The highlight was the president delivering a speech at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of IBM.
“I want Costa Rica to embody the very spirit that we are celebrating today: that of embracing change in order to preserve that which is best about ourselves,” the president said. She also said that the country would continue on the path to development without extractive industries.
IBM has facilities in Costa Rica.
Casa Presidencial said that Ms. Chinchilla had meetings in the afternoon with executives of two companies that are considering locating facilities here.
This is the third sales trip that the president has made to the north.
“I am convinced of the importance of taking advantage of the good perception that the country has in diverse business circles of the capability of our people and or good business climate,” said the president.
She also said that foreign investment is an important motor of development. The president attended a breakfast arranged by the Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas de Desarrollo with 105 business leaders.
She also was to have an interview with Forbes magazine and appear in a movie being produced by IBM.
Ms. Chinchilla delivered her IBM speech in English.
“. . . we have come to celebrate several key lessons for any person, company or nation seeking successfully to navigate the wild and unruly waters of the modern world,” she said. “Chief among these lessons is the understanding that, whatever our overall talents, prior achievements or initial conditions may be, enduring success is untenable if one refuses to accept the world’s changes and instead turns their back on them. Only those willing enough to embrace change fearlessly are able to make their mark on it.” She noted that some Costa Ricans are apprehensive over change.
She said that IBM is a success because it is able “at once to stay true to the values that define the best in us and tailor our actions to the challenges of the times. That is what IBM has done and it is what Costa Rica must do today.”
She said that Costa Rica must accept globalization without reservation. The country must expand education, as a first priority, she said, adding that other priorities are better infrastructure and “accelerate the formation of a professional class of individuals capable of performing and excelling in the most advanced technological fields.”
The president also said that the country needs to strengthen its law enforcement, although she noted Costa Rica still is one of the safest countries in Latin America.
Of extractive industries, she said: “Other countries dig the ground to build a future. For all sorts of reasons, that’s not an option open to us. We are forced to travel down a more difficult, but ultimately more sustainable way: we have to mine the talent of our people.”
The central government opposes open pit gold mining and exploration for petroleum in the northern zone.