Oscar Arias, former President of Costa Rica (1986 - 1990, 2006 - 2010) played a key role in the Central American peace process involving the outlawed militant group "Contras" during the 80's.
Oscar Arias embarked on his political career as assistant to José Figueres, a former President who was seeking re-election. When Figueres was elected in 1972, Arias was given a seat in the government as Minister of National Planning and Political Economy. In 1975 his party elected him International Secretary, representing the party at several international congresses around the world.
After nominating himself in 1985, Arias was elected President of Costa Rica in 1986 with 52.3% of the votes. As President he intervened against the activities of militant group, U.S-backed "Contras" on Costa Rican territory. Although critical of the political system in Nicaragua, he concentrated on engaging the country and other Central American states in a peace-making process.
In May 1986, Arias met the Presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua to discuss the proposals for a peaceful solution. They did not reach full agreement, but early in 1987 he succeeded in calling a new meeting at which he submitted a new peace plan of his own design, accord that was approved by all five heads of state.
Oscar Arias holds a Law and Economics degree from Universidad de Costa Rica and a Ph.D in Political Science from University of Essex (U.K). He has received multiple honorary doctorates and international awards for his role in the Central American peace process, including the Nobel Peace Prize (1987).