Acción Ciudadana rips presidents on nation’s poverty policy

Representatives of the Partido Acción Ciudadana called the presidential administration corrupt and inhuman for the country’s increase in poverty since the Partido Liberacion Nacional was voted back into power.

What was supposed to be an alliance between the presidential party Liberación Nacional and Acción Ciudadana for budget reform has quickly turned into a nasty fight, where one party has claimed the other party has betrayed citizens and increased poverty in the nation.

“Costa Rica is becoming an unjust country,” said Juan Carlos Mendoza, president of the Asamblea Legislativa and representative for the Partido Acción Ciudadana.

Gustavo Arías, representative from the Acción Ciudadana, added “We are not in alliance with the government when it comes to these things.”

The Acción Ciudadana held a press conference Wednesday where party members who are lawmakers blamed Costa Rica’s increase in poverty on the Óscar Arias Sánchez and the Laura Chinchilla Miranda administrations.

Survey results released this week show that poverty was relatively steady at 21.6 percent.

The slight rises reported this year are within the range of the statistical margin of the survey.
“The Arias Sánchez politics have remained in the Chinchilla administration,” said Víctor Hernández, representative for the Acción Ciudadana.

One of the promises made during the last presidential campaign was to fight Costa Rica poverty, but what happened is that both administrations fought against the negative campaign they had received from the media on poverty, in what the Partido Acción Ciudadana referred to as “maquillar cifras.” This is when the government manipulates social programs to alter the poverty numbers.

This strategy helped the party’s approval ratings Acción Ciudadana said.

Economic aid was given to those who were just below the poverty line, instead of helping those in extreme poverty, they claimed. Party members said that in February 7,000 families were rejected by authorities when they asked for the supposed government program of scholarships and pensions, and these families fell into a category far below the poverty line.

A video the political party made said that since 1994 the numbers of those impoverished increased from 784,000 to 1,031,000. One out of every five Costa Rican families are below the poverty level, which means a per capital income of approximately 92,122 colons ($181.16) per month. Approximately 137 people fall into extreme poverty daily, according to a study reported by the Acción Ciudadana.

“It’s necessary as a society to demand for radical change to help these people,” said Mendoza.

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