Abel Pacheco

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Abel Pacheco de La Espriella
Defense.gov News Photo 050511-D-9880W-053 Abel Pacheco cropped.jpg
44th President of Costa Rica
In office
May 8, 2002 – May 8, 2006
Vice PresidentLineth Saborío Chaverri
Luis Fishman Zonzinski
Preceded byMiguel Ángel Rodríguez
Succeeded byÓscar Arias
Personal details
Born (1933-12-22) December 22, 1933 (age 85)
San José
Political partyPUSC
Spouse(s)Elsa María Muñoz Batha (?–?)
Leila Rodríguez Stahl (m. 1975–Present)

Abel Pacheco de la Espriella (/əˈbɛl pəˈk/ (About this soundlisten) ə-BEL pə-CHAY-koh; born 22 December 1933 in San José) was president of Costa Rica between 2002 and 2006[1], representing the Social Christian Unity Party (Partido Unidad Social Cristiana – PUSC).[2] He ran on a platform to continue free market reforms and to institute an austerity program, and was elected, in a second electoral round, with 58% of the vote in April 2002.


Early life[edit]

Abel Pacheco and his first wife, Elsa María Muñoz Batha, had five children: Abel, Elsa, Yolanda, Sergio and Valeria.[3] Pacheco married his second wife, Leila Rodríguez Stahl, a former Miss Costa Rica winner, on November 20, 1975.[3] He and Rodríguez had one son, Fabian.[3]


Pacheco is a medical doctor who graduated from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with a degree in Psychiatry from Louisiana State University.

During the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s Pacheco was a popular presenter of short programmes on Costa Rican television. During this time he continued to teach at the University of Costa Rica[citation needed] and personally attended to customers at the gentleman's outfitters, El Palacio del Pantalón, that he had established in downtown San José in the mid-1980s. He also wrote a series of novels and a number of popular songs.[citation needed]

On 1 February 1998 he was elected to serve as a party-list deputy in Costa Rica's unicameral Legislative Assembly, representing the province of San José for the PUSC.

In the run-up to the 2002 presidential election, the PUSC party convention selected him to be its candidate by an overwhelming 76% of the delegates' votes on 10 June 2001. His candidacy was seen as a victory for the rank-and-file members over the party's entrenched hierarchy.

In the first round of the election Pacheco received 38.6% of the vote: just short of the 40% needed to avoid a run-off. On 7 April 2002, in the second round – the first time the mechanism had been used since the rules were introduced – Pacheco got 58% of the vote, beating Rolando Araya of the social democratic PLN by a narrow margin.


Pacheco is the author of a number of books, including both, fiction and non-fiction. Among other titles of the books that he penned are: Paso de tropa (1969), and Más abajo de la piel (1972). His work has been translated to more than 20 different languages, given its importance to Costa Rican cultural heritage.

Abel Pacheco was awarded with the prize " Citizen of the World" for his valuable contribution to culture and literature around the world.


Foreign honours[edit]


  1. ^ El Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones: Presidentes de la República de Costa Rica
  2. ^ Pacheco assumes presidency. The Salt Lake Tribune. May 9, 2002, PageA2. [1]
  3. ^ a b c "Biografía: Leila Rodríguez Stahl de Pacheco Primera Dama de la República de Costa Rica". Ministerio de Hacienda. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  4. ^ "Duke of Calabria hosts banquet for President of Costa Rica". Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George. 9 April 2004.
  5. ^ "Duke of Calabria, Cardinal Pompedda awarded the National Order of Juan Mora Fernandez by Costa Rican President". Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George. 10 April 2004.
  6. ^ Nomination by Sovereign Ordonnance OpenDocument number 16064 of 21 November 2003 (French)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Miguel Ángel Rodríguez
President of Costa Rica
Succeeded by
Óscar Arias