QCOSTARICA – José Maria Figueres inherited from his father José Figueres Ferrer (affectionately known as Don Pepe) the way of being, the gestures, the short stature, and even the way to hide it.
While José Figueres was a three-time president of Costa Rica 1948–1949, 1953–1958 and 1970–1974, his son is now on his third attempt to be nominated by his party to serve a second term as president. He was first elected in 1994, at 40, the nation’s youngest elected president of the 20th century at the time.
In a meeting that José Maria Figueres had with former (two-time) president Óscar Arias on Monday, at the Balcon Verde, the shoes that Don Pepe’s son wore drew attention. In addition to being well ’embetunados’ (closed), the black horns that José María, 64, was walking on, had a sole that pulls him up, at least, three centimeters ( a little more than an inch).
The resemblance to his father is uncanny. And with the gestures and the ‘platform shoes’, to which his father earned him the nickname “Pepe Tacones”, Even in that, he came out identical to his father, who in his younger years earned the nickname Pepe Tacones, it’s hard to tell where it’s the father or son standing on the podium. For some, it takes them back in time.
Don Pepe, passed away in June 1990 at the age of 84.
“He was a person of short stature, with that desire to appear taller, he wore high-heeled platform shoes and was known by that nickname, Pepe Tacones (Pepe Heels),” explained the national historian Óscar Aguilar Bulgarelli.
The “ex” revealed the secret
Henrietta Boggs, José Figueres Ferrer’s first wife (m. 1941–1954), said in her book “Casada con una leyenda” (Married to a legend) one of the secrets of the founder of the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), one of the two political parties alternating presidential power with the PUSC for many years.
“Since his height was not more than 1.56 meters (5 feet 1 inch), he always wore high heels, even indoors,” described Doña Henrietta.
Despite the notable difference in height between her, since Henrietta was tall like most gringas, Don Pepe had no problems conquering her, and after nine months of courting, they married.
According to historians Óscar Aguilar and Miguel Salguero, Figueres Ferrer’s enemies always used his height against him.
“All internal political enemies took it as a way to diminish him, to make a light of it (his height), everyone used it to tease him,” Aguilar explained.
“People used to tease him a lot, it was very normal as Ticos are, when they said ‘tacones’, everyone knew that they were referring to Figueres, but it didn’t bother him,” said Salguero.
For Aguilar, the use of these tricks to look taller has its reasons.
“A relationship between stature and bearing to exercise power is formed, perhaps a dwarf does not have the personality to govern,” said Aguilar.
According to psychologist María Esther Flores, using platforms or ‘lifts’ to look taller is a matter of self-image, a matter of presenting a good image. “In the male part being tall is more power, but that is a stereotype ”Flores explained.
An article in The Guardian says most of us – and especially men – tend to exaggerate our height, adding a centimeter or two when we think we can get away with it. “This is understandable: ours is a culture that valorizes the tall and belittles, as it were, the short. As a result, being tall brings with it a host of advantages”.
The article continues: “Being tall is also associated with career success. For males, in particular, height seems to be linked to greater happiness and self-esteem (though some studies suggest that the effect is modest)“.