Today July 4th is the Independence Day of the United States. We take this opportunity to take a look at the USA-Costa Rica relations.

Costa Rica is known to be one of the largest allies of the United States. Commercial and geo-political ally. The friendship between the two countries leaves no doubt for many years. It is well known that since Costa Rica has no army, if invaded, the United States would protect it. However, relations between the small Central American country and the giant of the North have not always been a bed of roses. Let’s take a look at some history:

Times When U.S.-Costa Rica Relations Have Been Strained

Diplomatic relations between the two countries date back to 1851. Five years later, in 1856, these relations were strained due to the invasion war of the filibuster William Walker who, backed by Washington, decided to invade Central America. His military crusade ended precisely when he wanted to invade Costa Rica.

Again, relations between the USA and Costa Rica broke down with the dictatorship of Alberto Tinoco, who was not recognized by the United States. During the Calderón Guardia administration, relations became closer, but the alliance of the Costa Rican president with the communist party was not to the liking of the United States, who then decided to support the opposition led by Figueres Ferrer. The latter won the civil war and abolished the army in 1949. Since then, Costa Rica, aware that without an army it cannot ensure its national defense, tightens even more the relations with the giant of the North and supports the latter by being part of the military coalitions led by the USA.

USA-Costa Rica

US-Costa Rica Relations From The 1970’s Onwards

Relations became strained again during the government of Rodrigo Carazo, who supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua against the Somoza regime. In addition, Carazo decided not to pay Costa Rica’s debt to the IMF, angering the USA. When Luis Alberto Monge came to power, both countries had rosy relations: the Costa Rican allowed the Nicaraguan “contra” to operate in the national territory to fight against Daniel Ortega. Oscar Arias Sanchez, obtains the Nobel Peace Prize for having achieved the signing of the peace plan in Central America, something that did not please the USA who did not want to see the war end in the region. During the administration of Abel Pacheco the controversial signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States took place, after many sectors opposed the clauses considered abusive. Currently, the United States is Costa Rica’s largest trading partner and the number of Americans visiting the country either for vacation or to live is growing steadily.

Author: M. Barrantes for Sensorial Sunsets