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Costa Rica: Information on the Partido Union Generaleña (PUGEN) and on party members Carlos A. Fernandez, Flavio Garbanzo, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Roberto Guell and Florentino Molina

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 July 1997
Citation / Document Symbol CRI27072.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Costa Rica: Information on the Partido Union Generaleña (PUGEN) and on party members Carlos A. Fernandez, Flavio Garbanzo, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Roberto Guell and Florentino Molina, 1 July 1997, CRI27072.E, available at: [accessed 24 January 2019]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


The information that follows was provided during a 9 July 1997 telephone interview with the president of the Partido Union General (PUGEN), Dr. Carlos A. Fernandez.

Costa Rica's provinces are divided into cantons. The Partido Union Generaleña was founded in 1980 as a local canton party, in the canton of San Isidro de el General or Perez Zeledon (the canton is known under both names). Its name reflected the name of the canton where it originated. In 1986 PUGEN became a national party, and over the years has increasingly participated in elections at all levels. In the last general elections it was the first Costa Rican party to ever field a female presidential candidate. Although the party fell 270 votes short of earning a congressional seat, it earned a majority of council seats (regidores) in five municipalities. PUGEN does not intend to field a presidential candidate for the next general elections, but it will seek congressional seats.

Under an electoral law approved in December 1996, PUGEN changed its name to Partido Union General in June 1997, although its acronym remains unchanged.

The party has a National Executive Committee (Comité Ejecutivo Nacional) and provincial committees. The National Executive Committee includes a president, a secretary and a treasurer. The executive and the party are currently presided over by Carlos A. Fernandez, who was also the founder of the party. He was also the party's first elected councillor, and held a congressional seat as deputy from 1992 to 1994. He is currently a councillor, and will run for deputy in the next general elections. The current secretary of the party is Lourdes Rodriguez, and the treasurer is Mario Bonilla.

Mr. Flavio Garbanzo, an architect, is the party's Fiscal General, a position attached to the National Executive Committee that receives and handles complaints and oversees party discipline or problems within the party. Although he has no vote within the party, the position he holds is an important one.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez is a deputy and currently the presidential candidate of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC). He was never a member of PUGEN, but as colleague of Carlos A. Fernandez in the chamber of deputies, both worked together on various congressional committees, bills and other matters. Roberto Guell and Florentino Molina have occupied posts in the PUGEN leadership, but in the last internal elections other individuals were voted into their posts; however, both remain active members of the party.

Please find attached some documents that refer to PUGEN. Various other documents and news articles refer to Miguel Angel Rodriguez and provide the information that follows. In 1992 Mr. Rodriguez was the president of Costa Rica's legislative assembly (Xinhua 2 Jan. 1992). In 1994 he was described as a 56 year-old economist and former planning minister (AP 3 Feb. 1994), a "businessman and berkeley-trained economist who has risen to become one of Costa Rica's wealthiest men" who has "favoured deepening privatization in banking and some public utilities" (The Christian Science Monitor 8 Feb. 1994). According to one source, Rodriguez has also been a president of the National Association of Economic Development (Asociacion Nacional de Fomento Economico, ANFE), described as a "think tank" that promotes privatization (Caribbean Update May 1995). A 1995 report names Miguel Angel Rodriguez as the leadership council president of the Christian Democratic Organization of the Americas, a gathering of Christian Democratic parties that held a conference in Costa Rica that year (AFP 2 July 1995). The attached Central America Report and Inter Press Service articles provide more recent references to Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 2 July 1995. "Latin America's Christian Democrats Seek Democracy Dialogue with Castro." (NEXIS)

Associated Press (AP) Worldstream. 3 February 1994. Bill Cormier. "Costa Rican Democracy an Exercise in Party Politics and Partying." (NEXIS)

Caribbean Update [n.p.]. May 1995. "Costa Rica: Reform Measures." (NEXIS)

The Christian Science Monitor [Boston]. 8 February 1994. David R. Dye. "Costa Rican Victor Urges Equality." (NEXIS)

Partido Union General (PUGEN), San Jose. 9 July 1997. Telephone interview with president.

The Xinhua General Overseas News Agency. 2 January 1992. "Arias Pushes for Demilitarized El Salvador." (NEXIS)


Barry, Tom. 1991. Costa Rica: A Country Guide. Albuquerque, N. Mex.: The Inter-Hemispheric Education Resource Center, pp. 16-17.

Central America Report [Guatemala City]. 19 June 1997. "PUSC Slated for Mexico Visit," pp. 3-4.

Inter Press Service (IPS). 4 June 1997. Ufran Garcia. "Costa Rica-Politics: Costa Ricans Uneasy Over Mexican Agreement." (NEXIS)

Political Handbook of the World: 1997. 1997. Edited by Arthur S. Banks et al. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications, p. 194.

South America, Central America and the Caribbean 1997. 1997. London: Europa Publications Ltd., p. 242.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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