Laura! (Chinchilla)

“Laura… is the face in the misty light…” (Johnny Mercer)

Well, we would seem to have a winner. The next president of Costa Rica will be Laura Chinchilla, of the PLN.

According to Reuters, she ‘won a landslide victory.’

From Bloomberg: “I thank the men who helped so a daughter of Costa Rica could become president,” Chinchilla, 50, said in a speech in San Jose. “Above all,” she vowed to “fight delinquents and drug traffickers who are confiscating our way of life.” She said in an interview before the election that she hopes a pending free trade pact with China will power an economic rebound. Costa Rican gross domestic product shrank 1.5 percent last year, according to the International Monetary Fund, during the first recession in 27 years.

The new president will be the first woman to hold the number one position in Costa Rica. There has been a recent trend in Latin America towards woman presidents, including Chile’s Michelle Bachelet and Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez.
She considers herself a champion of women’s causes, while opposing both gay marriage and abortion. Like her predecessor Oscar Arias Sanchez, she is a firm supporter of “free trade” including the CAFTA treaty. She proposes to increase spending on ‘security’ by 50%. She also promises to repair and improve the country’s infrastructure. How these items will be financed is unclear, at least to some such as myself.

One surprise was that the polls predicted that Otto Guevara, the Libertarian candidate, would out poll Otton Solis, considered a center-left candidate and also an opponent of CAFTA and ‘free trade’ in general. I will leave it to experts to explain Guevara’s slide and Solis’ rise, not to mention Chinchilla’s surprisingly strong showing.

As the polls were closing around the country, I was in a bar watching the Superbowl. At halftime we patrons got to watch The Who. I heard Roger Daltry sing the famous line ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ from ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ I consider that simply a coincidence, but still rather eerie. Perhaps the song will turn out to be prophetic, perhaps not. Perhaps being like Oscar Arias is a good thing. I guess we’ll all have to wait and see.

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