Arias was born in Panama City, Panama on December 29, 1856. He was the son of Ramon Arias Faraud and Manuela Avila. A businessman, Arias attended schools in Panama, Jamaica, and the United States. Arias was one of the leaders during the emancipation movement in 1903. His eloquence and talent as a public speaker won him the designation of diplomat representing the Isthmus of Panama.
During his political career he held several posts: Treasury administrator, Departmental Assembly deputy (1882), representative to the Colombian Congress, senator (1888-1892), government secretary (1893-1900), foreign relations minister, chairman of the National Assembly (1906), minister of Panama in Mexico, consul, president of the Republic of Panama (1903-1904).
Arias, as well as Jose Agustin Arango, defended the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty because he was convinced that it was the only guarantee of the possible construction of the interoceanic canal.
He passed away in Panama City, Panama on July 20, 1932.