Former president presents his wish list to lawmakers

Partido Liberación Nacional photo
José María Figueres discusses his plan.

Former president José María Figueres Olsen brought his plan for the future of Costa Rica to the legislature Tuesday.

He outlined to lawmakers how he wants a country free of petroleum products in 15 years. He would put solar collectors on the roof of every home and finance the project out of the government pension funds. He also would order the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A., the government petroleum monopoly, to buy non-petroleum fuels, like palm oil and the oils of certain plants at the world market price for petroleum to stimulate agricultural development.

The first item on the list of seven put forth by Figueres is an improvement in the national identity by becoming a powerhouse for sports. He said sports promotes values like ethics, discipline, teamwork and competitiveness.

Figueres characterized the nation as one needing major surgery. He proposed the creation of what he called a consejo social y económico that would be a non-governmental agency that would make known the wishes and desires of the public.

Many of the ideas were developed on a Facebook page with ideas from some 600 persons, he said. His Facebook page has 26,000 followers, he said.

Figueres has said he is not a candidate for nomination for presidency. In fact, he has minimal support among members of his Partido Liberación Nacional. It remains unclear how he hopes to enact his agenda that he calls the Vía Costarricense.

The proposal also is to create two new provinces. One would be in the north including San Carlos, Upala, Los Chiles and Guatuso. The second would be in the south and include Pérez Zeledón, Buenos Aires, Osa, Golfito, Coto Brus and Corredores. The reason would be to bring the residents closer to their provincial government, he said.

He also proposed some form of regional government for the central area of the country, including San José, Curridabat, Moravia, Goicoechea, Tibás, Montes de Oca, Escazú, Alajuelita and Santa Ana. Another proposal is for a maritime region that includes the Gulfo Dulce and Golfito.

His proposals are HERE in Spanish

Figueres also wants to see a referendum next year on proposals to improve governability and democracy.

He said he also wants to create clusters of economic activity with public-private alliances in each province, and he suggested assisted living centers and medical tourism in Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón.

Also on the wish list is something hardly any politician discusses. Figueres said he wants a plan of action to confront climate change. He would put special emphasis on vulnerable areas and pass a climate change law that would establish an intergovernmental hierarchy to institute the plan.

Figueres was greeted warmly by lawmakers who heard his presentation.

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