San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Juan’s Bones

A presage of bad feelings to come between Costa Rica and Nicaragua occurred in 1980, when the Sandinista government declared that they had found the bones of Costa Rica s national hero, Juan Santamaría, in the town of Rivas, where Santamaría had performed his heroic act of buring the casona in which arch-fiend William Walker had been holed up in 1856.

In an act of apparent good will, the Sandinistas returned the bones to Costa Rica, which received them in a solemn ceremony on the Costa Rican Nicaraguan border, attended by top officials from both countries.

Tico forensic scientists who insisted on examining the bones determined that they actually belonged to a cow.

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