The team he was rooting for, France, didn’t carry the day, but President Oscar Arias appeared to enjoy his role as host Sunday as he watched the World Cup final alongside Cabinet ministers and journalists at his home in the western San José suburb of Rohrmoser.
Arias, along with Second Vice-President Kevin Casas, Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga and Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias, the President’s brother, joined the press in a meal of shrimp ceviche and beef in peppercorn sauce at the informal event, held in a living room decorated with portraits and photographs of the President.
France’s near-misses brought Arias to his feet at least once, and he pronounced himself “very hurt, sad and disappointed” by star midfielder Zinedine Zidane’s shocking decision to head-butt an Italian player near the end of regulation time.
“I think it’s very fair,” he said of Italy’s victory in a penalty shoot off, adding that for Costa Rica, whose national team headed home from Germany without a win after its three first-round games (TT, June 23), “it’ll go better in 2010.”
The President has expressed his desire to have an open relationship with the press, though his tendency to use Rodrigo Arias as his spokesman rather than attending the weekly Casa Presidencial press conferences in person has restricted reporters’ access somewhat.
He said at the World Cup party that he has appointed journalist Lidiette Brenes, who directs his press office, as the ambassador to Guatemala. She is set to assume the post this month. He also named Channel 7 TV News reporter Marielos Gutiérrez, who covers Casa Presidencial and attended Sunday’s event, ambassador to Bolivia.
Arias told reporters these appointments are “an homage to your profession.”
Arias has named another of Channel 7’s familiar faces, anchor woman Mishelle Mitchell, as Brenes’ replacement at the helm of his press crew.