San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
The Solís Administration

Costa Rica's Solís prepares for his 16th trip abroad in a year

President Luis Guillermo Solís just returned from a 10-day tour of the United States last Friday, where he held several meetings hoping to attract investment. On Wednesday, he confirmed he will travel from June 3-11 to Paris, Geneva and Brussels.

The European tour will be Solís’ 16th trip since taking office a year ago.

In France, Solís’ will meet with President François Hollande; in Geneva he will hold meetings with U.N. officials; and in Brussels he will participate in a summit by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Among other goals, Solís will lobby for Costa Rica’s joining of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Citing “international commitments,” Solís said during a public event on Wednesday that he wouldn’t commit to fewer trips, and “would travel as much as needed in order to serve the country.”

The president’s reaction angered some lawmakers. National Liberation Party lawmaker Antonio Álvarez Desanti said he believes Solís’ trips are “presidential tourism”and undermine his presidential image.

Christian Democratic Alliance lawmaker Mario Redondo presented a report stating that frequent trips abroad are not exclusive to the president. The legislator said he has evidence that “officials from 13 ministries have taken 1,654 trips during the first year of the current administration.”

Among them Redondo reported that Public Security Ministry officials have traveled 345 times, and Planning Minister Olga Sánchez Oviedo left the country on 13 occasions and spent a total of 77 days abroad. Sánchez visited the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, France, Moldova and China.

“She even visited some of these destinations twice,” Redondo said.

Solís justified Sánchez’s trips by saying they were job-related and that she was representing the country before international organizations. Redondo argued that international commitments should be handled by the ministers of foreign trade and foreign relations.

On Thursday, the lawmaker filed a draft bill “to improve transparency in visits abroad by public officials.” The proposal seeks to improve control and transparency for trips abroad by public officials and proposes mechanisms to evaluate the achievements of each trip.

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16 trips in a year doesn’t really justify the outcome. 500 jobs and certainly thr income tax revenue scheme this priduces and you truly won’t justify the expenditures of 16 trips.

You must truly think about the right motives for this overly accelerated intention to travel. It is my opinion that this president is taking directives from a conglomerate much bigger than his own ego. He’s just proven to be another puppet in the system of oligarchic priduction of revenues for the “powers that be”.

Costa Rica has no protectors and it is being dismembered piece by piece and sold-out to the highest bidder.

The last real president Costa Rica had was a teacher named Mora. This president, is a joke.

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Ken Morris

I prefer this to Chinchilla and her henchman gallivanting the globe solely to badmouth Nicaragua. Those whining tours designed to present CR as a helpless victim were an embarrassment and a waste. At least the Solís crew is trying to get something positive accomplished.

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Marvelous Marv

It is foreign investment that can lift people from poverty or provide skilled middle class jobs for a growing young population. That’s the premise. The devil, they say, is in the details.

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Marvelous Marv

When a president of any country can’t get cooperation from legislators to advance his agenda, it’s natural that they look overseas to get something accomplished, be it foreign relations or trade. So I think the criticism is a bit unfair. Having said that, any business trip, public or private, has to have objectives and achievement of those objectives need to be transparent and measurable. Otherwise, you run the risk of boondoggles.

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