Costa Rica’s First Lady, Merecedes Peñas, a Spanish national and her better half, President Luis Guillermo Solis. The couple, who have a daughter together, are not married, requiring the First Lady to take the exams to become a Costa Rican national. Photo Ameliareuda.com

Q COSTA RICA – Living in the country for the past 27 years, Costa Rica’s First Lady, Mercedes Peñas, has finally decided to apply for Costa Rican nationality.

Although she has lived more than half of her life in Costa Rica, she says she has long felt a strong attachment to the country, and now wants to become a citizen.

Doña Mercedes on Saturday finished her exams required to acquire nationality.

“The truth is that I have been living in Costa Rica for many years, I am happy here. The country has given me a lot and I have been working for years in the territories, so I sincerely felt that it now was time,” said Doña Mercedes to Ameliareuda.com.

The First Lady taking the nationalization exam. Had she and President Solis been married, she, like any other foreign national married to a Costa Rica, would not have been required to take the exam. Photo Ameliarueda.com

Mercedes was born in Spain.

Mercedes and President Luis Guillermo Solis are not married., had they been, she, like all foreigners married to a Costa Rican would not have been required to take the exams.

“I’ve lived here more than I’ve lived in Spain. I came here at 21 and I’ve been here 27 years and the roots and identity that one feels for Costa Rica are very strong, apart from my daughter and Luis being Costa Ricans, but it is true that I have taken root here,” she added.

The First Lady said she made the decision last year. One of the exams was scheduled for November last, however, the events of Hurricane Otto forced her to postpone her plans, to contribute to the work of helping out the affected.

After the national emergency, Doña Mercedes resumed her plans.

Doña Mercedes admitted that some parts (of the study) cost her more than others, luckily, her better half (President Solis) is a historian by profession and lent her a hand from time to time.

“I studied history in Spain and I knew the subject of the conquest and colonization, it is not the same to see it with from a Spanish perspective than to see it from Costa Rica and specifically how it happened in Costa Rica. In any case, it helped me a lot that I accompanied Inés (her daughter) to Social Studies and if I had any doubts, I asked Luis,” said the First Lady, sociologist and political scientist.

Doña Mercedes expressed her satisfaction at being able to become a Costa Rican citizen and also maintain her Spanish nationality.

Like every other foreigner aspiring to become a Costa Rican national, the process takes time. Doña Mercedes’ exams results will be available by mid April, in the hope of obtaining positive results. After than, she can continue with her citizenship application.

Source: Ameliarueda.com