The economist Rodrigo Chaves took office this Sunday as the 49th president of Costa Rica for the period 2022-2026, with the commitment to "rebuild" the economy and "having" harassment against women in your country.

"We bravely face the imminent obligation to repair the country. (…) We are not only going to order the house. We are going to rebuild it!"said Chaves in his first speech after being sworn in at Congress in San José, in front of 97 international delegations, including the one led by the King of Spain, Felipe VI.

At 60 years of age and with a 30-year career at the World Bank, Chaves reaches the presidential chair with the challenge of warding off the economic crisis that is affecting one of the most stable democracies in Latin America.

In Costa Rica, 23% of the 5.2 million inhabitants live in poverty (6.30% in extreme poverty) and 13.6% are unemployed, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC).

The economy, driven by tourism, was hit hard by covid-19. Public debt is equivalent to 70% of GDP.

"If the political class fails once again, our country could fall apart"he claimedKeysand admitted that "thousands of people see the end of the day without a job" Y "hunger sits on the table".

"A girl is born today in Costa Rica and, instead of carrying a loaf of bread under her arm, she carries a signed promissory note with thousands of dollars in debt. We are going to dismortgage the future of these young people"he assured, although he did not detail economic actions.

-First steps-

Shortly after his speech,Keyssigned its first three decrees: eliminate the use of a mask except for frontline health officials, eradicate mandatory vaccination for covid-19 in the public sector, and a declaration of national emergency for cyberattacks against state organizations.

Weeks before taking power, he said he hoped "to get better" the conditions of a loan of 1,700 million dollars with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), vital, according to the outgoing government, to keep public finances afloat.

"This, it seems, will be a management focused on the economic part, the president’s forte. It is also a national concern in all sectors. It seems that we are going to witness a proposal for the restructuring and reorganization of public finances"said political analyst Gina Sibaja.

– Commitment to women-

According to experts, the population privileged the experience in economics ofKeys, despite the fact that he carries a sanction for sexual harassment within the World Bank to two subordinates. After his election, the new president offered his "apologies" for those facts.

In his speech he assured that he will not tolerate "acts of harassment such as those suffered by (women) every day in all spaces".

"It is not possible that our women are afraid of walking alone in the street, that they feel afraid in their own home, their work, in a park, at a concert"he added.

As he spoke, dozens of feminist militants demonstrated in a nearby area and promised a "watchful eye" to the work ofKeys.

The president also assured that the achievements of the LGBTIQ population, such as equal marriage, will be maintained, and promised greater inclusion of indigenous communities and better treatment of older adults.

-Environment-

Although Costa Rica is a regional promoter of the defense of the environment, this aspect was not included in the speech ofKeys.

Days before his investiture, he advanced his opposition to environmental policies, in a country that has given up exploiting gas and oil.

KeysHe has said that he will not ratify the Escazú Agreement, an important regional pact to protect environmental defenders.

The new president is a surprising figure in politics, since his only tenure in state positions was for 180 days as finance minister, between 2019 and 2020.

– Diplomacy –

Costa Rica currently ignores the government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, considering that his election for a fourth consecutive term lacked "democratic conditions"and withdrew his ambassador from Managua.

days before taking over,KeysHe was in favor of reinstating the ambassador, although he later retracted it. He did not address the issue in his speech.

He also invited Juan Guaidó to the investiture, whom fifty countries, including the United States, recognize as president of Venezuela, instead of Nicolás Maduro. Guaidó did not attend the event.

However, the foreign ministerKeys, André Tinoco, told local media that recognizing Maduro is under evaluation. Analysts believe that the new government may take surprising directions.

"We will see if there is not a narrative change regarding the cost of living and corruption as the main problems in the country, according to their campaign themes"said political scientist Eugenia Aguirre.

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