Crazy From the HeatMatt Casseday

Juan Santamaría Must Be Rolling Over in His Grave

By Matt Casseday

Every April 11th, Costa Rica celebrates Juan Santamaría day. On that date in 1855, young Juan helped defend Costa Rica’s northern border against the forces led by the American mercenary William Walker, whose goal was to annex Central America for the ignoble purpose of the slave trade. The image of the humble young campesino, torch in hand, giving his life to ensure that Costa Rica was not tarnished by any kind of occupying force is in the heart and mind of every kid who grows up here; so great is the remembrance of his deed that the country’s largest airport is named for him, and a large statue of him greets every arriving visitor.

Flash forward 156 years to a little piece of land called Isla Calero. Part of Costa Rica, the isla has been technically occupied by Nicaragua for the past few months, while they allegedly work to improve the navegability of the San Juan River, which flows between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, but is considered part of Nicaragua.

Isla Calero is part of Costa Rica, but you would not know it from looking at recent photos of members of the Nica army working, living, and going so far as to plant a Nicaraguan flag for the world to see.

I recently received a long email from my cousin Junior Casseday, a retired career US Marine officer who came to Costa Rica to live in retirement. For a while he haunted me in the Quepos area but a few years ago he tired of the hot coastal climate and moved to a town in the mountains somewhere between Perez Zeledon and San Jose. We seldom see each other these days, but keep in touch regularly via email.

He was, and is, an irascible opinionated guy and  his email summed up his feelings toward Costa Rica’s tepid response to Nicaragua’s outrageous action. My cousin has given me permission to quote freely from his rant.

He begins with a suggestion: “If this country was really on the ball, they would round up all the street addicts, dress them in tshirts reading JUAN SANTAMARÍA BRIGADE, give them a few square meals, and bus them all to unload at that little hot spot where the Nica flag flies on CR turf. Send them at night, they are more active then anyway. Imagine what those underfed ragtag Nica army boys would think when a few thousand of CR’s finest street people descended on their positions like the Night of the Living Dead…”

He is not a big fan of Nica leader Daniel Ortega: “ Lock me in a room with that gutless little pedophile and keep the door locked until only one man comes out alive. I would pay good money for the opportunity to snap the neck of that little chickenshit…”

Nor is he a fan of many Costa Rican males: “Really, where are all the tough macho men? Maybe if the Nica force was made up only of women we would have plenty of volunteers ready to go beat them up…”

And needless to say, my cousin has no use for the leadership of Costa Rica: “The lamest response to another country’s disrespect I have ever seen. Oh world court help us. We are a poor and defenseless country and that big bully to the north is hanging out in our yard and cutting down trees and digging big ditches and he won’t stop and he won’t go away………..what a bunch of maricones…..they should replace the statue at the airport with one of a politician pissing his pants in fear….”

I’ll be the first to admit that my cousin can go overboard with his rhetoric. I am not in agreement with much of what he says. However, I think it fitting to conclude my article with the same passage that concluded my cousin’s jeremiad, because I have to admit that it is spot on:

“Nicaragua is crapping on CR and CR lacks the cojones to do anything about it. But why should I be surprised? When has the leadership of this country ever stood for self-reliance? Look at the facts. This is all just par for the course: Need a new stadium? The Chinese will build it. Need a new highway? The Spanish will build it. Need some high tech infrastructure? The Americans or the French or the Japanese will provide it. Need help defending your border against the sorryass Nicas? Sorry Costa Rica, you are on your own, and your lame, spineless, mariconista response speaks volumes.

Juan Santamaría must be rolling over in his grave.”