Laura Chinchilla

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Laura Chinchilla
President of Costa Rica
In office
8 May 2010 – 8 May 2014
Vice President Alfio Piva
Preceded by Óscar Arias
Succeeded by Luis Guillermo Solís
Personal details
Born Laura Chinchilla Miranda
(1959-03-28) 28 March 1959 (age 62)
San José, Costa Rica
Political party National Liberation Party
Spouse(s) José María Rico (2000–present)
Children 1 son
Alma mater University of Costa Rica
Georgetown University

Laura Chinchilla Miranda (Spanish: [ˈlawɾa tʃinˈtʃiʎa miˈɾanda]; born 28 March 1959[1]) is a Costa Rican politician who was President of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014. She was one of Óscar Arias Sánchez's two Vice-Presidents and his administration's Minister of Justice.[2] She was the governing PLN candidate for President in the 2010 general election, where she won with 46.76% of the vote on 7 February.[3] She was the eighth woman president of a Latin American country and the first woman to become President of Costa Rica.[4] She was sworn in as President of Costa Rica on May 8, 2010.[5][6]

Personal life

Chinchilla was born in Carmen Central, San José in 1959. Her father was Rafael Ángel Chinchilla Fallas (a former comptroller of Costa Rica)[4] and her mother was Emilce Miranda Castillo. She married Mario Alberto Madrigal Díaz on 23 January 1982 and divorced on 22 May 1985. She had a son, José María Rico Chinchilla, in 1996 with José María Rico Cueto, a Spanish lawyer who also holds Canadian citizenship; Chinchilla married him on 26 March 2000.[7]

Political career

Chinchilla graduated from the University of Costa Rica and received her master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University.[8][9] Prior to entering politics, Chinchilla worked as an NGO consultant in Latin America and Africa, specializing in judicial reform and public security issues. She went on to serve in the José María Figueres Olsen administration as vice-minister for public security (1994–1996) and minister of public security (1996–1998). From 2002 to 2006, she served in the National Assembly as a deputy for the province of San José.[10]

Chinchilla was one of two vice-presidents elected under the second Arias administration (2006–2010). She resigned the vice-presidency in 2008 in order to prepare her run for the presidency in 2010. On 7 June 2009 she won the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) primary with a 15% margin over her nearest rival, and was thus endorsed as the party's presidential candidate.


Chinchilla's Partido Liberación Nacional is a member of the Socialist International,[11] whose motto is the promotion of "progressive politics for a better world."

The British Foreign and Commonwealth minister with responsibility for Central America, Baroness Kinnock, applauded Chinchilla's election as the first female President of Costa Rica. Kinnock also praised Chinchilla for stating her continued support for the forward thinking approach by the previous government in working to combat climate change and said that the UK would continue to work with Costa Rica on this important issue in 2010.[12]

Laura Chinchilla's political platform emphasized anti-crime legislation in response to Costa Rica's growing concerns over safety. She is also expected to give continuity to the current government's pro-free trade policies. She is considered a social conservative.[13] She opposes gay marriage, but has stated publicly the need for a legal frame to provide fundamental rights to same-sex couples.[14] She supports maintaining the country's prohibition of abortion under most circumstances.[15]

In 2013, the Mexican opinion poll firm Consulta Mitofsky released a survey that placed Chinchilla as the least popular president in Latin America with a 13% approval rate, just behind Porfirio Lobo of Honduras.[16]

The Juan Rafael Mora Porras Road affair

In October 2010, Nicaraguan forces occupied islands in the San Juan River delta. The land is claimed by the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican governments. Some observers opined that the Nicaraguan action was probably connected with President Daniel Ortega’s reelection campaign.[17] The Costa Rican government reacted to the Nicaraguan action. Costa Rica sought to place the case before the International Court of Justice. By mid-2011, President Chinchilla decided to build a road along the river, as a response to what she and her government saw as a Nicaraguan invasion of Costa Rican territory. In Spanish Name of the Road The road was officially named “Ruta 1858, Juan Rafael Mora Porras” to honor a Costa Rican hero, who led the country in the fight in Nicaragua and Costa Rica against the forces of William Walker, who had proclaimed himself as president of Nicaragua, and wanted to restore slavery in Central America.

The road was to stretch more than 150 km. A decree of emergency allowed the government to waive environmental regulations and oversight from the General Comptroller (Contraloria General de la Republica). Neither environmental nor engineering studies were conducted before the road was announced. There were accusations of mismanagement and corruption. The Ministerio Publico (Costa Rican attorney general) announced an official inquiry about the charges of corruption. Francisco Jiménez, minister of public works and transportation was dismissed by Chinchilla as a consequence of the affair Minister dismissed by Chinchilla (in Spanish).

Views on society

Chinchilla opposes any amendment of the constitution aimed at separation of church and state in Costa Rica. The constitution currently defines the Republic of Costa Rica as a Roman Catholic nation.[18] Her position contrasts with that of former President Óscar Arias Sánchez, who supports establishing a secular state.[19]

She is against legalizing the morning after pill, which is banned in Costa Rica.[20] Many pro-life supporters in Latin American countries oppose the morning after pill because they believe it to be an abortifacient if implantation of the fertilized ovum has not yet occurred. This position contradicts the World Health Organization's (WHO) statement that emergency contraception cannot be an abortifacient, because it will not work in cases when the woman is already pregnant.[21]

Chinchilla has stated that while she supports LGBT rights and opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation, she believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and because of that she supports a different legal framework for same-sex couples. She signed into law on 4 July 2013 new legislation supporting civil partnerships that can be extended to same-sex unions.[22][23] She also stated that she would not oppose same-sex marriage if it was legalized by the country's courts.[24]

Environmental protection and sustainability is very important for the President, and she continues Costa Rica's level of leadership in these areas, for example, in May 2011 she declared the film Odyssey 2050 of 'Public and Cultural Interest'.[25]

See also


  1. de Miguel, Veronica (14 August 2012). "Laura Chinchilla: Is honesty enough for Costa Rica?". VOXXI. Retrieved 15 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Chiefs of State and Cabinet members of Foreign Governments". The Central Intelligence Agency of America. Retrieved 22 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "2010 Presidential election results" (in Spanish). Supreme Court of Elections. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Costa Rica to inaugurate first female president Saturday". Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, República de Costa Rica. 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2010-05-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Skard, Torild (2014) "Laura Chinchilla" in Women of power - Half a century of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide, Bristol: Policy Press ISBN 978-1-44731-578-0, pp. 238-40
  7. "Costa Rican electoral register (name search)". Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, República de Costa Rica. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Costa Rica elects first female president, Georgetown grad Laura Chinchilla". Vox Populi, Georgetown's blog of record. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Costa Rica elects first woman president, inspiring the region". The Christian Science Monitor. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Laura Chinchilla Miranda's curriculum vitae on her Facebook page". Laura Chinchilla Miranda. Retrieved 2010-05-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Socialist International Members". Socialist International. Retrieved February 22, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Costa Rican Presidential elections". UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Todos rosarios". El País. Retrieved June 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "2009 Presidential campaign-YouTube".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Malkin, Elisabeth (8 February 2010). "Costa Rica: Female Leader Elected". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Presidente Chinchilla en sótano de popularidad en América Latina"
  17. Dredging up votes: Daniel Ortega and the swamps of opportunism The EconomistNov. 11, 2010
  18. "No desde Costa Rica al aborto, Estado laico y matrimonios homosexuales" (in Spanish). 3 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  19. "Presidente Óscar Arias apoya reforma para declarar estado laico a Costa Rica". El Economista (in Spanish). 10 September 2009. Retrieved February 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Una mujer de ordeno y mando". El País (in Spanish). 2 October 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2010.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Emergency contraception in the Americas" (PDF). Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization. Retrieved 22 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Costa Rica abre la puerta a las uniones de hecho entre personas del mismo sexo, 6 July 2013, Dos Manzanas (Spanish)
  23. Chinchilla firmó ley de la Persona Joven que oficializaría uniones gais, 3 November 2013, El País - Costa Rica (Spanish)
  24. Chinchilla says she would not oppose legalization of gay marriage in Costa Rica, 17 May 2011, Tico Times
  25. Garita, Mario. "Costa Rican Animated Film Teaches About Climate Change". Odyssey 2050. Costa Rican News. Retrieved 24 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Óscar Arias
President of Costa Rica
Succeeded by
Luis Guillermo Solís