News / Americas

    Costa Rica Candidate Quits Election Bid, Paves Way for Leftist

    Costa Rica's ruling party candidate Johnny Araya (C) greets supporters next to his wife Sandra Leon (R) as he arrives for a news conference where he announced he was quitting the presidential race, in San Jose, Costa Rica, March 5, 2014.
    Costa Rica's ruling party candidate Johnny Araya (C) greets supporters next to his wife Sandra Leon (R) as he arrives for a news conference where he announced he was quitting the presidential race, in San Jose, Costa Rica, March 5, 2014.
    Reuters
    Costa Rica's ruling party candidate Johnny Araya on Wednesday abandoned his presidential campaign a month before a run-off, in a move that appears to guarantee victory for leftist former diplomat Luis Guillermo Solis.

    Araya, of the ruling centrist National Liberation Party, said he would no longer campaign, though under the constitution his name will remain on the ballot. He said he had taken the decision after polls showed him way behind Solis.

    A favorite to win before the first round of voting in February, Araya has been beset by voter resentment over government corruption scandals under President Laura Chinchilla and rising inequality. Solis surprised by coming first in that vote, and has stretched his lead dramatically in opinion polls.

    “There is an increasing will to replace the party in government,” Araya told a news conference, declining to take questions. “I will abstain from any electoral activity.”

    A former mayor of San Jose, Araya has faced criticism from equality-conscious voters for gaffes like underestimating the price of milk in an interview.

    The national prosecutor's probe of allegations of abuse of authority and embezzlement also dampened his appeal, after Chinchilla sparked outrage by accepting flights on a private jet despite laws barring public officials from accepting sizable gifts.

    Araya's move was the first time a presidential hopeful had quit at this stage under the current electoral system. In 1932, former foreign minister Manuel Castro dropped out of the race before a run-off after taking part in a failed rebellion.

    A University of Costa Rica survey published late on Tuesday showed Araya trailed center-left rival Solis 20.9 percent to 64.4 percent ahead of the April 6 run-off.

    The lead marks a dramatic upswing for Solis, who won 30.64 percent of the ballot last month ahead of Araya, who garnered 29.71 percent. Neither of the candidates reached the minimum 40 percent plus one vote threshold needed to avoid a second round run-off.

    Costa Rica's Chamber of Industry said in a statement it was “surprised” at the news but that Araya's withdrawal had at least generated “a degree of certainty” for businesses.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    North American Leaders to Discuss Climate Change in Canada

    President Obama, PM Trudeau, and President Peña Nieto will meet in Ottawa Wednesday and are expected to focus on climate change as well as trade

    Chile Seeks to Fight Obesity With New Food Labeling Law

    South American country has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the world

    US Media Scrutinize Wave of Chinese Migrants Illegally Crossing From Mexico

    Reports show US officials caught 663 Chinese nationals illegally crossing from Mexico into San Diego, California, from last October through May

    Mexican Women Victims of Rape, Torture When Arrested

    Amnesty International finds a majority of women arrested in Mexico are sexually abused and tortured in the hours following their arrest

    Cuban Hotel Becomes First to Operate Under US Brand

    Military-owned Gaviota 5th Avenue Hotel, close to Caribbean seafront, is one of two hotels Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide agreed to manage in multimillion-dollar deal with Cuba in March

    Poll: Nicaragua President Ortega Expected to Win Third Straight Term

    Poll shows 65 percent of those surveyed plan to vote for Daniel Ortega's leftist FSLN party, compared with just 13 percent for the entire opposition