San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Former President Carazo in fragile condition after heart operation

Former Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo is in a delicate condition following a quadruple by-pass surgery on Nov. 30, health officials reported Tuesday.

Carazo, who served as president between 1978 and 1982, was hospitalized on Thursday after experiencing heart problems.

Doctors at Hospital México made the decision to operate on him on Sunday, and, despite reporting a successful five-hour operation, the Social Security System issued a statement Tuesday saying that Carazo “was not responding in the way (medical practitioners) had hoped for.”

Douglas Montero, general director of Hospital México, said medical personnel are doing everything they can to keep him alive.

“Don Rodrigo has experienced a multi-organ failure, a product of certain post-operative complications, which has worsened his overall state of health,” he said.

Carazo, 82, is widely known for his work in founding the University for Peace and for inaugurating the hydroelectric project at the north-central Lake Arenal. He served as president of Costa Rica during a worldwide economic crisis in which the country experienced significant financial instability, soaring unemployment and steep devaluation of the local currency.

In recent years, he worked as an ardent opponent to the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States, which was approved by Costa Rican voters in a nationwide referendum in October 2007 but which Costa Rica did not join until January of this year.

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