Araya enlists former Banco Central presidents as supporters

Presidential candidate Johnny Araya met with the press at his house in Sabana Sur to discuss his economic proposal for the country’s future. Two ex-presidents of the Banco Central, Francisco de Paula Gutiérrez and Eduardo Lizano, joined the Partido Liberación Nacional candidate at the Tuesday press conference to reaffirm the party’s vision.

Araya said Costa Rica’s economy has made optimistic strides in recent years, pointing out a stronger influence in international trade and recent steady investments as examples. Though he was hesitant to delve into specifics, he said that the country can afford to make some adjustments but should not abandon its way along a path to success.

Regarding the issue of rising taxes, Araya acknowledged the concern and said adjustments would be made in his tenure. “The financial problem can not be changed solely by adjusting taxes. However you still have to address it.”

Lizano addressed the importance of a stronger union between the private and public sectors, so critical fiscal decisions could have better support. He said that without a better relationship between the corporate and industrial groups, Costa Rica can expect to see much of the same.

“We are going to have to make advances that better our private sector,” Lizano said.

Gutiérrez, who presided over Banco Central from 2002 to 2010, said that in four years the deficit could be expected to be cut in half to 3 percent with proper management. The current deficit sits at 5.4 percent, which is the second highest in Latin America. “We have to enter this by attacking the true triggers of public spending and the issues of tax collection,” he said.

The second round of voting is only six weeks away. Araya said that the nation needs a clear vision with a trusted leader. “I will again repeat that this country is not for experiments,” he said using a phrase that has become a campaign tagline. While taking a few digs at his opposition, he remained steadfast in saying that his party is the safe bet to make on April 6. With lingering concerns of an uncertain job market, Araya said now is when the country should put the economy in stable hands.

“One of the greatest challenges is to create more jobs,” Araya said. “Good management of the economy directly allows more jobs to be generated.”

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