Laura Chinchilla Miranda is the first female president of Costa Rica. Chinchilla was born on March 28, 1959, in San Jose, Costa Rica, the daughter of Emilce Miranda Castillo and Rafael Angel Chinchilla Fallas. She was elected to the presidency in May 2010. As President, Chinchilla has focused on anti-crime legislation and trade policies. She is also pro-free trade and works toward a more sustainable society.
Since 1990, she has worked as a consultant in Latin America and Africa for various international agencies in the area of institutional reform, with special emphasis on judicial and public security reform. As a consultant, she has conducted assessments of the justice sector for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), coordinated studies and projects on judicial reform for the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP) and provided advice regarding police reform to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Chinchilla has also spoken at various international forums on matters of public security and police reform. She has served on various reform initiatives that promote citizen security and human rights throughout Latin America, such as the Project Advisory Committee of Civil Society and Public Safety for the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Central American Dialogue Foundation Arias for Peace and Human Progress and the Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM). Chinchilla worked in the public sector management as Deputy Minister of Public Security (1994–1996) and Minister of Public Safety (1996–1998). She was also Chairman of the Joint Drug Intelligence Center; Chair of the National Immigration Council; and a member of the National Drug Council, National Security Council and the Academic Council of the National Police Academy.
Chinchilla was the first vice-president of the Republic of Costa Rica and Minister of Justice in the administration of Óscar Arias Sánchez (2006–2010). She left this office on October 8, 2008, to pursue her political career and created the “Laura Chinchilla Campaign for the Presidency of Costa Rica” with the Partido Liberación Nacional. She was sworn into office on May 8, 2010.