Costa Rica, Second Republic

views updated

Costa Rica, Second Republic

The Second Republic is the name given to the government that resulted from the reorganization following Costa Rica's 1948 civil war. On 1 March 1948, outgoing Costa Rican president Teodoro Picado Michalski used his control over the Legislative Assembly (national congress) to annul the presidential election held in February, replacing the apparent winner, Otilio Ulate, with the defeated candidate, Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia. Reacting to this violation of the constitutional order, José Figueres Ferrer (1906–1990), a little-known political activist, led a six-week War of National Liberation to restore legitimate government and enforce Ulate's claim to the presidency.

Raising a volunteer force and using arms supplied by antidictatorial exile elements in Guatemala, Figueres defeated the would-be usurpers and presided over the Founding Junta of the Second Republic for eighteen months (April 1948–November 1949). During its exercise of power, the Founding Junta abolished the national army and held elections for a constituent assembly for the purpose of drafting a new constitution. With the adoption of the Constitution of 1949, Figueres Ferrer and the Junta turned over the executive power to Ulate, beginning Costa Rica's Second Republic, a new political era characterized by free elections, stable government, diminished presidential authority, and a tilt toward socialism in economic and social affairs.

See alsoPicado Michalski, Teodoro; Ulate Blanco, Otilio.


John Patrick Bell, Crisis in Costa Rica: The 1948 Revolution (1971).

Bert H. English, Liberación Nacional in Costa Rica: The Development of a Political Party in a Transitional Society (1971).

Charles D. Ameringer, Don Pepe: A Political Biography of José Figueres of Costa Rica (1978), and Democracy in Costa Rica (1982).

Additional Bibliography

Longley, Kyle. The Sparrow and the Hawk: Costa Rica and the United States during the Rise of José Figueres. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997.

Rovira Mas, Jorge. Estado y política económica en Costa Rica, 1948–1970. San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 2000.

                                   Charles D. Ameringer

About this article

Costa Rica, Second Republic

Updated About content Print Article