San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

'Marito Mortadela' seriously injured after being struck by car in San José's center

Marito Mortadela, one of the Costa Rican capital’s most beloved characters, was struck by a car on Friday afternoon as he was walking in downtown San José near Club Unión. Red Cross emergency responders transported Mortadela, who was unconscious and in serious condition, to Calderón Guardia Hospital.

Preliminary reports indicate that Mortadela suffered a seizure after being struck by a passing motorist. 

Marito Mortadela was born Mario Bolaños Quirós in 1948 and lives with his sister in Los Cuadros, a slum northeast of San José.

Over the past 40 years, Mortadela, who is mentally disabled, has made a living by singing in the streets of San José, particularly along the pedestrian boulevard of Avenida Central.

Although it is impossible to understand a single word of his lyrics, Mortadela says his songs are dedicated “to his mom who is in heaven.” His mother died when Marito was 14.

Contact L. Arias at

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