San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Prominent socialist Costa Rican lawmaker José Merino del Río dies in Cuba

Founder of the leftist Broad Front Party and two-time lawmaker José Merino del Río, died at 11:30 p.m. Monday in Cuba, at 63 years old. He was receiving treatment for kidney cancer.

Merino, born in Burgos, Spain, and died in Havana a few hours after receiving a medical procedure to remove tumors produced by kidney cancer.

A political scientist, journalist and sociologist, Merino was elected twice to the congress. He represented the Democratic Force Party from 1998 – 2002 before leaving the political party to found the Broad Front. He represented the Broad Front Party in the Legislative Assemby from 2006 to 2010. Merino fought vehemently against the CAFTA treaty with the United States.

The Broad Front Party’s top lawmaker José María Villalta said Tuesday that “the best way to honor the memory of Merino is to continue his struggle and to strengthen the party that he dedicated his life to.”

President Laura Chinchilla, also expressed her condolences in her Twitter account Monday night.

Details of Merino’s funeral will be informed once his body is returned to the country, family members said.

Contact L. Arias at

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