President Oscar Arias-Sanchez Visits Manuel Antonio

Mr. Harry Bodaan with President Oscar Arias and his wife.

Mr. Harry Bodaan with President Oscar Arias and his wife.

At the invitation of Harry Bodaan, the La Mansion Inn owner, former President and Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Oscar Arias Sánchez visited our area from February 21-23. President Arias and Harry Bodaan first met 28 years ago while visiting President Ronald Reagan during an official State Visit to Washington D.C. in the midst of the Iran-Contra Affair. President Oscar Arias visited Washington D.C. no less then six times during a ten-month period which finally brought about Peace in Central America in 1987. It was during one of these visits that Don Oscar invited Harry Bodaan to Costa Rica in order for him to get to know the area first-hand. The two have met on various occasions since these tumultuous times in Central America but did not have much have time to reminisce since. This came all to an end during the three-day visit to our area and they had ample time to talk about national and international politics then and now. 

NO1_5601The private visit started with a private dinner for Don Oscar and wife Susanne at the La Mansion. The VIP Guest List included friends and other special invited guests. The Special Menu included a fresh Pacific Lobster Cocktail, Canton de Aguirre Black Bean Soup, “VealOscar” with Asparagus & fresh Crabmeat and Bananas Quepos with White Chocolate Ice Cream for dessert. Second Grader Jordan Ostia gave the introductory speech while Jedison Carmona of the Escuela de Estadio provided the entertainment. Don Oscar was also presented a beautiful drawing by the students of the Inmaculada School.

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The following day former President Oscar Arias visited the Coast Guard facilities in Quepos and toured the Zona Americana with a stop at our local Police Station – La Mansion is a big supporter of local law enforcement and the Coast Guard Academy.

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President Arias visiting Marina Pez Vela

After the tour of the Coast Guard facilities Don Oscar visited the new Marina Pez Vela facilities and was briefed on the progress of the new Marina. It was President Oscar Arias who laid the first corner stone for the Marina Pez Vela project now more than 6 years ago. Later during the day Don Oscar took time out to visit several hotels to listen to the various hotel owners.

On the final day of their visit Don Oscar and wife Susanne visited Manuel Antonio National Park and had a chance to confer with dozens of surprised visitors including the now famous Carlos Arredondo, the Costa Rican immigrant with the cowboy hat who was helping the injured of the Boston Marathon explosions.

President Arias with Carlos Arredondo

President Arias with Carlos Arredondo

President Arias at the National Coast Guard Academy

President Arias at the National Coast Guard Academy

In 2004 immediately after learning that his son Alex, a U.S. Marine, had died in Iraq, Carlos Arrendondo lit himself on fire out of grief. He second son Brian, a Gold Star Brother was killed in 2011. He suffered serious burns from the incident. After his recovery Carlos Arrendondo became an Anti-War Activist. The day of the Boston Marathon explosions, Arredondo sat in the bleachers with an American flag in hand to root for the National Guard runners and a suicide support group. During the last U.S.State of the Union Address he was invited by President Obama to attend the event at the U.S. Capitol.