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José Figueres Ferrer

Figueres Ferrer, José (hōsāˈ fēgāˈrās fār-rārˈ) [key], 1906–90, president of Costa Rica (1948–49, 1953–58, 1970–74). He rose to prominence as an outspoken critic of President Calderón Guardia in 1942 and was exiled to Mexico (1942–44). In 1948 he led a revolution to ensure the presidency of newly elected Otilio Ulate. He served as provisional president (1948–49), abolishing the army and nationalizing financial and communication services before turning the government over to Ulate. He was overwhelmingly elected president in 1953. Despite bitter opposition, he instituted a sweeping program of welfare legislation, public works, and educational reform. As president from 1970 to 1974, he pushed further social and economic reforms. His son, José María Figueres Olsen ōlˈsān, 1954–, was president of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Costa Rican History: Biographies


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