COSTA RICA: Attack that Failed

The attack on Costa Rica was both an invasion and a rebellion: it came from northern neighbor Nicaragua, but the attackers were nearly all insurrectionary Costa Rican expatriates. It failed as an invasion because any invasion becomes international business, and other American nations cooperated to seal off the invaders and send arms—specifically four F51 Mustang fighter planes* to the victim. It failed as a rebellion because the rebels were inept and badly misjudged their own strength.

The attack was launched by vengeful followers of Costa Rica's onetime (1940-44) President Rafael Calderón Guardia, who...

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