President Chinchilla Embarrassed After Discovering Long Overdue Debt To Italy

President Laura Chinchilla did not hide her astonishment when she suddenly found out that Costa Rica had a debt of 25 years with Italy – but was canceled

They was about $15 million but, with interest could have easily doubled that. Coming from a loan taken by Costa Rica in 1985 to build a dry dock in Caldera. In the end, Costa Rica got the money but the work was not completed . There was an international demand and the country was condemned to pay to Italy.

Chinchilla had no answer when a reporter from Italy said the “biggest problem” among Costa Rica and Italy was the outstanding debt. She preferred that the chancellor answered, Enrique Castillo, who said that debt has been paid.

Then in consultation with the president, she said she knew that they were negotiating the issue but she did not know about the payment. And, on the subject was not discussed although it was concurring in bilateral relations.

The outstanding debt kept Costa Rica in the “black list” of countries that Italy considered to favor any kind of cooperation with.

This happened yesterday in Rome, the Italian capital, during a press conference at the Istituto Italo-Latino Americano (IILA), where the president met with ambassadors and gave a speech.

Yesterday, the president traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, where today she will open the annual session of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The president concluded her tour today and tomorrow she is scheduled to fly from Geneva to San Jose, with stops in Spain.

The debt was effected from December 2010 through a rotation of the Ministry of Finance, confirmed the policy Embassy in Rome.

The case dates from the government of Luis Alberto Monge (1982 -1986). At that time, the Executive took a loan from Italy to build a floating dock in Caldera, Puntarenas, which was never completed.

The country was condemned in an international arbitration in 1995 to pay half the credit (at the time, about $12 million, which became $30 million).

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