San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Our favorite quotes about Costa Rica from the past year

The best – and the worst – things that were said in 2013:


“[Lesbians are] nobler. They are more respectful and you can easily see that. One of them once told me: ‘Oh, so I cannot go to church with my girlfriend?’ Meaning, for me, homosexuality is incredibly immoral. It’s not that I think lesbianism is ideal … but with lesbians … at least the ones I know are more polite.”
-Archbishop Hugo Barrantes

Context: The Costa Rican church leader explained in an interview with the daily La Nación why gay men are rude. As for lesbians, Barrantes remarked he’s all right with them. (He also listed one more reason he’s disgusted by gay males. He doesn’t like to think about two men having sex. Of course.)


“¡Contráteme!” (“Hire me!”)

-(Now-retired) slogan for Johnny Araya’s presidential campaign

Context: Though it wasn’t his most visible blunder, asking Costa Ricans to “Hire Him” made for a clunky and pathetic calling card for the former San José mayor. He decided to retire the slogan in December after watching his enormous lead in the polls dissipate over a couple months.


“My name’s Carlos. You’re going to be OK. Help is on the way.” 
-Boston bombing hero Carlos Arredondo 

Context: The Costa Rica-born Arredondo had lost both his sons in recent years: One was killed in Iraq in 2004 and the other died by suicide in 2011. That’s why Arredondo was at the marathon on April 15. Members of the National Guard and a suicide prevention group were running in honor of his sons. He was cheering them on. When the first bomb went off, he was in the bleachers. After the second bomb exploded, Arredondo scrambled toward the blasts. The photo snapped of Arredondo rushing bombing victim Jeff Bauman to a medical tent became the iconic image of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack. As he helped move Bauman to safety he reassured the young man, who lost both his legs in the bombing, that he would survive. The two have since become good friends, and visited Costa Rica together in the fall.


“It’s time to come together and share.”
-Invite sent to presidential candidates to a tamal hosted by José María Villalta

Context: In a thinly veiled, albeit very amusing, political ploy, the Broad Front Party candidate invited his fellow hopefuls to come eat tamales with him, a Tico Christmas tradition. Not a single candidate accepted the invitation. Johnny Araya, Villalta’s likely opponent in a possible presidential runoff, jabbed back at the invite and said he was too busy preparing for the election to attend.


“Given the fact that this issue [of Guanacaste] has not been debated in the [world] court, we could consider taking the case to the ‘ICJ’ [the Hague-based International Court of Justice] and it could permit Nicaragua to recover that territory.”
-Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega, insinuating that his country has deigns on the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste.

Context: At a military event in August, Ortega gave a speech where he talked about Nicaragua taking over Costa Rica’s northwestern province of Guanacaste, by presenting a case on the area to the International Court of Justice, in the Netherlands. This, naturally, became the latest touchstone for a feud between the not-so-friendly neighbors. Ortega said he wanted to discuss the return of the “occupied” province with Costa Rica. Chinchilla rejected that idea. Instead, in an overblown display of national pride, she chose to lead a march with Guanacastecans to “defend the province’s sovereignty.”


“I have fought and worked every day of my life for a chance to go to the World Cup, and today I have succeeded. It is one of the happiest days of my life.”

“The braver the bull, the better the fight. … Costa Rica usually puts up its best game against big teams.”
-Costa Rica men’s national team head coach Jorge Luis Pinto

Context: These quotes come from the once-maligned, currently celebrated head coach who brought Costa Rica back to the World Cup for the first time since 2006. The first Pinto quote was said during the fiesta after Costa Rica qualified for Brazil 2014 in October. The latter quote came after Costa Rica’s World Cup draw put a damper on all the jubilation. Costa Rica learned that it will face three former World Cup champions in its group: Uruguay, Italy and England. 


“In the United States we’re thankful for the many Costa Ricans who contribute to our prosperity and our liberty. In my best Tica, ‘Pura vida.’
-U.S. President Barack Obama

Context: The most powerful leader in the world stumped in Costa Rica in May to firm up economic ties between the U.S. and Central America and the Dominican Republic. While in San José, Obama tried out the country’s catchphrase in his best “Tica,” whatever that means.


“That preference is not a right. It’s a stunted development of sexual identity. It can change like alcoholism, tobacco addiction.”

“We could mobilize half a million people anywhere we want. … This is a demonstration of what Costa Rica wants.”
-Conservative lawmaker Justo Orozco

Context: The oh-boy-is-he-ever controversial leader of the evangelical National Renovation Party keeps making grand statements that garner nationwide attention, for better or worse. The above quotes refer to homosexuality and a march against in vitro fertilization, respectively. Costa Rica remains the only country in the Western Hemisphere to maintain a ban on IVF.


“Can’t wait for Bryan Oviedo to score the winner against England. OVIEDO BABY OVIEDOOOOO WOAH”

“Tough draw for England, he’s unplayable at the moment. Can we possibly cope with @Bryan_Oviedo?”

“What you on about mate? Bryan Oviedo is going to knock us both out

“England got no chance in that group, especially against premierships most lethal finisher: @Bryan Oviedo.”

Go easy on ‘Inglaterra’ Bry”

“It’s not Italy and Uruguay [that] England have to be worried about it’s Bryan Oviedo!”

“Sh**. It’s only just clicked that Bryan Oviedo is part of the Costa Rican national team. We’re royally f**ked.
-Comments on Twitter about Costa Rican soccer star Bryan Oviedo

Context: Premier League defender Bryan Oviedo scored a late goal for Everton to give the club its first victory over powerhouse Manchester United in 21 years. The Tico was only in the game as a sub for an injured starter. But once Oviedo knocked off the vaunted rival, Everton fans fell in love (He even gets his own chant: Oviedo Baby,” sung to the chorus of The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me”). The upset victory led to some teasing over Twitter once England was drawn into Costa Rica’s World Cup group. Hence, the above tweets.


#LauraLeaEsto (#LauraReadThis)
–Tico Internet denizens on Twitter

Context: After President Laura Chinchilla announced a lawsuit against an alleged defamatory Facebook comment, social media users in Costa Rica pushed back by trying to post as many inflammatory remarks as possible and appending them with a hashtag that translated to #LauraReadThis.


“NSA spying has been a ‘strong blow to the United States’ credibility and its democratic standards.”
-President Laura Chinchilla, commenting at her weekly press conference.

Context: Costa Rica became the latest nation to condemn the U.S. government surveillance program that came to light last year.


“Que horror!! Están degradando el deporte!!” (“What horror!! They’re degrading the sport!!”)
-President Laura Chinchilla, on Twitter

“U-S-A. No fair play.”
-Angry Costa Rican soccer fans

Context: Chinchilla tweeted the thoughts of many Costa Ricans after the U.S. toppled the Costa Rica national team in a World Cup qualifying match in March that took place in Denver during a blizzard. Six months later, Ticos stayed miffed about the snow game during a rematch at home. Supporters of “La Sele” (the national men’s team) greeted the visiting U.S. team with heckling and the chant “U-S-A. No Fair Play.” A few fans welcomed U.S. team members by tossing eggs at the team bus and trying to organize a traffic jam. It was petty stuff, but in the end Costa Rica got revenge where it mattered most – at the National Stadium Costa Rica defeated the U.S. 3-1, though Costa Rica would later be fined for its own fair play issues during the match.


“It was an ‘irresponsible, isolated’ study from ‘some university in Tennessee.'”
-Communications Minister Carlos Roverssi 

Context: Roverssi dismissed a public opinion survey that Ticos have the lowest support for their political system since 1978. What was that “some university in Tennessee?” Vanderbilt University – one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, which has conducted the Latin American Public Opinion Project since 1978, when Roverssi was 20 years old. The first LAPOP country of study? You guessed it – Costa Rica.


“The responsibility for the incident, from a legal point of view, was with the student, now deceased, for his imprudent actions in running from an adjacent field to the hotel, in the early morning hours, leading to the error.”
-Judge Luis Calderón

Context: A security guard named Jorge Guevara shot and killed 16-year-old U.S. student Justin Johnston while Johnston was on a school trip in La Fortuna in northern Costa Rica in June 2011. Guevara received a 15-year prison sentence for manslaughter. But two years later, a panel of three judges overturned the decision. In a staggering ruling, the trio of judges stated that the teenager’s decision to return to the hotel late at night (after curfew) led to his accidental death. 

Comments are closed.