The Misadventures of el Patron

Congress and the courts close in on Contra Supporter John Hull

"Costa Rica is like Tangiers or Casablanca. There are spies everywhere."

-- John Hull, rancher

The locals call him el Patron. A tough-talking, leathery native of Indiana, he came to Costa Rica in the early 1960s and carved out his own Central American Xanadu, 40 miles south of the Nicaraguan border. The 1,500-acre ranch where he raises cattle and grows oranges is the centerpiece of six properties he owns or manages. Once a week the modern-day feudal baron and his Costa Rican wife Margarita ride out on horseback to check on the 100 workers in their employ. El Patron also enjoys...