Oscar Arias was born in Heredia on September 13th, 1940. At only ten years of age, he told his Argentina School teacher: “I want to be president”.
He became part of the National Liberation Party when he was only 20 years old and from there on, he rapidly and firmly escalated political positions. In 1970, President José Figueres named him his advisor in the Presidential House and then Minister of National Planning.
His excellent performance in this job led to President Daniel Oduber choosing him again for the same position. In the 1978 elections, he was elected representative and proposed many reforms to the Political Constitution. He wrote many books about the past and present of Costa Rica, highlighting the democratic spirit of Costa Ricans in all his works. A year before his legislative period ended, he ran as a candidate for the Secretary of the General National Liberation Party and won.
In 1985 he runs in the internal convention of the National Liberation Party and manages to become the Presidential candidate. In 1986 he is the winner of the presidential elections, beating his rival Rafael Angel Calderón Fournier. As a ruler, he struggled to obtain peace in Central America. He proposed the construction of 80 thousand homes to solve the low-income housing problem. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987, for his initiative to obtain peace in the Central American region.
He reduced his country’s external debt by a hundred thousand dollars, controlled and reduced inflation. He promoted science and technology in schools and encouraged interest in computer classes. He encouraged non-traditional exports, attracted the establishment of new foreign industries and reduced unemployment. He built the Golfito Free Zone to revitalize that former banana zone. He promoted everything related to the conservation of natural resources, national parks, and ecological tourism.
He built the Comptroller’s building and the La Paz Park. He obtained approval for the Law on Psychotropics and the Law for the Promotion of Woman’s Equality. He created the Mortgage Housing Bank (BANHVI), the Constitutional Chamber (Room IV) and the Environmental Code.
Dr. Arias Sánchez has great international prestige as a spokesperson for developing countries and as a defender of human development, democracy and demilitarization.
He has traveled the world spreading a message of peace, sharing with other leaders and other people the lessons of the Central American Peace Process and applying them to the debates about international topics.
In June 2005, he put his name in as presidential candidate again, after the Supreme Court of Justice declared unconstitutional and a violation of basic human rights the non-reelection reform. He won the 2006 elections by a close margin of 1.1% over Ottón Solís Fallas. The reelection of Dr. Arias is the first of its kind in the last 36 years.