González Víquez, Cleto (1858–1937)

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González Víquez, Cleto (1858–1937)

Cleto González Víquez (b. 13 October 1858; d. 23 September 1937), president of Costa Rica (1906–1910, 1928–1932). González Víquez was born in Barba de Heredia, Costa Rica, to an aristocratic family. He was an eminent attorney, distinguished politician, and one of the most illustrious historians of his country. With his colleague, friend, and adversary Ricardo Jiménez, he dominated national politics for four decades in an era characterized by caudillismo. He published numerous works on law and history, most notable of which are his investigations into historical geography and genealogy and his interesting studies of protocol, which reveal much about colonial life in Costa Rica. He studied law at the University of St. Thomas, where his performance was outstanding. He took part in the commission that drew up the civil, penal, and legal codes.

González Víquez had an important political career, in which he served twice as a representative to the national Congress and once as minister of Government. He defended liberal principles and opposed the reformist movements of the era. In 1906, after a controversial election in which his rivals were expelled from the country, he was elected president of Costa Rica, an office he held until 1910. In Congress he led the opposition to President Alfredo Gonzá lez Flores from 1916 to 1917 and supported the coup d'état that drove Flores from power. In the 1920s he maintained his liberal stance and continued to be influential in the National Republican Party. He was again elected president in 1928 in the last years of the liberal republic, and he was forced to face the effects of the economic crisis beginning in 1929.

See alsoCosta Rica; González Flores, Alfredo.


Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr., Central America: A Nation Divided, 2d ed. (1985).

Carlos Araya Pochet, Historia de los partidos politicos: Liberacíon nacional (1968).

Additional Bibliography

Mahoney, James. The Legacies of Liberalism: Path Dependence and Political Regimes in Central America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Palmer, Steven. From Popular Medicine to Medical Populism: Doctors, Healers, and Public Power in Costa Rica, 1800–1940. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

                                    Jorge Mario Salazar

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González Víquez, Cleto (1858–1937)

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González Víquez, Cleto (1858–1937)