Monday 28 November 2022

‘Chepito’ turns 121: why is he not in the Guinness Records?

In the latest update of the Guinness Records, the oldest living man in the world is 112 years old. We explain why ‘Chepito’ Delgado does not have the record.

QCOSTARICA – According to his official ID, the cedula issued by the civil registry office of the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE), and his baptismal certificate,  José Uriel Delgado Corrales turned 121 years old on Wednesday, March 10.

Photo: Melissa Fernández / La Nación.

But ‘Chepito’, as he is affectionately known in Costa Rica, is not in the Guinness World Records for the oldest.

These are the official Guinness records:

  • The oldest person living is Kane Tanaka (Japan), 118 years old. She was born on January 2, 1903. Records verified her data on February 12, 2020, when she was 117 years and 41 days old.
  • The Longest-lived man in history is Jiroemon Kimura (Japan) who reached 116 years and 54 days. He passed away in 2013.
  • The oldest person ever to have lived is Jeanne Calment (France), who lived to be 122 years and 164 days.
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More: List of the verified oldest people – Wikipedia

Why is ‘Chepito’ not in the records?

The answer is simple: because the Guinness Records have not studied his case. And neither has the Gerontology Research Group organization.

Photo: Melissa Fernández / La Nación.

‘Chepito’ has lived since he was 95 in the Home for the Elderly of Piedades de Santa Ana (Hogar de Ancianos de Piedades de Santa Ana). Natalia Hellmund, the operational administrator of the home, comments that since then he has not had relatives to visit him, since ‘Chepito’ was found living on the streets, in Tibás, and they don’t know much about his past.

Photo: Melissa Fernández / La Nación.

In 2013, the sister director of the home, Dediany Dimatteo Pérez, began to work with the Guinness Records to certify the age of José Delgado, but could not raise the US$7,500 dollars (at the time) to pay for Guinness to send an official investigator of the Records.

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The live verification of the documents, as well as the inquiries that a records official considers relevant, are the only way to obtain a certificate, what Sister Dimatteo was told then.

“At that time, they (Guinness) were asking for US$7,500 to come (to Costa Rica). That was in 2013, according to the file we have at the home. They made the application and that is the information they provided,” Hellmund said.

Photo: Melissa Fernández / La Nación.

“At that time, the hogar could not assume that money with its own resources. It is not a small amount. Everything is for the care of the elderly, then it was impossible,” adds the administrator.

Currently, ‘Chepito’ has difficulty seeing, but is generally in good health. This Wednesday he ate birthday cake, jelly, and ice cream and they sang him a birthday song.

“When they immunized him against the coronavirus,‘ Chepito ’was the one with the best health,” says Hellmund.

Read more: Chepito, the oldest Tico in the country, gets his second dose of the covid vaccine

Chepito’s ancestry

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Genealogist Mauricio Meléndez published a work on the life of Don José Uriel Delgado. You can read it in full here (in Spanish).

‘Chepito’ was born at 10 pm on March 10, 1900, the son of Jesús Delgado Herrero, who was born on June 13, 1880 and Gabriela Corrales Madrigal, was born on May 24, 1878.

Jesús and Gabriela got married in the San Miguel de Escazú parish, on April 29, 1899. He was a farmer, she a domestic worker.

Because Chepito’s parents were related, great-grandchildren of Eusebio Delgado and Mercedes León, they had to request a third-degree consanguinity dispensation.


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