Condition of Former President Delicate, Stable

December 4, 2009

Former Costa Rican President Rodrigo  Carazo, 82, continued in delicate but stable condition this week following quadruple bypass surgery, health officials reported Thursday.

Carazo, who served as president between 1978 and 1982, was admitted to Hospital México in San José on Thursday, Nov. 26, after experiencing heart problems.

Carazo underwent a successful five-hour, quadruple bypass on Monday, but doctors said he experienced organ failure afterward.

The Costa Rican Social Security System issued a press release on Tuesday saying that Carazo “was not responding in the way (medical practitioners) had hoped he would.”

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.

According to a later statement, the former president was sedated so that doctors could provide the necessary treatments. He is on a breathing machine and is receiving drugs to relive pain and stress.

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

In recent years, Carazo worked as an  ardent opponent of 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.

–Chrissie Long

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