President Chinchilla suing businessman for defamation over Facebook post

laura chinchilla

President Laura Chinchilla (archive photo)

June 26th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) President Laura Chinchilla filed a defamation lawsuit against lawyer and hotelier Alberto Rodriguez Baldi yesterday.

 

The lawsuit was filed just ten days after Rodriguez published a post on Facebook that stated that Chinchilla purchased land worth millions of dollars in Nicoya, Guanacaste.

 

Rodriguez, who is in the hotel business in La Fortuna de San Carlos, also stated that Chinchilla has business interests in wind energy.

 

On Facebook, Rodriguez responded by saying that “Doña Laura is free to sure whoever she wishes,” and that the case “seems a golden opportunity to question the President.”

 

Communications Minister, Carlos Roverssi, said Chinchilla filed the lawsuit as a private citizen and will cover her own legal expenses.  Roverssi said that Chinchilla “wants to make it very clear that the only compensation [Chinchilla and her husband] receives is her salary and her husband’s pension.”

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  • disgusted

    So did Lady Laura and or her immediate family buy Millions of dollars of property or not?? Does she know something only she and the elite here have privileged information?? Lady Laura can you answer just those two questions. And if so is that not public information as well? Or a secret??

    • georgechapogas

      what she does with her money is no one’s business. how much anyone earns or how they invest is private. using the law to force people to self report their finances is a violation of basic human liberty. if she used no public money, no one has the right to know a thing. that is the biggest evil of income and wealth tax, destruction of privacy to please the bleating class idiots

      • disgusted

        Not to compare CR with USA, However President VP and others put their money into blind trust. Thus avoiding this. I know we can argue this until were all blue in the face. Nothing going to change here anyway so it really a waste of our time. I just sit back and watch the political circus. Next up to bat is Johnny!

  • Chris Thomas

    Really? all the income she receives is her husband’s pension is anybody stupid enough to believe that in a country so full of curruption at all levels, is that your final answer Laura?

  • Chris Thomas

    She is a public figure people have the right to say anything they want I thought Costa Rica was a democracy is she going to sue every citizen that questions her sounds more like communism to me, she should have though about this before she got into politics there must be some truth in this otherwise she would not sue the guy, by suing him she makes herself look really bad

    • georgechapogas

      say anything you want? excuse me. defamation is a crime in costa rica. publicly stating a non-public person committed a criminal act when they did not is a crime in the USA

      • Chris Thomas

        If they followed the law here half of the country be in jail get for real since when Costa Rica cares about crime look it at all the thieves,drugs dealers and murderers running around not to mention all of the politicians that steal money JPS,Caja,Hacienda ect

        • georgechapogas

          so your response is if they cannot prosecute all she should not be allowed to prosecute? so basically your first post was wrong and this is your response. nice.

  • toolman78

    Chris, actually her suing makes it look like the guy’s statement is a
    lie. If what he said were true, I doubt she would respond. Her bringing
    this to court can only result in more publicity and deeper inquiry,
    something she would be looking to avoid if it were true.

    ” people
    have the right to say anything they want”, no, not really. Everyone is
    protected by the anti-defamation laws, not just politicians. If you run
    your mouth about your neighbor in public, he can take you to court here
    in Costa Rica.

    And assuming the translation is accurate, she said
    that was the only “compensation” she’s receiving. There’s a subtle but
    meaningful difference between compensation and income. For example the
    owner of shares in a corporation may not receive any compensation even
    though it generates income. And if she’s receiving any dirty money, well
    of course she wouldn’t acknowledge that. She may be corrupt, but I seriously doubt she got where she is by being stupid.

    • Chris Thomas

      toolman7e8 I disagree with you a little bit politicians should be held at a higher standard specially for a country that brags to be the top in human rights, I have been living here on and off for 20 years I understand the culture people are nasty to Obama and Bush and say anything true and untrue I do not see them suing anyone, she can sue but she should do it after she leaves office on her own private time now there alot of other important issues at hand than hurting her ego

      • toolman78

        I didn’t mean to condone what she’s doing. Although to be honest, I can’t find fault in it either. As a politician, her reputation has immeasurable value to her. Taking action against those who would tarnish it is simply common sense. As far as her doing it on her own time, unless you think that a politician is on the clock 24/7, who’s to say she isn’t. I don’t mean to defend someone whom I personally don’t hold a good opinion of, I’m simply playing devil’s advocate. As much as I don’t like her, I feel it’s not necessary or right to criticize her on things that I wouldn’t criticize her on if I did like her. There are more than enough real issues to criticize her on.

  • Chris Thomas

    toolman7e8 I disagree with you a little bit politicians should be held at a higher standard specially for a country that brags to be the top in human rights, I have been living here on and off for 20 years I understand the culture people are nasty to Obama and Bush and say anything I do not see them suing anyone, she can sue but she should do it after she leaves office on her own private time now there alot of other important issues at hand than hurting her ego

  • Ken Morris

    Toolman78 seems to have it right. Not only does she have the right to sue, but the fact that she is makes it unlikely that there is anything to the charges. Who that was guilty would invite court scrutiny of allegations like these? Comments like those by Disgusted even help make the case for her suing. Since some people will believe any nasty lie about a public figure, it makes sense for public figures to counter those spreading nasty lies about them. In fact, IMO, the restrictions on US public figures suing over slander and libel are too stringent. I’m not sure that holding elective office should deprive a person of these basic rights. However, politically this might be an unwise move by Chinchilla. Ideally she should position herself above the fray and resist entering mud-wrestling fights like this. My guess though is that she’s resigned to finishing out her term without much public support and looking forward to her post-presidential life, thus taking care of her reputation as best she can now. I also think she’s frankly pissed at some of criticisms made of her and ready to start fighting back.