January 10th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The President, Laura Chinchilla, announced her administration’s “New Year’s resolutions” for 2013 earlier in the week.
First up was the economy. Chinchilla said she intends to continue the growth of the Costa Rican economy, lower poverty by 1%, maintain inflation below 5%, and encourage a decrease in interest rates.
Moving on to the country’s infrastructure issues, the president’s remarks sounded slightly more like a wish than a resolution: “Hopefully zero ‘accidents,’ and that public works will be carried out according to schedule.”
Chinchilla repeatedly emphasized her goal of reducing poverty by an additional 1% – a feat that was accomplished last year – through her social programs that were criticized by Rodrigo Arias, who announced on Friday he was removing himself from the race for Casa Presidencial.
Chinchilla also talked about her plans for environmental policy. One of her major initiatives is a plan to switch from petroleum to natural gas for energy production when the country’s renewable energy sources don’t meet demand.
Chinchilla said another of her priorities for 2013 is security, which she has promised to improve ever since being elected. Her administration has recently begun reminding citizens and the media of their accomplishments in the area in 2012, saying their “efforts are finally being recognized,” in the area of crime reduction. As an example, Chinchilla mentioned that femicides were reduced by 65% between 2011 and 2012 (49 and 18, respectively.)
“It is a reason for celebration, though we still have to improve that number,” she said.
“The goal in security is to not take any steps back in our achievements,” the President said, stating her government would take a “more intelligent” approach against organized crime, including legal reforms to expedite extraditions and telephone wiretaps, among others.
Chinchilla is also proposing a law that would allow authorities to confiscate property on the suspicion of illegal activity, forcing individuals to explain the source of their income.
Also on her 2013 agenda are legal and constitutional reforms that she says would “rejuvenate” the country’s democracy. A discussion of these reforms is scheduled for today. As if anticipating criticism, Chinchilla asked for “maturity” for that discussion.