An professional career full of challenges
Upopn returning to Costa Rica after my studies at West Point, my goal was to start a career as an engineer. My father asked me to work in the San Cristobal Group, a company he and his brother Antonio had established in 1927. Although my preference was to work in a company to which my family had no ties, in the end I agreed to his wishes. With that I initiated over a decade of work in several business environments.
In 1987 we celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the San Cristobal Group. The event was attended by the president of that time, Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez. A few weeks later he invited me to become the President of INCOFER, the national railroad sytem, which needed a profund overhaul as it was in a deprorable financial state. Thus began my transition from the world of business to the world of public service. A short time after this I was appointed Minister of Foreign Trade, were we rapidly set in motion a program to double national exports. Following that I was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.
Towards the end of that goverment, my intention was to return to Grupo San Cristobal and the world of business. However before doing so I wanted to continue my formal studies. I there for attended the Kennedy School of Public Administration at Harvard University were I graduated with MPA. While I was studying, he Berlin Wall fell after 60 years of Cold War, the Soviet Union desintegrated and the first Golf War was shown on television. Those events marked me deeply. I became convinced that in Central America were Democracy and Peace had been almost exclusive to Costa Rica, they will now become the normal conditions for the region. Because of that I strongly believe in building new comparative advantages for my country, which led me to run for the Presidency as the candidate of the Liberacion Nacional party. We won the election in 1994 on a platform of sustainable development and during four years we consolidated important transformations by linking economic, social and enviromental issues.