President Laura Chinchilla-She is my type of Socialist!

 Laura Chinchilla was elected President of Costa Rica on February 7, 2010.  She is the first woman to be elected to that office.  She is a member of the Partido Nacional Liberacion  (National Liberation Party) which belongs to the Socialist International.  Now normally I am as fond of socialists as I was fond of the castor oil that my sainted mother regularly made me swallow a spoon full of daily when I was a little boy.  However, Chinchilla is my type of socialist.

She ran on a get tough on crime platform.  She is a devotee of free market economic policies.  She was the only mainstream politician in Costa Rica to take part in a March for Life and Family on November 28, 2009 in Costa Rica which was organized by a coalition of church leaders.  She is an ardent foe of abortion and opposes legalizing the human pesticide known as the morning after pill.  She opposes altering the Constitution of Costa Rica which, while enshrining religious freedom, proclaims that Costa Rica is a Roman Catholic nation.  Many of her supporters carried rosaries at her rallies and she always has her rosary with her.  After her election she asked that all Costa Ricans ask strength of the patroness of Costa Rica, Our Lady of the Angels, and went to the shrine of Our Lady of the Angels to pray.

No doubt her term in office will have its ups and downs.  However, I find it refreshing for someone so unapologetically Catholic and pro-life to meet with electoral success.  May God grant her wisdom, strength and a successful presidency for the people of her country.



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  1. I’m curious how the socialism aspect fits in — if at all. Is she pro-free trade internationally but via state owned enterprise? Or is this one of these things where since the PNL has been the largest party in Costa Rica for sixty years, it’s simply the easiest platform to run on regardless of your agenda?

    Still, no question I’d rather have her as president than our current not-a-socialist!

  2. DC,
    You pretty much hit the nail on the head! In the past, there was one other main political party, the Social Christian Unity Party. They have been rocked by scandals, however, so the only major party that stands is that of Laura Chinchilla and former president Oscar Arias. Laura was also the handpicked successor to Oscar Arias, who is *not* a benign socialist, so I question the how closely-held some of her positions really are. I worry she’s just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  3. It’s not uncommon for explicitly socialist parties to grow away from their radical roots (think Tony Blair). This seems to be what has happened in Costa Rica

  4. Public policy positions are often not elegant and not given to ideological purity. The term “socialism,” for example, is no longer accorded a commonly acceptive definition, especially in the descriptive sense as used commonly in politics. For this reason it is possible for a person who respects the utility of free markets to consider himself or be considered a socialist.

    Advocacy for free markets can be grounded in morality (the idea that private economic decision making and private property are necessary characteristics of any economic system that values respect for individual human dignity) or pragmatics (it just works best). A person who favors larger government and more generous safety nets may reject the first proposition but come to accept the second, at least in large measure. In today’s popular lexicon, such a person will often be considered a socialist, may well consider himself a socialist, and may even describe himself as a socialist if politically useful (or at least not politically damaging).

    While the technical historic definitions of socialism are important and continue to have prescriptive value, I think many people, including many politicians, use the term socialist to describe any one who (i) favors large government with generous safety nets and (ii) favors regulated use of free markets for the very practical reason that their pricing mechanisms allow for a more efficient allocation of resources in the production process.

    At bottom, many of today’s “socialists” value the market system for the production process, but simply do not like market results in terms of returns for various types of labor and capital; and they seek to adjust those returns through taxation.

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