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Since 1905, the Hacienda Victoria, which was owned by Germans, was planted with coffee, sugar cane and other products. It was with the purpose of producing sugar that the mill was installed. In the surroundings there were many small farmers dedicated to the crop these products and their harvests were sold to “La Hacienda” for their processing. It was through this activity that the economy of the area was developed.

During the 30’s, many countries around the world were economically affected. Farmers and producers, especially small producers, went through a very difficult situation due to “The Great Depression” and Costa Rica was not the exception.

Thus, it was urgent to look for alternatives to survive to the crisis and succeed. One of the options was to work together in a cooperative in order to install their own processing plant, known in Costa Rica as “El ingenio”, but the circumstances were very difficult to overcome and farmers were not ready yet to give this big step

A decade later, following the conflicts arising as a result of World War II, in Costa Rica properties and other possessions belonging to Italians, Germans and even Spanish, were confiscated by the government of the Republic. This did not exclude Hacienda Victoria to be confiscated, too. This issue aggravated the situation among those farmers who delivered their crops to “La Hacienda”. Uncertainty became part of their lives.

The situation of war the world lived and its impact on Costa Rica, made emerging groups of intellectual people to create a special association to study and analyze the social and economic problems Costa Rican population were going through. By this way, it was born the “Centro de Estudios de los Problemas Nacionales” (Center of Studies of the National Problematic), which members were involved in the new social and economic doctrines, which intention was to find a solution for the hard times.

It was Cooperativism , which results had been flattered around the world, the first suggestion the “Center” gave in order to solve the socio-economic problem people in Grecia was living.

An undertaking of such magnitude was impossible to create without official government endorsement. As willing pioneers, they resorted to the Presidency of the Republic, requesting the support and the necessary legislation for the Hacienda Victoria, expropriated in Grecia, to be put under control of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, which obtained the grant for the Cooperative.

The Executive Body accomplished that the National Congress promulgated law N° 49 on July 22nd , 1943. This legislation empowered the State to sell “Hacienda Victoria” and so its infrastructure to B.N.C.R. It also authorized the bank to handle the organization, execute control, and administrate the “Cooperativa de Producción Agrícola e Industrial” until the same was able to cancel 75% of the total amount of the loan due.

Throughout the process of cooperativism of “Hacienda Victoria” deserve special mention the pioneers:

José Manuel Peralta Quesada, José Joaquín Mora Mora, Alcides Barquero Ruíz, Ricardo Solís Ballestero, neighbors from Grecia, as well as Gerardo Murillo Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Chávez Gómez, Luis Rodríguez Salas and Manuel Víquez Rojas from Póas, who gave the best from themselves to achieve the objective

Besides, it is important to highlight the participation of the young people from the “Centro de Estudios de los Problemas Nacionales” which enthusiasm, knowledge, and mystic knew how to prosecute the farmers’ concerns.

It is also worthy to thank Mr. President, Dr. Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, who in every single moment supported the process and also to Julio Peña Morúa, manager of Banco Nacional at that time, who not only helped financially the project, but also with his enthusiasm collaborated to make the process easier.

The Industrial Agricultural Cooperative Victoria (Cooperativa Agricola Industrial Victoria), was legally constituted on October 12th, 1943 with 20 partners and with an initial capital of ten millions colones (¢ 10.000 000), divided into one hundred shares of one hundred colones each.

On July 31st 1956, according to Law N° 49, Banco Nacional formally submitted the Cooperative to the General Assembly because the 75% of the debt had been covered.

From there, the company continued to grow and expand not only geographically, but in its diversification. Decades after these events, thanks to the support and efforts of all, we touch the scope and benefits that economic democracy achieved in a society.


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