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First woman to vote in Costa Rica dies at 95

March 7, 2013

The date was July 30, 1950, when Bernarda Vásquez voted in a plebiscite to determine if residents of La Fortuna and La Tigra would join San Carlos canton or San Ramón, in the province of Alajuela. She, along with 25 others, became the first Costa Rican women to vote in the country. Residents opted to join San Carlos.

Vásquez died on Wednesday at Hospital México in San José at the age of 95.

According to the daily La Nación, Vásquez’s niece Claris Durán said Vásquez was mourning the death of her brother, who died three months ago. On Monday, she fell, injuring her head, and was rushed to the hospital where she died two days later.

Vásquez, born in Palmares, Alajuela in 1918, never married and had no children.

On Oct. 7, 2007, La Nación reported, she voted against the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, in a national referendum. She voted for the Social Christian Unity Party in presidential elections held in February 2006.

At the time, she said, “The worst a Costa Rican can do is not vote, because thanks to our political system, we’ve always had peace and tranquility.”

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