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Jose Figueres Ferrer
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World Leader
    (September 25, 1906-June 8, 1990)
    Born in San Ramón, Costa Rica
    Oldest child of four children born to Catalan immigrants
    Three-time president of Costa Rica (May 8, 1948-November 8, 1949; November 8, 1953-May 8, 1958; May 8, 1970-May 8, 1974)
    Best known for abolishing the Costa Rican military
    Died of a heart attack in San Jose, Costa Rica
    His restlessness often put him at odds with his no-nonsense father during his youth.
    He never obtained a formal degree.
    He launched a civil war in response to election complications.
    He first came to power through a coup.
    His first marriage of ten years ended in divorce. (1952)
    He sent weapons to Fidel Castro for the Cuban Revolution.
    He was accused of corruption even though there was little proof to support this.
    He invited Robert Vesco to invest in Costa Rica and refused to extradite him. (1972)
    He supported the Sandinista revolution.
    He knew a wide range of subjects despite his lack of a formal degree.
    He provided housing, healthcare, and recreation to his employees at his coffee and cabuya plantation.
    To be fair, the president he overthrew had rigged the election and engaged in corruption.
    Abolishing the military has ensured Costa Rica's position as Latin America's oldest democracy and an island of stability in an unstable region.
    He extended the right to vote to women, blacks, and illiterates in Costa Rica.
    He was a popular figure throughout much of Latin America, being a proponent of democracy and human rights.
    He repelled an invasion from Nicaragua with the help of the Organization of American States. (January 1955)
    He maintained good relations with both America and the Soviet Union, even selling coffee to the latter despite outlawing the communist party in Costa Rica.
    He supported John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress.

Credit: Big Lenny

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