San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Former Costa Rican President Echandi dies at 96

Former Costa Rican President Mario Echandi Jimenez, who served as the country’s leader from 1958-1962, died Saturday at the age of 96, said the foreign ministry.

Echandi died at his home as a result of bronchopneumonia, though his health had deteriorated in recent years due to a stroke.

During his administration he created several institutions in Costa Rica that had social impacts, such as the Institute of Lands and Settlement, which was in charge of land redistribution and the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers, which helped provide drinking water to much of the country.

In the international arena, he broke off many diplomatic ties with Fidel Castro’s Cuban regime at the encouragement of the United States and other Latin American countries.

The foreign ministry coordinated with Echandi’s family a state funeral at the Catedral Metropolitana in downtown San José on Sunday.

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