Region, Nicoya

Special Report: Chinchilla and Her Previous July 25 Visits

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On July 25, the Annexation of the Party of Nicoya to Costa Rica is celebrated with food, parades, addresses, music, horses and bulls. However, in the last few years, it has also been characterized as a period of protests and face-offs between Guanacaste and the government.

The Voice invites you to remember the last three visits of Laura Chinchilla to Guanacaste, and preview what will be her final Annexation in Guanacaste.

2010: Was the year when Chinchilla first arrived in Guanacaste as president to celebrate the Annexation. In this year, the promises were like flowers, since this was when the president announced that designs were ready and money approved for paving the gravel road between Samara and Nosara (Route 160)

Also, Chinchilla announced during the celebrations that a medical tower would be built in the La Anexion Hospital, which would house 130 beds, as well as the creation of a regional market in the canton of Liberia, both projects that are still pending.

The president went through the streets of Nicoya hugging and kissing the children.

2011: This was the year when the people of Guanacaste started to complain to Chinchilla’s government. More than 1,000 from Nosara signed a letter that was sent in early July to the president asking for “real and concrete” solutions regarding the possible closure of the Nosara garbage dump, the saturation of the community’s EBAIS clinic, the pavement of the 28 kilometers that unite Samara and Nosara, and more patrol vehicles for the Public Force.  

The arrival of the presidential cabinet wasn’t completely welcomed and the Government Council took place behind closed doors in the Coopealianza building in Nicoya.

Ileana Balmaceda, executive president of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, said that by the next year (2012) they would be putting the contract out to bid the construction of the La Anexion Hospital’s medical tower, “for which at this momento 50% of the building designs are done,” she indicated.

Likewise, Francisco Jimenez, former minister of public works and transportation, announced that the pavement of the 28 kilometers of the Samara-Nosara road (Route 160) would be included in the next year’s budget (2012),

About 500 people from the Civic Front marched through the streets with placards and megaphones, asking for the approval of the Coastal Territories Law and convening a plebiscite to convert the Puntarenas districts of Cobano, Lepanto and Paquera into a canton of Guanacaste.

Concluding the acts, the president stepped down from the platform and walked close to the public; however due to the great police deployment, most couldn’t get close enough to greet her.   

2012: The relationship between Guanacaste and the government, far from improving, got worse, with even Marcos Jimenez, the Nicoyan mayor, protesting and making the decision to not receive Chinchilla nor her cabinet. Rather, he decided to join the protestors during the Annexation acts.

Facing the announcement of protests, Celso Gamboa, former vice minister of security, met with representatives of several Nosara organizations to personally request respect for Chinchilla during her visit to Nicoya.

The Government Council was held in Santa Cruz on July 24, and in the meeting the president expressed gratitude to the community and the municipality for their “affection and friendship” and for allowing the act to take place in the Folkloric City. In addition, Chinchilla mentioned that Santa Cruz “differentiates itself from other municipalities that hide because of the lack of work that their local governments haven’t done.”

The next day, on July 25, some 600 representatives of the development associations, community groups, taxi drivers and syndics of the Municipality of Nicoya—among other groups—organized on Wednesday, July 25, a march to criticize the Executive Power for various unfulfilled promises.

In addition, a group of members of the Public Force detained Marcos Jimenez when he showed up, along with other protestors, and required him to present his identification card, even though he is a well-known public official walking in a public area.  

During her address in the Recaredo Briceño park, Chinchilla thanked Adriana Rodriguez, vice mayor, and Ana Lizeth Espinoza, president of the municipal council, “because they reminded the Nicoyans that this is a loving and hospitable town.”

And she closed with the words “facing the impatience of some, we have to make a call to dialogue; facing the ignorance of a few, we have to raise our voice that we can have a constructive dialogue.”

What can be expected in 2013?

Just like last year, the Government Council will not be in Nicoya but rather in the canton of Carrillo. Several groups have announced protests in Nicoya during July 25, and although there might be less expectations since it is her last year coming to Guanacaste as president, Chinchilla will again face the questioning of the people of Guanacaste, who continue awaiting what was said and didn’t happen.