Posted by: Idioma Extra | August 17, 2010

Tuesday’s News

Presidenta Laura Chinchilla’s First 100 Days


The first 100 days have come and gone by since Laura Chinchilla took the office of president. What do Costa Ricans think of our president and the job she is doing?

She is considered affable, attractive, traditional. Maybe socially conservative, a practicing Catholic and proud of it, has an active family life, a lot of privacy and I don´t think the office is anything like she was promised or expected.

During the last 100 days she has done some things that are stand up proud like putting Rodrigo Arias in his place when he tried to make her election, become his own.

With one hand out, the other in a fist she has tried hard to manage the neo-colonialist Chinese but not with much success because we need the money more than they need our government so they have a lot of demands we do not want to meet.

Most current news, Laura Chinchilla is pushing forth the Arias tax plans that lack originality and most certainly will create another bureaucratic monster that we do no not need and cannot enforce. i.e. The tax plan on luxury homes.

Bottom line, being broke our country has two choices to raise much needed funds from increased tax revenues or ask for handouts.

Presidenta Laura is going for both and hoping one will result in a home run. Or at least to get us on base.
The tax proposals are leftovers from the last administration.

Can you imagine $200 per year just to own a corporation which owns a crummy cellular phone and nothing more? Ah! And the $200 annual right of passage tax is not deductible from any other earned revenues of the corporation.

Or a tax on all financial transactions including ATMs? Tax on your work with lawyers, doctors and all other professionals except hookers which are cash and carry.

Presidenta, Laura plans to hit up Casinos and the infamous Sportsbooks for a measly 2% of gross revenues but then again it will cost 5% just to track down who owes what and another 2% to collect the money. Duh!

So, a community of both expats and locals, what are our wants and expectations for the near future?

The nice thing about being a professional politician is that you do not need to manage a business and mistakes can be covered up on just about every level. Costa Rica is most certainly not the exception.

After 100 days UNIMER, a reputable pollster in Costa Rica, has concluded only 38% of the voters approve of our presidents performance and 12% say she is doing a bad job. The other 43% say, “regular” which in Costa Rican translate to, “Not so great.” (I am quoting so have no idea what happened to the other 7%)

Now that might be because our highly touted Costa Rica growth from December 2009 to June 2010 is only 1.13% while December 2008 to December 2009 the GDP grew 12.61%. (I think these numbers are pulled out of a hat? That´s better than China.)

So there are some unhappy folks here without work, income nor profit.

27% of the voters think the president´s cabinet is doing okay but not good. “Regular” as they say in Costa Rica. 17% said no way Jose and 48% said, okay but not all that good. Remember there are 18 cabinet member of which 4 are holdovers from the last administration, so what happened?

Do we have a leadership void?

75% of those polled said she is a leader however not sure in what direction? (Most “positive” responses were female and people under the age of 20.)

Despite the election rhetoric, 35% of the voters say that Laura Chinchilla has not yet defined the country´s priorities which she promised to do in the 1st 100 days, right?

Perhaps it is too early and we all know that she has four years to effect change.

I personally, believe she was set up to lose her popularity and sincerely hope she gets the upper hand, and soon.

Perhaps the biggest mistake of Laura Chinchilla is that she said, in response to the polls, on August 12th to the Spanish language newspaper “La Nación”, “…I am happy. This shows we have room for growth.”

People do not wish to read that. They want growth, not room for it. And as one commentator suggested, “I guess our president is pleased with mediocrity.”

What is the number one issue to which there seems to be the most simplistic of answers coming from the Presidenta? I don´t need to tell you but I will anyway for those living in the dark. Security of the population.

The answer: A complete overhaul of the judicial system. Hard to do but she has four years.

Next on the list is a bit of a surprise because I had expected to read “Infrastructure” but no, it comes from the business community.

You guessed it, the ups and down and mostly down of the USD which is costing expats, exporters, and tourism a fortune.

President of the Central Bank, Dr. Bolaños, was quoted in La Nación as saying he wants to de-dollarize Costa Rica. I Think former President, Rodrigo Carazo tried that and it resulted in humongous inflation. (Remember Dr. Bolanos that 7.1% of the entire GDP is from tourism and that sir, is 100% USD worldwide.)

First day on the job Bolaños wanted to “stabilize the USD”, then later he wanted to let it “free float” and now his objective is to “de-dollarize” Costa Rica. Damn! For such a brilliant man, he makes no sense to me at all.

We live in a country of intuition, not data. So if you think most people approve of the president, then they do. If you feel the economy is improving, then it is improving. If you feel safer, you are wrong, dead wrong!

Word of the Day

Main Entry: tra·di·tion
Pronunciation: \trə-ˈdi-shən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English tradicioun, from Middle French & Latin; Middle Frenchtradicion, from Latin tradition-, traditio action of handing over, tradition — more attreason
Date: 14th century
1 a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social customb : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
2 : the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
3 : cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
4 : characteristic manner, method, or style <in the best liberal tradition>
— tra·di·tion·al \-ˈdish-nəl, -ˈdi-shə-nəl\ adjective
— tra·di·tion·al·ly adverb
— tra·di·tion·less \-ˈdi-shən-ləs\ adjective

More Vocabulary

Affable: adj. pleasantly easy to approach and to talk to; friendly; cordial; warmly polite
Broke: adj.
without money; penniless
Cabinet: n.
a council advising a president, sovereign, etc., esp. the group of ministers or executives responsible for the government of a nation
Crummy: adj.
of little or no value; cheap; worthless
Inflation: n.
a persistent, substantial rise in the general level of prices related to an increase in the volume of money and resulting in the loss of value of currency
Leftover: adj.
being left or remaining, as an unused portion or amount
Neo-colonialism: n.
he policy of a strong nation in seeking political and economic hegemony over an independent nation or extended geographical area without necessarily reducing the subordinate nation or area to the legal status of a colony
Pollster: n.
a person whose occupation is the taking of public-opinion polls
Rhetoric: n.
the art of making persuasive speeches; oratory

Love those Phrasal Verbs!

Hit up: ask someone for some money

  • Mike, I’m broke, do you think I can hit up Miguel for a loan?

Set up: to entrap or frame

  • The judges ruled in his favor, because the evidence confirmed he had been set up.

Stand up: to continue to hold; persist in

  • If you believe in the product we are selling, stand up strong and don’t let yourself be dissuaded by any negative comments.

Track down: o pursue until caught, captured or found

  • I need to track down the email I sent out yesterday because it did not have the right specs for the machine.

Presentation Phrases
Below are some common phrases used when presenting graphs and charts in English. To learn more, consider Idioma Internacional’s AFD 500 Emailing and Business Communication Course!

Drawing attention to a chart

Please look at this graph.
Have a look at this diagram.

Describing the purpose of a chart

It shows our sales from 1985 to 1990.
If you look at this diagram, you will see how the equipment works.

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