Today in Costa Rica it’s Juan Santamaría Day which is a national holiday. All the public schools and most government offices are closed in honor of the death of a young Costa Rican soldier who died whilst trying to defeat the American “adventurer” William Walker, who had appointed himself the president of Nicaragua as part of his mission to conquer all of Central America.

Have you ever heard the word ‘filibuster?’

It is most commonly used to describe The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action” but apart from that, the only other time I have come across the word ‘filibuster’ is to describe a man called William Walker.

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When describing a man: “A filibuster is an irregular military adventurer, especially one who engages in an unauthorized military expedition into a foreign country to foment or support a revolution.”

“In the mid-nineteenth century, adventurers known as filibusters participated in military actions aimed at obtaining control of Latin American nations with the intent of annexing them to the United States–an expression of Manifest Destiny, the idea that the United States was destined to control the continent. ”

According to Wikipedia “William Walker (May 8, 1824 — September 12, 1860) was a filibuster, adventurer, and soldier of fortune who attempted to conquer several Latin American countries in the mid-19th century.

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He held the presidency of the Republic of Nicaragua from 1856 to 1857 and was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.” He was the greatest of American filibusters…”

“On October 15, 1853 with 45 men, Walker set out on his first filibustering expedition: the conquest of the Mexican territories of Baja California and Sonora. He succeeded in capturing La Paz, the capital of the sparsely populated Baja California, which he declared the capital of a new Republic of Lower California, with himself as president.”

“A civil war was then raging in the Central American republic of Nicaragua, and the rebel faction hired Walker as a mercenary. Evading the federal U.S. authorities charged with preventing his departure, Walker sailed from San Francisco on May 4, 1855 with 57 men, to be reinforced by 170 locals and about 100 Americans upon landing.

On September 1, Walker defeated the Nicaraguan national army at La Virgen and, a month later, conquered the capital of Granada and took control of the country.” Walker even “declared himself president of Nicaragua.”

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Then “Walker controlled Nicaragua through puppet president Patricio Rivas. U.S. President Franklin Pierce recognized Walker’s regime as the legitimate government of Nicaragua on May 20, 1856. Walker’s agents recruited American and European men to sail to the region and fight for the conquest of the other four Central American nations: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica.

He was able to recruit over a thousand American and European mercenaries, many of whom were transported free by the Accessory Transit Company under the control of businessmen Cornelius K. Garrison and Charles Morgan.”

William Walker “… then issued a proclamation reversing the anti-slavery laws which had existed in Nicaragua for the last thirty-two years. Because of this act, and others of a similar nature, revolts began to break out, fostered by Commodore Vanderbilt, who owned the steamship company. Costa Rica declared war against him.”

“Finally, in May, 1857, he was forced to surrender and to leave Nicaragua, where he had remained two years.”

“Not satisfied to retire to private life, he organized another expedition in New Orleans and set sail for Central America. He landed near Truxillo, in Honduras, hoping to make his way eventually to Nicaragua. His men began to desert him, and being in a precarious position, he surrendered himself to the captain of a British naval vessel off the coast. The captain, instead of protecting Walker, as he had promised, handed him over to the authorities of Honduras. He was tried by court-martial, and shot September 12, 1860.”

“With his death, the glory of filibustering passed away, and from 1860 on, filibusterism was more or less sporadic, and entirely devoid of the romance of the previous decade.”

“Today Walker is far better known in Central America than in the United States. Costa Ricans honor Juan Santamaria, a young drummer boy who became a national hero by torching a fort in which Walker’s army was encamped, and a national park, Santa Rosa, commemorates the battle where Walker’s soldiers were expelled from Costa Rica.”

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The English language is a wonderful thing. It can be used in beautiful ways by literary geniuses to conjure up all sorts of magnificent images in your mind. It is also regularly used by people to deliberately create a very false image in your mind ….

During this period full of the “glory of filibustering” there is not a single source that details how many innocent people were slaughtered at the hands of William Walker and his mercenaries but let’s not let little facts like that stop us from enjoying his exploits at trying “to conquer several Latin American countries.”

In case you missed it, the new catch word in the U.S. for their continued funding and support of horrendous ‘interventions’ and other terrorist activities around the world is ‘belligerent.’

“Obama’s most “historic” achievement is to bring the war on democracy home to America. On New Year’s Eve 2011, he signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a law that grants the Pentagon the legal right to kidnap both foreigners and US citizens and indefinitely detain, interrogate and torture, or even kill them. They need only “associate” with those “belligerent” to the United States. There will be no protection of law, no trial, no legal representation.” John Pilger.

It is said that one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist but William Walker was an American ‘filibuster,’ had he been a Nicaraguan or a Costa Rican engaging “in an unauthorized military expedition” into the USA, there’s no doubt he would have been called a “terrorist” of the worst possible kind.

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Written by Scott Oliver, author of 1: How To Buy Costa Rica Real Estate Without Losing Your Camisa, 2: Costa Rica’s Guide To Making Money Offshore and 3. ¿Cómo Comprar Bienes Raíces en Costa Rica, Sin Perder Su Camisa?

Scott Oliver's Four Books

Scott Oliver’s Four Books.

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