Lawmakers, former presidents and thousands of Costa Ricans gathered at the Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown San José Thursday for the funeral of former President Luis Alberto Monge. Monge, who served as president from 1982 to 1986 died from cardiac arrest Tuesday night at San Juan de Dios Hospital. He was 90 years old.
Former presidents Oscar Arias, Abel Pacheco, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, José María Figueres and Rafael Ángel Calderón attended the funeral, as did current San José Mayor Johnny Araya, Monge’s nephew.
Speeches from Alajuela Archbishop Monseñor Ángel Sancasimiro Fernández, a longtime supporter of Monge’s National Liberation Party ; Guido Alberto Monge, Former President Monge’s son; and current President Luis Guillermo Solís all focused on Monge’s humility and on his role in forming Costa Rica’s second republic following the 1948 revolution.
In 1949, at age 23, Monge was the youngest representative to the National Assembly that drafted and approved Costa Rica’s current constitution.
Monge also served as a lawmaker in the Legislative Assembly for two separate periods, 1958-1962 and 1970-1974.
During his time in office as president, Monge grappled with a serious economic crisis and mounting foreign debt. He also faced a convulsive economic and political situation in Central America prompted by the Sandinista-Contra crisis in Nicaragua and civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala.
Monge’s ashes will be scattered at Earth University in Limón.