SECURITY CONDITIONS IN COSTA RICA

Created: 3/6/1963

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SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

Security Conditions in Costa Rica

Submitted by the DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

Concurred in by the UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD Aiea ted3 .

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Atkikionr Chief of Navol OpercttoniDepcrfmerl of liieChief of. Stafr^ "-

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The. Aijslant Director. Federal BureoJ Of irector.of the Nohoflol.Security Agency' ,

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special

national intelligence estimate

Security Conditions in Costa Rica

SECURITY CONDITIONS IN COSTA RICA

THE PROBLEM

To assess security conditions in Costa Rica with particular reference to the possibility of incidents which would endanger cr embarrass President Kennedy during his impending0 March).

SUMMARY

President Kennedy's visit to Costa Rica is likely toreat popular success, and it is highly unlikely that there will be any sizable demonstration directed against him.arge-scalo disorder occur, however, the security forces of Costa Rica probably would be unable to handle it.

No guarantee can be given against the possibility of an act of violence by some fanatical individual or small group. An unconfirmed reportlot by Castroist terrorists to assassinate President Kennedy in Costa Rica is under investigation by Costa Rican and US security agencies. There may be attempts atagainst Presidents Somoza of Nicaragua or Ydigoras of Guatemala in Costa Rica, and It is possible that President Kennedy might be endangered in such disorders.

THE ESTIMATE

I. THE POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE

he political situation in Costa Rica is relatively stable. The government of President Orlich, electedas considerable public support, and there is presently no serious challenge to its right to retain office until the end of its constitutional term. The Costa Ricans take great pride in their traditions of orderliness

of President Kennedy's presence to call attention to Panama's claims with respect to the Canal and may obtain support from other Central Americans, but significant anti-US demonstrations on this score are unlikely.

II. THE ATTITUDE OF THE GOVERNMENT TOWARD THE VISIT

Thean Government is dedicated to the success of the visit and will attempt to forestall incidents which might prove embarrassing or dangerous to President Kennedy or to any of the other Presidents. It is planning topride campaign" which willhat tlie dignity of the nation calls for the suppression of particularist grievances during the course of the visit. President Orlich also can be counted on to put pressure on exile groups, which are considerably dependent upon the toleration of the Government of Costa Rica, to refrain from disorderly actions. An efTort will be made to limit the number of foreigners admitted to Costa Rica during the period of the visit. If so requested by the US, the Costa Ricanprobably would arrange for the temporary detention of known PVP leaders, key exiles, and suspected terrorists.

Costa Rica has no army The capabilities of the civilforces are limited. These forces normallytrength ofbout'two-thirds of whom will be deployed ln San Jose during the visit. The security forces aretrained and equipped and their leadership islargely because of the extensive turnover in officers which followed the change in political administration inhe officers are reliable politically and are disposed to cooperate with US advisers. The civil guard is now receiving from the US supplies of sophisticated communications and riot controlbut has had almost no experience in their use.

current infusion of US advice and specializedshould improve the capabilities of the Costa RicanNevertheless, they wiil be heavily taxed merely toamong the large crowds that will turn out for theprobably would also be able to contain scattered small-

securityiii!ica) or border guard ofrovincial police roiee olraGc police detail.mall directorate of detective*.

scale demonstrations. However, they probably would not be able toarge-scale disorder, in the unlikely event that one should occur. They would probably not be able to givesupport to US security agents in the event of attempted violence against President Kennedy. Furthermore, the security situation is likely to be complicated by the presence of security details from the other visitor countries, whose reactions in an emergency might endanger President Kennedy.

in. PROSPECTS

US capabilities are good for providing warning of hostile actions involving the general membership of the PVP. The PVP has launched various propaganda efforts directed againstKennedy, but so far has apparently not adopted an overall strategy with respect to the use of violence during the visit.

US capabilities are limited for providing warning of hostile actions by any Castroist or other extremist elements who might act in Costa Rica without the cooperation of the PVP. We have an unconfirmed reportuban refugee source thaten were being trained in Cuba in early February to assassinateKennedy. We have been informed thatosta Ricans arrived in San Jose onebruary from Havana via Mexico City and Managua; the Costa Rlcan Government has undertaken to detain and interrogate them.

Combined US and Nicaraguan capabilities for providingon the plans oficaraguans in Costa Rica are good. There is unconfirmed information that therelot to assassinate Somoza in Costa Rica. US capabilities forwarning of plotting by anti-Ydigoras Guatemalans in Costa Rica are more limited, but thereood chance that any elaborate plan would be uncovered in advance.

short, we think it highly unlikely that Presidentbe embarrassed or endangered by any sizableagainst him at San Jose. On the contrary, it is likelyvisit will prove toreat popular success. However,can ever be given against the possibility of an actby some fanatical individual or small group

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INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DISSEMINATION NOTICE

document wa^ diweminoled by she Central Intelligence Agene)

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Chief of Naval Operation*or the Departme

Chief ol Stafr. Intelligence. USAF, for'the" Cpcfrwil o

f. Director for Intelligence, Joint Stofl. (or the Join! Staff

of Intelligence. AK. for the Atomic Energy Comnuifcon

ml -FBI. for the Federal BureauOirsclor ot NSA, for the National Security Agency

uiilont Director for Central. for any olher Dcpa

.;.

document may be retained, or destroyed by burning inapplicable security rcgulot-oni. or returned to the Control Intelligence A

ith rhe Ornco of Central Reference, CIA.

Original document.

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