Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Román Macaya?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Román Macaya Hayes took his post as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States in August 2014. It’s the first diplomatic post for Macaya, a businessman and former presidential candidate.


Macaya was born in Florida on September 19, 1966, to Ernesto Macaya Ortiz and Roberta Hays Macaya Ortiz, an American. His parents were educated in the United States, and Macaya went to college in the U.S. as well. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1988 with a B.A. in chemistry, minoring in modern art. He went on to UCLA, earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1993.


Macaya remained in the United States, working as a senior scientist for PharmaGenics in Allendale, New Jersey, where he managed a structural chemistry lab. He also began work on an MBA in health care management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, earning that degree in 1998.


He returned to Costa Rica that year as a business development manager for ICIC, which runs medical research centers. The following year he was made chief investment officer for Mesoamerica Investments, a private equity firm focusing on healthcare. Macaya moved again in 2000, becoming managing partner for Sanigest International, a healthcare consulting firm.


He joined his family business in 2002, managing Agroquimica Industrial RIMAC, an agricultural chemical firm. He also became active in industry organizations and began to take an interest in politics. He opposed the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) because of its intellectual property mandates, particularly as they applied to pharmaceuticals. Macaya saw the regulations as resulting in higher prices and less availability of drugs for Costa Rican patients.


In 2009, Macaya campaigned for the presidential nomination of the Citizens Action Party. He came in third in the party’s primary with 9% of the vote. He continued managing Agroquimica Industrial RIMAC until his appointment as ambassador. At that time, he also had to renounce his U.S. citizenship.


Macaya and his wife, Thais Gonzalez, have four children, Daniela, Román, Valeria and Adriana.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Román Macaya: ‘Tengo vocación de poder’ (by Eduardo Amador, Poder)


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