SAN JOSE – Former President Mario Echandi Jimenez, who governed Costa Rica from 1958 to 1962, died after suffering assorted health problems over the past few years, his family said. He was 96.
Echandi Jimenez died Saturday at his home.
The funeral ceremony will be held on Sunday at the Catholic Sagrado Corazon de Jesus church in downtown San Jose, his family said.
Echandi Jimenez was born on June 17, 1915, and in recent years he had suffered from trouble breathing, blood pressure problems and a stroke that caused him assorted difficulties.
His administration broke diplomatic relations with the regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba, ties that remained ruptured until 2009 when President Oscar Arias decided to reestablish them.
During his tenure in office, he also authorized the first license for a private television station in Costa Rica, the Christmas Bonus Law was approved, the National Aqueduct and Sewer Service was founded and he pushed for aid to peasants and the construction of schools.
Echandi Jimenez, who was designated a Distinguished Citizen of the Homeland on June 6, 2005, also served as foreign minister (1950-1952), a lawmaker (1953-1955) and the country’s ambassador to the United States, the Organization of the American States and the United Nations.