QCOSTARICA – In Alajuela on Tuesday, April 11, for the celebration of the 167th anniversary of the “Batalla de Rivas” (Battle of Rivas), commemorating Costa Rica’s national hero, Juan Santamía, President Rodrigo Chaves called on the defense of the Homeland from ‘filibusters that still remain’.

Following the official acts that included the placement of floral offerings and a parade of school bands through the streets of the community, remembering the fight of Costa Rica against the filibusters of William Walker, the president took advantage to deliver his message.

During his speech, Chaves attacked those “filibusters” – with whom he is not willing to build (political) bridges with some opposition parties but to build walls.

“I prefer to blow them up,” he said.

“The fire lit by Juan Santamaría continues to burn in every child who today learns in school the history of a nation that decides its own path,” said Chaves.

“A country that is once again flourishing in peace, that due to the heroic feats of these Alajuelense people and many more, of those brothers, we have inherited a free Homeland which I am sure many of us would give our lives to defend as they did (… )”, he added.

The president affirmed that there are some opposition political parties “that the only thing they do is show off, scrub and obstruct”, though he declined to identify them. “I’m not going to mention them.”

For his part, the mayor of Alajuela, Humberto Soto, pointed out that the new filibusters in Costa Rica are unemployment and drug trafficking.

At the end of the protocol act, the president and a part of his cabinet led the parades that traveled through the streets of Alajuela, in honor of the commemoration.

Every April 11, Costa Rica commemorates the Second Battle of Rivas that occurred in 1856 between the Costa Rican militia under General Mora and the Nicaraguan forces of American mercenary William Walker. The lesser-known First Battle of Rivas took place on June 29, 1855, between Walker’s forces and the forces of the Chamorro government of Nicaragua.

At the time, a major trade route between New York City and San Francisco ran through southern Nicaragua. Ships from New York would enter the San Juan River from the Atlantic and sail across Lake Nicaragua.

In July 1856, Walker set himself up as president of Nicaragua, after conducting a farcical election.

Costa Rican President Juan Rafael Mora watched with concern as Walker consolidated his forces and power in Nicaragua. Enraged Walker ordered the invasion of Costa Rica and a filibustering force crossed the border into Guanacaste, while the Costa Rican army moved from the Central Valley.

According to the traditional account, on April 11, Salvadoran General José María Cañas suggested that one of the soldiers advance towards the hostel with a torch and set it on fire. Some soldiers tried and failed, but Juan finally volunteered on the condition that in the event of his death, someone would look after his mother. He then advanced and was mortally wounded by enemy fire.

Before expiring he succeeded, however, in setting fire to the hostel, thus contributing decisively to the Costa Rican victory at Rivas, as the enemy then retreated.

This year, the holiday was moved to Monday, April 10. However, the protocol acts and commemoration took place, as every year, on the 11th.




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