Awakening Progress: Gabriela Rios, Costa Rican Renovation

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Gabriela Rios Cascante, from Santa Cruz, is a 25-year-old entrepreneur. She received a scholarship from the American Embassy for a seminar of student leaders from Latin America about policy and trade relations between the United States and Latin America. This seminar was held in several states including Washington, Massachusetts and Arizona and prestigious universities like Harvard.

She studied business at the University of Costa Rica, took English courses in England and toured some European countries including Italy, France, Germany, Slovenia and Spain as part of an international trade analysis.

She has always worked in volunteering with youth and women in the province of Guanacaste. She is concerned about the integral development of individuals and towns through education and harmonious coexistence with the environment.

For Rios, the welfare of towns begins with being able to hear and get to know the needs and worries of the people and from there to be able to work on those problems but in an integrated manner. “What interests me is listening to the problems and proposals of the people of Guanacaste, to see how we can provide support,” she said and assured, “We’re going to support every good project one hundred percent.”

She believes that her life experience leads her to understand the problems lived by many Guanacaste families. “I come from a poor family. My grandmother sold bread and tamales to be able to get by… Being in politics, I see it as a great opportunity to be able to represent rural zones and poor areas of the province… We want to promote job opportunities, educational opportunities to promote development,” she assured.

Rios’ idea is to awaken a progressive attitude in Guanacastecans. “We want to awaken social awareness of development… We have always been told that we were born poor and will continue to be poor. That’s not true… We want to raise awareness that with effort things can be accomplished,” she affirmed.

Rios is aware of the different social problems of Guanacaste, but she’s also aware that Guanacaste has the potential and resources needed for the province to move toward integral development. “We have the capacity to develop livestock, production, with human dignity, taking care of the environment… but we need to have an integral view from a perspective of solidarity,” she commented.