President-elect’s top selections are heavy with academics

Some in the media have made much of the number of lawyers in the new administration of Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera. But current and  past professors outnumber the lawyers two to one in the top spots.

An analysis of the biographies of ministers-designate, vice presidents-elect and two ambassador-designates appointed by the president-elect show a preference for academics. That makes sense because Solís himself is a former professor and Fulbright scholar.

There are only four appointees in the top 17 positions who have doctorates, but the terminal research degree is not required to teach in the public universities.

Five of the 12 with a professorial background also are lawyers. Nine appointees have worked with government in the past, including the new minister of Trabajo, Víctor Morales Mora, who was the head of that ministry in another administration.

One appointee, Manuel González Sanz, who will become the foreign minster, is a lawyer. Coincidentally, the current foreign minister,Enrique Castillo, is partner in the same firm, Facio & Cañas.

Three of the top appointees, including Juan Carlos Mendoza García, the U.N. ambassador-designate, have served in the legislature.

Wilhem Von Breymann Barquero, the tourism minister-designate, is one of a handful who appear to have non-governmental and non-political work experience. He runs several tourism firms.

María Elena López Núñez, the health-minister-designate, is a physician. Melvin Jiménez Marín, the minster of the Presidencia-designate, is a serving Lutheran bishop. Luis Felipe Arauz Cavallini  is an agricultural engineer and is the minister-designate in that field.

The lack of top appointees with real world word experience has some business leaders nervous. Solís has said he wants to even out the income gap. In fact, what he calls income inequality is one of the three main points in his campaign. He contends that past governments have gone easy on big companies and the rich by not collecting the taxes the administrations should.

Solís also campaigned against corruption. Large government projects generate payoffs and back door deals, but the principal enforcer of the laws are the Poder Judicial and the Ministerio Público where prosecutors work. An investigation into the Ruta 1856 road project along the Río San Juan in northern Costa Rica still  is an open investigation.

And most of the judiciary and even the prosecutors were put in their position by the political organizations that are presumed to host corruption.

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