Region, Nicoya

Ronal Vargas: “I Feel Proud to Have Kicked Julio Viales Out of Guanacaste”

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The recent transfer of Julio Viales, former regional director of MOPT in Guanacaste, to San Carlos brought mixed reactions. On the one hand, several mayors in Guanacaste and Ronal Vargas, legislator for the Broad Front party, support the decision, while Marta Arauz, legislator for the National Liberation party, disagrees with this decision and supports the way the director managed affairs for more than 10 years.

With the change effective as of November 7, Rodolfo Correa, former deputy director, assumed the role of regional director of MOPT in the province.

The first to express his approval of the change in regional leadership was Ronal Vargas, who even affirmed that he is proud of the transfer of Viales to San Carlos. Vargas said he asked Carlos Segnini, Minister of MOPT, to transfer Viales and said he showed him documents of alleged defects and lack of fulfillment of the leader.

“I feel proud to have kicked Julio Vials out of Guanacaste,” said Vargas, who believed that the leader made decisions based on what legislators from the National Liberation Party (PLN) told him he had to do.

The Voice of Guanacaste tried to obtain copies of these documents. However Vargas explained that he would not make them public because they are in the process of criminal investigation.

In addition, Vargas blamed Viales for the way the province has fallen behind in road infrastructure during the 13 years he was in command of the regional direction. “I feel content because we removed the one primary responsible for the delay of road infrastructure in Guanacaste,” noted Vargas.

For his part, Julio Viales pointed out that the note explained that the reason for his transfer was because of internal restructuring in the ministry and therefore a national rotation of regional leadership was conducted.

Viales is one of five regional directors whose leadership roles were changed across the country.

Regarding Vargas’ statements, Viales said that in recent months he has been the victim of persecution from members of other political parties because of belonging to the National Liberation party.

Also about Vargas, who was previously a priest for the Catholic Church, Viales said, “It’s disgraceful, because he betrayed his religious principles to become a communist,” Viales said.

On the other hand, Marta Arauz, legislator for Guanacaste for the National Liberation Party, backed up Viales’ 13 years of management as regional director of MOPT.

“The balance sheet was positive. The regional director cannot do more than what the government designates as his function and especially because he is limited by the budget and bureaucracy,” Arauz said.

In addition, Arauz didn’t seem so convinced by the reasons given by the government for the official’s transfer. “What the government alleges is a restructuring, but it isn’t a valid reason at this high of a position for removing a person who knows the province and his function and has been doing it for several years and is following up on works. It can be counterproductive,” she said.

Arauz recognized that there is a group of supporters of the Broad Front party in the province who were dissatisfied with Viales’ work. However, she does not believe that the Broad Front is the only one responsible for Viales’ departure.

“I realized that there was a group of sympathizers from the Broad Front who were campaigning against Julio in each canton, but I’m not giving the Broad Front all the credit for removing the government official either,” said Arauz.

Mayors Approve the Change

The Voice asked the mayors of Liberia, Nicoya and Hojancha about the change in MOPT’sleadership, and the three agreed that it was positive.

The first to respond was Luis Gerardo Castañeda, the mayor of Liberia, who expressed satisfaction with Viales’ departure from MOPT.

“Thank God that he left because he did a lot of damage to me in four years [of management in the municipality].  Julio thought that MOPT was his. He didn’t want to help me because of political issues. He did not help me in any way,” commented Castañeda.

For his part, Marco Jimenez, mayor of Nicoya, reflected on the management of Viales in the canton and acknowledged that although communication wasn’t the best, they did carry out projects in coordination with MOPT.

“[Julio Viales] made an effort. Nonetheless, the levels of communication were not the best. I would have liked better participation in Nicoya. Here they did  work in conjunction with MOPT in paving the San Martin neighborhood and Nosara center in 2011. Different times are ahead. The balance sheet is determined by the works.”

Finally, Eduardo Pineda, mayor of Hojancha, claimed that he never had support from Viales.

“For us, it was worse because there was no willingness for anything. He never gave us anything, not one shovelful of asphalt. There was no willingness to sign an agreement. [Viales] stopped fulfilling his duty and that hurt us a lot.”