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fj orlich

Francisco Orlich Bolmarcich

Francisco José Orlich Bolmarcich was President of Costa Rica from 1962 to 1966. He also ran for the presidency in 1958, but lost to Mario Echandi. His grandfather on the Orlich side and his mother came to Costa Rica from the town of Punat on the island of Krk, Croatia. His villa in Punat is named "Villa Costarica".

Together with his brothers he founded in 1928 FJ Orlich & Hnos Ltda. (FJ Orlich & Brothers Limited) At first a large supply store in his hometown of San Ramon. Eventually this grew to become one of Costa Rica's largest coffee firms.

A long time friend of Jose Figueres, with whom he had traveled together to study in the United States, he was Figueres second in command within the National Liberation Army in the 1948 Civil War.

Following that, the National Liberation Party was founded in the Orlich family farm in La Paz, San Ramon, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

He served in the National Junta after the war, then in Figueres cabinet when he was elected in 1952. After that he ran for president in 1958, but lost against Mario Echandi. He ran again in 1962, against the defeated 1948 leader Dr Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia, when he won the presidency.

Always called by his countrymen 'Don Chico', during his presidency he faced the major eruption of the Irazu volcano, that started just as president Kennedy was visiting Costa Rica and lasted for over a year, causing major agricultural damage and landslides in the city of Cartago.

Don Chico left the presidency as a well loved figure and died of a stroke 3 years later.

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