- The CIA and the American right-wing
had much anxiety towards the president of Costa Rica, José Figueres
who was considered to be a moderate socialist, and on a few
occasions tried to kill him or encourage his overthrow.
- Although he had closely worked with
the CIA, Figueres was also opposed to and encouraged rebellions
against many Latin American dictators, many oh whom were "members in
good standing of the United States' anti-Communist, 'Free-World'
club" like Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua.
- The Costa Rican government also gave
refuge to many political dissidents, both communist and
non-communist, which irked U.S. officials.
- One of the tactics of the CIA was to
place a letter, which was purportedly from a Costa Rican communist, in a
leading communist newspaper stating that Figueres was in
contradiction with the Communist Party's position on the Hungarian
revolution in 1956. This alarmed unknowing officials of the U.S.
Embassy of what Figueres may be capable of.(4)
- Having been elected president for
the third time in May 1970, Figueres began to upset U.S. officials,
in particular the American Right. He did so by continuing to engage
relations he had established with the Soviet Union and other
Eastern European countries; the opponents of the U.S. in the Cold
- Figueres stated, "This diplomatic
recognition in no way shakes our loyalty to the United States or to
the democratic cause. People everywhere are tired of the cold war.
Russian controls half of Europe, and we want to make the Russians
drink coffee [Costa Rica's principal export] instead of tea."
- The Soviet Union had purchased 10
million dollars worth of coffee within two years.
- Earl "Ted" Williamson, was officially
the First Secretary of the U.S. Embassy in the capital caicity of San Jose.
However, in reality, the CIA Chief of Station had declared that the Figueres government would not stay in power for long.
- It is worth noting that the CIA
attempts to overthrow Figueres were never successful and never
obtained a significant backing of the people; also notable is that
in 1949 Figueres abolished the military so that there were not
military dissidents that the U.S. could mobilize.(5)
- An economic crisis that had began
earlier in the decade continued into the late '80's; Costa Rican
standards of living declined and the citizens approval of their
government stayed low.
- The U.S. was lending their support
financially in return for Costa Rican cooperation in harassing
Nicaraguan contras, which was a top American priority in combating
their fear of the spread of communism.
- This U.S. support helped ease some
of the Costa Rican economic troubles.(6)
- U.S. financial aid to Costa Rica was
greatly decreased when president Oscar Arias Sánchez created
the Central American Peace Accord of 1987, which won him the Nobel
Prize for Peace. ("Arias Sánchez")(7)
- This peace accord called for a major
cutback in cooperation with the U.S. sponsored contras, which
angered the Reagan administration and was the cause of their harsh