President Rodrigo Chaves Says that 2023 was a “Miraculous” Year for Costa Rica’s Economy

Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves described 2023 as a "miraculous" economic year with "world champion" results in several indicators. However, he emphasized the need for stricter prison sentences to address the country's historic rise in homicides this year.

Rodrigo Chaves

12/12/2023.- The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, speaks during an interview with EFE, in San José (Costa Rica). EFE/Jeffrey Arguedas


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Leer en español: Presidente Rodrigo Chaves dice que 2023 fue un año “milagroso” para economía de Costa Rica

Economic Success and Future Challenges

The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, stated in an interview with EFE that his country's economic year has been "miraculous", with "world champion" results in some indicators, while in terms of security, he expressed that more is needed. prison sentences to combat the historic wave of homicides that will be recorded in 2023.

"The Costa Rican economy has had a miraculous year. All the macroeconomic indicators, the vital indicators of the functioning of our economy, are exceptionally good," said Chaves in an interview in which he referred to the results for 2023 and the projections for 2024.

Leadership in Attracting Foreign Direct Investment

According to the president, Costa Rica is a "world champion" in attracting foreign direct investment with an amount that amounts to 12% of its GDP and is the leader of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in economic growth and low inflation.

"Costa Rica is the country with the highest economic growth in the entire OECD, that is not a minor thing, we are the country with the lowest growth in the OECD price index and particularly important is that in energy and food, we are champions of the OECD," he said.

According to OECD projections in 2023, Costa Rica will grow 5.1% and by 2024 the figure will be 3.5%, while the consumer price index will stand at 0.6% in 2023.

Financial and Work Successes

The president also highlighted that international risk rating agencies have raised Costa Rica's grades and that his Government is "the first in decades" to pay off the debt and register a primary balance in finances, in addition to the fact that unemployment fell to almost half to stand at 7.9%.

"The miracle of 2023 is particularly surprising because the world economy was not the most conducive to achieving that. It was a challenging year. Next year is going to be a challenging year internationally because geopolitical risk has increased in the world," he pointed out.

Chaves said that "Russia's invasion of Ukraine" and "the conflict in the Middle East" could generate increases in international prices of basic grains and oil, but that Costa Rica "is prepared to navigate those turbulent waters."

The president said that he will continue to aim to reform the internal market and the business environment, to improve competitiveness, and to maintain fiscal discipline and the best use of public resources.

Insecurity, the main problem of Costa Rica

According to the most recent surveys, for Costa Ricans, insecurity has become the country's main problem in 2023, the year in which a historic number of homicides is recorded with 857 as of this Tuesday, 42% more than on the same date. of 2022.

For Chaves, "the analysis of the murders is very simple although very painful" and he attributed the increase in homicides to organized crime and drug trafficking.

"There is, as in Sweden and France, a war of organized crime gangs that kill each other because they are competing for physical space to sell drugs. The only way to prevent these young people from killing each other is to isolate them from society and that means jail," he declared.

The president said that in Costa Rica there are between "290 and 390 hitmen known to the police" and that imprisoning them "solves the problem because they commit the majority of the crimes."

However, Chaves assured that Costa Rica's legislation is "weak" and that putting an underage juvenile hitman in jail "is practically impossible" due to the "conception of rehabilitative justice" used in the country.

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"We have an absolutely soft law that has no firm hand, which makes imprisoning people difficult, gives enormous discretion to judges and the judge is a human being subject to fear and other types of things," he noted.

The president stated that 9 months ago his Government presented 5 laws to Congress "to give teeth to the dog" but that the deputies "did not move."

"You can throw all the money in the world at a problem that is not going to fix it without addressing the fundamental issues, which are the detention and imprisonment of individuals participating in contract killings and gang warfare, and the problem of impunity," said.

Chaves recognized that the problem of crime is "multifactorial" and that his Government is working to create opportunities for education, care, and employment and reduce inequality.

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