Carlos Alvarado Quesada

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Carlos Alvarado Quesada
48th President of Costa Rica
In office
8 May 2018 – 8 May 2022
Vice PresidentEpsy Campbell Barr
Marvin Rodríguez Cordero
Preceded byLuis Guillermo Solís
Succeeded byRodrigo Chaves Robles
Minister of Labor and Social Security
In office
28 March 2016 – 19 January 2017
PresidentLuis Guillermo Solís
Preceded byVíctor Morales Mora
Succeeded byAlfredo Hasbum Camacho
Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion
In office
10 July 2014 – 29 March 2016
PresidentLuis Guillermo Solís
Preceded byFernando Marín Rojas
Succeeded byEmilio Arias Rodríguez
Personal details
Carlos Andrés Alvarado Quesada[1]

(1980-01-14) 14 January 1980 (age 43)
San José, Costa Rica
Political partyCitizens' Action Party
(m. 2010)
EducationUniversity of Costa Rica (BA, MA)
University of Sussex (MA)

Carlos Andrés Alvarado Quesada (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaɾlos alβaˈɾaðo keˈsaða]; born 14 January 1980) is a Costa Rican politician, writer, journalist, and political scientist who served as the 48th president of Costa Rica from 8 May 2018 to 8 May 2022. A member of the Citizens' Action Party (PAC), Alvarado previously served as Minister of Labor and Social Security during the presidency of Luis Guillermo Solís.[2]

Alvarado, who was 38 years old at the time of his presidential inauguration, became the youngest serving Costa Rican president since Alfredo González Flores who took office in 1914 at the age of 36.


Alvarado holds a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in political science from the University of Costa Rica. He was a Chevening Scholar from 2008 to 2009, earning a master's degree in development studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in Falmer, England.[2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Alvarado was born into a middle-class family in the Pavas District, San José canton in central Costa Rica, on 14 January 1980. His father, Alejandro Alvarado Induni, was an engineer, and his mother, Adelia Quesada Alvarado, was a homemaker. He has an older brother named Federico and a younger sister named Irene.[4]

Alvarado met his future wife, Claudia Dobles Camargo while riding the school bus that they both used to travel in, to go to elementary school.[5]

Alvarado is Roman Catholic.[6]


Literary career[edit]

In 2006, Alvarado Quesada published the anthology of stories Transcripciones Infieles with Perro Azul.[7] That same year, he obtained the Young Creation Award of Editorial Costa Rica with the novel La Historia de Cornelius Brown.[7] In 2012 he published the historical novel Las Posesiones which portrays the dark historical period in Costa Rica during which the government confiscated the properties of Germans and Italians during World War II.[7]

Early political career[edit]

He served as an advisor to the Citizen Action Party's group in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica in the 2006-2010 period. He was a consultant to the Institute of Development Studies of the United Kingdom in financing SMEs,[2] Department Manager of Dish Care & Air Care (Procter & Gamble Latin America), Director of Communication for the presidential campaign of Luis Guillermo Solís, professor in the School of Sciences of Collective Communication of the University of Costa Rica and the School of Journalism Of the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica.[2] During the Solís Rivera administration, he served as Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion and Executive President of the Joint Social Welfare Institute, the institution charged with combating poverty and giving state aid to the population with scarce resources. After the resignation of Víctor Morales Mora as minister, Alvarado was appointed minister of Labor.[2][8]

President of Costa Rica (2018–2022)[edit]

Alvarado speaking in 2018

Same-sex marriage was a major issue in the campaign, after a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights required Costa Rica to recognize such unions.[9] Alvarado Muñoz campaigned against same-sex marriage, while Alvarado Quesada argued to respect the court's ruling. On 1 April 2018, Alvarado won the presidential election (second round) with 61%, defeating Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz.[10] He was sworn into office on 8 May 2018.[11]

As president, Carlos Alvarado Quesada focused on decarbonizing Costa Rica's economy. He set a goal for the country to achieve zero net emissions by the year 2050.[12] He planned to build an electric rail-based public transit system for the capital, San José since 40% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation.[13] On 24 February 2019, he launched a plan to fully decarbonize the country's economy, in a ceremony alongside Christiana Figueres, the Costa Rican former UNFCCC head.[14] At this event, he described decarbonization as "the great challenge of our generation," and declared that "Costa Rica must be among the first countries to achieve it, if not the first."[15]

He pushed through a law in December 2018, that included raising taxes and reducing the salaries of public sector employees, which he justified by the country's poor economic situation. His actions resulted in the largest general strike in twenty years.[16]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to maintain a neoliberal economic policy with high social costs. The government has thus cut public spending, especially in the education budget. Unemployment has risen from 8.1% in 2017 to 14.4% by the end of 2021, 23% of the population lives below the poverty line and the public debt has reached 70% of GDP, one of the highest rates in Latin America. While this policy was supported in Congress by the National Liberation Party (PNL) and the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), the two main traditional parties, it has caused the government to lose the support of civil servants, academics, the left, and a large part of the middle class. According to ECLAC, Costa Rica is expected to be the Latin American country, along with Brazil, that will have the most difficulty in reviving its economy after the pandemic.[17][18]

The country's political life has been marked by corruption cases, both in government and in opposition parties, which have contributed to the discrediting of the political class among a part of the population. Ministers, former ministers, and mayors have been implicated in corruption cases involving embezzlement and bribery for multi-million dollar public works contracts. In 2021, six mayors, including the mayor of the capital San José, were arrested. Some cases even revealed the penetration of political circles by drug trafficking groups.[19]

At the end of Carlos Alvarado's presidential term, he had a twelve percent approval rating.[20] His successor, Rodrigo Chaves Robles, assumed office on 8 May 2022.


  1. ^ Quesada, Andrés (7 May 2018). "Carlos Alvarado". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Carlos Alvarado Quesada" (PDF). Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  3. ^ IDS, University of Sussex and. "IDS alumnus elected President of Costa Rica". The University of Sussex. Archived from the original on 7 May 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Carlos Alvarado: President of Costa Rica, Journalist, Writer, Musician,Husband and Father". Costa Rica Star News. 8 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  5. ^ "La sancarleña que en un mes será la Primera Dama del país". San Carlos Digital. 2 April 2018. Archived from the original on 24 November 2018. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  6. ^ Gómez, Dylan (2 February 2019). ""Soy creyente (…) soy católico y mi familia es muy católica", afirma Alvarado ante las críticas". NCR. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Carlos Alvarado Quesada". Editorial Costa Rica. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Carlos Alvarado, actual presidente del IMAS, es el nuevo ministro de Trabajo". La Nación. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  9. ^ Henley, Jon (2 April 2018). "Costa Rica: Carlos Alvarado wins presidency in vote fought on gay rights". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  10. ^ David Alire Garcia; Enrique Andres Pretel (1 April 2018). "Costa Rica center-left easily wins presidency in vote fought on gay rights". Reuters.
  11. ^ "Chevening Alumnus Carlos Alvarado becomes 48th president of Costa Rica | Chevening". Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Costa Rica Commits to Fully Decarbonize by 2050". United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  13. ^ "Costa Rica launches 'unprecedented' push for zero emissions by 2050". Reuters. 25 February 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Costa Rica launches plan to become the world's first decarbonized country". The Climate Group. 25 February 2019. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Costa Rica Commits to Fully Decarbonize by 2050 | UNFCCC". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Costa Rica: Jornada de movilización en la segunda semana de huelga contra la reforma fiscal".
  17. ^ "L'indécision domine l'électorat avant les élections au Costa Rica". Le Monde. 6 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  18. ^ "A Poorer Costa Rica, the Challenge of the Next Governor". 6 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  19. ^ "L'indécision domine l'électorat avant les élections au Costa Rica". Le Monde. 6 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Imagen de Carlos Alvarado llega a su punto más bajo en cuatro años y ahora un 72% tiene una opinión negativa de su gestión". Retrieved 1 March 2022.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Fernando Marín Rojas
Human Development and Social Inclusion
Succeeded by
Emilio Arias Rodríguez
Preceded by Minister of Labor and Social Security
Succeeded by
Alfredo Hasbum Camacho
Preceded by President of Costa Rica
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Luis Guillermo Solís
Leader of the Citizens' Action Party
PAC nominee for President of Costa Rica
Succeeded by