In Costa Rica’s disputed election, a harassment case puts women’s rights to the test

Due to sexual harassment, she was fired from a senior position at the World Bank. Now economist Rodrigo Chaves, who ran as a populist outsider in an election marred by anti-establishment sentiment, is leading the race to become Costa Rica’s next president on Sunday. It is an unexpected rise in power in a country that has played a major role in advancing progressive politics in Central America, underscoring how the desire to punish the political elite has led many voters to scandals. political and economic unrest in the region. see it as an inadequate government response. The challenges outweigh most other problems.

In 2019, the World Bank showed that Mr Chavez had a pattern of sexual misconduct against junior staff, although details of his behavior were not made public by a Costa Rican newspaper until August – the details were repeatedly denied by the presidential candidate.

Two years after Mr. Chaves denied and downplayed a documented history of sexual assault, another Costa Rican politician, former president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Oscar Arias Sanchez, narrowly escaped trial for sexual assault, which shook the country. , Mr. Arias was accused of sexual assault or misconduct by at least nine women in 2019, which has become one of the most significant #MeToo cases in Latin America. However, in December 2020, the charges against him by the two women were dropped.

Human rights campaigners now say Mr Chaves’ bid for power threatens to undermine the progress of Central America’s most liberal and egalitarian nation. lawyer Larissa Arroyo. “This campaign normalizes and legalizes abuse.” Mr. Chaves and his press office did not respond to a request for an interview.

Mr. Chaves remained in the dark until his alliance with Pilar Cisneros, a prominent Costa Rican journalist, who introduced him to Costa Rican voters as a seasoned administrator who would tackle corruption.

Summary of news:

  • In Costa Rica’s disputed election, a harassment case puts women’s rights to the test
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