Costa Ricans Get Along with All Races
The final two lines of the National Anthem of the country tells it all when it says: "...beneath the limpid blue of thou sky may Work and Peace always live forever ". That Costa Rica is in reality a peaceful country is demonstrated by the fact that it has actively engaged in only two international shooting wars in all of its independent history, one in 1856 against the American filibuster William Walker, who wanted to take over Central America and name himself president of the region, and second, the short war with Panama in 1921 over where the boundary between the two countries should be. This latter war lasted only a few days.
There have been some national skirmishes due mainly to politics, but it was only in 1948 that a serious civil war broke out caused by a presidential election fraud. It lasted only a month. Three-time President Ricardo Jiménez was right when he said that "in Costa Rica no fight, scandal or quarrel lasts more than three days." And generally no intense animosity or bitterness remains afterwards. Disputes are generally ironed -out a la Tica (the Ticoway) where no one seems to lose face and everyone goes on his way without animosity or bloodshed.
Regarding the war with Panama, two of my maternal uncles who participated told me how they and a few hundred other Costa Rican young men went from San José on the train to Puerto Limón where they boarded a small ship which took them to the Panamanian coast. On landing, they were told to go back because the war had ended. Finally, during the administration of President Rafael Angel Calderón Guardia in 1941, the boundary line was set and there have been no squabbles between the two countries since then.
Not so with the northern neighbour. On occasions there have been problems with Nicaragua, especially during the long years of the Somoza administration. In January 1955, a group of young Costa Rican hotheads, with the support of General Somoza, tried to overthrow the legitimately elected president José Figueres Ferrer but failed. To help Costa Rica against Somoza, the United States Government sold it two P-51 fighter planes at the symbolic sum of $1 each. That immediately ended the invasion. In more recent years the quarrels with Nicaragua have been due to problems over the San Juan River that marks the boundary between the two countries.