José Figueres Ferrer: This man of deep and innovative thinking was born on September 25, 1906. He studied in the United States, and upon returning to Costa Rica, he settled in the “La Lucha” farm and began cultivating cabuya and coffee. Fate, however, has another path prepared for this country lover turned businessman.
He decides to raise his voice, because he does not agree with the direction Costa Rica is taking. For him democracy is being sullied, and public liberties no longer exist. In 1942, he read a speech on the radio where he exposed his disagreement with the Government, but it did not end. He is taken prisoner, and later deported to Mexico. Everything has started.
José Figueres took up arms in 1948, when Congress declared the elections invalid, whose legitimate winner was Mr. Otilio Ulate Blanco. His friend Francisco Orlich opens a second front in the north of the country. Costa Rica enters a civil war. Government forces lay down their arms after just over two months, Figueres entered San José, hailed as a hero.
The Founding Board of the Second Republic is created, with José Figueres as President. This Board constitutes the base of the current Costa Rica, its decrees strengthen democracy, reaching achievements at the social level of great importance. And in a superb example to the world, the dissolution of the army is decreed.
On November 7, 1949, the new Political Constitution came into force, still in force in the country. The next day, the Board hands over the power of attorney to Don Otilio Ulate. Figueres Ferrer founded the National Liberation Party on October 12, 1951, a party that took him to the Presidency twice, from 1953 to 1958, and from 1970 to 1974. The achievements of their governments are many, among others:
Creation of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).
Nationalization of the Bank
Creation of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute
Creation of the Mixed Institute of Social Assistance
Creation of the General Directorate of Social Adaptation
Creation of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica
Creation of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports
Nationalization of the Railroad to the Atlantic
Creation of the National Symphony Orchestra
Creation of the National University
Creation of the National Commission for Indigenous Affairs
The Family Code was enacted
Nationalization of RECOPE
Universalization of Social Security
Transfer of Hospitals to the Costa Rican Social Security Fund.
Today’s Costa Rica has its indelible mark. His struggles and commitments in these causes make him the most transcendent of the public men and rulers of the country, and lead him to be recognized and declared as the Person of the 20th Century in Costa Rica. The leader of the Second Republic, died on June 8, 1990, being declared worthy of the Homeland, on November 12 of that same year.
Script: Osvaldo Valerín Ramírez.
Taken from the Central Bank of Costa Rica.