• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Former president’s trial coming to a close

October 2, 2009

Monday marks a possible end to a five-year ordeal for one of Costa Rica´s leading families – a time during which a former president served a five-month prison sentence, a major political party bordered on disintegration and a trial with 150-witnesses lasted 11 months at a San José courthouse.

On Monday, former President Rafael Angel Calderón will know whether he will be absolved of corruption charges or found guilty, facing a fine of up to $89 million and 24 years in prison.

“This is a fundamental moment in Costa Rica´s history,” said political analyst and former editor of the daily La Nación Eduardo Ulibarri. “While I don´t want to embellish its significance, it can´t be negated, either. It´s been a dramatic and polarizing case, and the judges will have to present a decision.” 

Yet, the ruling goes deeper than a judgment between right and wrong. Riding on the back of the ruling are a slew of political interests – all deeply invested in one side or the other of the outcome.

For Calderón supporters, the trial strayed long ago from one aimed at finding justice and has turned into a political battlefield.

“This trial has had a high level of political content and, more than looking for the real and objective truth in the Caja-Fischel case, they´ve looked to hurt Calderón, as a political figure, and his party,” said Luis Fishman, president of the Social Christian Unity Party ( La Unidad ), Calderón´s party (TT, July 24).

Following Calderón´s arrest, Unity ceased to play a dominant political role, losing 14 seats in the Legislative Assembly in the 2006 elections.

As a result, the rival National Liberation Party added to its ranks, and smaller parties found themselves becoming a much more significant part of the political scene.

“It will be interesting to see what happens in February if Calderón gets a not guilty verdict,” said Mariela Castro, a social science professor at the University of Costa Rica.

Click here to read the full story, which was published in the Oct. 2 edition of The Tico Times.

You may be interested

Costa Rica unemployment rate drops to 19%
Costa Rica
2539 views
Costa Rica
2539 views

Costa Rica unemployment rate drops to 19%

The Tico Times - March 4, 2021

Unemployment in Costa Rica fell to 19.1% in the moving quarter from November to January. This maintained a downward trend…

Throwback Thursday: 2006 Arenal Volcano lava flows
Arenal
4798 views
Arenal
4798 views

Throwback Thursday: 2006 Arenal Volcano lava flows

The Tico Times - March 4, 2021

Arenal Volcano's July 1968 eruption destroyed three small villages, killed 87 people and wiped out 232 square kilometers of crops…

MOPT warns of higher traffic accidents as measures are eased
Costa Rica
1330 views
Costa Rica
1330 views

MOPT warns of higher traffic accidents as measures are eased

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 4, 2021

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) is reminding drivers to follow the rules of the road when traveling this…