Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica

Laura Chinchilla won the presidency in Costa Rica in a landslide victory on Sunday. She takes office May 8, 2010. As the Los Angeles Times reports, this adds to the growing group (I do object to the phrase “tiny club”) of woman presidents in Latin America. The article states that “It’s the first time Costa Rica has chosen a woman to lead the nation. Chile’s Michelle Bachelet [until the recent election of billionaire Sebastián Piñera] and Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner are the other female chief executives in Latin America. In the past, Panama and Nicaragua also had female presidents.”

The conservative, pro-business former vice president is seen as a protegée of current president Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work in the 1980s to end Central America’s wars. Chinchilla’s victory is considered a vote for continuity in a politically-stable country that enjoys one of the region’s highest standards of living.

Chinchilla, who will be the fifth Latin American woman to serve as president when she takes office, has pledged to get tough on drug trafficking and crime. In her victory speech, she said, “Today we are making history; the Costa Rican people have given me their confidence, and I will not betray it.”

For full articles, see and

For short video on Laura Chinchilla after her victory, see

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