President Oscar Arias bestowed credentials Tuesday afternoon on three of his most important diplomatic partners: China, Europe and the United States.
With a ceremony at Casa Presidencial in Zapote, in southeast San José, Chinese Ambassador Li Changua, U.S. Ambassador Anne Slaughter Andrew and European Commissioner Mendel Goldstein were officially welcomed to Costa Rica.
U.S. Ambassador Andrew takes over from Peter Cianchette, an appointee of former President George W. Bush. Cianchette returned to his home state of Maine in July. husband played a pivotal role in the election of U.S. President Barack Obama, Andrew has dedicated a career to energy conservation and the environment, serving in an advisory capacity to both private and nonprofit enterprises. Most recently, she was a principal at the Washington, D.C.-based company New Energy Nexus, where she advised companies and entrepreneurs on energy-related investments.
Speaking to the press after receiving her credentials, Andrew said she will work “without rest to strengthen (bilateral) relations and to look for new opportunities for our countries and our people to work together, specifically relating to opportunities such as the environment, education and clean energy.”
Not her first time in Costa Rica – she visited the OsaPeninsula five years ago – Andrew said she was expecting to see more sun. With the passing of a cold front that caused flooding in the Caribbean and high winds throughout the Central Valley, Andrew said she hopes to see sunshine soon.
Changhua replaces former Chinese Ambassador Wang Xiaoyuan, who initiated a series of infrastructure projects, expanded bilateral relations and left a real stamp on Costa Rica during his tenure.
Xiaoyuan is credited not only with the construction of a new national soccer stadium, laying the first brick of a Chinatown in San José and the renovation of Costa Rica’s oil refinery, but also with instigating a series of trade talks between the two countries.
Changhua comes with a resume of his own. Most recently serving as ambassador to Colombia, he’s occupied similar high-profile positions in Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela and Uruguay. He has a resume that includes 30 years of foreign service experience in Latin America.
Mendel Goldstein also was among the diplomats to receive credentials on Tuesday. The newly appointed European Commission’s ambassador served as representative to Mexico between 2005 and 2008 and to Peru from 2001 to 2005. Also, he worked on the association agreement between Mexico and the European Union, which went into effect in 1997.
Both China and the European Commission currently are negotiating trade agreements with Costa Rica.