A Rocky Road Ahead for Costa Rica’s Rodrigo Chaves

By Tatiana Benavides Santos

The former economy minister’s victory reflects political disaffection as inequality threatens the country's stability.

The election of former finance minister Rodrigo Chaves in Costa Rica’s presidential runoff on April 3 demonstrated that Costa Rica, one of Latin America’s most robust democracies, is not free of the anti-system tendencies seen elsewhere in the region. But it also laid bare a deep social divide and simmering discontent in the “other” Costa Rica—rural and peripheral areas where state intervention has a weaker presence and poverty and inequality remain high. Without a majority in Congress, Chaves will need to build a coalition to follow his campaign promises to reduce the size of...

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