conservation
At the beginning of her term, President Chinchilla promised to shift Costa Rica’s conservation sites to the country’s largely ignored oceans. With bans on unsustainable fishing practices like shark finning, more marine conservation areas and a newly created Vice Ministry of Waters and Oceans, Chinchilla is leaving the country’s seas better than when she found them.
3. Retained social spending
As Chinchilla leaves office, social spending makes up 23 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In 2011, the president supported a mandate that requires public education spending to equal at least 8 percent of the GDP by the end of 2014. Education spending now exceeds 7.5 percent of the GDP, higher than it has ever been in Costa Rican history. Health spending, also grew and now sits at 6.8 percent.
4. Stabilized the economy
Despite the economic crisis post-2008, the Costa Rican economy grew steadily under Chinchilla. Also during this period, unlike other country’s in the region, Costa Rica did not experience out-of-control rates of inflation. During her term, Chinchilla also created 30,000 jobs and drew more than $8.27 billion in direct foreign investment.