The convention to see a political leader his or her spouse at their side in Costa Rica is no longer. Nor is the convention of their personal lives delved into in the press.
Few know the today’s current leaders are without a “significant other”, single men or women who reach out to the public for votes, promising this, that and the other, but telling very little what goes on behind the scenes, events that shape the person and the quality of their leadership.
Currently, only one high profile politician makes his private life – perhaps not willingly – public – Otto Guevara.
As founder of the Partido Movimiento Libertario (ML) and three times (2002, 2006 and 2010) presidential candidate, the private life of Guevara made the headlines in 2010, before the elections when his then girlfriend and soon to be wife, Deborah Formal, refused communion at a church service. Formal was seen on national television pocketing part of the host after receiving Eucharist at Catholic Mass.
That unusual act by Formal is said to have cost Guevara the 2010 election. And possibly the calling off of the wedding set for December 18, 2010. Neither of the two are talking about it, nor to each other.
This week, Guevara’s persona life made the headlines, this time sporting a new beau. She is Dra. Ileana Alfaro. Guevara and the young doctor have been seen and photographed in public, confirming they are “an item”.
Asked about her ex’s new relationship, Formal told the Diario Extra, “I know nothing of that, but if he has a girlfriend I wish him a lot of happiness.”
Like the lives of most of Costa Rica’s politicians, very little is known about Guevara’s personal life, much less of his new girl.
All we know is this: Otto Guevara Guth (born October 13, 1960) is the son of civil servants. His father, Claudio, was a physician for Costa Rica’s social security system. His mother, Mariechen, worked for the Social Security system before resigning to run the family’s tourism business.
Guevara studied at the University of Costa Rica where he earned Bachelor’s degree in law followed by a Masters in International Business from National University of Costa Rica and a second Masters degree in Law with an emphasis on Conflict Resolution from Harvard University. He was also a long-serving professor of law at the University of Costa Rica where he imparted his understanding of education and conflict resolution to his students.
Failing to see any representation for his values in Costa Rica’s traditional parties, Guevara founded the Movimiento Libertario in 1994 to challenge the conventional orthodoxy of Costa Rican politics which he saw as lurching towards greater corruption and less respect for the individual rights of his people. He believes that the principles of moderate intervention of the State and more economical freedom as the best way to improve the lives of the Costa Rican people.