Luis Alberto Monge Álvarez 1925-2016

The Socialist International pays tribute to friend and comrade Luis Alberto Monge Álvarez, former President of Costa Rica, and co-founder and former leader of SI member the National Liberation Party, PLN, who sadly passed away on 29 November.

Born in the province of Alajuela in 1925, Monge was politically motivated from a young age, organising unions and other movements. He was deeply committed to social democracy, values that would go on to shape Costa Rica’s democratic identity and neutrality. After the 1948 Costa Rican civil war, he became a member of the National Constituent Assembly at just 23 years old, and contributed to the drafting of the 1949 Constitution that continues to this day.

Luis Alberto Monge was one of the founding members of the PLN, which was established in 1951. He served as a law maker in the Legislative Assembly between 1958 and 1962, and between 1970 and 1974. He became Costa Rica’s first ambassador to Israel in 1963.

Monge was elected President of Costa Rica in 1982, governing the country for the constitutional limit of four years. He remained dedicated to preserving and maintaining Costa Rica’s democracy and neutrality during a difficult time of economic instability and regional conflict. In 1983 Monge declared a policy of ‘permanent’ and ‘unarmed’ neutrality for Costa Rica.

As an active participant in the work of the Socialist International, Monge was involved and took part in many meetings and initiatives of the SI in the 1980s, in particular contributing to the search for peaceful solutions to the conflicts that were taking place in Central America at that time.

The Socialist International conveys its deepest sympathy to the family of Luis Alberto Monge, to the members of the PLN, and the Costa Rican people, at this time of mourning. His legacy will be preserved in Costa Rica’s history for generations to come.