Costa Rica’s new president takes office, vows to tackle debt

Costa Rica's new President Rodrigo Chaves delivers a speech during his inauguration ceremony in San Jose, on May 8, 2022. (EZEQUIEL BECERRA / AFP)

SAN JOSE – New Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves vowed to keep up with payments to relieve years of mounting debt in his inaugural address on Sunday, the first day of his four-year term.

The new president previously said he would rework a $1.78 billion financial support package from the IMF in a bid to consolidate finances in the country with the heaviest debt load in Central America, at 66.5 percent of GDP

Chaves previously said he would rework a $1.78 billion financial support package from the International Monetary Fund in a bid to consolidate finances in the country with the heaviest debt load in Central America, at 66.5 percent of gross domestic product.

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"The country is responsible for its debts. We have never failed to pay, we will do what we have to do to honor our obligations," Chaves said in a speech after being sworn in.

About three quarters of Costa Rica's $42.62 billion total debt is internal while the rest is external.

Chaves, an anti-establishment former World Bank official, won a run-off election in April with nearly 53 percent of the vote. 

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Echoing his campaign speeches, Chaves said he will also work to reduce the cost of living, fight corruption and build bridges with rival parties that dominate Congress.