Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Óscar Arias Sánchez

Dr. Óscar Arias Sánchez (born 13 September 1941, in Heredia) was the President of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990 and received the Nobel Prize in 1987 for his efforts to bring peace to Central America.

His presidential term focused on providing housing for some 80,000 families, shifting exports from Costa Rica's traditional cash-crops (bananas, coffee) to non-traditional ones (e.g. exotic flowers and fruits), placing more emphasis to tourism as an income source, and consolidating political stability in the wider region of Central America.

He called for a higher level of integration in the Central America region and promoted the creation of the Central American Parliament (Parlamento Centroamericano). To date, the only Central American country that has not yet signed the treaty is Costa Rica. His period in office has been negatively criticized because of these efforts.

Arias also tried to improve the country's educational system. The most notable action in this respect was the reintroduction of compulsory academic tests at the end of primary school and high school. These measures have been the topic of much debate in the country ever since.