Solís takes to TV to defend his early achievements

President Luis Guillermo Solís took to the television Sunday to defend the progress of his administration. Although he did not say so, his first television speech seemed to be generated by concerns that the new administration was spinning its wheels.

There was nothing really new in the president’s talk. He addressed the country informally in shirt and tie but with the tie loosened slightly and the top button of the shirt open.

He was sitting relaxed on a couch. Previous presidents had more formal approaches to what is called the cadena nacional,  a sometimes weekly talk that is aired on radio and published in addition to the television video.

Solís said that his administration inherited a country that was messed up, using the Costa Rican word  encharralar.

He added metaphorically that “We have cut the brush to sow the changes we promised.”

Although not mentioning former president Laura Chinchilla by name, he said that his administration is returning to Limón the development projects that the previous administration had let sink through inefficiency.

He mentioned the teacher’s strike that his administration faced as he was inaugurated. He said he had ordered via decree repair of the nine most dangerous highway drainage systems. Ms. Chinchilla faces two cases where major highways collapsed because the water channels under the roadway gave way.

He said the central government would invest 435 million colons in the northern zone this year, an area among the poorest in the nation. The amount is a bit more than $800,000.

He noted that the central government helped negotiate a semi-annual pay raise for private employees and that officials were maintaining the peace in Salitre. Natives and non-natives have clashed there over property rights. The location is near Buenos Aires de Puntarenas in the southern part of the country.

He promised to adjust the electrical rates and call a national discussion over energy policy.

Solis also noted that the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud had asked prosecutors to investigate expenses over the last six years for producing events. The amount involved was 3 billion colons, about $5.6 million.

“You are correct when you say that much remains to be done, but I trust in Costa Rica and her people and we are working very hard in your favor,” said the president to the television audience.

Nearly everything he cited already has been published in Spanish-language and the English-language press. He did not mention the plan by Intel Corp. to shut down manufacturing here but he did cite a Guanacaste firm that will hire 1,000 direct employees and plans for a laboratory promised by Intel.

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