Since 2015, the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR) has issued seven sanctions to five candidates seeking to occupy the positions of mayor and vice mayor in the municipalities of Abangares, Liberia, Nicoya and La Cruz.
The Voice of Guanacaste looked for the names of the 189 candidates for mayor and vice mayor in resolutions issued by the Comptroller’s Office and the Supreme Electoral Court (Spanish acronym: TSE).
This search revealed a series of administrative sanctions and a prison sentence related to a case of sexual abuse of a minor. We summarize the most important information in this article. Click on the links to get more in-depth information on each case.
- A former Abangares municipal council member and current candidate for mayor of Abangares for the Único Abangareño (Only Abangarian) party, Gerardo Alfredo Cascante Suarez, was sentenced to four years in prison for sexually abusing a 10-year-old minor in 2013. In addition, the TSE canceled his credentials in 2015 and that same year, the CGR flagged him due to irregular contracts.
- The mayor of Liberia and candidate for reelection for the Unidos Podemos (United We Can) party, Luis Gerardo “Pipo” Castañeda, was sanctioned by the TSE in 2022 for authorizing expenditures without a sufficient budget in his role as mayor during the 2011-2016 term.
- Junnier Salazar, candidate for vice mayor of La Cruz for the Unidad Social Cristiana (Christian Social Unity) Party, was sanctioned twice by the CGR for acts committed in his role as mayor (2016-2020). The first was imposed for authorizing closing the municipality for two hours so that municipal officials could attend a baby shower, and the second was for failing to meet the deadlines to formalize a direct contract.
- Socorro Díaz, candidate for first vice mayor of La Cruz for the Nueva Generación (New Generation) party, was penalized by the Comptroller’s Office with 15 days without pay in 2022 due to having reported only three assets from 2013 to 2022, when in reality she had 31 properties registered in her name.
- Carlos Luis Medina Fernández, candidate for vice mayor of Nicoya for the Nuestro Pueblo (Our Town) party, was penalized with 15 days without pay in 2015 due to forming part of a commission to investigate a bidding process for a public contract in 2010, despite being aware of the possible existence of a conflict of interest.