President of Costa Rica highlights economy in his first year

By Douglas Marin |

San José (BLAZETRENDS).- The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, highlighted in an interview with BLAZETRENDS the performance of the economy after his first year in office, and recognized that there is a “serious” penetration of drug trafficking in society and in institutions that have raised the rates of violence in this country with a pacifist tradition.

“I’m not afraid of it, I believe it,” Chaves said when asked if there was concern about drug trafficking penetrating Costa Rican society and institutions.

“When a country is penetrated by groups with these types of interests and values ​​and so many resources, it is very serious,” declared the president, who stated that in “previous legislatures” legislators and senior officials of a political party met with drug traffickers.

The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, poses during an interview with BLAZETRENDS in San José (Costa Rica). BLAZETRENDS / Jeffrey Arguedas

Chaves, who today celebrates his first four years in power, regretted that drug trafficking activities have raised the rates of violence in the country over the last decade and have also damaged the country’s reputation with cocaine shipments in containers of drug products. export.

“No country has beaten drug trafficking with bullets. They kill Pablo Escobar (in Colombia) and others emerge, they arrest ‘Chapo’ Guzmán (in Mexico) and others emerge. What you have to do is take away their business,” Chaves said.

The president said that in the case of Costa Rica, the drug trafficking business consists of entering shipments of cocaine and then exporting them to Europe and the United States.

To combat this situation, Chaves stated that this year Costa Rica, a country that has not had an army since 1948, will install scanners in ports to check all containers.

During 2023 the authorities have detected a container with cocaine, but in 2022 the number was 8 containers with a total of 9.5 tons of cocaine and in 2021 there were 19 containers and a load of 16.1 tons of cocaine.

The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, speaks with BLAZETRENDS during an interview in San José (Costa Rica). BLAZETRENDS / Jeffrey Arguedas

According to official figures, drug trafficking is responsible for more than 60% of homicides in Costa Rica.

As of April 12, homicides in 2023 in Costa Rica reached 241, which represents 40% more than in the same period of 2022.

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In 2022 there were 656 homicides, the highest number in the country’s history, with a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Chaves said that his government has implemented a special police operation in recent weeks and has presented bills aimed at toughening penalties for the possession of prohibited weapons and preventing dangerous criminals from leaving prison with alternative measures.

The migratory wave

The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, speaks with BLAZETRENDS during an interview in San José (Costa Rica). BLAZETRENDS / Jeffrey Arguedas

Costa Rica, a country of 5.1 million inhabitants, has received in recent years waves of Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Cubans and Haitians, either in transit to the United States or to settle in the country.

Chaves said that Costa Rica “has been a victim of its own success” in this matter, due to its economic solvency.

The president explained that Costa Rica spends between 200 and 300 million dollars a year in the attention of migrants, for which he asked the international community for more cooperation.

“We are a very receptive people and we will continue to be so,” declared the president, who noted that he warned that there has been an “abuse” of refugee applications in recent years.

Official data indicates that Costa Rica, a country of 5.1 million inhabitants, has 607,000 regularized foreigners, of whom 60% are Nicaraguans.

Since 2018, when a political and social crisis broke out in Nicaragua, the Costa Rican authorities have received 240,000 refugee applications, of which 92% are from Nicaraguans. There are currently some 186,000 refugee files pending resolution.

Chaves underlines the advance of the economy

The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, speaks with BLAZETRENDS during an interview in San José (Costa Rica). BLAZETRENDS / Jeffrey Arguedas

President Chaves celebrated his approval ratings, which in the polls exceed 60% and said that the important thing is that the people trust the Government.

The president stressed that the economy grew by 4.3% in 2022, that inflation has been reduced “to a third” since last August, and that he has managed to lower the price of electricity, rice and fuel.

In addition, he highlighted the “responsible fiscal management” that has made it possible to reduce the financial deficit, mark a primary surplus and reduce the debt.

“We received an absolutely messy house financially speaking and we have a very tidy house today,” Chaves said.

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