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Costa Rica ex-President Luis Alberto Monge recovering in hospital after respiratory attack

August 22, 2016

Former President Luis Alberto Monge Álvarez (1982–1986) was in stable condition at San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José on Monday, where he was admitted in the early hours of Sunday after suffering respiratory problems.

Hospital director Ileana Balmaceda said Monday that Monge, who is 90 years old, is in the Intensive Care Unit, is conscious and is undergoing various tests.

Balmaceda said the president presented a cardiac arrhythmia upon his arrival, however results of all tests conducted thus far have been normal.

Doctors want Monge to undergo a few more tests, therefore he could be discharged from the hospital on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, Balmaceda said.

The ex-president’s son Guido Monge said the politician started having problems at around midnight Saturday during a family party to celebrate the birthday of his nephew, former minister and presidential candidate Rolando Araya Monge.

Monge left the party but on his way home the respiratory problems increased and he was rushed to the hospital.

Founding member of PLN

Monge was one of the founding members of the National Liberation Party, Costa Rica’s oldest political party, in 1951.

He was a farmer and a survivor of the 1948 revolution that overthrew then-President Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia.

In 1949, at age 23, Monge was elected the youngest representative to the National Assembly that drafted and approved Costa Rica’s current constitution.

Monge also served as a lawmaker in the Legislative Assembly for two separate periods, 1958-1962 and 1970-1974.

During his time in office, Monge grappled with a serious economic crisis and mounting foreign debt. He also faced a convulsive economic and political situation in Central America prompted by the Sandinista-Contra crisis in Nicaragua and civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala.

The former president is the uncle of San José Mayor Johnny Araya, whom he supported during Araya’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 2014.

Monge’s wife, Doris Yankelewitz, died in May.

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