Facio Brenes, Rodrigo (1917–1961)

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Facio Brenes, Rodrigo (1917–1961)

Rodrigo Facio Brenes (b. 23 March 1917; d. 7 June 1961), perhaps the most influential social and political thinker in twentieth-century Costa Rica. Facio, son of a Panamanian immigrant father, served as both national deputy (1948–1949) and rector of the University of Costa Rica (1952–1961), whose main campus today bears his name.

Facio earned his law degree in 1941, at the age of twenty-four, with the thesis Estudio sobre economía costarricense (1942), which was to have enormous influence on subsequent generations. He had already organized the Law Students Cultural Association in 1937 and was a key figure in the Center for the Study of National Problems (1940). This group became, after 1945, the Democratic Action and Social Democratic parties, which led eventually to the formation of the National Liberation Party after its victory in the 1948 civil war. He was an assembly deputy in 1949 and, subsequently, a director and vice president of the Central Bank. After many years of working with party leader José Figueres Ferrer, Facio broke with him out of anger at not being chosen to succeed Figueres as the presidential candidate for 1962. He left Costa Rica to work for the Inter-American Development Bank. He drowned soon afterward in El Salvador.

Facio's other major historical works are La moneda y la banca central en Costa Rica (1947) and La federacíon de Centroamérica: Sus antecedentes, su vida y su disolucíon (1957).

See alsoCosta Rica; Judicial Systems: Spanish America.


Basic sources on Facio include Jorge Enrique Romero Pérez, La social democracia en Costa Rica (1982); Raúl Hess Estrada, Rodrigo Facio, el economista (1972); and Carlos Molina, El pensamiento de Rodrigo Facio y sus aportes a la ideología de la modernización capitalista en Costa Rica (1981).

Additional Bibliography

Castro Vega, Oscar. Rodrigo Facio en la constituyente de 1949. San José: Editorial Universidad Estatal a Distancia, 2003.

Rodríguez Vega, Eugenio. Ideas políticas de Rodrigo Facio. San José: Editorial Universidad Estatal a Distancia, 1990.

                                   Lowell Gudmundson