President Chinchilla outlines priorities for her last 12 months

President Laura Chinchilla outlined the accomplishments of and the challenges facing her administration in a speech to the legislature. The president recognized that she has just a bit more than 12 more months in office.

The speech was optimistic in that the president said that crime had diminished, citing lower homicide rates and reports of vehicle thefts. She also said that tourism had increased 7 percent. The president wondered why some have negative opinions in the face of reality.

She only made one direct mention of the corruption that has bedeviled her administration. She said that acts of corruption in the public administration remain without answer or resolution and this has generated a deep lack of confidence toward politics and those who make political decisions. She did not elaborate but the biggest corruption case involved the Ruta 1856 being built along the Río San Juan at the northern border.

Many involved in the case are under investigation, but Ms. Chinchilla has denied any direct knowledge of any crimes.

The president admitted that unemployment is still a problem. And the continuing deficit in the nation’s budget still is unresolved. She called for dialogue to solve the nation’s problems.

However she said that during the first three years of her administration the economy had experienced a successful recovery, She said exports were up in 2011 and up again in 2012. And she credited the country’s economic condition to allow the floating of three bond issues on the international market.

She also cited road construction projects, including the one that will link the Caribbean coast to the northern zone and design efforts on the northern Circunvalación.  Even though she had to halt the concession for the La Sabana-San Ramón highway, she said she still plans to push ahead with it.

She also said that 2012 was the first year that the poverty rate did not increase.

Ms. Chinchilla said one of her goals is to help change the nation’s Constitution to make the legislative process more responsive. She has empaneled a group of experts who have issued a report outlining technical changes in the legislature that would break any logjams.

The speech in text form is slightly more than 8,400 words.

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