By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff
As of Sunday night, Rodolfo Piza has become the third ratified candidate for the 2018 presidential elections.
The son of well-known lawyer with whom he shares first and last name, Piza is running for president a second time under the banner of Partido Unidad Social Cristiana.
He beat his opponent in the primaries by obtaining 69 percent of the votes from the party’s grassroots members. Once ratified, He hopes for better results than the dismal six percent of votes obtained during the last time he ran in the 2014 campaign.
Member of what he calls a non-religious Christian party, Piza is also a lawyer who loves to explain things by using popular lingo and appealing to the the image of a simple rural man where local campesinos rush to hug him.
This time, Piza will be better prepared to confront the other political forces. Last time, he assumed the presidential candidacy for his party only after the abrupt resignation of Rodolfo Hernández, a former doctor at Hospital Nacional de Niños.
“I don’t believe in tax packages,” Piza told A.M. Costa Rica.
“I do believe that we may stop the government expenditure rate without sacrificing any of the rights of the working class. It just a matter of keeping control of public expenses and also improving collection methods.”
Piza is also a former president of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social from 1998 to 2002, under the administration of Miguel Angel Rodríguez.
The same Caja that’s now struggling to find a way to keep its finances in shape and thus, be able to provide for the pension of future retirees.
“I have explained many times this subject and I will explain it again: we can strengthen our social security system by more gradual increases in the contributions,” he said. “I don’t think we need to raise them 1 or 0.5 percent all at once as they are doing now.”
In terms of economic growth, Piza believes the State is full of nonsense bureaucracy that kills the very spirit of entrepreneurship.
To face this problem, the candidate envisions a system where any one interested in creating a company will go to a unique place where all the requirements can be fulfilled.
“I also look for national private investment to increase, and to achieve that goal we need to run all processes as smooth as possible,” added Piza.
Piza also talked about creating the first metro line in San José, cleaning up the most polluted rivers in Costa Rica, providing a “1,000 doctors per neighborhood” policy and establishing themed-oriented high schools to respect the differing levels of intelligence among the student body.
Aside from all of that, he plans to push a reform to the constitution, eliminating the Catholic faith as the country’s official state religion but leaving the word God on it “as many other countries in the world do,” he said.