In downtown San José, just west of the Cementerio de Obreros, sits a forgettable lot of urban real estate where the municipality and the Public Works and Transport Ministry park garbage trucks and heavy equipment. But on this same spot 73 years ago, an internment camp was erected by the government to hold hundreds of German-Costa Rican prisoners after the United States and Costa Rica entered World War II in December 1941.
On Sunday, Oct. 5, 1986, a young Sandinista soldier named José Fernando Canales Alemán sighted a Fairchild C-123K cargo plane in Nicaraguan airspace near the Costa Rican border. He fired a Russian-made shoulder mounted SAM-7 surface-to-air missile and brought down the plane. One man survived. His name was Eugene Hasenfus, and his subsequent capture by Sandinista forces led to the unraveling of a complex web now called “The Iran-Contra Affair.”
Hundreds of people converged on the Cervecería Nacional on the outskirts of San José to attend the 54th annual Fourth of July Picnic, a Costa Rican tradition since 1961. Here are some snapshots from U.S. Independence Day morning.