Government pays some of its debt to Caja

The government paid part of its debt to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social Thursday, but it had to borrow to do so.

The government transferred 54 trillion colons or about $108 million to the cash-strapped agency. The Caja says that the government owes about $200 million more.

The event was a small ceremony. Fernando Herrero, the minister of Hacienda, said the central government would help the Caja with its balance due from other employers and in fighting fraud and evasion.

President Laura Chinchilla promised to pay a portion of the central government debt to the Caja July 13 after health workers went on strike and demanded money from the government.

Since then there have been revelations of absenteeism and other labor problems at the Caja.

The Caja runs the clinics and hospitals.

The central government had to borrow the money because it is running a deficit and is deeply in debt itself.

The situation affects expats because all residents are now required to enroll with the Caja.

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