Arias Sánchez, Oscar

Arias Sánchez, Oscar ôsˈkär ärˈyäs sänˈchĕz [key], 1941–, president of Costa Rica (1986–90, 2006–). He was financial adviser to the president (1970–72), minister of national planning (1972–77), and congressman (1978–82). As president, he attempted to address Costa Rica's massive economic problems; his chief concern, however, was to work for the restoration of peace in Central America. Intent on preserving his nation's historic role as a neutral and demilitarized country, he opposed the previous administration's policy of allowing U.S.-backed Nicaraguan contras to operate from Costa Rican territory. In 1987, he led a regional peace initiative that called for a cease-fire, the granting of amnesty to political prisoners and the holding of free and democratic elections in each of the Central American countries. In 1987, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was elected president for a second time, by a narrow margin, in 2006.

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