Ms. Campbell opens her campaign for her party’s nomination

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
Epsy Campbell gestures to crowd outside her campaign bus Monday afternoon in the downtown.

Epsy Campbell came out swinging Monday, but the slogan on her bus says it all: ¿Vamos o no vamos a sacar a Liberación?
“Are we or are we not going to take out Liberación?”

Ms. Campbell of Partido Acción Ciudadana is targeting the major political party and its unopposed presidential candidate, San José Mayor Johnny Araya.

She is promising zero tolerance to corruption if she is elected. Both Liberación and Araya has accumulated a lot of political baggage that can be targeted in a political campaign. However, he is seen as a clear favorite.

Ms. Campbell herself has a little baggage. She was one of the individuals who received money from Casa Presidencial and Óscar Arias Sánchez to serve as a so-called legislative adviser to help pass the free trade treaty with the United States. The problem was that Ms. Campbell was president of Acción Ciudadana which was actively opposing the treaty.

The Arias administration got about $2 million from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. The money was spread around in various small contracts to 82 friends and political foes. All of the payments were off the books, something that has generated continuing legal actions.

Casa Presidencial spent about $342,000 of the funds until word of the arrangement became public. In addition to paying people who had technical expertise, some contracts went to vehicle drivers and similar. Ms. Campbell dropped out of the deal and did not accept $9,000 after La Nación disclosed the existence of the slush fund.

Ms. Campbell served as a legislator and was the vice presidential candidate under Ottón Solís in 2006. He is not expected to seek the party nomination this year.

Ms. Campbell spoke from a podium beside a van downtown in the middle of the pedestrian walkway of Avenida Central.

She spoke about how she is going on a route for change and how she can bring positive reform to the country and the government if the people give her support.

Her campaign Web site lists a promise for “a community for the new majority who really wants to do something and not to be simply watching as our country continues without direction.”

The work to “change” is a reoccurring theme for the politician.

Ms. Campbell has worked in human rights specifically on issues that affect women and African descendents. She has served as the leader of the Center for Women of African Descent, the Alliance of Leaders of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Black Parliament of the Americas.

In the 2010 election, she ran for the party’s presidential nomination but lost to Solis.

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