‘Armando’s All Right Then…’

No, not Armando…this is the next President of Costa Rica…

This is Julio on the ‘phone this morning, checking that I had the results of Costa Rica’s Presidential election in which one man called Alvarado, centre left candidate, beat another man called Alvarado, evangelical preacher, standing for ‘family values’, i.e. the missionary position in the dark with a person of the opposite sex, both of whom had preferably tithed to support their local preacher in the luxury to which he woshed to become accustomed.

Armando is a notorious homosexual…well, notorious in his village anyway….but as far as I was aware he stood in no added danger if the evangelical had won, pogroms not being part of his election programme.

‘Ha,’ said Julio ‘Let these demagogues get into power and you’ll have Hitler before you know it!’

Before I left for a trip to Europe which involved almond blossom in Spain,  a non functioning Mithraeum, snow, ice, non delivery of mother’s shopping – twice – catching a chest infection and suffering from hypothermia in Barcelona airport  the thirteen candidates for the Presidency in Costa Rica had been reduced to two after the first round of voting.

Against all expectation, one of the two was Fabricio Alvarado, of the wonderfully named National Restoration Party, who had profited from the declaration of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that all signatory countries must permit same sex marriage to rise in his wrath and declare his opposition to such a challenge to traditional culture. It was an imposition…it was contrary to Costa Rican customs…next thing you know it would be in vitro fertilisation and homosexuals running rampant in the streets.


It struck a chord. Previously, despite holding open air prayer meetings all over the country, his share of the vote had been estimated at three percent. After declaring his opposition to same sex marriage it soared into the twenties and permitted him to be one of the two candidates in the run off.

Was the country mad? This was a man who made his name as a happy clappy singer in evangelical circles, who had slid under university rather than through it and whose period in the National Assembly was marked more by his absence than his presence.

And he was standing for the office of President.

He brushed aside claims of his lack of experience…..look at the mess those with experience had made, he said….God would guide him.

What was his attraction…and to whom?

Following the pattern set by the Front National in France and Trump in the U.S.A. he set himself up as the outsider…the man who represented those who felt they were ignored by those who ran the country…mostly in the coastal and frontier areas where infrastructure is poor, educational opportunity inadequate and well paid jobs non existent.

Traditional values were disregarded, undervalued by what was seen as an elite living in and around San Jose…a corrupt elite which had led the country to ruin both morally and economically.

There had already been disquiet in these areas about a new sex education module for high schools which dealt with gender identity, so Fabricio’s reaction to the decision of the Inter American Court fell on fertile ground.

He would be the man to take on the perverted politicians…guided by God and financed by the faithful.

Not only did he reach the run off, but his party acquired fourteen deputies in the new National Assembly, thirteen more than in the current one.

National Restoration was on a roll.

But the roll started to take a downhill trajectory.

The proposed cabinet of ministers were seen to be either useless or implicated in obscure financial affairs.

Fabricio accepted the aid of the least savoury part of the National Liberation Party to form his cabinet…there is acknowledged to be little that is more corrupt that the least savoury part of the PLN…so his claim of having clean hands went down the swanny in double quick time. Touch the PLN and you touch pitch.

Fabricio’s pastoral guide announced that the patron of the country…the Black Virgin…was a demon and that the Basilica which housed her shrine at Cartago was a haunt of Satan….which alienated a vast number of potential Roman Catholic voters who would otherwise have supported his views on ‘curing’ homosexuality and all the rest of the baggage…


In the televised debates he could not make a reasoned argument…

When he finally produced his manifesto it was only a shortly before  polling day and was a mess of copy and paste from the manifesto of the PLN candidate who did not make the run off.

Still, the polls and the papers had him twelve points ahead of his rival, Carlos Alvarado, of the ruling PAC party. As far as the media were concerned, Carlos had to be defeated by nomatter whom, as PAC had been undermining the power of the monopolists who make Costa Rica such an expensive country in which to live…monopolists who control the press. No way could Carlos beat Fabricio.

But he did. Sixty to forty per cent.

Costa Rica came to its senses.

There was a notion of ‘anyone but Fabricio’ just as in France there was  a notion of ‘anyone but Le Pen’, but a consensus was reached that there had to be an end to the inequalities that produced the Fabricio effect…that the better elements of the political scene had to stop squabbling and start to solve the problems that have been developing over the last twenty years.

Thus Carlos, not Fabricio.

But he faces an uphill task, like the current incumbent, President Solis, because PLN and National Restoration hold a majority block in the new National Assembly just as PLN does in the current body.

Cosdta Ricans have to take a further step…to make their representatives accountable. To force them to put country before pelf and party.

If they fail then there will be another four years of stagnation, of small gains, of deterioration of the quality of life of the majority of people.

Fabricio has left a time bomb….it needs to be defused and can only be so by popular pressure.

Still, there must be one group of people who are, whatever their views on same sex marriage, ‘curing’ homosexuals and in vitro fertilisation, very relieved that Fabricio has lost.

The diplomats of Costa Rica.

They will not be faced with explaining away a First Lady who ‘speaks in tongues’.

She is the one on the right as you see it.

Passing the port the wrong way might be overlooked…but speaking in tongues is beyond the pale……..

47 thoughts on “‘Armando’s All Right Then…’”

  1. Gordon Bennett! What on earth was that video all about? My Spanish is pretty much limited to ordering wine and shopping-by-sign-language in the market, but that pair are bonkers!

    1. Totally and utterly bonkers! That is the would be First Lady and her female pastor….the former is supposedly speaking in tongues…a mishmash of Spanish and gibberish. There are some superb pastiches of it all going the rounds….

  2. What? Am I the only one who thought that la esposa de Fabricio Alvarado was making perfect sense with her well considered and competently delivered remarks? I am? OK, then. Just kidding. Anyway, I was following this election from afar as it seemed a perfect example of the transitions and stresses facing a fast changing Costa Rica, at least what little I know. The race had it all: religion vs secularism, human rights sensitivities, politics, gentrification, generational disputes and of course money – basically a good old fashioned WTF moment. The addition of a crazy lady just added to the entertainment!

    1. This could be a new Costa Rican export drive….exciting politics!
      Engage Costa Rican exertise and you too can have potential first ladies speaking in tongues, wild eyed politicians denouncing sex crazed senior judges and finger pointing so involved that the various fingers cannot be untangled enough to get into other peoples’ pockets…
      It has potential!

  3. I do love your posts and that video (which incidentally our slow WiFi speed managed to play) is hilarious. Does anyone understand what they are talking about? LOL.
    Sorry your trip to the UK and Spain were not up to expectations, but I expect to be ill every time we go the UK. I am still coughing after the December issue in the UK.
    Take care both of you, Diane

    1. I was unlucky on this trip…most of mother’s friends were down with the lurgy which I caught…and an overnight in a freezing airport did not help.
      Well, if that is speaking in tongues then I am a Dutchman….

  4. Gosh, I bet you’re relieved that commonsense triumphed in the end, Helen. It’s sad, though to think that the new President will struggle to implement much-needed reforms.

    1. It is indeed. The current one has made headway against heavy odds, including being set up for a fall when trying to break up the cement monopoly….the new chap has called on all the parties with deputies in the National Assembly to come together round a central programme to reduce the budget deficit…and already there is humming and haaing…
      Given the polls it was a great relief to hear the result on Sunday evening…

  5. I don’t understand the appeal of the outsider politician. Do you look for a surgeon who has never performed surgery? “Fly with us, Outsider Airlines, where our pilots have no experience whatsoever!”

    Sorry about the chest infections. I had two this year and I never have them.

    1. Still wheezing….I don’t think the freezing conditions in England helped either…
      Leo can think of an airline which sounds just like the Outsider operation. Sierra Leone airlines back in the seventies where on his flight the landing gear would not drop and the engineer had to take up the floor of the cabin and descend to do it manually. Leo was not reassured by his prayers to Allah before undertaking the task…his nerves had already been sorely tried by the passengers cooking their own food on paraffin stoves during the flight.

        1. Well, it was a long time ago…and they had only one ‘plane flying…there had been another but it was being cannibalised to keep the one Leo was on flying.
          I think he would still be reluctant to try them though…

  6. I can make more sense of your Costa Rican politics than the politics of my own country. Would you consider commentary?
    Being ill on vacation is the pits. Hope you come up very well very soon.

    1. Luckily I managed to get through most of it before it hit me just before traveling back….
      Thank goodness for a good flight with Swiss Airlines!
      The politics of the U.S.A. seems to run on the lines of a squabble between the CIA and the FBI about who should be in charge of chucking money at the military/industrial complex with the aim of wiping out any country which does not support the petrodollar.
      How’s that for starters?

  7. This sounds like a pitch for a movie. That first paragraph, missionary position and all, which is a brilliant play on words had me laughing. Then I shook my head because it isn’t fiction. And it’s not just happening down your way. Does it get any more ridiculous? Or pathetic?

    1. Well, if you don’t laugh you would cry.
      What happened to the world of decency and tolerance?
      I suppose the decent and tolerant were decent and tolerant of too many egoists and crooks…

  8. I always thought those of Fabricio’s ilk would be bloated, sad orange candidates like the one we got stuck with. Hopefully Carlos will be a much better option. Hope you’re feeling 100%. Being sick is no fun when you’re traveling. And I must confess I am more than a tad jealous you were able to spend the flowering almond season in Spain. Having been to Mallorca, it has always been my dream to go back during the flowering season. I can only imagine how divine it is on the senses. Be well.

    1. The almond blossom was like a sea of pink all round the area of the house and for miles in each direction…sheer joy to see it.
      I was lucky to go down with the lurgy at the end of the trip…but it did not make for a comfortable return trip, it is true.
      I was rather naughty in the choice of photograph for Fabricio…it did not show his best side!

    1. What i would like to look into is how Costa Rica came to the decision to get over its moment of madness despite all that the media could do.
      Is it the internet or the vestiges of public decency?

  9. Like the Wife of Bath, I’m baffled by the popularity of the outsider politician. Or rather so-called outsider, because when you look at them closely they usually turn out to be firmly in the country’s elite but posing shamelessly as the ordinary person. And as WOB says, would we trust a non-expert in any other area? Also, who really believes in a miracle worker who will solve all the country’s problems, problems that numerous other politicians have so far been unable to solve?

  10. I am confounded as to why I STILL don’t get emails about your posts – that was why I asked if you were all right when you commented on mine. Will check settings yet again.
    Health: have you tried Echinacea when travelling? Taken for one week before and during? I take it two weeks on, two weeks off, from about September (when students return to the prof’s world) to April and then whenever we are travelling and being exposed to more than usual germs – ie, in planes. Until I started taking it I used regularly to get really bad colds that more often than not went chestwards. I feel quite evangelical about it – but fortunately it may work miracles for me but does not induce gobbledegook speak. Priests I knew always said speaking in tongues is misinterpreted – what happened to the apostles was that everyone could understand them no matter what language they spoke – the reverse of these bizarre episodes.
    Politics? Yours is very colourful! I am avoiding it pro tem. Homeless, is how it’s – demeaningly to the real homeless – described here. Angry is more like it.

    1. Thanks for the tip. Normally I catch nothing while traveling but this time nearly everyone around mother had chest infections and, weakened, as I suppose, by the sudden reintroduction to ice, snow and biting wind, I caught one…just on the day I returned. Hypothermia in Barcelona airport waiting for check in to open did not help matters…
      Yes, speaking in tongues is exactly as you say, according to the New Testament…but you should have seen the pastiches of her ravings on social media here!
      I am an addict of politics…ironic really, since I can never vote!

      1. Echinacea is really good for anything bronchial. Native American remedy.
        Perhaps it’s because I CAN vote that I am so disenchanted right now… I know I should regroup. I will. When this damn kitchen is finished, grrr.

          1. It was entirely ripped out – floor and all – nearly 4 weeks ago, still waiting to use it fully again – oh, and it’s upstairs in our upside down house 😦

          2. Speaking as one who had to traverse two drainage trenches for six months when bringing food from the jocularly called kitchen to the dining room for over six months…you have all my sympathy!

    1. I think that if they were banned from using TV and social media during elections and had to hold public meetings then people might have more of an idea of just how inept and bonkers they are…as well as giving an outlet for stale eggs and squashed tomatoes…

  11. So the citizens of Costa Rica were smart enough not to vote for this creep at least. When I think of some of the people who are in positions of power here I don’t feel the least bit smug about us! The video was astonishing, I would have liked a translation, or wouldn’t that have made much difference?

    1. I think that if he had stuck to his views on homosexuality, abortion, etc. he would have done a lot better in the election…he had plenty of support in this. Unfortunately for him he took on board the discredited Liberacion Party and people, whatever their views on sexuality, did not want them pulling the strings.
      Costa Rica is a society in flux…the general tolerance of other peoples’ views doesn’t include tolerance of sexual diversity among older – and poorer – people.
      The video…no, translation would not have helped much!

  12. Well, I guess you missed the detailed memo laying out how in vitro fertilization and homosexuals running rampant in the streets were the two factors that have kept Costa Rica from fulfilling its promise over the past century-plus.

    On a side note, I once had to do a story on a very shady Pentecostal revival (which was bringing in millions of dollars a month and had been going on for at least three years). To see people speaking in tongues was among the stranger “phenomena” I have witnessed.

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