State of the Union: A Society and Political System Struggling with Management Problems

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    Costa Rica must overcome a number of challenges such as moderate economic growth, society issues, environmental management problems and a political system charged at various levels as having lack of oversight issues.

    The eighteenth report of the State of the Union states that the country has a political system has no ability to meet its obligations in key areas of national life, and the recurrent difficulties to prevent and punish corruption in the management of public affairs.

    On the social side, the study reveals strong persistent educational gaps between population groups. For example, upper and medium businesses recorded higher percentages of high school graduates, between 87% and 90% (rounded).

    For people living in poverty, there are 1.1 million categorized as poor or approximately 287,360 households. Although the poverty rate nationally remains at 20%, the number of poor has increased as population grows.

    The growth and stability of the economy faces serious challenges ahead. Global economic uncertainty and signs of EU problems to affect the major economies of the world, and there are also concerns with Costa Rica the most serious being generating enough jobs.

    As for environmental issues, the State of the Nation shows increasing and creating more protected areas are not sufficient in and of themselves to sustainable land management and unsustainable use of resources by the general population is causing a growing ecological debt. Further, the dispute over land use (within and outside protected areas) and the tensions between conservation and production activity is a cause of rising social unease.

    In terms of strengthening democracy, in 2011 the three branches of government-executive, legislative and judicial all experienced severe management problems. Citizen protest was on the rise and made 2011 the third highest number of collective protest actions since 1995.

    The summary was a call for strategies and actions that would remove obstacles and ensure progress while taking into account the difficult fiscal internal circumstances and international uncertainty in the country

    So after this State of the Union address where is the silver lining? It seems the largest issues revolve around internal structure, compliance and management. Positive economic factors are there such as increasing direct foreign investment, continuing efforts to improve infrastructure apart from the management issues. Real estate is seen a long awaited uptick in 2012 as both local and international buyers are back. In general Costa Rica has weathered the global economic downturn very well.

    With the Costa Rica National Elections only a little over a year away, it will be interesting to see how the Chinchilla Government manages to correct some of the internal issue that has pleged this administration.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
    San José Costa Rica

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