The United States' Best Friend in Latin America
On December 7, 1941, just a few hours after Japan had bombarded Pearl Harbour, the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica took action immediately and declared war on Japan and the Axis even before the United States Congress did. The majority of the radio listeners in the States, who were waiting for more news about Pearl Harbour, had no idea where Costa Rica was and many confused it with Puerto Rico. Just a few days after that tragic attack, Costa Rica confined all Japanese, Germans and Italians in special shelters in San José and expropriated their properties.
Many were sent to camps in Canada. After the war, all properties were returned to their legal owners. On occasion of the New York and Washington tragedies of September 11, 2001, Costa Rica immediately offered its moral support to the government and people of the United States and strongly condemned terrorism. And in September 2004, in
memory oft hose who died in that sorrowful event, a beautiful monument
was erected in a small park in western San José.
In March 2003, President Abel Pacheco allied the country with the United States in its fight against Hussein considering that by doing so it was rebuking totalitarism, terrorism and the threat of future biological attacks by the Iraqi dictator. This stance was taken despite strong opposition by the majority of the Costa Ricans who felt that Pacheco's stance was not in accordance with the country's long-standing reputation of peace. And because the United States had taken a unilateral position and not waited for the United Nation to finish its arms investigations in Iraq.
Economically, the United States has been Costa Rica's principal export market since it buys more than 50% of the latter's goods and services. The Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID) over the years has made large contributions to Costa Rica through its various programs of aid particularly in the fields of agriculture, industry, and health. This shows that the two countries have been reciprocally beneficial to each and that Costa Rica has always been very friendly with the United States. It shows too that. Costa Rica welcomes Americans and other well-meaning foreigners who come to live in the country. In March 1963, on arrival in San Jose, President Kennedy drew the greatest crowd seen until then in the country's history. This event has never been forgotten by this writer. That visit has been surpassed only by Pope John Paul 11 who on March 1983 arrived in San José for a 3 days visit.