José Figueres Ferrer

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José María Hipólito Figueres Ferrer
38th President of Costa Rica
In office
8 May 1970 – 8 May 1974
Preceded by José Joaquín Trejos Fernández
Succeeded by Daniel Oduber
34th President of Costa Rica
In office
8 November 1953 – 8 May 1958
Preceded by Otilio Ulate Blanco
Succeeded by Mario Echandi
32nd President of Costa Rica
In office
8 May 1948 – 8 November 1949
Preceded by Teodoro Picado
Succeeded by Otilio Ulate Blanco
Personal details
Born 25 September 1906
San Ramón, Alajuela
Died 8 June 1990 (aged 83)
San José
Political party PLN
Spouse(s) Henrietta Boggs Long
Karen Olsen Beck
Profession landowner, politician

José María Hipólito Figueres Ferrer (September 25, 1906 - June 8, 1990) was president of Costa Rica three times. He was also the rebel leader during the Costa Rican civil war.

Early years[change | edit source]

Also known as Don Pepe, José Figueres Ferrer was born in San Ramón, Alajuela, Costa Rica. His parents were from Cataluña, Spain: Mariano Rodríguez Borges and Francisca Ferrer Mendiola. Figueres entered the Primary Boys School in San Ramón of Alajuela in 1913. He got in Costa Rica’s Lyceum finishing his Secondary studies in 1920. He went to Boston, United States to travel and study. He returned to Costa Rica in 1928 and bought a coffee farm.

Civil war[change | edit source]

In 1942, Figueres made a speech on Latin America Radio. In this speech, he objected to the situation in Costa Rica under president Rafael Ángel Calderón. Because of this speech, he was arrested and forced to leave the country. Figueres return to Costa Rica in 1944. He started a political party, the Democratic Party. A main goal of the party was to go against Calderon's party, the National Republican Party. In 1948, supporters of Calderón caused problems with an election for president in which Calderón lost to Otilio Ulate. Because of this, the results of the election were not used. This led to the start of the civil war in 1948. In March 11, 1948, Don Pepe began a war to support the peoples decision at the previous election. Figueres and his troops won.

President of Costa Rica[change | edit source]

In the same year, José Figueres Ferrer became president of the Second Republic Founder Assembly. He became president of Costa Rica for the first time and eliminated the Costa Rica army. He became President of Costa Rica for the second time in 1953 winning the election with 65% of the votes. In 1970, he became Costa Rica’s President for the third time. Figueres died June 8, 1990. Five months later he was declared Benemérito de la Patria.

Achievements[change | edit source]

In the 1953-1958 administration, very important institutions are created. These included:

  • Living and Urbanism National Institute (INVU).
  • Costarrican Turism Institute (ICT).
  • He promulgated the Production National Council Organism Law (CNP).

During his last administration (1970-1974) a lot of institutes were created such as:

  • Municipal Foment and Consultancy Institute (IFAM).
  • Costa Rica’s Technological Institute (ITCR).
  • Costa Rica’s National College.
  • Culture, Youth and Sports Ministry.