1821 Sep 15, A junta convened
by the captain-general in Guatemala declared independence for its
provinces Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua San Salvador
(AP, 9/15/97)(EWH, 1968, p.843)
1823 Jul 1, The United
Provinces of Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua and San Salvador) gained independence from Mexico. The
union dissolved by 1840.
(PC, 1992, p.393)(ON, 12/99, p.5)
1824 Jul 25, Costa Rica gained
Guanacaste province from Nicaragua as the town people of Nicoya and
Santa Cruz decided to join Costa Rica. In 2013 Nicaragua’s President
Daniel Ortega warned Costa Rica that he may ask the International
Court of Justice to restore to Managua the province he said it lost
1839-1840 The Liberals of the United Provinces of
Central America under leader Francisco Morazan were defeated in a
civil war led by Rafael Carrera. The confederation dissolved into
its 4 component states: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa
(EWH, 1968, p.857)
1856 Apr 11, Battle of Rivas;
Costa Rica beat William Walker's invading Nicaraguans.
1857 May 1, William Walker,
conqueror of Nicaragua, surrendered to the US Navy. Cornelius
Vanderbilt helped finance a Costa Rican army, which defeated
Walker’s forces, and paid men under Walker’s command to defect.
Walker later sought protection on a British naval vessel, whose
captain turned him over to Hondurans, who executed him in 1860.
1871 Costa Rica hired Minor C.
Keith (23), an engineer from Brooklyn, to build a rail line. Keith
grew bananas on the right of way to help finance the project. His
enterprise grew to become the United Fruit Company, later Chiquita.
(WSJ, 8/9/99, p.A1)
1910 May 8, Ricardo Jimenez
Oreamuno (b.1859) began serving his first term as president of Costa
Rica. In 1914 he was succeeded by Alfredo Gonzalez Flores.
1919 Jun 4, US marines invaded
1924 May 8, Ricardo Jimenez
Oreamuno (b.1859) began serving his 2nd term as president of Costa
Rica. In 1928 he was succeeded by Cleto Gonzalez Viquez.
1932 May 8, Ricardo Jimenez
Oreamuno (b.1859) began serving his 3rd term as president of Costa
Rica. In 1936 he was succeeded by Leon Cortes Castro.
1940s The US Navy acquired
two-thirds of Vieques, Costa Rica, a 20-by-4-mile island for $1.4
1941 Dec 6, John Nelson,
conductor (Les Troyens of Berlioz), was born in San Jose, Costa
1943 A Vultee BT-13 Valiant
disappeared on a flight from San Antonio, Texas, to Chile. Pilot
Werner Martinez and Sgt. Tomas Ayala were on ill-fated flight, which
crashed in Costa Rica. In 2008 police were led to the crash site
after an anonymous caller reported seeing a local resident carrying
plane parts in the town of San Isidro de El Guarco.
1945 Jan 4, Ricardo Jimenez
Oreamuno (b.1859), 3-term president of Costa Rica, died.
1948 Feb 8, The National
Republicans, who had held the majority of Costa Rica's political
power for decades, were finally voted out of the presidency. The
National Republicans used their strong influence in the Legislative
Assembly to annul the presidential election of rival candidate
Otilio Ulate of the Social Democratic Party.
1948 Apr 12, Cartago, Costa
Rica, fell into the hands of Jose Figueres Ferrer, a vociferous
adversary of the National Republicans.
1948 Apr 19, Teodoro Picado and
Father Benjamin Nunez, an eminent labor leader within Costa Rica,
signed The Pact of the Mexican Embassy, ending an armed uprising.
1948 Apr 24, The
forces of Jose Figueres Ferrer entered San Jose, almost six
weeks after beginning their revolt in southern Costa Rica.
1948 Dec 1, Costa Rica’s
President José Figueres Ferrer abolished the military after victory
in a civil war.
1948-1949 Jose Figueres Ferrer fought for
democracy in Costa Rica. The war arose in a dispute between dictator
Rafael Angel Calderon, who had stolen an election, and the social
democratic partisans of Figueres
(WSJ, 12/12/97, p.A19)
1949 Feb 21, Nicaragua and
Costa Rica signed a friendship treaty ending hostilities over their
1949 Nov 7, Costa Rica adopted
a constitution that prohibited a standing army.
(SFEC, 11/17/96, Z. 1
1953 Jose Figueres Ferrer
gained power in Costa Rica.
(WSJ, 12/12/97, p.A19)
1960 The Central American
Common Market was set up by a treaty between El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua, and later Costa Rica. It fell apart by the end
of the decade.
1963 Mar 19, In Costa Rica,
President John F. Kennedy and six Latin American presidents pledged
to fight Communism.
1966 Miguel Angel Rodriguez
(b.1940) received his doctorate from UC Berkeley in California.
Rodriguez later served as president of Costa Rica from 1998-2002.
(SFC, 3/16/02, p.A19)
1968 Jun 29, The Arenal
volcano, dormant for 450 years, burst into life and killed 95
people. The village of Tabacon was wiped out.
(SFC, 5/9/98, p.A7)(SSFC, 4/1/01, p.T6)
1971 Robert Lee Vesco
(1935-2007) fled the US to avoid charges of bilking mutual fund
investors of $224 million. In 1972 the SEC charged him and others in
a civil lawsuit, but Vesco had fled to the Bahamas and then to Costa
Rica where he established a close friendship with Pres. Jose
Figueres, plowing some 11 million into the country.
(SFC, 8/21/96, p.A8)(SFC, 5/3/08, p.A6)
1972 Costa Rica created the
1,680-acre Manuel Antonio National Park.
(SSFC, 6/1/03, p.C5)
1978 In Costa Rica Rodrigo
Carazo Odio (1927-2009) began serving as president and continued to
1978 Cocos Island, some 330
miles west of Costa Rica, was made a Costa Rican national park along
with 12 miles of seas surrounding it. In 1997 UNESCO named it a
World Heritage Site.
(SSFC, 12/1/13, p.H4)
1981 Costa Rica under Pres.
Rodrigo Carazo Odio broke off relations Cuba. Ties were restored in
1982 Cocos Island was made a
national park. It is 9-sq. miles and located 300 miles off the Coast
of Central America.
(SFC, 7/29/00, p.E3)
1983 Oct 5, Earl Tupper
(b.1907), a Massachusetts tree surgeon, inventor and founder of
Tupperware, died in Costa Rica [see 1938].
1984 Nov, The CIA told Congress
in 1987 that it had concluded in Nov, 1984 that it could not resume
aid to the Costa Rican-based Contras because “everybody around
Pastora was involved in cocaine."
(SFC, 10/31/96, p.A7)
1984 May 30, There was an
assassination attempt on Eden Pastora Gomez, a Nicaraguan
anticommunist revolutionary, by Sandinistas. The Costa Rica
government of Luis Alberto Monge Alvarez failed to make a serious
investigation. Two Costa Ricans, four Nicaraguan rebels and US
journalist Linda Frazier were killed and more than 20 other people
were wounded in the attack at the village of La Penca, near the
Nicaraguan border. In 2011 a former Nicaraguan official confirmed
that Vital Gaguine (d.1989), a leftist Argentine guerrilla, had been
hired by the Sandinistas to kill Pastora.
1986 May 8, In Costa Rica Oscar
Arias (b.1940) began serving as president and continued to 1990. In
2006 he began serving a 2nd term as president.
1987 Oct 13, Costa Rican
President Oscar Arias was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for
his efforts on behalf of a Central American peace plan to end the
war in Nicaragua.
(AP, 10/13/97)(WSJ, 12/12/97, p.A19)
1988 Bill Graham produced a
worldwide tour on behalf of Amnesty Int’l. featuring Bruce
Springsteen, Sting and Peter Gabriel. They toured Costa Rica, India
1990-1994 Rafael angel Calderon served as
president of Costa Rica.
(Econ, 11/27/04, p.38)
1991 Apr 22, Sixty people were
killed when a strong earthquake shook Costa Rica and neighboring
Panama, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage.
1993 Sep 9-1993 Sep 14,
Hurricane Gert caused 76 deaths. It affected Mexico, Honduras, Costa
Rica, and Nicaragua.
1995 Fresh Del Monte launched
its "Gold" pineapple, grown in the volcanic soils of Costa Rica, and
secured a patent for it.
(WSJ, 10/7/03, p.A1)
1996 Jul 7-1996 Jul 28,
Hurricane Cesar caused 51 deaths in Caribbean and Central America.
The storm hit Costa Rica, Curacao, Aruba, San Andres and Nicaragua.
1996 Aug, Maria Felix Bejarano
escaped from the Buen Pastor prison. She gave the guards $4,700 for
their kindness. This was the 7th escape of her career in which she
applies for a job as a maid and then cleans out the houses in which
she works .
(SFC, 8/30/96, p.A14)
1997 Nov 13, In Costa Rica Max
Dalton (78), an American-born rancher, was killed in a confrontation
with squatters on his 10-acre ranch in Golfito. Squatters in the
region have “confiscated" the holdings of more than 2 dozen
Americans in the region.
(WSJ, 12/12/97, p.A19)
1997 Intel opened a factory in
the rain forest of Costa Rica. In 2014 Intel announced plans to move
its Costa Rican assembly and test operations to Malaysia, Vietnam
and China. 1,400 employees remained in Costa Rica in centers for
global services as well as design and engineering.
(Econ, 4/19/14, p.33)(Econ, 5/10/14, p.16)
1998 Feb 1, In Costa Rica
Miguel Angel Rodriguez of the Social Christian Unity Party won the
presidential elections by a narrow margin over Jose Miguel Corrales
of the National Liberation party. Also elected were 2
vice-presidents, 57 members of the Legislative Assembly and 571
(SFC, 2/2/98, p.A8)
1998 May 8, In Costa Rica
Miguel Angel Rodriguez of the Social Christian Unity Party began
serving as president.
1998 Oct 22-1998 Nov 9,
Hurricane Mitch was one of the Caribbean's deadliest storms ever
causing at least at least 9,000 deaths in Central America. The storm
hit Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama,
Jamaica, and Costa Rica. Later reports put the death toll in
Honduras to 6,076. In Nicaragua the deaths reached 4,000, in
Guatemala it was157, and in El Salvador it was 222. The storm parked
over Honduras and rain poured for 6 days straight. Aid of $66
mil was ordered from the US, $8 mil from the EU, $11.6 mil from
Spain along with pledges from other countries and private
(SFC, 11/4/98, p.A9)(SFC, 11/6/98, p.A14)(AP,
2000 Jan 15, In San Jose, Costa
Rica, a Czech-built Let 410 Taxi Aereo Centroamericano flight
crashed and 4 people were killed with 17 injured.
(SFC, 1/17/00, p.A11)
2000 Mar 13, In Costa Rica 2
American women were found shot to death near Cabhuita. Emily Howell
of Kentucky and Emily Eagen of Michigan were attacked while driving
an SUV. A 16-year-old boy was later arrested and 2 other suspects
were sought. Jorge Alberto Urbina (19) was arrested Mar 28. The
16-year-old was sentenced to 14 ½ years in prison.
(SFC, 3/15/00, p.A10)(SFC, 3/28/00, p.A12)(SFC,
3/29/00, p.A15)(SFC, 7/28/00, p.A12)
2000 Jul 19, In Tilaran, Costa
Rica, a nursing-home fire killed 17 elderly people.
(WSJ, 7/20/00, p.A1)
2000 Aug 1, Costa Rica planned
to begin offering free e-mail access to all its citizens through the
government owned commercial Internet monopoly, RACSA.
(SFEC, 6/18/00, p.A15)
2000 Aug 27, Ten people were
killed when a small plane crashed into a volcano in northern Costa
(SFC, 8/28/00, p.A12)
2001 Mar 13, In Costa Rica
Shannon Martin (23), a student from Topeka, Kan., was stabbed to
death, after she left a nightclub in Golfito, 100 miles south of San
Jose. In 2003 Kattia Cruz, 28, and Luis Alberto Castro, 38, were
found guilty of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the
2001 Jul 7, In Puerto Rico
Parmenio Medina (62), a Colombian-born journalist, was gunned down
in his car. He ran a radio program called "La Patada," or "The
Kick," which denounced fraud at a religious radio station. In 2007 a
court convicted Omar Chaves, a businessman, of ordering the murder
of the journalist. Chaves also got a 12-year prison sentence on a
fraud count. His partner, Father Minor de Jesus Calvo, was acquitted
of the killing, but was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 15 years
2001 The French firm Alcatel
won a contract from Costa Rica telecoms and electricity firm ICE. In
2004 Pres. Rodriguez was charged with accepting a share of a $2.4
million payment made by Alcatel for the contract.
(Econ, 11/27/04, p.38)
2002 Jan 6, It was reported
that Costa Rica required medical professionals to serve a year
treating disadvantaged communities. Mandatory community service
programs were in place for high school students.
(SSFC, 1/6/02, p.A3)
2002 Feb 3, In presidential
elections Abel Pacheco, of the ruling Social Christian Unity Party,
won 38.5% of the vote and Rolando Araya, national Liberation Party,
won 30.9%. A runoff was scheduled for Apr 7.
(SFC, 2/5/02, p.A7)
2002 Mar 15, Pres. Rodriguez
spoke at UC Berkeley on its Charter Day.
(SFC, 3/16/02, p.A19)
2002 Apr 7, Abel Pacheco (68),
psychiatrist, poet and former TV commentator, was elected president
in a runoff against Rolando Araya.
(WSJ, 4/8/02, p.A1)
2002 Oct 14, A Costa Rica
investment operation called The Brothers Fund (Ofinter Foreign
Exchange SA) collapsed and siblings Luis Enrique (63) and Osvaldo
Villalobos (58) were held responsible.
(WSJ, 12/13/02, p.A1)
2003 May 1, The US Navy
withdrew from Vieques Island.
2003 Sep 5, Costa Rica's Arenal
Volcano spewed lava, rocks and ash in its strongest eruption in more
than two years.
2003 Dec 25, A strong
earthquake shook the border of Costa Rica and Panama, killing an
infant and leaving dozens of others with mainly minor injuries.
2003 Costa Rica changed its
constitution to allow former presidents to stand again.
(Econ, 2/4/06, p.34)
2004 May 28, US officials and 5
Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras and Nicaragua) signed a free trade pact (CAFTA), to be
later approved by Congress. The Dominican Republic would be included
(SFC, 5/29/04, p.A4)
2004 Apr, In Costa Rica some 80
families began staying at the Metropolitan Cathedral, when police
removed them from the Bambuzal plantation, owned by Standard Fruit
Co. in Rio Frio de Sarapiqui, about 30 miles north of the Costa
Rican capital. The families say that the land should be divided
among the landless under laws that require companies to work large
tracts of land in order to keep it. Standard says it is working the
land to produce bamboo.
2004 Jul 27, A Costa Rican
policeman apparently distraught over an impending job transfer
killed himself and three of the 10 hostages he had taken at the
2004 Oct 21, Former Costa Rica
Pres. Rafael Angel Calderon was detained in connection with a
corruption investigation. He was charged with distributing and
taking a share of a commission of some $9 million connected to the
supply of medical equipment. He was under investigation for
allegedly receiving nearly $500,000 from a Finnish government loan
to Costa Rica for the purchase of medicines.
(AP, 10/21/04)(Econ, 11/27/04, p.38)(AP, 2/5/06)
2004 Nov 20, An early morning
6.2 earthquake jolted San Jose, Costa Rica, and killed 8 people.
Leaders of 21 nations were gathered there for the Ibero-American
2004 The US government removed
Costa Rica from the list of the so-called "coalition of the willing"
in regards to the war in Iraq. However Costa Rica still appeared in
archive documents and on related Internet Web sites that haven't
been updated as supporting the coalition.
2005 Jan 11, Costa Rica Pres.
Abel Pacheco signed a decree of national emergency after 3 days of
heavy rains forced nearly 13,000 people from their homes and killed
at least one person. Panama reported 2 dead.
2005 Mar 3, The seven Central
American nations (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) agreed to create a rapid-response
force to combat drug trafficking, terrorism and other regional
2005 Mar 9, In Costa Rica
police stormed a bank in a hail of gunfire following a thwarted
robbery that turned into a 30-hour hostage standoff in the tourist
town of Santa Elena de Monteverde. Officials said nine people were
killed, including five bank customers.
2005 Jun 30, In Honduras
Central American leaders agreed to create a regional special forces
unit to fight drug trafficking, gang violence and terrorism within
their borders. The 2-day regional meeting included the presidents of
Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico,
Nicaragua, and Panama.
2005 Jul 12, In Costa Rica a
fire at the Calderon Guardia Hospital killed 19 people. 2 more
people died later from complications. The building lacked proper
fire exits. On Oct 7 the country's top investigator said died the
fire was set deliberately.
(WSJ, 7/13/05, p.A1)(AP, 10/8/05)
2005 Jul 16, A small plane from
Costa Rica, piloted by the son of a former owner of the San Jose
Sharks hockey team, crashed off the Pacific Coast, killing six
2005 Sep 6, Dominican Republic
legislators overwhelmingly approved a free-trade agreement with the
US and five Central American countries, rejecting arguments that the
pact would devastate the domestic sugar industry. The other five
countries are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and
Nicaragua. Costa Rica and Nicaragua had not yet ratified the pact.
2005 Oct 12, In Costa Rica the
InterAmerican Human Rights court, announced that it has ordered
Colombia to pay damages in the 1997 massacre of dozens of Mapiripan
villagers by right-wing paramilitary fighters.
2005 Nov 24, In Costa Rica
thousands of supporters of a free trade pact for Central America
marched through San Jose. The group of about 5,000 mainly workers
and business owners urged Congress to approve the pact known as
2006 Feb 5, Costa Rica held
elections and former pres. Oscar Arias was expected to win.
(SSFC, 2/5/06, p.A19)
2006 Feb 6, In Costa Rica with
78% of the votes counted, former president Arias had 40.7% compared
to 40 percent for opposition figure Otton Solis of the Citizens'
2006 Feb 7, Costa Rican
electoral officials began counting votes by hand in a laborious
effort to determine the winner of one of the country's closest
presidential races in history.
2006 Feb 22, In Costa Rica
results from the Feb 5 elections indicated that Oscar Arias, a free
trade proponent, had won Costa Rica's presidential election by
18,167 votes, one of the country's closest races ever.
(AP, 2/22/06)(WSJ, 2/23/06, p.A1)
2006 Mar 7, Nobel Peace
laureate Oscar Arias was declared Costa Rica's president-elect.
2006 May 8, Oscar Arias (65),
Nobel Peace Prize winner (1987), returned to the Costa Rican
presidency, hoping to use his skills as a mediator to unite a
country sharply divided over free trade with the United States.
2006 Jun 10, In Costa Rica a
Kansas high school student and teacher disappeared in the in the
waters off Palo Seco beach. The bodies of 2 other students were
2006 Jul 11, Central American
presidents agreed on a plan to ease border controls and install a
common customs system on the way to negotiating an eventual
free-trade agreement with the EU. The agreement signed by Panama,
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize
would allow residents to cross borders without passports or visas.
2006 Jul 24, Costa Rica relaxed
visa requirements for visitors from 102 nations, in the Central
American country's most sweeping migration reform in decades.
2006 Aug 10, Hector Orlando
Martinez Quinto (38) was captured in Costa Rica. He was accused of
participating in a 2002 rebel (FARQ) attack that killed 119
civilians in Boyaya, in one of the worst tragedies in Colombia's
four-decade-old guerrilla war.
2006 Oct 16, In Costa Rica
several operators of Internet gambling sites known as "sportsbooks"
say their businesses will not be significantly affected by a new US
law prohibiting bank and credit card payments to the sites.
2006 Nov 20, Authorities seized
a 50-foot homemade submarine with 3 tons of cocaine off the coast of
(SFC, 11/21/06, p.A2)
2007 Feb 21, In Costa Rica an
American senior citizen (70) killed an alleged mugger with his bare
hands. His traveling companions aboard a tour bus fended off two
other assailants in the Atlantic coast city of Limon. The tourists
left on their Carnival cruise ship after the incident and
authorities did not plan to press charges against them.
2007 Feb 26, In Costa Rica tens
of thousands of union members, farmers and political activists
marched through San Jose to protest a free-trade pact with the US
they say will be harmful to local businesses.
2007 May 25, Costa Rica health
officials said they have seized more than 350 tubes of Chinese-made
toothpaste tainted with a deadly chemical reportedly found in tubes
sold elsewhere in the world.
2007 Jun 6, President Oscar
Arias announced that Costa Rica has broken diplomatic ties with
Taiwan and established relations with China, delivering a blow to
the Asian island's fragile international standing.
2007 Jun 6, The United States
said it has canceled the visas of 22 Costa Rican immigration
officials suspected of selling visa stamps so that Costa Ricans
could stay illegally in the US without getting caught.
2007 Oct 7, Costa Ricans
appeared to narrowly vote in favor of joining the Central American
Free Trade Agreement with the US, and President Oscar Arias declared
victory for the pact.
2007 Oct 12, In Costa Rica
heavy rains caused a landslide that killed 10 people.
(WSJ, 10/13/07, p.A1)
2007 Oct 17, In Costa Rica and
agreement was reached by which the US government and environmental
groups will trim $26 million off Costa Rica's debt rolls in exchange
for the country spending the same amount on tropical forest
2007 Oct 24, In Beijing Costa
Rican president Oscar Arias signed several accords with his Chinese
counterpart, months after the Central American nation established
diplomatic relations with the Asian giant.
2007 Nov 21, Costa Rica's
president signed into law a free trade agreement (CAFTA) with its
Central American neighbors, the United States and the Dominican
Republic. Costa Ricans voted for the trade deal in a national
referendum, moving it forward. But then it became stalled again as
congress squabbled over the enabling legislation dealing with 13
different aspects of the deal. In late 2008 lawmakers overcame the
final intellectual-property hurdle by allowing schools and
universities to copy some materials and by reducing prison time for
those guilty of selling pirated goods.
(AP, 11/22/07)(AP, 11/11/08)
2007 Dec 21, Costa Rican agents
made the largest marijuana bust in the Central American nation's
history, seizing 4.85 tons of the drug found in an abandoned boat.
2008 Mar 4, Costa Rican police
detained 14 people, including a family court judge and a lawyer, on
suspicion of participating in a scheme in which mothers allegedly
were paid to give up their babies.
2008 Jul 25, Texas nurse Chere
Lyn Tomayko, wanted by the FBI for international parental
kidnapping, was awarded refugee status in Costa Rica and cannot be
extradited to the US. In December 1996, a US judge gave joint
custody of a daughter, Alexandria Camille Cyprian, to Tomayko and
her ex-boyfriend Robert Cyprian, with the condition that Alexandria
live in Tarrant County, Texas. Tomayko said she moved to Costa Rica
because she had been physically abused by Cyprian.
2008 Sep 16, Costa Rica
Security Minister Janina del Vecchio said that a 70-foot (20-meter)
submarine-type vessel was intercepted by the US Navy in
international waters near Costa Rica.
2009 Jan 8, A magnitude 6.1
earthquake rocked Costa Rica killing at least 20 people with dozens
(AP, 1/9/09)(AP, 1/14/09)
2009 Mar 18, Costa Rica said it
will re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba, and El Salvador's new
president-elect, Mauricio Funes, promised to do the same after he
2009 May 9, Costa Rica reported
the first swine flu death outside North America and the US announced
its third death from the virus, while Mexico delayed the reopening
of primary schools in some states.
2009 Jun 28, In Honduras more
than a dozen soldiers arrested President Manuel Zelaya and disarmed
his security guards after surrounding his residence before dawn.
Protesters called it a coup and flocked to the presidential palace
as local news media reported that Zelaya was sent into exile in
Costa Rica. He was detained shortly before voting was to begin on a
constitutional referendum the president had insisted on holding even
though the Supreme Court ruled it illegal and everyone from the
military to Congress and members of his own party opposed it. The
nonbinding referendum was to ask voters if they want to hold a vote
during the November presidential election on whether to convoke an
assembly to rewrite the constitution.
2009 Jul 13, The UN’s highest
court set travel rules for the Nicaraguan river that borders Costa
Rica, affirming freedom for Costa Rican boats while upholding
Nicaragua's right to regulate traffic.
2009 Aug 25, Nicaragua said it
will reroute the San Juan River on the border with Costa Rica. The
river has been at the center of a lengthy dispute between the two
Central American countries. The UN’s highest court last month set
travel rules for the San Juan River, affirming freedom for Costa
Rican boats to navigate the waterway while upholding Nicaragua's
right to regulate traffic. The judgment ended a four-year legal
battle. Under an 1858 treaty, the entire river belongs to Nicaragua
up to the Costa Rican bank, but Costa Rican ships have freedom of
navigation for commerce.
2009 Sep 12, Costa Rican
authorities detained 54 US-bound migrants from Africa and Nepal
after their boat arrived on the country's coast. Authorities also
took into custody three suspected Colombian smugglers who were
traveling with them.
2009 Oct 5, Rafael Calderon,
former Costa Rican president (1990-1994), was convicted and
sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling funds from a
Finnish loan intended for medical equipment for public hospitals.
2009 Oct 19, In Costa Rica
Michael Dixon (33), a British journalist, was last spotted leaving
the Villas Macondo hotel in the popular surfers' resort of Playa
Tamarindo, having traveled there on his own.
2009 Dec 9, In Costa Rica
former President Rodrigo Carazo Odio (82) died of complications from
open-heart surgery. Odio governed Costa Rica from 1978 to 1982.
2010 Feb 7, Costa Rica held
elections and elected its first woman president. Laura Chinchilla
(50), a mother and a social conservative, who opposed abortion and
gay marriage, won 47% of the vote after campaigning to continue free
market policies. She served as vice president under current Pres.
Oscar Arias. Otton Solis of the Citizens Action Party, got 25% of
the votes. He and the other main rival, Libertarian Otto Guevara,
quickly conceded defeat. Chinchilla’s National Liberation Party was
the largest in congress, but held only 24 of 57 seats.
(AP, 2/7/10)(AP, 2/8/10)(Econ, 2/13/10,
p.41)(Econ, 5/8/10, p.40)
2010 Mar 4, US Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on the sidelines of a meeting of
regional officials in Costa Rica, said the Obama administration will
resume aid to Honduras that was suspended after a coup last year and
urged Latin American nations to recognize the new Honduran
2010 Apr 19, Winners of the
2010 Goldman Environmental Prizes, known as the "green Nobels," were
honored in San Francisco. Sereivathana Tuy of Cambodia won for his
efforts in stopping farmers from killing elephants. Randall Arauz of
Costa Rica won for his campaign to halt the maiming and killing of
sharks for their fins. Humberto Rios Labrada (47) of Cuba won for
his campaign to shift farming practices toward increasing diversity
and reducing chemical use. Malgorzata Gorska of Poland won for her
fight to stop a highway through the Rospuda Valley, one of Poland’s
last vestiges of untouched wilderness. Thuli Makama of Swaziland won
for her efforts in getting citizen participation on the Swaziland
board in charge of the environment. She helped prompt investigations
into allegations of private park rangers killing suspected poachers
in sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarchy. Lynn Henning of the
USA won for exposing polluting practices of livestock ranches in
(AP, 4/19/10)(SFC, 4/19/10, p.A1)
2010 May 8, Costa Rica
inaugurated Laura Chinchilla as its first woman leader, replacing
Nobel laureate Oscar Arias with his former vice president and
2010 May 24, Costa Rica's
unicameral congress voted itself a 60 percent pay raise less than a
month after legislators took office. The next day President Laura
Chinchilla said she will veto the pay bill unless congress finds
days to offset the cost in other areas. Costa Rica's congress
shelved a final vote on the pay raise after Pres. Chinchilla
promised to veto the measure.
(AP, 5/26/10)(AP, 5/26/10)
2010 Oct 15, The Costa Rican
government said it is receiving nearly $56 million in donations and
debt write-offs to expand its forest and marine conservation
programs and has become the first developing country to meet UN
goals on protected areas. Under the plan, the US agreed to buy back
$27 million of Costa Rica's foreign debt, money that will be used
instead to invest conservation programs. The US already trimmed $26
million of Costa Rican debt in 2007 as part of the US Tropical
Forest Conservation Act. The debt now stands at $77 million.
2010 Oct 22, Costa Rica sent
some 70 police reinforcements to the border area after receiving
reports of Nicaraguan soldiers on its soil. This was one day after
Costa Rica formally complained to Nicaragua's ambassador about the
dredging in the San Juan River. Nicaragua's army chief of staff,
Gen. Julio Aviles, later said the soldiers were on the Nicaraguan
side of the border as part of an anti-drug operation.
2010 Nov 4, In Costa Rica a
rain-sodden hillside collapsed on homes in the suburb of San Antonio
de Escazu, killing at least 20 people, many as they slept. At least
14 people were missing.
2010 Nov 13, Costa Rica boasted
of a "diplomatic victory" in its border spat with Nicaragua after
the Organization of American States approved a resolution calling
for removal of soldiers and security forces from a disputed area
along the San Juan River.
2011 Jan 11, Costa Rica accused
Nicaragua of flagrantly breaching international law by putting
troops on disputed land along the river that forms the two nations'
border and asked the highest U.N. court to order their immediate
2011 Jan 29, In Costa Rica
raids were carried out in San Jose and in the Pacific coast
city of Puntarenas. Five Colombians and a Costa Rican national were
arrested. The Security Ministry says in a June 30 statement that a
Colombian-run network paid fishermen to haul cocaine to Guatemala
2011 Mar 8, The International
Court of Justice ordered both Costa Rica and Nicaragua to keep all
military, police and civilian personnel out of a disputed border
region along the San Juan river that separates them.
2011 Apr 27, In Costa Rica
former Pres. Miguel Angel Rodriguez (b.1940) was sentenced to 5
years in prison on corruption charges. Rodriguez served from
1998-2002 and was briefly Secretary General of the Organization of
American States (OAS) in 2004.
2011 May 4, In Costa Rica Ohio
teenager Caity Jones died in the Pacific Ocean when she was pulled
by an undertow current. Two other students, on a school mission
trip, were swept out with her. The body of James Smith was recovered
the next day. The body of Kai Lamar was recovered on May 6.
(AP, 5/5/11)(AP, 5/6/11)
2011 May 4, A Gervais beaked
whale washed up on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. A necropsy
of the whale found more than 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of twisted plastic
inside its stomach.
2011 Jun 2, In Costa Rica US
high school student Justin Johnston (16), of McLouth, Kansas, was
shot and killed at a hotel by a security guard who mistook him for a
2011 Jun 22, In Guatemala the
World Bank unveiled a billion-dollar plan to fund security measures
in Central America, amid other hundred-million-dollar pledges from
donors bidding to cut a wave of drug gang-related violence sweeping
the region. The announcement came as leaders of Belize, Costa Rica,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama attended the
Central American Security Conference aiming to curb crime fueled by
a spillover from Mexico's war on drug cartels.
2011 Oct 20, Heavy rains
generated by a low-pressure system hammered Central America for 10
days. Mudslides and swollen rivers killed at least 105 people
including 38 in Guatemala, 34 in El Salvador, 15 in Honduras, 13 in
Nicaragua and 5 in Costa Rica.
2012 May 13, In Germany veteran
anti-whaling campaigner Paul Watson, a Canadian national, was
detained in Frankfurt on charges stemming from a high seas
confrontation over shark finning in 2002. The founder of marine
conservation group Sea Shepherd remained in custody a day after his
arrest on a warrant from Costa Rica. Watson skipped bail on July 22
and fled the country. In August Interpol issued an international
notice for his arrest.
(AFP, 5/14/12)(AFP, 8/8/12)
2012 Sep 5, In Costa Rica a
magnitude-7.6 earthquake blocked a few highways, collapsed some
houses and left at least 2 people dead.
2012 Dec 20, A Costa Rican ban
on in-vitro fertilization was struck down by the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights in a decision that reproductive health groups
said could lead to greater access to abortion and some contraception
in other Latin American countries.
2013 Mar 20, It was reported
that Starbucks has purchased a 593-acre farm in Costa Rica.
(SFC, 2/20/13, p.C4)
2013 May 2, Pres. Obama
embarked on a trip to Mexico with a 2-day stop in Costa Rica. In a
joint news conferece with Mexico’s Pres. President Enrique Pena
Nieto, Obama sought to tamp down a potential rift with Mexico over a
dramatic shift in the cross-border fight against drug trafficking
and organized crime.
(SFC, 5/2/13, p.A3)(AP, 5/3/13)
2013 May 3, In a press
conference with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, Pres. Obama
said only a comprehensive approach will work to solve the region's
problems, including stronger economies, better institutions,
education and youth centers. Obama went on to a closed meeting with
the eight-nation Central American Integration System, known by its
Spanish initials SICA, which was formed to discuss regional issues.
2013 May 24, Arthur Budovsky,
the founder of Liberty Reserve, a Costa Rica-based digital currency
system long favored by cybercrime scammers, was arrested in Spain. A
defendant identified as Budovsky's partner, Vladimir Kats, was in
custody in New York. Budovsky was soon indicted in the United States
along with six other people in a $6 billion money-laundering scheme
described as "staggering" in its scope.
(AP, 5/29/13)(SFC, 5/29/13, p.D1)(Econ, 6/1/13,
2013 Jun 2, China’s President
Xi Jinping arrived in Costa Rica, the only country in Central
America to have diplomatic relations with China.
2013 Jun 3, It was reported
that coffee leaf rust has devastated coffee plantations across
Central America and knocked half a million people out of work. Costa
Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were all severely
(SFC, 6/4/13, p.A2)(http://tinyurl.com/alqvfoc)
2014 Feb 2, Costa Rican held
presidential elections. None of four candidates had a clear lead in
2014 Feb 3, In Costa Rica with
76% of the ballots counted, Centrist Luis Guillermos -- a historian
by training and candidate for the Citizen Acton Party (PAC) -- won
30.8% of the vote, narrowly ahead of Johnny Araya from the ruling
right-wing National Liberation Party (PLN), who had 29.6%. Solis
will now face a ruling party candidate in a run-off vote in April.
2014 Apr 6, Costa Rica held
presidential elections. Historian and former diplomat Luis Guillermo
Solis (55) faced no opposition in the run-off election.
2014 Oct 29, Costa Rica's
Judicial Investigation Department revealed that 24 of its own agents
were being investigated for using an "information platform" to
access information about Keylor Navas, Spain’s Real Madrid and
national team goalkeeper. Navas helped Costa Rica reach the World
Cup quarterfinals for the first time this summer.
2015 Mar 12, Costa Rica's
Turrialba volcano belched a column of gas and ash up to 3,280 feet
(1 km) into the air in its most powerful eruption in two decades.
2015 Nov 14, Costa Rica said it
was giving temporary visas to a group of about 1,000 stranded,
penniless Cubans, telling them they had one week to cross the
country and continue their journey toward the United States.
2015 Nov 15, Nicaragua said
thousands of Cubans forced their way into its territory from Costa
Rica, accusing its southern neighbor of "deliberately and
irresponsibly" flooding it with US-bound migrants.
2015 Dec 4, Costa Rica said it
has asked Belize to accept nearly 3,000 Cuban migrants who have been
stuck at the Costa Rican border with Nicaragua for weeks.
2015 Dec 10, In Costa Rica the
body of Sondra Lynn was discovered on a bed in a San Jose hotel. She
had organized volunteer medical missions in Central America and was
found stabbed to death. The Vida Volunteer organization identified
her as Sondra Lynn Elizondo and gave her age as 46.
2015 Dec 16, The UN’s highest
court ruled that Nicaragua violated Costa Rica’s territorial
sovereignty by establishing a military base and digging channels on
a small chunk of land near the mouth of the San Juan River and
ordered Managua to pay compensation.
(SFC, 12/17/15, p.A2)
2015 Dec 18, Costa Rica
partially pulled out of SICA, a regional body promoting Central
American cooperation, after neighboring nations refused to help
handle a growing Cuban migrant crisis. Costa Rica said it will
suspend visas to Cuban migrants trying to head north to the US after
yet another failure to broker a deal with neighbors.
(AFP, 12/19/15)(AP, 12/19/15)
2015 Costa Rica slapped a ban
on the import of Hass avocados from nine countries including Mexico,
the top producer. This was supposedly a precautionary step against
sunblotch, an infection that can hop from one species to another.
(Econ, 9/10/16, p.28)
2016 Jan 13, After more than
three months stranded in Costa Rica, 180 of the 8,000 Cuban migrants
trapped there finally began their long-awaited trip north toward the
US border, flying into El Salvador and then travelling by bus to
2016 Jan 23, The Reina del
Caribe tourist boat capsized off the coast of Nicaragua killing 13
passengers, all Costa Rican nationals.
(SFC, 1/25/16, p.A2)
2016 Mar 15, The last direct
flight carrying stranded Cuban migrants from Costa Rica arrived in
Mexico, ending an effort that transported 6,003 Cubans.
(SFC, 3/16/16, p.A2)
2016 Nov 24, Hurricane Otto hit
Nicaragua and then Costa Rica where it left nine people dead and
caused millions of dollars of damage before exiting into the
2017 Jul 1, In Costa Rica a
5-hour power blackout affected some five million people. The power
outage plunged millions of people across Central America into
darkness, as authorities from Panama to Costa Rica to El Salvador
scrambled to restore electrical service. Authorities pinned blame
for the power outages on a downed Panamanian transmission line that
adversely affected the power supply for much of the region.
2017 Oct 5, Tropical Storm Nate
was blamed for at least 22 deaths in Central America as it dumped
rain across the region. The death toll soon climbed to at least 16
in Nicaragua, 10 in Costa Rica, two in Honduras and two in El
(SFC, 10/6/17, p.A4)(AFP, 10/7/17)(Reuters,
2017 Nov 12, A magnitude 6.5
earthquake shook Costa Rica. Two serious injuries were reported.
(SFC, 11/13/17, p.A4)
2017 Dec 12, California and
Washington state joined five nations (Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica,
Colombia and Chile) on the Pacific coast of the Americas to agree to
step up the use of a price on carbon dioxide emissions as a central
economic policy to slow climate change.
2017 Dec 31, In Costa Rica a
Nature Air's pilot training director died in an air crash near the
Punta Islita beach town west of the capital, San Jose. The co-pilot
was also killed, along with 10 US citizens including a family of
five from New York. On January 12 Costa Rica's civil aviation agency
suspended local airline Nature Air.
(AP, 1/1/18)(Reuters, 1/12/18)
2018 Jan, The Inter-American
Court of Human Rights ruled that Costa Rica should allow same-sex
marriage. Polls showed that just over two-thirds of Costa Ricans
opposed the court's ruling.
2018 Feb 2, The UN's top court
on sided largely with Costa Rica in a decade-old border dispute,
ordering Nicaragua to remove a military camp from disputed
territory. The International Court of Justice at The Hague laid down
definitive maritime boundaries between Costa Rica and Nicaragua in
the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean and a small land boundary in a
remote, disputed wetland.
(Reuters, 2/2/18)(AP, 2/2/18)
2018 Feb 4, Costa Ricans went
to the polls to choose a new president in a race upended by a debate
over same-sex marriage. Conservative Christian singer and TV anchor
Fabricio Alvarado skyrocketed to the top of the 13-person field
after denouncing a January ruling by the region's top human rights
court that called on Costa Rica to give equal civil marriage rights
to gay and lesbian couples. Religious conservatives helped Alvarado
finish first and put him in the pole position for an April 1 runoff
against a candidate of Pres. Luis Guillermo Solis' party.
(Reuters, 2/4/18)(AP, 2/8/18)
2018 Apr 1, Costa Rica held
presidential elections. Evangelical pastor Fabricio Alvarado, who
has capitalized on opposition to same-sex marriage, was in a tight
presidential race against novelist and former cabinet minister
Carlos Alvarado of the governing Citizen Action Part, who has openly
backed allowing gays to wed. Voters gave a resounding no to the
evangelical pastor who rose to political prominence by campaigning
against same-sex marriage, allowing the governing party to win an
easy presidential victory.
(AP, 4/1/18)(AP, 4/2/18)
2018 Aug 8, Costa Rica's
supreme court voted to make same-sex marriage legal and gave the
country's legislature 18 months to change the law or it would
automatically become legal.
(SFC, 8/10/18, p.A2)
2018 Sep 14, In Costa Rica a
labor strike that went into its fifth day with no apparent end in
sight. The government was struggling with a deficit estimated at 7.1
percent of GDP this year, which has pushed up the public debt load
and increased its need for revenue.
2018 Sep 24, In Costa Rica
American businessman William Sean Creighton Kopko was
kidnapped. On Jan 12, 2019, police in Costa Rica and Spain said they
have arrested 12 people alleged to have been involved in the
kidnapping. The victim was still missing.
2018 Oct 3, Costa Rican police
arrested former Romanian Tourism Minister Elena Udrea and former
chief prosecutor Alina Bica who had fled there before they could be
sentenced for crimes committed while in office.
2018 Oct 20, In Costa Rica four
American tourists and a Costa Rican guide were killed in a rafting
accident on the swollen on the Naranjo river near Liverpool de
(AP, 10/21/18)(SFC, 10/22/18, p.A2)
2018 Nov 27, In Costa Rica
Carla Stefaniak of south Florida went missing during a vacation to
celebrate her 36th birthday. On Dec. 3 authorities said they've
found a body behind an AirBnB villa where she was staying. Officials
soon identified her using fingerprints and arrested Bismark Espinosa
Martinez (32), a guard at the Villa Buena Vista resort near the
capital, after he contradicted himself in statements to police. On
Feb 17, 2020, Espinoza Martinez was convicted of killing her. He was
sentenced to 16 years in prison.
(AP, 12/4/18)(AP, 12/5/18)(SFC, 2/19/20, p.A2)
2019 Feb 7, In Costa Rica a
second woman accused former president and Nobel Peace laureate Oscar
Arias (78) of sexual assault in 2015. The former Miss Costa Rica
said he "grabbed" her head and pulled her close to him before "he
touched my breasts over my clothes and then gave me a kiss against
2019 Feb 15, Costa Rico's
Justice Ministry announced that Julio Solis, director of Citizen
Peace and Coexistence Promotion, had resigned. The country's
vice-minister of economy reported him a day earlier for alleged
2019 Feb, Costa Rica's
government launched a decarbonization plan to rid the country of
fossil fuels by 2050.
2019 Mar 7, In Costa Rico
judicial police raided Roman Catholic church offices in San Jose,
searching for information about two priests accused of sexual abuse.
2019 Mar 15, The Catholic
Church in Costa Rica asked for forgiveness following recent
accusations that three of its priests sexually abused minors, amid a
clerical abuse scandal that has ravaged the institution's
credibility around the globe.
2019 Jun 25, A 6.3 magnitude
earthquake hit the Costa Rica-Panama border around midnight.
Seismologists said the disaster was "potentially widespread".
2019 Dec 12, Costa Rica's
President Carlos Alvarado issued a technical decree that will allow
for therapeutic abortions in the Central American nation, despite
opposition from religious and conservative political groups.
2020 Feb 14, Police in Costa
Rica found almost 5,800 kg of cocaine in a shipping container,
leading to the country’s biggest ever drug seizure. A Costa Rican
man (46) with no previous criminal convictions was arrested in
connection to the drug haul.
(The Independent, 2/16/20)
2020 Mar 7, Costa Rica's Health
Ministry confirmed four new cases of coronavirus, in addition to
that of a case involving an American woman announced a day earlier.
Her husband was among the new cases.
2020 Mar 13, Costa Rica, which
has reported 22 cases, ordered all university classes suspended.