Famous Costa Rican poet, journalist, writer and politician. In 1887 he was appointed Attaché of the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, United States, where he attended the historic border agreement between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
In honor of his work and the National Poet of Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports annually awards the “Aquileo J. Echeverría Award” in different branches of literature, plastic arts and music.
Biography of the National Poet of Costa Rica and Benemerico de las Letras Patrias
He was born in San José, on May 22, 1866. Baptized with the name of Adolfo Dolores Aquileo de la Trinidad Echeverría Zeledón. His parents were Aquileo Echeverría and Trinidad Zeledón.
He studied in primary schools and later in the National Institute, studies that did not end up being very poor and for enlisting in the military expedition that Costa Rica sent against Barrios, President of Guatemala, who was trying to carry out the Central American union by force.
With an elegant artistic sensibility, he is one of the most important figures in the literary history of Costa Rica. He was a friend of Rubén Darío, his work can be located mainly within the peasant manners, and had a clear influence of Modernism.
In his works such as the Romances and Concherías poetry books, he uses the language of the “conchos” or peasants of Costa Rica. The Legislative Assembly designated him Benemérito de las Letras Patrias by agreement No. 46 of October 29, 1953.
After the military emergency, he remained in Nicaragua for some time in the service of the Government of that country, where he cultivated very good relations with President General Cárdenas, whom he served as a military assistant, where he became friends with the poet Rubén Darío. Upon his return to Costa Rica, he joined journalism. He collaborated in newspapers and magazines such as: La República, El Comercio, Costa Rica Ilustrada, La Patria, El and others.
In 1887 he was appointed Attaché of the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, United States, where he attended the historic border agreement between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Upon his return he held various public positions and in 1889 he made a trip to El Salvador and there he collaborated with Rubén Darío in the newspaper La Unión. Then he went to Guatemala and there he worked in the newspaper Guatemala Ilustrada. He returned to Costa Rica in 1893 and again joined journalism.
Later he moved to live in Heredia and worked in the community’s public library. Then he installs a grocery store and is dedicated to commerce and there he has the opportunity to share with the customs and peasant language.
The last verses of the Poet
His friend Darío went to see him at the Pilar health home. There Aquileo wrote his last verses: The Country Dawn – dedicated to the Bishop of Costa Rica, Don Juan Stork, one of his best poetic works, in which he reaffirms himself as a Christian and asks for the honored peasant of his country, and ends like this:
“For those people who have a healthy body and clean soul, in heaven everything shines, and on earth everything sings”
State of health and death
In 1902 his health was seriously damaged, the Costa Rican government provided him with a trip to Europe, in order for him to undergo treatment with a specialist to improve his health.
He entered a Health Home in Barcelona, Spain and there he died on March 11, 1909. On March 19, 1915, the Athenaeum of Costa Rica, an institution constituted by the most important figures of the Costa Rican intelligentsia, manages to bring the remains of Aquileo J. Echeverría to be buried in the city of Heredia. The Legislative Assembly designated him Benemérito de las Letras Patrias by agreement No. 46 of October 29, 1953.