The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Costa Rica

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This page contains a list of the greatest Costa Rican Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,710 Politicians, 18 of which were born in Costa Rica. This makes Costa Rica the birth place of the 98th most number of Politicians behind Nigeria and Myanmar (Burma).

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Costa Rican Politicians of all time. This list of famous Costa Rican Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Costa Rican Politicians.

Photo of Óscar Arias

1. Óscar Arias (1940 - )

With an HPI of 70.74, Óscar Arias is the most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 65 different languages on wikipedia.

Óscar Arias Sánchez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈoskaɾ ˈaɾjas]; born 13 September 1940 in Heredia, Costa Rica) is a Costa Rican activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He was President of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2010. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end the Central American crisis. He was also a recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism and a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security. In 2003, he was elected to the board of directors of the International Criminal Court's Trust Fund for Victims.

Photo of José Figueres Ferrer

2. José Figueres Ferrer (1906 - 1990)

With an HPI of 65.57, José Figueres Ferrer is the 2nd most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

José María Hipólito Figueres Ferrer (25 September 1906 – 8 June 1990) served as President of Costa Rica on three occasions: 1948–1949, 1953–1958 and 1970–1974. During his first term in office he abolished the country's army, nationalized its banking sector, and granted women and Afro-Costa Ricans the right to vote, as well as access to Costa Rican nationality to people of African descent. He was a good friend of the Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Muñoz Marín, praising his political achievements in one of his essays. His son José María Figueres was also President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998.

Photo of Laura Chinchilla

3. Laura Chinchilla (1959 - )

With an HPI of 64.05, Laura Chinchilla is the 3rd most famous Costa Rican Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 60 different languages.

Laura Chinchilla Miranda (Spanish: [ˈlawɾa tʃinˈtʃiɟa miˈɾanda]; born 28 March 1959) is a Costa Rican politician who was President of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014. She was one of Óscar Arias Sánchez's two Vice-Presidents and his administration's Minister of Justice. She was the governing PLN candidate for president in the 2010 general election, where she won with 46.76% of the vote on 7 February. She was the eighth woman president of a Latin American country and the first woman to become President of Costa Rica. She was sworn in as President of Costa Rica on 8 May 2010.After leaving office, she taught at Georgetown University in 2016. Chinchilla is co-chair of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank and the vice-president of Club de Madrid. Chinchilla previously served as a Fellow at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service.

Photo of Abel Pacheco

4. Abel Pacheco (1933 - )

With an HPI of 61.83, Abel Pacheco is the 4th most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Abel Pacheco de la Espriella ( (listen) ə-BEL pə-CHAY-koh; born 22 December 1933 in San José) is a Costa Rican politician who was president of Costa Rica between 2002 and 2006, representing the Social Christian Unity Party (Partido Unidad Social Cristiana – PUSC). He ran on a platform to continue free market reforms and to institute an austerity program, and was elected, in a second electoral round, with 58% of the vote in April 2002.

Photo of Miguel Ángel Rodríguez

5. Miguel Ángel Rodríguez (1940 - )

With an HPI of 61.02, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez is the 5th most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Echeverría (born 9 January 1940) is a Costa Rican economist, lawyer, businessman and politician who served as President of Costa Rica from 1998 to 2002. He was minister of planning from 1968 to 1970 and minister of the presidency in 1970 during the administration of Jose Joaquin Trejos Fernandez (1966 - 1970); member of the board of the Costa Rican Central Bank from 1966 to 1969; congressman from 1990 to 1993, serving as president of the Legislative Assembly during the 1991 to 1992 period; and was elected Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2004. He voluntarily stepped down from this post to return to his country to face allegations of financial wrongdoing during his presidential tenure in Costa Rica. On April 27 of 2011 he was sentenced to 5 years in prison, but this ruling was later reversed in a December 2012 decision by an appeals court, which found him innocent of all charges.Rodríguez came to the presidency as the candidate of the social Christian party (Partido Unidad Social Cristiana) with an agenda that included the opening of state-run monopolies in insurance and telecommunications, the rationalization of the public sector including increasing the role of the private sector in public infrastructure, trade liberalization, and the expansion and modernization of the social welfare system. The reforms of the insurance and telecom sectors generated massive protests and were subsequently abandoned, but were later implemented when Costa Rica became part of the DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement) in 2009.

Photo of Luis Guillermo Solís

6. Luis Guillermo Solís (1958 - )

With an HPI of 60.65, Luis Guillermo Solís is the 6th most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera (Spanish pronunciation: [lwiz ɣiˈʝeɾmo soˈliz riˈβeɾa]; born 25 April 1958) is a Costa Rican politician and educator who was the 47th President of Costa Rica from 2014 to 2018. He is a member of the Citizens' Action Party (PAC). Solís led the field in the 2014 presidential election, and won the presidency in a landslide election, earning more votes than any presidential candidate in the history of the nation. Solís has a long academic and political career, culminating in his election as the first President of Costa Rica to be a member of the PAC. Since May 2017, Luis Guillermo Solis has been under fire after a report accused him of corruptly expediting the legal process of Chinese cement imports in favor of businessman and owner of Sinocem, Juan Carlos Bolaños, in a case known as Cementazo. In May 2018 the Public Prosecutor of Costa Rica dismissed the charges against him.

Photo of Adolfo Díaz

7. Adolfo Díaz (1875 - 1964)

With an HPI of 59.27, Adolfo Díaz is the 7th most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Adolfo Díaz Recinos (15 July 1875 in Alajuela, Costa Rica – 29 January 1964 in San José, Costa Rica) served as the President of Nicaragua between 9 May 1911 and 1 January 1917 and again between 14 November 1926 and 1 January 1929. Born in Costa Rica to Nicaraguan parents in 1875, he worked as a secretary for the La Luz y Los Angeles Mining Company, an American company chartered in Delaware that owned the large gold mines around Siuna in eastern Nicaragua. In this capacity, he helped channel funds to the revolt against Liberal President José Santos Zelaya, who had incurred the anger of the United States by negotiating with Germany and Japan to resurrect the proposed Nicaragua Canal. Díaz became Vice President of Nicaragua in 1910. After he became president in 1911, Díaz was forced to rely on U.S. Marines to put down a Liberal revolt, which resulted in a contingent of Marines remaining in Nicaragua for over a decade. In return, in 1914, he signed the Bryan–Chamorro Treaty, which granted the United States exclusive rights to build an inter-oceanic canal across Nicaragua. After his term as president ended, Díaz briefly lived in the United States. However, he returned to the presidency in 1926, after a coup by General Emiliano Chamorro (following the withdrawal of the Marines) failed to win U.S. support. During his second term as president, another Liberal revolt occurred. The Liberal forces were on the verge of seizing Managua when the U.S. forced the warring parties to accept a power-sharing agreement, the Espino Negro accord. One Liberal commander, Augusto Sandino, rejected the agreement and waged a guerrilla war against the U.S. Marines, who remained in the country to prop up Díaz's government and enforce the Espino Negro accord. In 1928, after elections supervised by the Marines, Díaz was replaced as president by former Liberal General José Maria Moncada. Afterwards, he acquired control of several of Nicaragua's gold mines, which had been destroyed during raids by Sandino's forces. He unsuccessfully tried to restore mining operations for the La Luz Company, until they sold their holdings to the Nevada-based Tonopah Mining Company. In 1936, after Anastasio Somoza García seized power, Díaz took up permanent residency in the United States. He lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, primarily in New York City but also in Miami and New Orleans, before moving to Costa Rica, where he died in 1964.

Photo of Otilio Ulate Blanco

8. Otilio Ulate Blanco (1891 - 1973)

With an HPI of 59.09, Otilio Ulate Blanco is the 8th most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Luis Rafael de la Trinidad Otilio Ulate Blanco (August 25, 1891 – October 10, 1973) served as President of Costa Rica from 1949 to 1953. His French heritage comes from his mother, Ermida Blanco. He never married but had two daughters, Olga Marta Ulate Rojas (1937–2007) and Maria Ermida Ulate Rojas (1938) with Haydee Rojas Smith (British origins) His disputed election in 1948, whereby he was denied victory by the legislature in favor of Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, was the direct cause of José Figueres Ferrer's armed uprising of that year and the ensuing 44-day Costa Rican Civil War. Blanco started his career in politics as a journalist, director of local newspaper La Tribuna and owner of Diario de Costa Rica, principal newspaper at the time, where he directed his major political campaigns. Ulate led the opposition party during the February 8th 1948 elections, where he defeated ex President Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia.His government proved a good handling of economical development, Ulate raised the Consejo Nacional de Produccion (CNP)-National Production Committee-, the Central Bank of de Costa Rica (main financial institution in Costa Rica), the Contraloria General de la Republica (regulates government and public institutions' budgets and expenses), the "Ley del Aguinaldo" (law that enforces a 13th month paid salary for all Costa Rican workers during Christmas time), the right for women to vote in National Elections and the foundations for the actual International Juan Santamaria Airport (called "El Coco"), despite the fact that many of his achievements were self-recognized by following presidents. During a visit to the penitentiary in San Lucas Island he also ordered the release of Beltrán Cortés from the unusually public and confined cell President León Cortés Castro had ordered for him and placed him with the other prisoners.He was the ambassador of Costa Rica to Spain from 1970 to 1971.

Photo of José María Castro Madriz

9. José María Castro Madriz (1818 - 1892)

With an HPI of 59.02, José María Castro Madriz is the 9th most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

José María Castro Madriz (1 September 1818 – 4 April 1892) was a Costa Rican lawyer, academic, diplomat, and politician. He served twice as President of Costa Rica, from 1847 to 1849, and from 1866 to 1868. On both occasions he was prevented from completing his term of office by military coups. During his first administration, on 31 August 1848, he formally declared Costa Rica an independent republic, definitively severing Costa Rica's ties to the moribund Federal Republic of Central America. Castro was born in San José and educated at the University of León in Nicaragua, where he graduated as bachelor of philosophy and doctor of law. He occupied many public offices throughout his life, both before and after serving as President. He was the rector of the national University (which he had helped to create) for sixteen years, and served several administrations as cabinet minister and ambassador. He also presided over the judiciary (as chief judge of the Supreme Court of Justice from 1860 to 1866 and from 1870 to 1873) and the legislature (as president of the Congress of Deputies in 1844-1845 and of the fourth Constitutional Convention in 1859), making him the only other Costa Rican besides Ricardo Jiménez to have headed all three branches of the government. An active Freemason, Castro was consistently critical of the political influence of the Roman Catholic Church. He was also a strong defender of freedom of the press at a time when many Costa Rican governments practiced widespread censorship. His constitutional reform of 1848, however, established the most restricted suffrage that ever existed in independent Costa Rica. As president his lack of a committed political base made him an easy target for overthrow by the military. As the minister of foreign affairs, education, justice, public aid, and religious affairs, Castro was the most influential figure in the government of his brother-in-law, President Próspero Fernández (1882–1885), and he was largely responsible for the anti-clerical legislation adopted by that government. He was married to Pacífica Fernández, who designed the 1848 version of the Costa Rican flag. His daughter Cristina Fernández Castro married Minor C. Keith in 1883. Their grandson, Rafael Yglesias, served as President of Costa Rica from 1894 to 1902. Inaugurated at age 29, he was the youngest person to ever serve as President of Costa Rica.

Photo of Rodrigo Carazo Odio

10. Rodrigo Carazo Odio (1926 - 2009)

With an HPI of 58.91, Rodrigo Carazo Odio is the 10th most famous Costa Rican Politician.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Rodrigo José Ramón Francisco de Jesús Carazo Odio (27 December 1926 – 9 December 2009) served as President of Costa Rica from 8 May 1978 to 8 May 1982.

Pantheon has 18 people classified as politicians born between 1784 and 1980. Of these 18, 7 (38.89%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Óscar Arias, Laura Chinchilla, and Abel Pacheco. The most famous deceased politicians include José Figueres Ferrer, Adolfo Díaz, and Otilio Ulate Blanco. As of October 2020, 3 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Juan Mora Fernández, Federico Tinoco Granados, and Daniel Oduber Quirós.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2020)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 11 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.