When gunfire began crackling in Costa Rica's southern mountains two weeks ago, Latin Americans labeled the uprising another small-scale civil war. Last week they knew better. What had started as a purely local conflict between rival political factions threatened to involve all Central America.
To support Costa Rica's leftist government, which was beaten in last month's presidential elections, Nicaraguan Dictator Anastasio Somoza sent fighter planes and transports and 400 well-drilled National Guardsmen to San Jose. At La Sabana airport, the Nicaraguans boarded
Red Cross trucks and headed off to the front.