Still a week remains until he sets up his office in Casa Presidencial, but Luis Guillermo Solís insists the changes he and his administration promised are already evident. After he introduced another round of cabinet members Monday at the Museo de los Niños, Solís looked around at his new staff and said they were living proof of his campaign slogan’s validity.
“The change has already begun – here it is,” he said as he pointed to his appointees flanking him on stage.
Among the 19 positions that Solís announced, there was an obvious focus on youth, as the president-elect had previously promised. The majority of the vice ministers he chose are ages 31 and under. “We had promised in our campaign the integration of Costa Rican youth to the government with the supreme responsibility of collaborating with and handling national issues,” he said.
On top of the youth movement, Solís has also focused on incorporating a procession of women into his administration. After bringing eight more into his cabinet on Monday, he said to expect more female appointees to match the heavy influence of young people.
He said he plans to have more than 100 young people under the age of 25 on his extended staff, mainly including those who were vital in helping his successful campaign. When questioned about the potential concern of inexperience, Solís responded by listing off characteristics the appointees can bring to the table, He cited virtues like optimism, creativity, and strength.
“These will not be the only young people in the government,” Solís said. “Nor will these be the only women integrated into the cabinet.”
One woman is the new head of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, María del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal. As the former minister of Salud from 2002 to 2006 under Abel Pacheco, Ms. Sáenz arrives on duty carrying a bit more experience than her fresh out-of-college peers. Ms. Sáenz said that her staff will try to strengthen the Caja’s wavering perception by putting the people first.
“I would like a Caja where the population is the central focus,” she said. “That is the main issue.”
Solís has yet to announce ministers of Vivienda, Justicia y Paz, and Ciencia y Tecnología. He said he wants to be careful about whom he chooses and not rush to an uninformed decision for who should lead such crucial sectors. Subsequently, Solís will make a third, and expected final, cabinet announcement next Monday to fill those voids.
“Just wait a little bit longer,” he said in perfect English to a laughing auditorium. “Your prayers will be answered shortly.”
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff