May 9th, 2010
05:23 AM ET

Costa Rica inaugurates first female president

Costa Rica's first female president pledged to reach out to citizens and not favor special interest groups during her swearing-in ceremony.

Laura Chinchilla, 50, took the oath of office Saturday. She was elected in February with 47 percent of the vote.

Chinchilla replaces former Nobel laureate and her mentor Oscar Arias, who praised Costa Ricans for recognizing that a woman is capable of leading the country.

In her inaugural address, the new president vowed to move the country toward a more innovating, intelligent and entrepreneurial path.

Chinchilla, who will serve a four-year term, holds a master's degree in public administration from Georgetown University and served as vice president between 2006 and 2008.

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soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Jerry Schmidt of Gainesville, Florida

    Costa Rica is a beautiful country and its people have less stress since they don't need to worry about the medical care which is not free but is very reasonable. It is part of America (Central America) but certainly not part of the U.S. People in the US should stop thinking that the US is the only country in America, which is so egotistical. South Americans and Central Americans are just as American as North Americans, and can create good lives in their country also.

    May 9, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tami

    Just moved to Costa Rica 2 months, the best thing we ever did. Health care is here amazing, not free but reasonable. This country understands it's people much better than the states, they are not in your business all the time. You can live the way you want.
    Female president in a country that people think is a 3rd world, more advanced than the US.
    Costa Rica rocks!!

    May 9, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. citizentobe

    Successful eye catarat surgery in CR last Dec.
    Med Tourism the recent trend from the U.S. towards that country.

    May 9, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Greg Barrett

    Awesome! Costa Rica has so much to offer and a woman president too. I have lived there and cannot wait to leave the States and go back. I feel like I am merely existing in the U.S. but really living when in Costa Rica. It is like a big Disneyland. The people are warm and friendly. There are no hate groups. The climate is perfect. Volcanoes, beaches, rain and cloud forests, good health services, and farmer's markets are located only a short distance away. My wife from San Pedro couldn't be better and has given me two wonderful daughters. It was easy to set up a business in Costa Rica that is really prospering. There are 50 colleges and universities. The well-educated young people are brimming with talent. Comparable property costs about 1/3 of what you would pay in the States. Salaries are low but if you get your own business going, you can live pretty well. Pura Vida, Costa Rica!

    May 9, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. sara

    Costa Rica might have a good health care system, but lets not forget that this is one Latin American country where emergency contraception is ilegal. hopefully this woman will change that.

    May 9, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. WILLIAM EDWARD BYBEE

    WE WERE ON A CRUISE TO THE PANAMA CANAL AND ONE STOP WAS IN COAST RICA...WE THEN TOOK A SIDE TOUR TO DO WHITE WATER RAFTING AT RIOS TROPICALES...THE LOCAL PROPLE WE MET DONE EVRYTHING POSSIBLE TO MAKE THE EXPERIENCE OF WHITE WATER RAFTING (OUR FIRST TIME AND WE ARE IN OUR 70'S) FANTASTIC AND THEY DID THAT BEYOND OUR EXPECTATION...AFTER THE RAFTING WE WERE BROUGHT BACK TO THERE SITE WHERE WE WERE TREATED TO ONE OF THE BEST MEALS I HAVE EVER EATEN...WE HAD BAR-B-QUE CHICKEN WITH SALAD AND THE BEST BLACK BEANS AND RICE I HAVE EVER TASTED ALONG WITH A BOTTLES SAUCE THAT WAS INDECRIBABLY DELICIOUS CALLED "LAZINO"...IF YOUR OLDER AND WANT TO TRY WHITE WATER RAFTING THIS IS WHERE TO DO IT... AND THEN TAKE IN THE REST OF THESE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY...

    May 9, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Elb

    Ok I did not read all the comments about Elastic's stupid health care comment. But am I the 1st one to realize that he is talking about Puerto Rico and not Costa Rica. I used to get them confused as well, but I was 10 and in school....Americans should learn geography before trying to comment on CNN.....lol

    May 9, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jerry Schmidt of Gainesville, Florida

    "Americans" should learn geography?? Costa Ricans are Americans, but the US is not America, just part of North America. People in the US should learn geography, and see that America is North, Central and South America, including Costa Rica. Brazilians are just as American as US citizens.

    May 9, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil Levy

      Jerry, you are under an erroneous understanding of how the term "America" is used conventionally. While North America also contains Canada, the Canadians are not American...see the point? they are, however, North Americans, in terms of what continent they reside in. Central and South America are exactly what they are describewd as. The United States in the colloquial tradition is alternately referred to as America and that is what anybody at large wold take it to be. No other country can call themselves Americans\...and they just don't. Your niche viewpoint could use a bit of education.

      August 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mastermind

    "Change' YES WE CAN.
    I am glad to read this excellent news.
    Nothing is impossile to date.
    YES WE CAN.

    May 9, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. wizk

    Congrats Costa Rica. The best of luck to you Madam President.

    May 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michael Mills

    Her one problem: she is rabidly anti-abortion. I hate to pop your liberal bubble (and mine), but Costa Ricans have a probem here.

    May 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mel

    Rabidly anti-abortion?? Oh my GOD! Yet another country member of the axis of terror! Hey, Obama, forget about Iran! Time for a little regime change right here in Central America!

    May 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anthony

    Elastic, you Idiot,it's Costa Rica not Puerto Rico.I am a retired American Merchant Seamanwho has been living in Costa Rica for years. Trust me,there is no such thing as free healthcare here,the employer and the employee both pay.Of course like in the States you are treated free in an emergency. Also pregnant woman who can't afford pre-natal care can go to the woman's hospital and recieve free care. All Foreigners living here legally, must also pay into the system, and for the most part the system sucks, long lines, paperwork, months if not years to wait for surgery ,etc.

    Sail,

    May 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nancy

    Elastic isn't stupid. The United States has a treaty with CR that we will provide military protection to them and that frees up their own tax money to spend on medicine and education. Their literacy rate is 98%. It is a nice country with wonderful people. But San Jose has a lot of razor wire too. I highly recommend going there for a vacation but, if you don't plan to go with a tour group, be forewarned. Tico drivers are crazy. No one stops at stop signs, they make 5 lanes on 4 lane roads if it's convenient. It's scary.

    May 9, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    I am a Real Estate Agent in this lovely country of Costa Rica and I can tell you that this is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Something most people don't know is that property taxes here are 1/4 of 1% That basically means that for a $100k home you're paying $250 per year in property taxes. The Govt. is stable. The weather is beautiful. It isn't perfect but it's the closet I've found yet. If you guys want to learn more about Costa Rica, feel free to contact me at playasdelcoco@live.com

    May 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
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