Libertarian Movement (Costa Rica)

The Libertarian Movement Party (Spanish: Partido Movimiento Libertario; PML) is a political party based on libertarian conservatism in Costa Rica. It was founded in May 1994. After an important protagonism during early 2000s with its perennial nominee Otto Guevara among the main candidates and reaching third place in 2006 and 2010, it was affected by several corruption scandals and lack of funds, the party gradually suffered a debacle in 2014 ending in fourth on the presidential ticket, and fifth in Parliament. Later losing all its mayors in the mid-term local election of 2016, to finally having its worst results in 2018 with Guevara's candidacy reaching only 1% of support and losing all seats in Congress. On 2019 Guevara announced that the party would not take part in elections anymore and that a new formation would be founded named Liberal Union.[3][4][5]

Libertarian Movement Party
Partido Movimiento Libertario
FoundedMay 1994
IdeologyLibertarian conservatism
Social conservatism[1][2]
Catholic social teaching
Economic liberalism
Political positionRight-wing
Legislative Assembly
0 / 57


Founded by non-partisan liberals from the Academy and liberal defectors of Social Christian Unity Party, contested the 1998 election with Federico Malavassi as candidate receiving only 0.4% of the vote but succeeding in getting attorney Otto Guevara elected as member of the Legislative Assembly.[6] In this time the party was strongly libertarian and was in favor of minimal government (something quite polemic in a welfare state like Costa Rica when even the right-wing parties as the Social Christians tend to accept social programs and government intervention[6]), legalization of recreational drugs, same-sex marriage, abortion and the like.[6]

In 2002, Guevara ran for president (unsuccessfully, 1.7% of the vote), and the party at the legislative elections won 9.3% of the popular vote and 6 out of 57 seats. A few weeks after taking office, one Congressman left the party and became independent, leaving PML with five seats. In 2006, Guevara again ran for president (unsuccessfully, 8.4% of the vote), and the party at the legislative elections won 9.1% of the popular vote and 6 out of 57 seats.[6] Evangelical pastor Fernando Alexis Castillo Villanueva endorsed the party in this period.[7] In the 2010 general election Guevara was again the PML's presidential candidate and received 20% of the popular vote, it also increased its number of deputies to nine (even so three of these deputies defects from the party before the end of the legislative period). At the municipal level the party obtain one mayor in 2006 and two in 2010.[6]

In its 2014 electoral campaign, the party took a more socially conservative position, totally opposing the legalisation of abortion[2] and rejecting homosexual couples' right to a marriage license.[8]

The party suffered a debacle in the 2014 election, as was relegated to fourth place after PAC, PLN and FA parties,[9] and reducing its congressional representation to less than half (four seats),[10] also was unable to elect any mayor in the 2016 mid-term municipal election. This electoral debacle was also costly, as the party was unable to pay some of its campaign debts to both workers, Social Security, loaners and Banks. As previously, in 2015 another deputy defects; Carmen Quesada, who declares herself independent.

Also in 2015 several party members went to trial after being accused of fraud by the State, apparently trying to trick the Electoral Tribunal in paying for trainings that were already cover by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.[11] Judges sentenced party's vice president, treasurer and accountant to eight years in prison.

For the 2018 general election the party held the first primary election in their history, due to there being more than one members aspiring for the party's nomination for the presidency. The two pre-candidates were Otto Guevara, running for the fifth time, this time under a right-wing populist tone, inspired by the campaigns of Donald Trump.[12] The other candidate was Natalia Díaz, a young, first-time deputy, who promised, if elected, she'll bring a new face to the party and renew its structure and administration. Guevara won with 59.49% of the votes.

Due to previous fraud allegations against the party, Otto Guevara's campaign had difficulty finding a bank willing to give the party a loan for campaigning. This changed on January 20, when Promérica Bank loaned the party 500 million colones for the purpose of financing their electoral campaign.[13] On November, 2019 Guevara announced the foundation of a new political party named Liberal Union[14][15] as the Libertarian Movement is unable to pay its debts.[3][16][5]

Policy positionsEdit

The political party generally has a moderately libertarian perspective on policy issues, although sometimes policy proposals on social issues are more conservative, than libertarian, i.e. a legislator introduced legislation that would have banned same-sex couples from adopting or having custody of children.

During the 2014 campaign, the party expressed opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, although Congressman and Presidential candidate Otto Guevara has since said that his major concern about legalizing gay marriage is that the debate over such libertarian legislation would distract the nation from more important matters.[17]

On most policy issues, the party favors moderate libertarian reforms such as:[18]

  • Moderate intervention of the State in health, education, infrastructure and other areas
  • Break up of all of the state-owned monopolies and eliminate legal barriers on private economic activities
  • Provide a low flat tax for the income produced within the country, eliminate many of the current taxes
  • Free trade – eliminate tariffs and barriers to the entry of goods
  • Freedom to choose the currency that consenting individuals want
  • Freedom to choose your own doctor within the social security system
  • Strengthen individual pension accounts
  • Freedom of parents to choose schools through vouchers
  • Respect for private property
  • Reduction of the participation of government in the economy
  • Freedom of speech and press
  • Transfer of responsibility from central government to local
  • Strengthening of immigration, particularly from Nicaraguans

Electoral performanceEdit


Election Leader Votes % Position Result
1998 Federico Malavassi 5,874 0.4% 7/12 Lost
2002 Otto Guevara 25,815 1.7%   4/12 Lost
2006 137,710 8.5%   3/14 Lost
2010 384,540 20.8% 3/9 Lost
2014 233,064 11.3%   4/13 Lost
2018 21,890 1.02%   7/13 Lost


Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
1998 Federico Malavassi 42,640 3.1%
1 / 57
New 4/23 Opposition
2002 Otto Guevara 142,152 9.3%
6 / 57
  5 4/18 Opposition
2006 147,934 9.2%
6 / 57
0   3/11 Opposition
2010 275,518 14.5%
9 / 57
  3 3/18 Opposition
2014 162,559 7.9%
4 / 57
  5   5/21 Opposition
2018 49,659 2.32%
0 / 57
  4   9/21 Extraparlamentary Opposition


  1. ^ Sanchez, María Isabel (2 February 2014), "No clear frontrunner as Costa Ricans vote for new president", Digital Journal
  2. ^ a b "Liberal and conservative ideologies clashed in first official presidential debate", Inside Costa Rica, 6 January 2014
  3. ^ a b González, Rodolfo (2019). "Otto Guevara quiere regresar a la Asamblea con nuevo partido". Teletica. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  4. ^ Arrieta, Esteban (18 September 2019). "Otto Guevara anhela regresar a la Asamblea Legislativa en 2022". La República. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b Arrieta, Esteban (22 March 2018). "Otto Guevara piensa en nuevo partido y desaparecer deudas de un plumazo". La República. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Costa Rica". San José University. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  7. ^ "La Gaceta" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-08-22.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "¿Ha sido consistente Guevara frente al matrimonio gay?". El Financiero. Retrieved 2014-05-30.[dead link]
  9. ^ Buckman, Robert T. (20 August 2014). Latin America 2014. ISBN 9781475812282. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  10. ^ Turner, Blair (20 August 2015). Latin America 2015-2016. ISBN 9781475818710. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  11. ^ Molina, Tabatha. "Libertarian Party VP in Costa Rica Faces 16 Years for Fraud". Panama Post. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  12. ^ Mata, Esteban. "Otto Guevara: Trump's campaign gives me new inspiration". La Nación. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  13. ^ Madrigal, Rebeca. "Libertarian Movement will get 500 million colones from Promérica Bank in order to fund their last campaign in the days before the election". La Nación. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  14. ^ Arrieta, Esteban (11 November 2019). "Otto Guevara funda nuevo partido para regresar a la Asamblea". La República. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  15. ^ Herrera, Juan José (11 November 2019). "Unión Liberal: el nuevo partido con el que Otto Guevara regresa a la política". Teletica. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  16. ^ Arrieta, Esteban (18 September 2019). "Otto Guevara anhela regresar a la Asamblea Legislativa en 2022". La República. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Costa Rica's Libertarian Lawmakers Show Latin America How It's Done" Archived 2019-03-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Estatuto".

External linksEdit