Read A new era along the San Juan, written by Chronicle contributor Clayton R. Norman and published in the Tico Times:
“ISLA CALERO, Limón – President Laura Chinchilla, accompanied by ministers, government functionaries and a gaggle of press, inaugurated on Friday a contentious road that runs along the Río San Juan, which forms the northern border with Nicaragua.
Chinchilla and her administration drew criticism from both Costa Rican and Nicaraguan environmentalists for declaring construction of the road a national emergency last year, which allowed it to be built without environmental impact studies. But last week, officials were happy to show off the works, which include not only the road, but also the extension of electricity to more than 100 families in the region and the construction of three new schools.
“Today,” Chinchilla said on the steps of a newly built schoolhouse at the side of the new road, “the government is here precisely to inaugurate a series of works that has brought development to one of the regions most distant from the center of our country and one of the most forgotten.”
The government has maintained that the 160-kilometer road is necessary not only for the protection of Costa Rican citizens – since armed Sandinista soldiers occupied a muddy strip in the middle of Isla Calero in January 2011 – but also to bring electricity and development to a region that was all but forgotten for much of the 20th century. [Read more]