Latin America

The challenges facing Rodrigo Chaves in Costa Rica

Ambitious plans will have to confront a fragmented legislature, high unemployment, and a heavy public debt burden

Costa Rica President Rodrigo Chaves speaks during a news conference along with former president and presidential candidate Jose Maria Figueres (not pictured), in San Jose, Costa Rica April 5, 2022. REUTERS/Mayela Lopez
Rodrigo Chaves will be sworn in as Costa Rica’s new president today. Photo: Mayela Lopez/Reuters via Alamy

After winning April’s presidential election on an anti-establishment platform in one of Latin America’s most robust democracies, 60-year-old economist Rodrigo Chaves takes office today in Costa Rica. It is his first-ever elected office.

Mr. Chaves surprised many when he made it to the runoff stage, and then quickly became the frontrunner in the head-to-head contest against former President José María Figueres. In the end, he beat Mr. Figures by 6 points. Turnout was low (57 percent, against an average of 64 percent), which many saw as indicative of a crisis facing the political system.

Mr. Chaves’ inexperience, coupled with the...

Less expensive than a coffee

Enjoy any plan of your choice for US$1 for the first month