Luis Guillermo Solís will hand off the presidential sash to Carlos Alvarado today. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights, low points, and most surprising moments of his presidency.
He made history…
Solís, a longtime political science professor at the University of Costa Rica (and favored Tico Times political analyst before he threw his hat into the ring himself), easily won a runoff election against National Liberation Party candidate Johnny Araya, with more than 77 percent of the vote. He was the first third-party candidate – for the Citizen Action Party, or PAC – to win Costa Rica’s presidency in 44 years.
…And plunged into controversy
It is unlikely anyone in the foreseeable future will mention the Solís Administration without mentioning the cementazo, the ongoing, far-reaching and infamously complex corruption scandal that involved members of all three branches of government. Take a look at one moment when Solís directly addressed the people of Costa Rica about the case, which centers on the importation of Chinese cement.
He oversaw the repair of ‘La Platina,’ Costa Rica’s infamous bridge
In May 2017, Solís reopened the Alfredo González Flores bridge, commonly known as “La Platina,” after lengthy repairs. Problems with a loose metal structure in 2009 gave the bridge its infamous nickname; various failed attempts to repair it cost several government officials their posts during the administrations of presidents Oscar Arias and Laura Chinchilla, and the phrase “La Platina” became something of a catchphrase for government inefficiency. All told, taxpayers paid more than $16 million for repairs to the bridge.
First Lady Mercedes Peñas became a citizen
Peñas Domingo, of Spain, applied for Costa Rican citizenship in 2017, sitting her exams like so many other would-be citizens before her. She finally received her citizenship in 2018, just before leaving the First Lady’s office behind.
He sat down with The Tico Times to discuss immigration
The interview, in January 2017, focused on immigration issues, from President Donald Trump’s proposals to Solís’ handling of Costa Rica’s refugee crises.
He serenaded Emma Stone
When Emma Stone received an Oscar nomination for “La La Land,” Solís drew laughs (and raised a few confused eyebrows) when he showed off his skills with the ivories, playing the theme song from the film as he invited Stone to visit Costa Rica. Take a look.
And, of course, he ate a bee on live television.
His unexpected bee snack and good-humored reaction went viral and even made it to “The Tonight Show.” Take a look below. What LGS highlights and lowlights did we miss? Let us know.