Echandi Jiménez, Mario (1915–)

views updated

Echandi Jiménez, Mario (1915–)

Mario Echandi Jiménez (b. 1915), president of Costa Rica (1958–1962). Echandi, who received his law degree from the University of Costa Rica, first came to prominence in national affairs as the general secretary of the National Union Party (PUN), which backed Otilio Ulate Blanco's successful presidential campaign (1948). Under Ulate, he served as ambassador to the United States (1950–1951) and as foreign minister (1951–1953).

While in the national legislature (1953–1958), he was a recognized leader of the opposition to President José Figueres Ferrer's social democratic programs. His leadership in Congress served as a springboard for his political ascension.

With the support of the followers of Ulate and Rafael Angel Calderón Guardia, Echandi led the PLN opposition to victory in the 1958 election. His administration emphasized fiscal restraint, the expansion of the highway network, and a program to foster industrial development. True to his conservative credentials, he opposed the proposed Central American Common Market. After his presidency Echandi remained a conservative leader. He ran unsuccessfully for president on two other occasions, first in 1970 against his old adversary José Figueres Ferrer and again in 1982 against Luis Alberto Monge.

See alsoCentral American Common Market (CACM); Costa Rica.


Parker, Franklin D. The Central American Republics. London: Oxford University Press, 1964.

Ameringer, Charles D. Democracy in Costa Rica. New York: Hoover Institution Press, 1978.

Harold D. Nelson, ed. Costa Rica: A Country Study. Washington, DC: Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, 1983.

                                     John Patrick Bell