San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

For the last time: The US does not have an Army base in Costa Rica, embassy says

First it came from a glaringly inaccurate news report from Venezuela. Then it was caused by the United States Army itself. The rumor that the U.S. has an active Army base in non-militaristic Costa Rica just won’t seem to go away. But, according to both Costa Rican and U.S. officials, it should.

The latest round of speculation occurred Tuesday as someone on social media networks discovered and shared a U.S. Army recruiting website in Spanish and English that claimed the military branch had an operating base in Costa Rica. The link to the site spread like wildfire by Tuesday afternoon.

The website addresses parents of potential Army recruits, asking, “Where will my son or daughter be stationed in the Army?” It then lists Costa Rica as one of the foreign countries where soldiers could be sent. Other countries in the region include Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and “El Salvadore” (sic). The country information also appears on the English version of the webpage.

“It’s not a phony website, but in English, it’s saying if you’re on active duty you could be in one of these installations,” U.S. Embassy spokesman Eric Turner told The Tico Times. “We don’t have an Army base here, … and I think it got lost in translation. The way it’s presented, it’s confusing to look at. There is no military presence here other than in a diplomatic capacity.”

Turner added that, “We’re sensitive to how it looks and are reaching out to Army and pointing out the website as it’s currently writtten is causing some confusion.”

According to the embassy official, the U.S. Army has a total of two active soldiers in all of Costa Rica, and they are assigned to the embassy.

Still, Costa Rican officials are sensitive about the issue following a Feb. 2 report by Venezuela-based TV station Telesur that claimed the U.S. Southern Command had 46 warships, 200 armed helicopters, 6 Harrier aircraft, an aircraft carrier and 13,000 Marines in Costa Rica. Telesur quickly retracted the story after the Costa Rican government demanded an apology and accused the state-sponsored station of meddling in Costa Rica’s presidential elections.

Then, on Feb. 7, Bolivia’s Evo Morales added fuel to the fire by incorrectly claiming the U.S. had abolished Costa Rica’s army in 1948. Costa Rica fired back with a statement accusing Morales of interfering “in the internal affairs of Costa Rica.”

As to the U.S. Army website page, Costa Rican officials are mad about that, too.

“It has caused us a lot of damage, and I hope the situation is immediately rectified,” Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo told The Tico Times.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Costa Rica was listed only in a Spanish version of the website. Readers pointed out that the English version also lists Costa Rica as an outpost. 

Contact David Boddiger at dboddiger@ticotimes.net54

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don Miguel

Probably the very same denial that was given out when the U.S. was operating a secret air strip in Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, during the Iran-Contra debacle!

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Christian Diaz

Even though the US Army is in here, CR, for support in natural disasters or similar events. They shoud explain better in their website. In Spanish you understand a different way than this article says, and as it comes from an official website it concerns.

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Don Luis

Hi guys,

interesting topic.
Maybe you’d like to dig a bit deeper there.
According to this link Laura Chinchilla permitted US military presence in Costa Rica and not only this. All US personnel has impunity in Costa Rica.

This information seems truthful and as far as I understand the permit is prolonged every 6 months.

The information of the presence of US troops (at least back then) was also confirmed from another source (German TAZ!55112/

Castro should know about this as well.

To me all this seems a bit fishy.

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Adam, you should save you hatred for the dictators and despots that want a whole lot more of your country the the USA and the retiring gringos who live there. When you see Chinese warships at your door, you will know true fear and terror. It might just happen in your lifetime…!

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Laura E.

Rick, You really didn’t read this article, right? It seems that nobody is more gullible than a conspiracy theorist. Refuse to believe a real newspaper, but believe blindly whatever any anonymous website allows to be typed.

Also, Adam, I’m in Costa Rica, and I tell you it’s impossible to hide 13000 marines in this tiny country, let alone the 46 warships.

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Good one!!

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Adam C

I live in Costa Rica. I know there is no stupied US military. But in the past USA has hidden base in many places in the world. Nobody trusts the USA. I am TICO

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¡Que tenga respeto! Usted no es soldado y no entendí que difícil una vida lo es. Yo fui soldado y mi esposa y hija son Ticas. No hay nada estúpido con milicia.

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David Boddiger

Did you read the story? We posted that link in the story.

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Adam C

I wonder if its true or not? I hope the USA says something because maybe there is one. Its a hidden base.

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Rick del Toro

La información que ustedes publican está equivocada. Please: COSTA RICA POSEE UNA BASE MILITAR DE EE.UU. SEGÚN SITIO WEB DE LA US ARMY

Lea el artículo aquí:

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