San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Ombudsman’s Office

New ombudswoman will prioritize complaints against hikes in utility rates, fuel prices

Costa Rica’s new ombudswoman, Montserrat Solano Carboni, has her work cut out for her: At least 730 pending complaints have accumulated since the resignation of Ofelia Taitelbaum on July 7.

Solano, 38, was sworn in Monday evening by Legislative Assembly President Henry Mora for a four-year term. After the ceremony, Solano said she would prioritize complaints against increases in public utility rates and fuel prices.

“We need to evaluate these increases to see if they correspond to actual costs and quality of the services provided,” she said.

During her first day in office, Solano reiterated that the rate-hike complaints are among the most important issues for citizens.

She also will have to review several reports, recommendations, appeals and other administrative issues that only can be addressed by the agency’s top official.

Solano has not yet sent lawmakers her recommendation for assistant ombudsman, a post that also has been vacant since April 28. She currently is reviewing a list of 10 candidates, none of whom previously have held public office, she said.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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Ken Morris

Hate to be too cynical, but it looks like the powers that be didn’t want a serious ombudsman.

Yeah, utility rates are an issue, as also are fuel prices for about 20% of the population that drives, but these are issues that are well-covered by normal institutional processes. You don’t need an ombudsman to lend her voice to issues that already have institutional processes to address, you need her for the issues that lack these processes.

Unless you want an ombudsman who won’t make waves.

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John McPhaul

I could be wrong but I don’t think “Ombudsman” is gender-specific ie. I don’t think “Ombudswoman” is a word.

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Ken Morris

You know, I heard the same thing years ago, with the explanation that the term is Swedish and in that language “our” gender rules don’t apply, though with you I could be wrong.

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