Presidential Challenges in Costa Rica

Americas Now

The poverty level in Costa Rica has hovered at 20 percent for the past 20 years. Unemployment rates are high, corruption is rampant, and the voters believe the government lacks legitimacy and transparency. Current president Lauren Chinchilla has the lowest approval rating of all Latin American leaders—only 9 percent. This Central American country is looking for a change.

This change, they are hoping, might take place in the form of presidential candidate Luis Guillermo Solis. As a member of the Citizen’s Action Party, the former diplomat has taken a prominent lead over opponent and former mayor of San Jose, Johnny Araya. So prominent, in fact, that after the February 2nd election polls, Araya announced that he would be withdrawing from the race, leaving Solis as the primary candidate on the ballot.

It will be up to this likely future president to aid the struggling communities of the country. The people of Los Angeles, a small town outside the capital city of San Jose, were recently presented with mass eviction orders due to fires that ravaged their homes. Residents blame the fires on dangling electric wires that government officials once promised to fix, but never did.  Fed up, out of work, and now out of a home, residents of Los Angeles and the whole of Costa Rica are eager for new economic policy and a new leader to fix the broken areas of the country.

Correspondent Nitza Soledad Perez interviews both Luis Guillermo Solis and Johnny Araya in San Jose about the campaign issues, and talks to members of the community of Los Angeles about their life struggles.