San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
The Solís Administration

Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez steps down at Solís' request

Heads continue to roll in the administration of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís. On Thursday morning, Presidency Minister — and Solís’ former presidential campaign manager — Melvin Jiménez Marín submitted his resignation effective immediately.

The resignation, which Solís said was submitted at his request, came after a series of clashes between the now ex minister and opposition parties and economic groups. Jiménez has been blamed for much of the recent negative publicity directed at the already battle-weary government.

“His time in this government has ended,” President Solís said. “He was worn out.”

Jiménez has been the target of severe criticism from various political, business and even religious sectors, who repeatedly questioned his skills as government spokesman and highlighted his unsuccesful attempts to negotiate with these groups.

Solís justified Jiménez’s ouster on “the many things that Don Melvin has had to endure, which he has faced with great stoicism.”

He said that the change at the Presidency Ministry does not alter the road map of his administration in any way. And he thanked Jiménez for his efforts “to achieve social stability and economic progress in the country.”

Jiménez’s most recent controversy came last week when a draft bill to amend the country’s “Radio and Television Law” was released publicly. The bill called for harsh sanctions against TV and radio stations for broadcasting “lies” or offending public morality.

The scandal had already cost Science and Technology Minister Gisela Kopper Arguedas and Vice Minister Allan Ruiz Madrigal their posts. They oversaw the group of experts who drafted the bill.

The situation worsened last Friday when Ruiz said claimed that Jiménez had offered him an ambassador post in exchange for his resignation.

In addition, Kopper blamed Jiménez for leaking the draft of the controversial bill, which Jiménez denies.

Following the resignation announcement, Juan Jiménez Succar, a legislator with the National Liberation Party, the main opposition party, said he wasn’t surprised by the announcement.

“I told the president, in the presence of Minister Jiménez, that we opposed his role as the liaison between the Executive and the Legislative branches,” the legislator said.

Libertarian Movement legislator, and former presidential candidate, Otto Guevara Guth, said “Solís’ decision was overdue.”

Social Christian Unity Party leader Luis Vásquez Castro said Jiménez repeatedly showed lack of leadership in his job.

Jiménez becomes the fourth minister of Solís’ administration to step down and the 15th official to leave during Solís’ 11 months in office.

The new Presidency Minister will be announced Friday at a press conference, Casa Presidencial reported.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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Ken Morris

Actually, the draft broadcasting bill was only a “scandal” if you believe the rhetotic seemingly planted and nurtured by the PLN. Costa Rica’s existing 1954 law already bans media inaccuracies and vulgarities, and it’s both common and responsible practice to draw from laws elsewhere when drafting one. It also kind of makes sense to update a 61-year-old law that was passed before cable TV and the internet. This is a pure political tactic to weaken the Solís administration, and unfortunately it’s working because morons are buying the rhetoric.

Jiménez though did have to go, and not I think because he’s a bad guy. I think he’s a good guy who just lacked the political experience necessary to do his job. His job was to do the president’s bidding without attracting attention to himself. Alas, he ended up attracting a lot of attention to himself, and Guevara is right that the ouster was overdue. I suspect that Jiménez only lasted as long as he did because Solís personally likes and trusts him. This is not a fault of Solís as a person, though it is a political weakness. Politicians can’t let personal friendships interfere with politics.

A puzzle is that this story says that Jiménez resigned at the president’s request, implying a chronology. This is not the way it happens to work in the US. In the US, cabinet members submit their letters of resignation before they are appointed. The president keeps them in a drawer and pulls them out whenever he decides that they need to go. If Solís didn’t already have the resignation letter, he too was politically inexperienced.

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Ben

Costa Rican goverment is getting out of control.

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