Former president Chinchilla is in court defending her reputation

Former president Laura Chinchilla was in court Monday testifying in her case alleging defamation by a La Fortuna businessman. The former president seeks 100 million colons or about $185,000.

The case comes from text posted on his Facebook page by Alberto Rodríguez Baldí at the height of the controversy over the construction of the San Ramón toll road.

He was irked mainly about the proposed cost of the toll.

Just hours after the posting, Ms. Chinchilla halted the project and voided the contract with the Brazilian construction firm. That was in April 2013.

Rodríguez also said that the president was involved in other business projects and filed a compliant with the judiciary over the highway project, which he said was too expensive at $524 million.

Usually politicians brush off criticisms and slanders by outraged citizens. Ms. Chinchilla, however, beset with corruption allegations about others in her administration, carried the case to court. Her basic complaint is not that Rodríguez expressed a negative opinion but that he misstated facts.

Politicians are supposed to be able to take a lot of heat, but in Latin America reputation is held highly.

The case is generating all sorts of responses. For example the Poder Judicial released a statement Monday evening in which a Corte Suprema de Justicia magistrate denied having been involved in the case at all. There are a lot of comments flying around on Facebook. The page maintained by Rodríguez has 56,000 likes.

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