Female Prostitution in Costa Rica: Historical Perspectives, 1880-1930 (Latin American Studies: Social Sciences & Law)

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica: Historical Perspectives, 1880-1930 (Latin American Studies: Social Sciences & Law)

Latin American Studies Social Sciences and Law Edited by David Mares University of California, San Diego A Routledge

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Latin American Studies Social Sciences and Law

Edited by

David Mares University of California, San Diego

A Routledge Series

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Latin American Studies Social Sciences and Law

David Mares, General Editor Observing our Hermanos de Armas U.S. Military Attachés in Guatemala, Cuba, and Bolivia, 1950–1964 Robert O. Kirkland Land Privatization in Mexico Urbanization, Formation of Regions, and Globalization in Ejidos María Teresa Vázquez Castillo The Politics of the Internet in Third World Development Challenges in Contrasting Regimes with Case Studies of Costa Rica and Cuba Bert Hoffmann Contesting the Iron Fist Advocacy Networks and Police Violence in Democratic Argentina and Chile Claudio A. Fuentes Latin America’s Neo-Reformation Religion’s Influence on Contemporary Politics Eric Patterson Insurgency, Authoritarianism, and Drug Trafficking in Mexico’s “Democratization” José Luis Velasco The Politics of Social Policy Change in Chile and Uruguay Retrenchment Versus Maintenance, 1973–1998 Rossana Castiglioni

State and Business Groups in Mexico The Role of Informal Institutions in the Process of Industrialization, 1936–1984 Arnulfo Valdivia-Machuca Left in Transformation Uruguayan Exiles and the Latin American Human Rights Networks, 1967–1984 Vania Markarian International Relations in Latin America Peace and Security in the Southern Cone Andrea Oelsner The Politics of Moral Sin Abortion and Divorce in Spain, Chile and Argentina Merike Blofield Political Change and Environmental Policymaking in Mexico Jordi Díez Female Prostitution in Costa Rica Historical Perspectives, 1880–1930 Anne Hayes

An Industrial Geography of Cocaine Christian M. Allen

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica Historical Perspectives, 1880–1930

Anne Hayes

Routledge New York & London

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Routledge Taylor & Francis Group 270 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10016

Routledge Taylor & Francis Group 2 Park Square Milton Park, Abingdon Oxon OX14 4RN

© 2006 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-415-97937-4 (Hardcover) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-415-97937-5 (Hardcover) Library of Congress Card Number 2006005344 No part of this book may be reprinted, reproduced, transmitted, or utilized in any form by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying, microfilming, and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publishers. Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hayes, Anne, 1945Female prostitution in Costa Rica : historical perspectives, 1880-1930 / Anne Hayes. p. cm. -- (Latin American studies) ISBN 0-415-97937-4 (alk. paper) 1. Prostitution--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--History. 2. Puntarenas (Costa Rica)-Social conditions. 3. Prostitutes--Legal status, laws, etc.--Costa Rica. 4. Prostitution--Costa Rica. I. Title. II. Latin American studies (Routledge (Firm)) HQ154.P86H39 2006 306.74’2097286--dc22

2006005344

Visit the Taylor & Francis Web site at http://www.taylorandfrancis.com and the Routledge Web site at http://www.routledge-ny.com

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To Monty

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Contents

List of Photographs

ix

List of Maps

xi

List of Tables

xiii

Acknowledgments Chapter One Introduction and Theory

xv

1

Chapter Two Regional Differentiation of Colony and Nation to 1890

27

Chapter Three The Mores of Coffee in the Highlands

55

Chapter Four The Economic Demography of Prostitution in Puntarenas before 1910

69

Chapter Five Structure and Experience: The Law and La Vida

83

Chapter Six The Triumph of Nationalism: The Pacific Railroad

105

vii

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viii

Contents

Chapter Seven Society in Puntarenas after Completion of the Pacific Railroad

117

Chapter Eight Conclusion: Prostitution in Puntarenas and the State

151

Notes

167

Bibliography

205

Index

223

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List of Photographs

Photo 4-1: In the Imagination of a Prisoner: Mural Painting from San Lucas Island Prison, c. mid-twentieth century Photo 6-1: Postcard of Río Grande Bridge, 1905

79 112

ix

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List of Maps

Map 1-1: Costa Rica: Provinces of Center and Periphery

2

Map 2-1: Shifting Topography of Puntarenas: 1860, 1885, 1931

29

Map 2-2: Puerto Puntarenas, c. 1905

29

Map 2-3: Nicoya Region

30

Map 2-4: Commerce from Puntarenas, 1821–1850

40

xi

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List of Tables

Table 4-1: Age, Origin, and Mobility of Registered Prostitutes, 1894–1897

78

Table 5-1: Convictions for Drunkenness per 1000 Inhabitants for Selected Counties (Cantones), 1904–1910

101

Table 7-1: Convictions for Drunkenness in the Cities of Puntarenas, San José and Limón, 1913–1919

136

Table 7-2: Criminal Cases by Province, 1904–1919

139

Table 7-3: Rates of Legitimate Births by Major Cities, 1911–1927

146

Table 7-4: Rates of Legitimate Births by Provinces, 1911–1927

147

Table 8-1: National Income in Pesos from Liquor and Tobacco, 1838–1859

155

Table 8-2: National Income from Liquor Monopoly, Selected Years: 1879–1929

156

xiii

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Acknowledgments

One of the most rewarding aspects of this project has been the opportunity to interact with so many interesting people whose generosity of spirit and intellect has been extraordinary. My advisor, Margaret Crahan, has contributed her sharp and fine-tuned criticisms in draft after draft of the chapters of this study and, in the process, shown me the way to improve my critical thinking through writing. I have become a better teacher for it, as well as been enriched by her friendship. The course work that prepared me for this project has come from a diverse pool of academic talent in the relatively new Ph.D. Program in Latin American History of the Graduate School and University Center of The City University of New York, for which I am grateful. Professor Laird Bergad gave me the tools to collect and analyze demographic data, as well as an appreciation of history as a social science; Professor Alfonso Quiroz’s course on nationalism was a catalyst for much of the analysis of Costa Rican liberalism employed in this study; many of my conclusions follow his insights. Professor Susan Besse’s knowledge of issues concerned with gender in Latin American history has given me an appreciation of the rich theoretical tradition unfolding in this area; and Professor Hobart Spalding, through his lively example as a labor historian, has shown me that passion is more asset than hindrance for historians. Thanks go to defense committee members Professor Mary Gibson and Professor Héctor LindoFuentes whose close readings and valuable suggestions improved the project. Professors Steven Stearns, Sandi Cooper, Frederick Binder, and David Traboulay—mentors at the College of Staten Island during my undergraduate years—made me want to become a historian and a teacher by virtue of their knowledge and great enthusiasm. Research for this project has been amply supported by the Graduate Center of The City University of New York, the Jewish Foundation for the xv

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xvi

Acknowledgments

Education of Women, the Center for the Study of Women and Society of the Graduate Center, and the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies. I must acknowledge the help of the staff of the New York Public Research Library, an institution that I have grown to respect more and more; thanks also to the staffs of the Archivo Nacional de Costa Rica, the Archivo Metropolitano de la Curia, the Biblioteca Nacional, the Biblioteca Pública de Puntarenas, and the wonderful technical staff of the CELT center of the College of Staten Island. Special thanks go to Lara Elizabeth Putnam who gave me the confidence to take on this project through her kind words and through the example of her inspired scholarship. I am grateful for the gentle support of my editor at Routledge, Ben Holtzman. The following people guided aspects of the research through readings, translations and conversations: John Dennie, Marc Edelman, Richard Houk, Meg Macaya Nelson, Juan José Marín, Martha Moss, Steven Palmer, Alejandro Quintana, Steve Stearns, Sam Stone, and Ronny Viales. (I take responsibility for all of the content of this study.) Through this long process, I have watched my son mature and my mother age gracefully; I have been nourished by my extended family in Staten Island, particularly John Gateley and Annie O’Hara. For this, I am proud, grateful and blessed.

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Chapter One

Introduction and Theory

Travelers traversing the small country of Costa Rica are often struck by its topographical diversity. One may drive from Atlantic to Pacific coasts and, in the course of a few hours, experience rain forests, cool highlands, mountains, deserts and beaches—each spawning distinct economic realities and cultures. Yet Costa Rica’s historiographical tradition has not, on the whole, reflected its regional diversity. Historical works have focused on the four inland provinces of the Meseta Central—the Central Plateau, nestled within the Central Valley—where cool highland temperatures and rich volcanic soil nurtured the cultivation of coffee, Costa Rica’s main export crop from 1840 until quite recently. As in other countries of Latin America in the nineteenth century, the development of an export economy, generating valuable revenue in import-export duties, was a prerequisite for state-building, as well as for attaining the trappings of modernity. Consequently, Costa Rican nationalism, as well as explanations for Costa Rica’s peaceful, democratic traditions, have focused on coffee production and the prevalence of white yeomen farmers and small family farms in the Central Plateau—a pattern distinct from some of Costa Rica’s Central American neighbors, whose exploited indigenous and mestizo populations and large concentrations of land have allegedly given rise to inequality and dictatorship. A mythology of whiteness and small family farms—variously termed the “white legend,” the “rural democracy thesis,” the “white settler myth,” the “small yeoman farmer myth,” and “la buena sociedad cafetalera” (“the good coffee producing society”)—was first systematically expounded during the Liberal Reform era of the 1880s by Costa Rica’s coffee producing elites as a vehicle for consolidating a popular base in support of and cooperation with the coffee exporting project.1 As such, it directed its message exclusively to populations of the highlands. Focusing on whiteness, family values and small farms in areas that produced coffee, this mythology—part truth, part 

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Female Map 1-1: Costa Rica: Provinces of Center Prostitution and Periphery

in Costa Rica

Map 1-1. Costa Rica: Courtesy Provinces of Center and Periphery. of Fabrice Lehoucq and Iván Molina. Courtesy of Fabrice Lehoucq and Iván Molina.

fiction—has had remarkable staying power, resurfacing in various forms throughout the twentieth century to explain Costa Rican exceptionalism and embedding itself in the scholarship and culture of the country. The creation of a body of “liberal historiography,” “liberal mythology,” or “liberal nationalism” in the late nineteenth century was not unique to Costa Rica.2 Throughout Latin America at this time, “liberalism” developed as a distinct development strategy, aided by ideology, designed and implemented by elites to help create efficient export economies. Not to be confused with the classical laissez-faire liberalism of Adam Smith, many of Latin America’s late nineteenth century ruling liberal elites borrowed heavily from French positivism, emphasizing the need to centralize states through the adoption of more authoritarian and interventionist policies. Costa Rican liberals followed suit but in a slightly different way. Lacking the authoritarian legacy of neighboring regions, Costa Rica’s governing

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Introduction and Theory  elites opted for ideologies of social control, avoiding the coercive policies, particularly with respect to labor, which existed elsewhere in Central America and the greater region. The Costa Rican strategy of privileging persuasion over coercion was dictated by necessity as much as by choice. During the colonial period, Costa Rica had been a backwater of the Spanish empire producing little of value for the mother country and thus remaining relatively devoid of people, colonial institutions, and the systems of forced labor so prevalent in other parts of the Central American isthmus. With independence and nationhood in the early nineteenth century came the attraction of the European market for high quality coffee. The early Costa Rican state, dependent on the revenues from coffee, encouraged the commercialization of coffee employing the existent system of family labor on the small and medium-sized farms of the Meseta Central. By century’s end, the reliability of the nation’s labor force was threatened by social dislocations caused by the volatility of coffee monoculture, which resulted in property foreclosures, greater concentration of wealth and increased urbanization. Addressing these problems and the general need to centralize the state, a new modernizing bourgeoisie, often referred to as the “generation of ‘89,” launched the Liberal Reform. Central to this process was not only the adoption of common Latin American liberal strategies for modernization such as secularization, educational reform and privatization of land, but also specific plans to deal with the nation’s labor supply in the context of a society which since colonial times had been under-populated, which had fostered the evolution of a free labor system, and during the national period had failed to attract European immigrants. In the absence of options to coerce the nation’s labor force, Costa Rica’s liberal elites turned to ideologies of social order and racial homogeneity, and hence cultural and national identity, as well as a mythology of class cooperation, in order to mold the population to the exigencies of export capitalism based on the cultivation of coffee. The new liberal oligarchy formulated the myth of the white yeoman farmer as part of a campaign to create a nationalism of consensus amongst classes. Liberal ideology defined the good Costa Rican citizen as one who was relatively docile, who aided the process of reproducing Costa Rica’s more “European” stock of human capital, and who ensured the stability of family units, as well as the legal transference of property, through legal church marriages. By extension, those who were “less white” or “less married” did not meet the liberal standard for good citizens. Through such mediums as public school texts, state-subsidized newspapers, civic ceremonies and official histories, the idea that Costa Rica had always been a

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

nation of modest, white family farmers was legitimized as a way of promoting social harmony in the highlands. This body of intellectual production, based on some of the characteristics of one region of the country, became the basis for liberal historiography, or what the present study will refer to as traditional historiography. Some recent literature, however, has focused on complex realities of the peripheral provinces outside of the Central Plateau. Studies of Limón Province on the Atlantic coast reveal the impact on the region of West Indian banana workers recruited by the United Fruit Company.3 Other research has pointed to the prevalence of mestizo and mulatto wage laborers on the cattle latifundia of Guanacaste Province on the Pacific.4 In each case, traditional claims of racial homogeneity and equitable land tenure patterns are called into question. This study focuses on the understudied third littoral province of Puntarenas on the Pacific coast and emphasizes differential patterns of race composition, state intervention, and local attitudes towards such issues as marriage, family, work and sexuality, thus challenging traditional historiography and furthering the revisionist work based on the two other littoral provinces. Thus, this study is intended to foster a more complete explanation of Costa Rica’s national development than the assumption that historical events of the coffee producing Central Plateau constitute the core explanation for national development. Additionally, this study suggests that an apt explanation for Costa Rican exceptionalism lies in the nature of the nation’s free labor system—exceptional by Central American standards—from which prostitutes in Puntarenas during this time benefited. The labor of prostitutes in Puntarenas not only reflected the differential development of the port region, but also served as an example of the state’s conciliatory labor relations with its western periphery. Hence, this study uses the data on prostitutes in Puntarenas as a means of analyzing the development of the state, the evolution of the free labor system, and the nature of Costa Rican exceptionalism. The period from 1880 to 1930 spans the era from the consolidation of the coffee exporting industry in Costa Rica—and the liberal state which promoted its progress—through the boom period of the 1920s.5 The focus on this period allows for an evaluation of the impact on various regions of the nation of coffee exporting cycles, patterns of trade and migration, and infrastructural developments, with emphasis on the completion of the railroads from San José to Limón in 1890 and to Puntarenas in 1910. The analysis of the development of Puntarenas during this period is viewed through the lens of the development of the socioeconomic, political, and cultural development of female prostitution in the port, which, it will be argued, differed from the development of prostitution in the highlands, in large part due

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Introduction and Theory  to the different economies of each region—in the highlands coffee production and in Puntarenas the transportation and tourism industries. Evidence that suggests that the nature of coastal economic development, regional mores, anomalous demographic patterns and peripheral geography resulted in substantially different state policies and public attitudes towards social issues such as prostitution, subverts traditional historiography, which has failed to accurately reflect differential development between the center and periphery of the country.6 In contrast to the image of white yeomen farmers bound by traditional family values, many female prostitutes of Puntarenas, as well as other working class men and women of the port, were of color and predominantly single. Women consistently outnumbered men during the period analyzed and were “off the radar” of the liberal establishment of the highlands. As such they were less affected by the formal ideologies of that region. What this suggests is that the evolution of the country was eminently more complex and heterodox than has traditionally been thought. In particular, there were substantial differences in the socioeconomic development of different areas of the country and hence their social and political realities. This study argues that what often was considered female deviance in the inland capital of San José was considered a necessary component of the thriving import and export center of Puntarenas—a major port on the Central American western littoral from colonial times to very recently. Where prostitutes in San José were subjected to surveillance by the state, those of Puntarenas enjoyed greater freedom due to the tendency of the state to exercise realpolitik in the periphery; prostitutes were an infrastructural reality of port life, as well as part of a culture from which the state profited handsomely through revenues from the state liquor monopoly. While state policies of social control helped determine practices with respect to prostitution in San José, economic realities dominated the development of prostitution in Puntarenas. In San José, prostitutes were out of view of the “decent” society of the coffee bourgeoisie, practicing their trade in “unclean” neighborhoods.7 In Puntarenas, prostitutes—part of a population consisting of as many as 50% foreigners—mixed more freely in porteño society working in venues that were interspersed with other businesses, churches, schools and residences, all of which were connected in one way or another to the expanding business of the port. Moreover, concubinage rates in the port, as well as throughout the peripheral provinces, consistently exceeded those of the Meseta Central, further blurring the lines that, in the highlands, separated right from wrong. The differential stigmatization by region of prostitutes further reflected the cultural and social divides between center and periphery, rein-

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

forcing the reality of diversity in the nation’s development. This study will argue that, due to socioeconomic realities, less stigma was attached to sexual commerce in the port than to that of the highlands. Evidence suggests that prostitutes in Puntarenas did not pass through what Marion Goldman terms a “degradation ceremony.”8 Such an exemption may be attributed to (1) the longevity of the practice of prostitution in the port, emerging with the early rise of coffee in 1840s, (2) the value the state placed on maintaining a stable port in a period of export-led growth, (3) the port’s dense and peripheral geography, (4) the state’s somewhat laissez-faire political policy towards Puntarenas, motivated by the port’s early autonomy as a free port and a national ideology which excluded and marginalized the periphery, (5) the desire for the foreign exchange generated by prostitution, (6) the desire to encourage profits for the state liquor monopoly, (7) Costa Rica’s free labor system, less ideologically harnessed in the periphery, and (8) Costa Rica’s relatively lenient laws on prostitution, which were even less enforced in the periphery. Conversely, when looking for explanations for the greater stigmatization of prostitutes in the Central Valley, inevitably “all roads lead to coffee.” Central to an understanding of public views towards “public women” in the Central Valley was the influence of liberal morality, whose production by a liberal oligarchy promoted marriage and the family as a prime means to create a stable agrarian society. Liberal politicians reacted to the rapid increase in the population of the capital of San José in the period 1880 through 1930 with hygiene campaigns and surveillance technologies designed to control the emerging working classes, which included prostitutes. Hence, this study will undertake an examination of the nature of Costa Rican liberalism, as well as its relation to coffee, politics, and culture in Costa Rica in order to weigh the greater influence and impact of liberal ideology in those areas that cultivated coffee and, by extension, the lesser influence of liberal ideology on a region which did not. The basic method employed in this study is one of comparison–of economic development, demographic patterns and liberal state policies towards prostitution in the capital and in the port—center and periphery—with the end of providing an example of differential regional development, thereby further questioning the over-simplified white settler image of national development. A further methodological consideration takes into account not so much the form that the arguments take in this study, as the conglomerate of historiographical traditions or schools of history that the arguments draw from and which either dictate the choice of primary and secondary sources or are chosen because these sources are available. In this case, that conglomerate includes: social history, with its emphasis on “ordi-

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Introduction and Theory  nary people” and agency; demographic history, a partner of social history with an emphasis on structures; political history, which concerns policies of the state towards such issues as prostitution; and intellectual history which includes the nature of Costa Rican nationalism and “liberal ideology.” Recent secondary literature has made possible a comparative approach for this study, although not without alignments that are at times strained. Costa Rican historian Juan José Marín’s study of prostitution in San José,9 as well as Steven Palmer’s insights into the “liberal morality” of the Central Valley in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,10 are useful in their analyses of the ideological dimension of the liberal politics of social control of prostitutes and the working class of the highlands. Costa Rican historian Eugenia Rodríquez Sáenz has produced a voluminous body of work on women, marriage and family life in the Central Valley from the late colonial period to the twentieth century that provides a foundation, based on gender, for understanding moral pressures on society exerted by the liberal state and reinforced by the Catholic Church.11 Her work is valuable in providing support for the argument that codes of sexual behavior were created for and peculiar to the populations of the Central Valley with little relevance to populations of the peripheral provinces. Palmer’s arguments on liberal morality and social control in San José for the 1870–1930 period nicely complement Rodríquez Sáenz’s research for the earlier period, showing the evolution of moral intervention by church and state and its peculiarity to the highlands. Moving from the predominantly “top-down” approaches of these historians, Lara Putnam’s “bottom-up” study of migrant West Indian and Hispanic women in Limón Province on the Atlantic coast for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has been an important source for the gender component of this study, in part, because of her use of testimonies from court cases—available for Puntarenas as well—which illuminate the lives of migrant prostitutes in Limón and thus constitutes an important basis for comparison in this study.12 Comparing Putnam’s findings to those of Marín and Palmer, however, is not unlike mixing oil with water, the former a social history, the latter two more concerned with politics. In the absence of social histories of prostitutes in the highlands, I have tracked rates of concubinage in that region for which data is available in published annual statistics. Concubinage was nearly a taboo in the Central Valley as was prostitution and thus offers one means of measuring stigmatization as it applied to woman living out of wedlock. The considerably lower rates of concubinage among women of the provinces of the Central Valley offer an indication of the effectiveness of the liberal establishment’s skills in social engineering.

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

It should be noted that, prior to the 1990s, secondary literature on prostitution in Costa Rica was nearly non-existent. Furthermore, general histories of Puntarenas are also scarce. With the exception of a few descriptive master’s theses from the University of Costa Rica and a 1933 history by the liberal President Cleto González Víquez (which is used here as a primary source), no major studies have been done on the history of the port.13 Explanations I have heard for this range from, “scholars at the Universidad (in San José) are too lazy to travel outside of the Meseta Central,” to, “Who wants to know about that moral cesspool?” Although, in the past, prostitution has been an accepted fact of life among inhabitants of Puntarenas, negative sentiments still run high among Josefinos (inhabitants of San José) when analyzing the role of the port in the development of the patria.

Sources Gathering primary material for this study was hindered by the absence of some municipal files due to a fire in 1960 in the building that housed the municipal archives in Puntarenas. In addition, a 1900 fire in the principal Catholic church in Puntarenas destroyed demographic data on nineteenth century inhabitants of the port.14 Therefore, I have relied primarily on various censuses and annual statistics, published by the Oficina de Estadísticas y Censos (OEC)—formerly known as the Dirección General de Estadística y Censos (DGEC)—in San José and available in many research libraries in the United States. Resúmenes Estadísticos: Años 1883–1910 and Anuario Estadístico for 1890–1930, providing vital statistics and data for health and all manner of civil and criminal activities, were available at the Widener Library of Harvard University and the Science, Industry, and Business Library (SIBL) of the New York Public Research Library respectively. As mentioned earlier, these sources enable a cross regional analysis of concubinage practices over time via data determining ratios of births out of wedlock (natural) to “legitimate” births. The published population censuses of 1864, 1883, 1892, and 1927, available at the SIBL in New York City, have yielded demographic material on male-female ratios, marriage patterns, household sizes, immigration rates, and racial composition. In addition to the published 1927 census, the CIHAC (Centro de Investigaciones Históricas de América Central) has created a more detailed computerized sample of 10% of the population, based on the original 1927 tabulations of census takers.15 The sample of 802 people from the Central District of Puntarenas, representing about 10% of the district population (roughly 8,000—a bit more than the 6,676 port population in 1927) has the advantage of break-downs according to sex,

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Introduction and Theory  affording more information on the migration and civil status of women in Puntarenas, particularly the predominance of concubinage and female heads of household. At the same time, discrepancies between the published 1927 census and the computerized sample, particularly in regard to racial status, reflect “cheating” by census takers in an effort to whiten the population of the port and province of Puntarenas—an indication of the anxieties of the central government with respect to the country’s image.16 The activities of the state in regulating prostitution in Puntarenas are documented in the yearly published reports, the Memorias, of various Costa Rican government ministries, consulted in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Local labor, crime and health problems, as well as data and discourse on prostitution contained in the reports of the Department of Venereal Prevention, were reported meticulously by the Ministerio de Gobernación y Policía (Interior and Police Ministry). The Ministerios de Fomento (Development Ministry) and Hacienda y Comercio (Treasury and Commerce) tracked commercial, maritime, and fiscal activity in the port. The Ministerio de Fomento conducted two commercial censuses for 1907–08 and 1915, published by the OEC, which list businesses in Puntarenas, names and nationalities of owners, and amounts of local taxation for each. This data is especially valuable for constructing social and economic networks, for assessing the reliance of the municipality on revenue from establishments related to prostitution such as bars and dancehalls, and for determining the close working relationships prostitutes had to mainstream businesses in the port. This is useful when comparing the structure of prostitution in the port to that of San José where “public women” were geographically segregated from elite neighborhoods. The Judicial Section of the Archivo Nacional de Costa Rica (ANCR) contains court records of crimes committed by registered and unregistered prostitutes, as well as lawsuits initiated by prostitutes and other working class women of the port. A most interesting category among the latter (one “discovered” by Lara Putnam) is that of injuria—insults intended to harm the reputation of another, reflecting concepts of honor in porteño society and other urban areas of Costa Rica before 1911.17 These provide an invaluable source for micro-social histories of regions of Costa Rica and counter the weaknesses of the Memorias, which, valuable as they are, often were colored by the desire of local officials to please their superiors in the capital. Therefore, court cases provide some of the most direct evidence of the conditions and voices of working class women. Across town from the National Archives in San José, the Archivo de la Curia Metropolitana (Archive of the Catholic Curia) contains records of the activities of Puntarenas’ principal church, the mini-cathedral Sagrado

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Corazón de Jesús. The Sección Fondos Antiguos contains correspondences between priests in dioceses outside of San José and their superiors in San José. Although access to these is restricted for the most part (there is no shortage of apparent scandals involving priests in the peripheries), a useful annotated index to the letters is available offering evidence of patterns in the Church’s administration of parishes in peripheral regions of Costa Rica, as well as the needs and concerns of priests of the periphery. For Puntarenas, the letters back and forth to San José reflect a resignation to the ingrained moral economy of the port on the part of porteño priests, as well as their generally subaltern positions within the Church hierarchy. Many such priests came from neighboring countries, were moved around within the peripheries and were rarely assigned to parishes in the Central Valley. In San José, next door to the old state liquor factory, the Biblioteca Nacional de Costa Rica (National Library) has available runs of newspapers for all regions of the country—seven for Puntarenas after 1897, which were useful as much for what they did not print as for what they did. Social issues such as prostitution were discussed mostly in a legal context, making these sources, not unlike the Memorias, more a reflection of elite whitewashing than the reality of the streets. In Puntarenas, the Biblioteca Pública supplied various brief histories of the port including a memoir by Dr. Pedro José Alvarez Valle, recounting his recollections of life in Puntarenas in the 1920s.18 Together, these sources provide accounts of the discourse of politicians, writers and reformers, as well as provide data on structural factors and the experience of actors such as prostitutes in Puntarenas and the Central Valley—all of which accentuate differences in regional development, as well reflect differences in the cultural directions prostitutes and working women followed in each region. Theory The variety of avenues necessary to enter the terrains of work, gender and sexuality in a peripheral region little analyzed by historians necessitates a consideration of disparate theories. To recount the general story of prostitution in Puntarenas, this section will concentrate on three topics—region, labor and prostitution in Latin America—as a way of establishing a context for understanding the evidence uncovered in the proceeding chapters. In the first two areas, region and labor, the theoretical antecedents for understanding Costa Rica’s regional pluralism and free labor system are offered as tools of analysis for the hypothesis that the nation’s democratic roots are more connected to its labor policies than to cultural homogeneity. In

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the third area involving theories of prostitution and stigma, the discussion broadens considerably due to the lack of cross regional studies of prostitution in Latin America as a whole. A lengthy analysis links prostitution in Puntarenas to themes of work and stigma as theorized in the scholarship on prostitution in Costa Rica, in Latin America, and in the world. 1. Region The theoretical literature on differential regional development in Latin America received one of its first big advances from historian Charles Gibson, followed by a group of regional historians, whose studies of New Spain in the colonial period showed that vast region to have been a patchwork quilt of diverse economic and social developments shaped, in large measure, by demography and markets.19 Although the patches were, for the most part, not investigated as parts of other patches, these pioneering studies went a long way in validating the effectiveness of revision through micro-studies. Anthropological approaches pioneered by Eric Wolf and Sidney Mintz connected the patches by taking the view that regions are not isolated, that they are parts of other regions, and that their links are articulated by the flow of commodities.20 This latter approach is relevant for the case of Costa Rica in attempting to articulate the relationship between San José and Puntarenas via the common denominator of coffee. In the Central Valley, the shortage of labor for the cultivation of coffee, as well as failed immigration schemes, inspired the liberal state to develop a nationalism based on promoting the values of the bourgeois nuclear family in order to increase the population with the nation’s more “European” stock of farmers from the highlands. In Puntarenas, the transport of coffee not only attracted the “wrong kind” of immigrants from neighboring countries such as Nicaragua, but also contributed to the development of an archetypal rowdy seaport, consisting, in part, of bars and brothels. Consequently, both center and periphery, as a result of different economic relationships to the same commodity—coffee—followed somewhat separate courses of political and socioeconomic development. Studies have approached the relations of peripheries and centers according to a broad range of factors, which include not only commodity flows, but also geography, transportation links and ethnicity. Sociologist Stein Rokkan, writing in the 1970s, outlined the features of a center-periphery paradigm as a tool for the analysis of variation among political systems. For this study, it seems apt for plotting the evolution of pluralism in a country where the traditional emphasis has been on a single process of political, economic and social development. Rokkan stressed the importance of understanding “notions of territory.” One must study the centers, according to Rokkan, the gathering

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places where most of the decisions are made, then the areas controlled by these centers, the peripheries; from there, one must chart the transactions between the two with attention to: (1) the physical conditions of transportation and communication—the contours of landscape creating lesser or greater barriers between areas of settlement, (2) the technological conditions for movement: horses, ships, railroads and so on, (3) the economic conditions for cross-territorial transactions, differences in resource endowments, in production and in markets, making for higher or lower incentives to barter and trade; and (4) the cultural conditions of communication: ethnic affinities or enmities, differences in language, in moral codes, in religion.21 The variables of the Rokkan model are useful indicators in determining the differential development of Puntarenas. Costa Rica’s physical characteristics, within a small area (51,100 sq. km or 19,730 sq. miles), make it appear much larger than it is. The center and periphery were cemented with the completion of the railroad in 1910, before which coffee was transported by oxcart on a road which was often impassable during the rainy season from June to December. The raison d’être of the port in the nineteenth century was its use for the export of coffee, which had become the impetus for national, political, and economic development. From the time of Costa Rica’s birth as a republic in 1838 to the completion of the railway to the Caribbean port of Limón in 1890, Puntarenas was the sole recipient of all coffee for export. During this period, coffee constituted between 75 and 95 percent of Costa Rica’s total exports.22 Puntarenas and the coffee producing center, although ethnically different (the center “more European” than the periphery), were linked in a symbiotic relationship, fed by the exigencies of the cultivation and export of coffee for the world market. Political scientist Daniel Lerner has taken some of Rokkan’s “notions of territory” a step further by linking relationships, such as the above case of symbiosis between Puntarenas and the Central Valley, with the conditions necessary for regional pluralism. One relationship may be that of “disinterest”—the center ignores the periphery. A second involves the periphery refusing to be treated with disinterest. The center negotiates a “difference promotion” mode of co-existence. According to Lerner, “difference promotion,” leading to pluralism, is sustainable under certain conditions in which “functional specification” is developed; the center maintains political power; the periphery holds another kind of power. The center maintains itself by giving the periphery another type of power. In the U.S., Washington and New York have this kind of relationship—the former with political power, the latter with economic power.23 Similarly, in the periods both before and after the completion of the railway to Puntarenas in 1910, San José operated as the political, economic and ideological center of the nation

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while Puntarenas was given space as an additional economic center with limited political influence. Lerner offers a caveat regarding technological change which can open up communication links too rapidly. Achieving “difference promotion” is difficult when developments in linkages (telegraph, railroads) cause physical space-time differences to be considerably reduced. The problem then arises of how to cope with the “psychic requirements” of being a participant in a more rapid integration of a center-periphery relationship. The faster geographical distances are eliminated, the more social differences can be attitudinally exaggerated.24 Yet “difference promotion” was a less difficult achievement in Puntarenas after completion of the Pacific Railroad owing to decades of entrenched cultural values in the port. The “psychic” dynamics between San José and Puntarenas after the completion of the railway favored a form of cultural pluralism. The railroad linking of San José to Puntarenas, occurring two years before the completion of the Panama Canal in 1912, made the export of coffee from the western coast of the country more profitable, hence further establishing the port as an indispensable part of the national economy. Yet, the liberal project of the center, which included programs of social cleansing for urban areas, as well as the emphasis on the family, were, for the most part, unimposable in the port. In the port, while criminality and some public health problems were dealt with by the establishment of a new penitentiary and half-hearted attempts at regular medical check-ups for prostitutes, the coming of the railroad meant, along with an increase in trade and traffic, a tourist boom generated by wealthy families from the Central Plateau building vacation homes along the shoreline. Prostitutes now had an additional base of customers— men who not only slipped away from their wives to engage the services of prostitutes, but who slipped away from the ethical code of the liberal state of the interior. As in pre-Castro Havana, as in Las Vegas, Puntarenas was a playground where the rules could be broken, where vice was accepted and celebrated. The trade-off was acceptable to both sides. Pluralism prevailed. 2. Free Labor As stated earlier, the idea of difference was not valued in the highlands where the culture of coffee dictated homogeneous national values. The liberal state went to great lengths to extol the virtues of sameness in order to stabilize a labor force over which it had little formal control. The question arises: What accounts for this lack of formal control over labor? When other countries of Central America sustained systems of forced labor well into their national eras, why was labor free in Costa Rica? Recent literature exploring Latin America’s development from the point of view of the legacy of colonialism is a relevant starting point from

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which to evaluate Costa Rica’s free labor system. Labor historian Charles Bergquist has posed the question: “How did the wealthiest American colonies become the poorest nations of the hemisphere, and the poorest colonies become the core of the nation that became the richest in the world?”25 He investigates this paradox in order to show that the development of the United States and Latin America has been less influenced by culture, race and climate than by the nature of colonial labor systems. Highland Costa Rica’s colonial labor system bears a notable resemblance to that of New England. Both avoided the polarization of wealth that occurred in Haiti, in South Carolina, in Upper Peru, in Guatemala, because they failed during their colonial periods to develop mining or agro-export economies that required forced labor systems. Bergquist’s argument falls under the theoretical rubric of “path dependency” literature whose contributors include economists Paul A. David, Kenneth L. Sokoloff, Stephen Haber and sociologist James Mahoney.26 The argument of this school follows the logic that in those areas of the Spanish American empire where Spanish institutions (such as forced labor systems) were strongest, economic development during the national era was weakest. Conversely, in those often marginal areas where liberal factions tended to be found during the colonial period, higher levels of economic development resulted during the national era. The level of Spanish influence during the colonial era was inversely related to social development and continued so after independence. Applying path dependency theory to the political development of Central America after 1850, James Mahoney argues that liberal regimes in the isthmus were tempered by the degree to which Spanish institutions existed during the colonial era. Specifically, Guatemala and El Salvador, where Spanish presence was strongest, developed a “radical (authoritarian) liberalism” while Costa Rica, a backwater during the colonial period, developed a “reformist (democratic) liberalism.”27 The background of Costa Rica’s “rags to riches” story following some of the ideas outlined above is the subject of Chapter Two. At this point it is important to note that out of this body of theory emerge explanations for Costa Rican exceptionalism based on the absence of Spanish institutions during the colonial period and the presence of free labor policies during the national era. It is from this position that the story of prostitution in Puntarenas takes on greater meaning because women who chose prostitution in Puntarenas (and elsewhere in Costa Rica) did so in a working environment that was freer than those of neighboring countries. While the present study shows differences in public attitudes toward prostitutes in center and periphery, it also shows that in all parts of the country registered prostitutes participated in a free labor system. In the first case, regional differences show the weakness

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of the traditional historiography of homogeneity; in the second, free labor is advanced as an exceptional feature of Costa Rican history. 3. Prostitution The idea of using prostitution in Puntarenas as a means for analyzing broader issues—in this case pluralism and exceptionalism–is not new. Recent studies of prostitution have served as gauges intended to measure such issues as gender, nation building, and economic development. Historian Timothy Gilfoyle has written, “prostitution is no longer treated as an isolated phenomenon but as a portal to wider historical trends.”28 Historians, in particular, have expanded the frontier of the delicate subject of prostitution and have understood the usefulness of employing it as a lens for examining other issues.29 A monograph by Luise White on prostitution in Kenya, for example, is at the same time a study of British colonial policy in Africa; Donna Guy’s work on prostitution in Buenos Aires is a key to understanding the formation of Argentine nationalism; a study of prostitution in Shanghai by Gail Hershatter is a means to understand twentieth century China.30 Writes Hershatter, “If Shanghai is the key to modern China, prostitution is one of the keys to modern Shanghai.”31 Similarly, an understanding of prostitution in Puntarenas informs our understanding of state attitudes towards labor in various regions of the country, of nation building, of gender and the evolution of the predominant ideologies in Costa Rica. The relative acceptance of prostitution in Puntarenas offers a key to understanding its distinctiveness from the main population centers of the Meseta Central. Prostitution, as practiced in Puntarenas, is one measure of the region’s unique development. If Puntarenas is one demonstration of the diversity of Costa Rica’s modern development, prostitution is a key to understanding the degree of that diversity. Functioning as a microeconomy, prostitution in Puntarenas supported a substantial proportion of the population, particularly those who owned bars, boarding houses, billiard halls, and other related venues. Prostitution was also linked to the generation of municipal revenues from fines, taxes and liquor licenses at a time of governmental growth and elaboration at the local, regional and national levels. It supported men in jobs as police and medical inspectors. Prostitution also brought in foreign exchange and contributed mightily to the revenues garnered by the national government from sales of state manufactured liquor. Prostitution reflected the economic vibrancy and development of the port critical to the development of the national export economy. Prostitution also helped define gender relations in the region. Demographic indicators, such as male-female ratios favoring younger single women, the preference for concubinage over marriage, as reflected in rates

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of illegitimacy, and the volume of immigrants from Nicaragua and Panama, created a unique context, different from that of the Meseta Central, from which young women of the era fit or did not fit into the theoretical molds described in the historical literature on women. These molds revolve around the issues of public and private spheres, agency, victimization, honor and shame, marriage and concubinage practices, labor systems and woman’s work in pre-industrial societies. How church and state did or did not enter the brothel tells us something about stigma or lack of it and the ways in which gender hierarchies were successfully or unsuccessfully constructed “from above.” The “top down” issues of liberal ideology and legislation of Costa Rica’s Liberal Reform period had less of an impact on women in the periphery. The elite objectives of San José did not affect the relations among men, women, church and state in Puntarenas in as powerful a way as they did in the Meseta Central.

Prostitutes and Single Women; Single Women and Prostitutes: The Ordinary Women Thesis The present study has borrowed from literature which has focused on the daily lives of prostitutes and the structural forces shaping their behavior. This literature has a more complex view of stigma and the “public life” of prostitutes by employing an empathetic vision of prostitutes and situating commercial sex within the world of working class culture. Timothy Gilfoyle refers to this historiographical approach as one which views prostitutes as “ordinary young females confronting limited possibilities and making rational and sometimes desperate choices.”32 The “ordinary women thesis,” explaining prostitution as one aspect of working class culture, rescues prostitution from more simplistic ascriptions of stigmatization and shows the experience of prostitutes to be more tied to the labor market than to deviance, pathology or transgression. As applied to the body of current orthodox theories of prostitution, the “ordinary women” thesis most closely fits the liberal or contractarian approach. This approach differs from Marxist and radical feminist approaches, which both view prostitutes as victims of capitalism and gender inequality respectively. The liberal view sees prostitution as the performance of a service for the payment of a fee. So long as the contract is freely chosen, the state should not interfere with it.33 This is liberal (in the vein of Enlightenment liberalism) in the sense that, while individuals may have moral objections to it (and are free to stigmatize it), they ought not to interfere with others’ liberty to contract; it is a private act with which the state should not interfere. The contractarian theory most closely matches

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the “ordinary women” thesis in its view that prostitution is work and, as such, should enjoy the respect granted to free labor in general. It is relevant to societies where prostitution is legal and labor free or to peripheries which evade more restrictive state policies, but falls short of explaining the more ideologically harnessed highland region of Costa Rica or the more authoritarian regulationist regimes of late nineteenth century liberal Latin America. In Puntarenas, the preponderance of young, single women in the period under study, as well as the physical characteristics of the port, suggested such ordinariness. Puntarenas, for working class and merchant class alike, was a “street” city where the limited area of the port—roughly four miles long by one half mile wide—combined with the frequency of shared arrangements of domestic spaces, created a tightly integrated society where the private sphere was nearly absent. It was fashionable to be outside. The red light district of Puntarenas was known as la colmena—the beehive. In fact, it was a beehive within a beehive. The limited stretch of land that constituted the port was packed with single and two story tenements of people sharing living, cooking and bathing facilities. Although the “public woman” (mujer pública) was a term synonymous with “prostitute,” all women were public in one sense or another in Puntarenas. “Stigma” as a “mark” was less possible in the context of Puntarenas. Court cases involving working class men and women of Puntarenas reveal that, with the private sphere limited, the boundaries among and between working class women and prostitutes, were often blurred and, when not blurred, were often cited by the actors. In San José, on the other hand, while prostitutes had as much access to the courts as anywhere else in Costa Rica and used the legal system to their advantage, the stricter moral and legal codes of the liberal state caused class divisions to be more marked, reflected in geographical segregation. Those neighborhoods containing the coffee bourgeoisie were considered “limpio” (“pure”); those with prostitutes and other social outcasts were labeled “sucio” (“dirty”).34 In both the beehive of Puntarenas and the ghetto of San José, prostitutes had opportunities in the legal system absent in other regimes of the hemisphere, but public opinion about such women was molded in a more intense way in the Central Valley, as elites viewed them as a threat to modernization, motherhood, and the family—the pillars of the liberal state based on the coffee culture in the Meseta Central. Prostitutes in the highlands may have had access to a free labor system, but the control over and stigmatization of the prostitute was more successful there and more in accordance with a liberal project.

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Deconstructing Stigma On the other side of the “ordinary women” thesis is the question of what stigma is, who creates it, and to what degree does it exist in certain cultural settings such as that of Latin America. This leads to the question of the nature of prostitution in Latin America, whether it differs from other regions and where the present study may fit into such a model. Historian Luise White has taken on the issue of stigma by accusing social scientists of creating and promoting it through the use of sources drawn from politicians and reformers. “Most of the data we have about U.S. and European prostitution comes from movements that attempted to reform and regulate prostitution.  .  .  .  Has recent scholarship on prostitution simply taken a metaphor of women’s passivity, degradation and victimization  .  .  .  and proven how accurate it is, and what’s more, how it was all the fault of men?”35 An example of the trend referred to by White is a study by historian Marion Goldman of prostitutes in the nineteenth century mining districts of Nevada. Goldman writes that in the Comstock Lode, prostitutes’ “traces were everywhere just like the chronic pollution from the mines and ore mills.”36 Relying heavily on reports of reformers, she argues that the stigma associated with Comstock prostitution (and U.S. prostitution in general) is still visible today because sexual commerce violates the boundaries separating public work from private sexuality. People who adopt prostitution as a central deviant identity: pass through some formal or informal degradation ceremony, an occasion on which an individual’s total public identity is transformed into something lower in the scheme of human types.  .  .  .  Their degradation ceremonies could range from arrest for homosexuality to imprisonment for solicitation to being publicly fired from a job or expelled from school because of unwed pregnancy. Other private, less formal ceremonies could involve ostracism from a group or family because of promiscuity or the violation of other sexual codes.37

To depictions of stigma and degradation White responds: These are historical conventions that take prostitutes away from their customers, outside the realm of labor, outside the sphere of economic behavior and place them, bluntly and firmly, on the same level as cockroaches: a barely controllable part of the environment. The corollary is that they must be controlled to contain what they transmit. This is not the rhetoric with which one writes social history.38

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Here, a social historian links stigma to reformist critiques, while preserving prostitution as a form of work rationally chosen. White takes the position that sources proceeding from the rhetoric of reformers lead to distortions of the work of prostitutes. Hence, stigma is the child of discourse analysis begotten by the social scientist. Another view of stigma proceeds from its institutional context. Michel Foucault’s history of French prisons, Discipline and Punish, provides a model of state power applicable to state regulated prostitution. Foucault’s work concentrates on the pouvoir (power) and savoir(knowledge) of the state and analyzes how prisons create delinquents or, applied to sexual commerce, how the regulation system creates the stigma associated with prostitutes.39 The forms taken up by prostitution are deeply influenced by its legal sanction, whether regulated or criminalized. Foucauldian logic explains stigma as a political construct. Sexual commerce per se does not promote oppressive values of capitalist patriarchy; rather, it is the cultural and legal production of a marginalized, degraded prostitution that ensures its oppressive characteristics, at the same time acting to limit “the subversive potential” that might attend a decriminalized, culturally legitimized form of sexual commerce.40 The view that the state creates the stigma of prostitution has been popular in some studies of prostitution of the liberal reform era (from 1860 to 1920 roughly) in Latin America because, first, the regulation of prostitution was so prevalent and, second, states tended towards repressive labor relations during this time.41 Although no cross-regional studies exist on prostitution in Latin America, a few generalizations can be made. Legalized, regulated prostitution characterized the region more often than not and for longer periods of time than in the Anglo-U.S. world. Explanations for this are both religious and political. They include the Roman Catholic tolerance for regulated prostitution inherited from Spain and medieval Europe and the popularity of the French system of regulation which emerged in the early nineteenth century. The Roman Catholic Church’s tolerance of prostitution preceded the modern era. One of Martin Luther’s criticisms of the Church during the Reformation period was its tolerance of prostitution. Protestant countries such as the United States and Great Britain have tended towards prohibitionist state policies towards prostitution while Roman Catholic countries, such as France, Italy and much of Latin America have leaned towards regulation, utilizing the Augustinian “lesser of two evils” argument to justify regulation.42 The often cited idea of Augustine read: “Abolish the prostitutes and the passions will overthrow the world; give them the rank of honest women

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and infamy and dishonor will blacken the universe.”43 Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas had recognized that female prostitution was both repugnant and necessary. For example, Augustine believed that eliminating brothels would lead to the greater “pollution” of lust. In his mind it was better to tolerate prostitution, than to resist the dangers that would follow the elimination of the prostitute from society. Thomas Aquinas perpetuated Augustine’s view and compared prostitution to a sewer whose removal would pollute the palace. He argued that prohibiting prostitution might also lead to homosexual practices. He was more tolerant of sexual pleasure within marriage and more understanding of the sins of the flesh.44 The point here is that stigmatization of prostitution came, in part, from the implicit sanction by Catholic tradition of a double standard. Whereas prohibition theoretically rejects extramarital intercourse for both sexes, regulation explicitly acknowledges a double standard.45 While evangelical Protestantism preached the abstention of males from extra-marital sex, Catholic societies essentially gave men a license to roam while dividing women into faithful wives and stigmatized public women. Historian Mary Elizabeth Perry’s research on legalized prostitution in sixteenth century Seville, the inland port in Southern Spain that became the capital of the Spanish commercial empire, reveals just such a double standard and may be considered an aspect of an Iberian heritage of female prostitution applicable to Spanish America. “Women who did not conform to the usual pattern of marriage or chastity lacked the most significant ritual base that could integrate them into the community. For them, the brothel helped to re-establish a ritual relationship with other residents of the city.” Nevertheless, prostitutes were confined to neighborhoods along the river so that other city residents “would not suffer risk of pollution.” Only those women born outside of the city were allowed to be inscribed in the brothel rosters.46 Here, the Augustinian principle of “necessary pollution” is well illustrated and offers a poignant early example of the mix of disgust and limited acceptance that would characterize regulated commercial sex in the American colonies of Catholic Spain. The impulse to regulate prostitution in Latin America came as much from modern France as it came from Augustine, Aquinas, or Seville. Much of the discourse on regulated prostitution in Latin America was influenced by French regulationist discourse. The early architect of the French system was Alexander Jean-Baptiste Parent-Duchatelet, dubbed the “Newton of Harlotry.” His study of Parisian prostitutes De la prostitution dans la ville de Paris(1836), followed 12,000 prostitutes who had been registered from 1816–31. In his study, prostitution emerges as a transitional occupation for young women of the laboring class with no rigid demarcation between the

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Introduction and Theory 21 “criminal” classes and the “poor.”47 In other words, poverty itself is the stigma. From Parent’s Augustinian viewpoint, he was led to “enclose” prostitution by constructing an incarcerating system organized around the legal and regulated brothel, the hospital, the prison, and the reformatory.48 The leaders of the European sanitarian movement that followed Parent-Duchatelet created a potent ideology that linked science with discriminatory social control. Insalubrious port cities were particularly problematic because epidemics interfered with the growth of European trade and commerce.49 Regulations were put into general use in France in the early nineteenth century. By the 1870s legal bordellos, supervised by police and medical personnel, operated in France, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Spain and Norway.50 Mexico became one of the first Latin American countries to adopt the new system after the invasion of the Austrian princeling Maximilian in 1864. The attendant French occupation included a system of legalized prostitution. Cuba followed suit in 1873. Argentina, experiencing the beginning of massive European immigration and increased urbanization, debated the issue of municipal control of bordellos as early as 1864. In 1875 Buenos Aires passed its first prostitution ordinance. In 1887, a Peruvian physician, Dr. Manuel A. Muñoz, called for regulation arguing that prostitution and venereal disease had plagued his country even before the era of the Inca Empire.51 In Costa Rica in 1864, the same year Puntarenas was selected as the western terminus for the proposed trans-isthmian railroad, legislators in San José, emulating actions taken in Mexico under French rule, enacted major legislation requiring prostitutes to register with municipal authorities. Due to the vagueness of the legislation, as well as lack of commitment of financial and legal resources, most municipalities, including Puntarenas, were slow to respond.52 By 1894, the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea legally recognized prostitution as un officio (a trade) requiring prostitutes to register with municipal authorities and submit to regular medical checkups for venereal disease. Women inscribed in the registries now had an official trade exempting them from the penalties of another seminal piece of legislation of the Liberal Reform era, la Ley Sobre Vagancia de 1887. The Vagrancy Law of 1887, part of a wave of such legislation enacted throughout Latin America and designed to coerce unemployed men and single women into “legitimate” employment through the threat of incarceration, acted not only to protect registered prostitutes but to punish unregistered, clandestine prostitutes who were considered a threat to the health of the nation.53 The nexus of vagrancy laws with laws regulating prostitution, not only in Costa Rica, but throughout Latin America, suggests something more about how states have stigmatized prostitutes and for reasons that go

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beyond the tradition of the double standard and fears about venereal disease. Luise White writes of prostitution’s subversive potential: prostitution became a social problem when impoverished peasantries and urban work forces sent their daughters onto the streets in increasing numbers, and when the monies the daughters remitted to their families slowed down the proletarianization of the peasantry or the entrance of casual laborers into the structure and discipline of the factory floor.54

In Latin America, casual labor itself—clandestine prostitution—appears to have been stigmatized at a time when states were propping up their export economies through policies aimed at assuring a sufficient supply of wage labor. If there is a Latin American tradition of prostitution in the period under study, it must be painted in broad strokes that mix the regulationist tradition of Catholic medieval Europe (with its double standard), nineteenth century French positivism (with its sanction of regulation for the purpose of social control), and the strict labor relations that accompanied export economies of the period. The “reformist critique,” so abhorred by Luise White for its tendency to collude with theories of degradation, is a natural path for historians of prostitution in Latin America, by virtue of the availability of sources from the regulators, as well as the prevalence of coercive labor policies throughout the region. Yet, in Costa Rica, where free labor was deep rooted and vagrancy laws little enforced, regulated prostitution followed a path distinct from similar systems in the greater region. In both the center and periphery of Costa Rica, the option to choose prostitution was the option to participate in a free labor system, regardless of disparate regional mores. In the highlands, the legal sanction of prostitution clashed with liberal programs for social cleansing creating a paradox that made “public women” both “ordinary” and stigmatized. In the Pacific periphery of Puntarenas, such a paradox was less evident and stigma less probable. Such absence of stigma provides an apt metaphor for what has been exceptional about Costa Rican.

Chapter Scheme This work is organized in eight chapters. Chapter Two outlines the physical, economic, demographic, social and political evolution of the port and region around it in the context of the more intense development of the Central Valley from the pre-Columbian era through the Liberal Reform period of the 1880s. The chapter examines the distinct geographic and infrastructural development of the port, only physically materializing as a shifting

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Introduction and Theory 23 spit of sand in the late colonial period, functioning as the terminus for the export of tobacco in the late colonial period, then for the export of coffee after 1840. Attention is focused on the thirteen year period (1847–1860) when Puntarenas enjoyed political autonomy as a free port, a period marked by the port’s formation as a vibrant economic center, indispensable to the nation, and developing quite independently early in the nation’s history. Chapter Three sets the overall historical trajectory of Puntarenas against that of the Central Valley and traces the development of coffee, labor, and gender relations in that region. This section charts the protracted state campaign that encouraged women in the highlands to marry and bear legitimate offspring in order to stabilize the coffee economy through the legal transference of patrimony and guaranteeing of a regular supply of family labor. Such effort by the state was one facet of a nation building project in the highlands by the end of the nineteenth century which responded to a “social problem” engendered by the confluence of population growth, urbanization, diminishing frontier lands, falling prices of coffee, and labor needs. Costa Rica’s free labor system, a feature of all regions of Costa Rica to varying degrees, receives attention as both an obstacle for liberal elites—requiring the production of an ideology based on a work ethic—and “exceptional” by Latin American standards, offering one possible explanation for Costa Rica’s success as a democracy. Chapter Four traces the evolution of prostitution in Puntarenas in the context of the economic and demographic development of the port before completion of the Pacific Railroad in 1910. It traces maritime activity, volume of goods imported and exported, and flows of migrants, in order to determine the ethnic pool from which women such as prostitutes emerged. It establishes the importance of Nicaraguan, Chinese, Panamanian and other migrants to the port and the circumstances of their migration. The analysis establishes the port region as a demographic anomaly, as fully one half of the port’s inhabitants were foreigners of various races and ethnicities by the turn of the twentieth century, and single women consistently outnumbered other civil status categories. Chapter Five then traces the development of prostitution in the port after 1890, its structure and its relaxed practice under the laws governing its regulation. Through an analysis of testimonies in court cases, a social profile of prostitutes and other working women of the port lends support to the “ordinary women” thesis. This conclusion, in turn, reflects the political climate of Puntarenas which permitted women to participate in a free labor system, to skirt laws, to defend homespun constructions of honor in court, and to defend their civil liberties. If patriarchal pressures in the form of the liberal promotion of legal marriage marked the

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

prostitute or concubine of the highlands as an outsider, the economics of Puntarenas, which determined that high numbers of prostitutes and concubines were essential to the functioning of the port, suggested that single women in Puntarenas were relieved of such pressures and therefore lived in an environment—a region—which was governed by somewhat different rules and values. Chapter Six investigates the phenomenon of the Pacific Railroad from San José to Puntarenas, completed in 1910, built with national capital and labor, and symbolic of a triumph of nationalism due to its role in rectifying the national disgrace brought on by the first railroad to the Atlantic—a project sabotaged by foreign capital and labor. The chapter views the center-periphery dialectic through the lens of the 1933 history of Puntarenas by liberal President Cleto González Víquez, a vehicle which serves as an example of the consequences of exclusionary liberal nationalism. While praising the prosperity the Pacific Railroad brought to the nation, the history’s subordination of the port’s social and cultural history lays bare, in the midst of the popularity of eugenics throughout Latin America, the discomfort that liberals such as González Víquez experienced, given the racial make-up and casual sexual mores of the populations of its coastal provinces. Chapter Seven continues the analysis of prostitution through examination of the economic and social changes brought about by the completion of the Pacific Railroad in 1910 and sums up changes in the region through an analysis of the 1927 Census. Did the liberal state seize the opportunity to impose its standards of morality on Puntarenas when such an option became possible through more rapid communication by rail? Charting change over time through the vehicle of the Pacific Railroad shows both a strengthening of the ingrained economic life and mores of the port and the ambivalent attitude of the state towards Puntarenas—on the one hand, celebrating the economic benefits of the port after completion of the railroad, and, on the other, ignoring its people and culture as being unrepresentative of the true nation. For reasons outlined in the final chapter, the central government never did attempt a significant cultural renovation of porteño society. Census takers bent racial and civil status data for the 1927 Census to counter concerns that “white” Costa Ricans might not be reproducing at desired levels and that concubinage practices undermined liberal designs for the quality of the nation’s population. Differential regional development was thus, to a degree, officially “swept under the carpet,” accounting, in some measure, for the tenacity with which the white settler myth has persisted and, more importantly for this study, how the development of one periphery belied this myth. The concluding Chapter Eight examines, first, the issue of why the state chose not to impose more aggressively a program of social hygiene in

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Introduction and Theory 25 Puntarenas, focusing on the relative lack of stigmatization of prostitution in the port. Attention is given to the dilemma of the state liquor monopoly which brought the state significant revenues while, at the same time, helping to create the social problems the state preached against—alcoholism, vagrancy, prostitution and venereal disease. For the case of Puntarenas, where per capita drinking rates were higher than in the highlands, the profits from the state liquor monopoly obscured the desires of liberal elites to implement programs for social reform, although these programs continued vigorously in the Central Valley. Here, the conclusion is that the state turned a blind eye to vice in Puntarenas—contributing to the port’s differential social and cultural development, because moral transgressions were profitable. A concluding section of Chapter Eight analyzes the findings of the preceding chapters in the context of the question: What does this study, in the context of other recent studies of Costa Rica’s coastal provinces, add to the revision of the white settler myth of liberal historiography? The argument that, with few exceptions, a free labor system has been a feature of all regions of Costa Rica since the nation’s independence, provides an explanation of Costa Rican exceptionalism which is not confined to the Central Valley (as is the “white yeoman farmer” explanation) and includes all ethnicities in all regions.

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Chapter Two

Regional Differentiation of Colony and Nation to 1890

A stroll through Puerto Puntarenas today would yield essentially the same view of streets, piers, small businesses, bars, hotels and two-level dwellings as existed a century ago. Although run down, not much has changed. Puntarenas, capital of the Pacific province of the same name, is situated on a sliver of sand, also referred to as a tongue, a neck, an arrow and a spit, that protrudes into the Gulf of Nicoya. Gingerly balanced on the sliver, which at its longest east-west point measures about four miles and at its widest north-south point measures less than a half-mile, some 100,000 people bump into each other as they earn their livelihoods through fishing, working on the docks, or catering to tourists. Puntarenas has long been the crossroads for two different trading networks. Piers on the northern side of the peninsula situated on the estuary accommodate the smaller boats of cabotaje (regional trade). People from the settlements scattered along the coast periodically board the launches to Puntarenas to sell produce, visit friends, go to the hospital, or travel on to San José. A large pier in the deeper waters of the Pacific southern side accommodates the larger vessels from international points. In recent years, other Pacific ports, Caldera and Golfito in particular, have taken up the slack caused by the constant backup of boats waiting to do business at the one big pier. Puntarenas is not the economic center it was before 1975 when some trade shifted to the nearby port of Caldera. Today the southern pier also greets cruise ships from faraway points. This split between the regional trade of the northern side of the spit and the international maritime traffic on the southern underscores the port’s dual status as a regional center for the Pacific as well as an international entrepôt, both serving the national interest. Much of the port’s resilience over the years has been due 27

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

to the diversity of its economic activity. Between regional and international maritime activity, fishing and tourism, there has always been an alternative way for natives to make a living when one or another of its economies slows down. Local mythology boasts, “Ah Puntarenas, a peaceful place; you never hear a baby cry.” What one might hear today is the drone of telenovelas (soap operas) wafting from windows on steamy afternoons, the whir of a fan, or Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” played over and over again on a jukebox in a bar, situated precariously on stilts over the estuary, its polluted water lapping through the floorboards. The climate is very hot, very humid. It is difficult to walk a block after 10 AM without needing to change clothes. No longer the single west coast terminus for Costa Rica’s imports and exports and no longer the elegant spa it was considered a century ago by the coffee bourgeoisie of the highlands, the port today, as in the past, has adapted to changing times. A cultural center containing a museum, art gallery and auditorium sit where the prison was once situated. A branch of the University of Costa Rica occupies the old customs warehouse next to the larger pier. A court house occupies the spot where a girls’ orphanage once stood. The prostitutes, if they haven’t moved to more profitable parts, service the tourists and crews who visit from cruise ships or who pass through the port on their way to the more fashionable beach resorts that dot Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Today they worry about AIDS, instead of syphilis. A shell of its former self, the ghosts of the port’s past swirl around its rickety architecture, and undulate to its slow but still steady pace. This chapter defines the region under study and outlines the port’s unique physical, political, economic and demographic history before 1900, placing it in the context of the developing Costa Rican state and nation. It attempts to show that differential regional development pre-dated the national period linking the region more to the greater Pacific littoral than to the highlands. The roots of Puntarenas’ regional differentiation from the Meseta Central, viewed in the context of the pre-Columbian, colonial and early national periods in the light of varying physical, social and political geographies, establish a starting point for understanding the diverse paths of development that existed in Costa Rica.

Geomorphology of Puntarenas Extremely little secondary literature exists on the port and province of Puntarenas. In fact, the port has no recorded pre-Columbian history and scant colonial history. The port did not physically exist when the conquistador Gonzalo Vázquez de Coronado explored Costa Rica’s Pacific coast at the

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2-1: Shifting of Topography of Puntarenas: 1885, 1931 Regional Map Differentiation Colony and Nation to 1860, 1890 29

Map 2-1.Cleto Shifting Topography of Puerto Puntarenas: 1860, 1885, Source: González Víquez, El de Puntarenas: Algo1931. de su historia (San José

Source: Cleto Gonález Víquez, El Puerto de Puntarenas: Algo de su historia (San José; Imprenta Gütenberg, 1933). Imprenta Gütenberg, 1933). Map 2-2: Puerto Puntarenas, circa 1905

Map 2-2. Puerto Puntares, 1905. Source: Richard Mayer, c. “The Republic of Costa Rica” (detail), 1916. Used with Source: Richard Mayer, “The Republic of Costa Rica” (detail), 1916. Used with explicit explicit permission by the Map Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, permission by the Map Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

beginning of the seventeenth century and is mentioned by name for the first time only in 1765 when the merchant Miguel Antonio de Unamué reported using it as a port. The Spanish settlers of the colonial city of Espíritu Santo de Esparza (founded in 1577 and located 14 miles inland from present-day Puntarenas on the Camino Real, the “Royal Road,” that ran from Guatemala to Panama) alluded to the ports of La Caldera, Landecho and La Barranca, but never to Puntarenas. “Punta de Arenas” (Sandy Point) was formed by the sands carried by the winds and currents at the mouth of the Barranca River.1 By 1765, the port allegedly had only commenced to be

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Map 2-3: Nicoya Region

Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

Map 2-3. Nicoya Region. Source: Richard Mayer, “The Republic of Costa Rica” (detail), 1916. Used with

Source: Richard Mayer, “The Republic of Costa Rica” (detail), 1916. Used with explicit

permission by the Map Division, The NewThe YorkNew Public Library, Astor, LenoxAstor, and Tilden explicit permission by the Map Division, York Public Library, Foundations.

Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

used. There has been speculation that the famous storm of 1762 in the Gulf of Nicoya so altered the flow of the Barranca River as to hasten the formation of Punta de Arenas to the degree that it was used by merchant

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Regional Differentiation of Colony and Nation to 1890

31

vessels for the first time.2 As reported by politician and liberal historian Cleto González Víquez, Puntarenas has been a physical work in progress since the time of its first appearance. Map 2–1 shows its physical evolution from 1860 to 1885 to 1931, in the first stage a limited protrusion, in the second hooking northward, and in the third, leveling out to create what became Barrio del Carmen. Map 2–2 shows Puntarenas as it looked in 1905. Wilhelm Marr, a German merchant residing in Puntarenas in the 1850s, referred to the deep sand of the streets, to the trenches that collected the sand, and to the need for strength by cargadores carrying sacks of coffee through the heavy sand in temperatures of over 100 degrees.3 The physical uncertainties of the peninsula have, on more than one occasion, persuaded the central government to attempt to abandon Puntarenas as the official port in favor of Caldera (founded in the 1570s) 30 miles to the south, only to be swayed in favor of Puntarenas by its salubridad, enhanced by gulf breezes.4 E.G. Squire, the U.S. diplomat who, in his efforts to imitate Alexander von Humboldt, took careful notes on everything that he observed in his travels, wrote in 1858, “Punta Arenas, although far from healthy, is certainly less deadly than the port of Caldera  .  .  .  which was abandoned on account of insalubrity.”5 A report by a contemporary, French sea captain M.T. de Lapelin, corroborated the consensus of the merchant marine community that Puntarenas was the lesser of evils: In respect of salubrity, little can be said in favor of Punta Arenas. It is troubled with fevers throughout the year, which equally assail natives and strangers; but those contracted in the dry season are little dangerous, while those which prevail during the rainy season take a fatal type. Nevertheless, it may be said that probably there are here fewer victims than at other points on the coast.6

The general resignation of inhabitants of Puntarenas to their precarious topography is reinforced by a myth of origin that asserts that Puntarenas quite magically materialized after the Port of Callao in Perú suffered a devastating earthquake, losing territory and population to the sea. One day, the story goes, a similar geological disaster will bury Puntarenians while Callao regains its lost territory. In fact, Callao did suffer such an earthquake in 1746, an event which evidently left an impression on the imaginations of wary porteño inhabitants.7 As seen on Map 2–3, Puntarenas lies in the Gulf of Nicoya, an extensive inlet of sea water separating the mainland from the larger peninsula of Nicoya. The gulf is the result of a geological fault that has caused the land

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

to submerge, leaving exposed only the tops of what were formerly low hills. These are the various islands that dot the gulf and include Chira Island (the country’s largest) and San Lucas Island (formerly a prison). Now, as in the past, a vast network of services by launches connects Puntarenas to points in the Nicoya peninsula.8 The particular shape of Puntarenas Province (Map 1–1), snaking as it does along the southern half of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, has a logical explanation. During the first three centuries of Spanish presence in Central America, the area was so physically distinct from the developing population centers of the Central Plateau that it formed its own character. The high mountains separating this area from the Central Valley presented a formidable barrier to the available means of land transport. The few early settlers that migrated to the southern region came either from Panama to the south or by boat from the north. The dimensions of the province include the many miles of the coastline from the Gulf of Nicoya south to Panama, the large inland valleys of Coto Brus and El General, and the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula—all areas easily approached by sea. Until the nineteenth century, population flows moved to and from points north, south and west, but few from the highlands to the east, setting the stage for a provincial development that was rather isolated and relatively immune to administrative control from the center of the nation. The southern half of Puntarenas Province bordering Panama was a sparsely settled frontier until the United Fruit Company moved its banana operations there from the Atlantic coast in the late 1930s. This study will refer to the densely populated “tongue” of the port as its primary regional focus and the broader area around the Gulf of Nicoya as the extended region of the port (see Map 2–3). The political counterpart of the “tongue” was the “city of Puntarenas” which, as reported in 1927, came to be part of the slightly larger district of Puntarenas, part of the cantón (county) of Puntarenas, part of the province of the same name.9 The cantón of Puntarenas, containing the various towns that dot the shores of the Gulf of Nicoya within the province included about one half of the provincial population by 1927 with the nearby cantón of Esparta representing almost another fifth of the provincial population. The neighboring Guanacastecan cantones bordering or feeding into the Nicoyan region—Nicoya, Santa Cruz, Abangares, Bagaces and Cañas—together reported a population of 32,325 inhabitants in 1927, about three-fifths of the total population of Guanacaste. This greater region, therefore, represents the most densely populated area of the western periphery before 1940 with the port of Puntarenas its main focal point. After launch services increased with completion of the Pacific Railroad in 1910, immigration to the port increased from the

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Regional Differentiation of Colony and Nation to 1890

33

Nicoya Peninsula which lies predominantly in the Province of Guanacaste. By 1927, 22% of the roughly 75% native population of Puntarenas reportedly originated from Guanacaste.10 One can assume that they traveled the Gulf of Nicoya—until the 1940s the main “highway” of the western periphery, servicing not only human cargo, but also the trade of the cattle and lumber industries of Guanacaste Province. By 1927, the combined populations of the provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas represented 17% of the national population, not a negligible figure.11 The port of Puntarenas was the heart of this region with bloodlines running in all directions.

Early Settlement of Center and Periphery Human habitation in Central America can be traced back at least 10,000 years. When Columbus put ashore near the present-day Caribbean port of Limón during his fourth voyage on September 18, 1502, some 400,000 indigenous peoples are estimated to have populated the area of present-day Costa Rica, despite the assertion of the Costa Rican educational system that the region was relatively devoid of indigenous people.12About half of the native population were Chorotega Indians, who lived on the low-lying Nicoya Peninsula across the bay from present-day Puntarenas and whose settlements extended north into Nicaragua. Large areas of dry, tropical forest had been cleared for agriculture in this region, which was the most ecologically hospitable of Costa Rica’s lowlands. The Chorotega were the only indigenous group who had developed large nucleated settlements and a centrally organized political system.13 Originally from southern Mexico, the Chorotega settled in Nicoya early in the fourteenth century (their name reportedly means “Fleeing People”). The Nicoya region was the only area of Costa Rica that had undergone physical conquest by foreigners before the arrival of the Spanish. The original Corobici of the region were pushed back by groups from Mexico, as well as from Panama and Ecuador, before the Chorotega and later Nicarao settled the peninsula.14 The variation in settlement patterns, in experience and culture, and in levels of development among indigenous communities of pre-Columbian Costa Rica reflects a regional diversity antedating the arrival of the Spanish. By the mid-sixteenth century, the Spanish began settlement of the more geographically hospitable highlands eliminating much of the indigenous population in the process through barbaric treatment or through epidemics. Many who survived fled to the forests and eventually found refuge in the remote region of the Talamanca Mountains of the southeast. Only in the Nicoya Peninsula did there remain significant numbers of Chorotegas who soon found themselves in forced labor. Estimates put the demographic

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

collapse of the indigenous population of the region of Costa Rica from 400,000 at the time of Columbus to 120,000 by 1569 to 10,000 by 1611. Figures for Nicoya show a drop in the number of men of working age from 2,000 in 1529 to 500 in 1557, due, in part, to the region’s first economic “boom” between 1536 and 1540, which was based on the enslavement of the sedentary indigenous groups from Nicoya and Nicaragua, exported in large numbers to the Antillies, the Gulf of Honduras, Perú and Panama.15 Spanish settlement continued largely within the confines of the Meseta Central. Cartago was established as the inland capital in 1563. Heredia was founded in 1717, San José (chosen as the capital later) in 1737 and Alajuela in 1782. These four cities have survived as the provincial capitals of the same named four provinces which comprise the Central Valley and, until very recently, have been home to the majority of Costa Rica’s population. The Caribbean side remained virtually unexplored, given its distance from the main population centers, its steamy climate and the resistance of its native population.16 Costa Rican history illustrates well the paradox referred to in Chapter One by Charles Bergquist—the path of development of the western hemisphere that saw “the poorest become the richest” or, more specifically, showed colonies without systems of forced labor develop more successfully during their national eras. In the highlands of Costa Rica, land was plentiful, but without native labor or the resources to import significant numbers of slaves, the Spanish settlers were forced to work the land themselves, a situation which distinguished highland Costa Rica not only from its northern neighbors, particularly Guatemala and El Salvador, but also from its own lowlands subject to intermittent trade cycles. Compared to the other provinces of the Kingdom of Guatemala, colonial Costa Rica was economically backward. Without gold or export crops, trade with other colonies was infrequent. Money became so scarce that the settlers eventually adopted the Indian method of using cacao beans as currency.17 Adding to colonial isolation was the problem of lack of infrastructure. Although the colony of Costa Rica was small (about the size of the state of West Virginia), the transport of goods from the Meseta Central to either coast of the isthmus was difficult. The flat, subtropical zone of the Meseta Central, more than 3,000 feet above sea level, forms part of the larger and more mountainous Valle Central (Central Valley). The distances which separate the Meseta Central from the two oceans are not great. The Atlantic shore lies about 190 miles to the east and the Pacific Ocean some 125 miles to the west. The terrain, however, is in many places steep where the plateau and mountains drop. Neither the Reventazón River of the Atlantic region nor the Grande de Tarcoles in the west was navigable. The Meseta Central

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Regional Differentiation of Colony and Nation to 1890

35

was connected with the outside world until 1844 by a steep and slippery mule track through the forest to the Pacific. The cost of transporting almost any agricultural produce out of the Meseta Central was prohibitive. During the colonial period permission to trade between colonies within the Empire had to be sought from the Crown and was rarely granted. Many potential agricultural industries were frustrated by the estanco system under which the colonial authorities decided who was to grow what crop, where it could be cultivated, and how much might be produced for the domestic and export markets.18 Thus, the early economy of the Central Valley evolved slowly under conditions that did not favor trade and the development of the large hacienda system of other Spanish enclaves. Moreover, the legacy and tradition of exploited labor common in neighboring regions, including Costa Rica’s own lowlands, was relatively absent in highland Costa Rica.

Race and Class What forced labor existed in the highlands was controlled by wealthy locals who purchased African slaves as contraband from other Spanish colonies or European traders. Slaves worked as household servants in the colonial capital of Cartago and many more served as urban servants or as workers on the cacao plantations of the Caribbean lowlands (1650–1750). On the Pacific plains, revisions to the encomienda laws in 1542 had limited the amount of time that Indians (the Chorotegas) were obliged to provide their labor.19 Thus the large estate owners, who resided in the highlands, employed African slaves, who became an important part of the labor force on the cattle ranches that were established in the Pacific Northwest after 1650. Eventually, free mulattos and pardos, descended from African slaves who had succeeded in securing their own or their children’s freedom through purchase, manumission, or flight, joined colonial militias, and many ran the Pacific plains cattle ranches of the central Pacific plains region of Esparza to Bagaces in the Puntarenas-Guanacaste region.20Along the Pacific littoral from present-day Puntarenas and Nicoya north through Nicaragua, the indigenous population mixed with whites and blacks to produce a distinctive racial type associated with cattle raising and referred to, in later folklore, as Costa Rica’s cowboys or sabaneros.21 Puntarenas may be considered an outlier of this region, as through the years people from this region migrated to the port. The cattle-ranching economy and the more traditional class-based society that arose persist today. To a degree, Puntarenian cultural history was shaped by this distinctive region and helps explain the frequent comment that Puntarenas and the Pacific coast in general resemble more the rest of Central America than highland Costa Rica.

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

Over the course of the eighteenth century, peasant agriculture transformed the Meseta Central. Population growth around the colonial capital, Cartago, forced new generations of peasants to settle the western side of the Central Valley. The first settlers of the highlands did not experience social inequalities at the outset, but certain class differences did exist even among peasant farmers. Some owned their own farms, some farmed common lands. The chácara, or family farm, characterized by various combinations of subsistence and commercial agriculture, formed the basic economic unit of the region. Village society held moral sway over the everyday life of peasant families, influencing their values and world-views. These rural settlements contrasted with the towns of Cartago, San José, Heredia and Alajuela which served as bases for artisan production and sites of the homes of the wealthiest families. These colonial elites maintained their positions by occupying civil, ecclesiastical and military positions. They monopolized the circulation of money, collected the ecclesiastical tithe, rented parcels of land to poor peasants, maintained large haciendas in the peripheries, owned slaves and controlled exports and imports.22 By the end of the colonial era, while the population of the Pacific region had a significant African racial element, that of the Meseta Central underwent a more rapid assimilation process due to the region’s growing urbanization. Miscegenation in the Central Valley was a more relaxed matter than in many other regions of Spanish America. The 1778 Royal Pragmatic of the late Bourbon era, designed to make legal marriage a protection against racial mixing by increasing parental control over marriage choice, had a mixed reception in the Central Valley. While marriage united roughly two-thirds of the households, it did not prevent race mixing. The number of mulattos, zambos, mestizos, and Ladinos in the population outnumbered local Spaniards by 3.7 to 1 in 1778. One generation later the figure was nearly 8 to 1. By the time of Independence, poor whites had joined mulattos and mestizos in the settling of the western Central Valley in conjugal unions that, if not true to Bourbon standards for pure blood, conformed to the marriage designs of the Catholic Church and state.23 As in Argentina, Mexico and Perú, Costa Rica’s early Afro-American population of the highlands disappeared over time with assimilation. As late as the first half of the nineteenth century, Afro-Americans accounted for perhaps 10–20% of the 50–80,000 inhabitants of highland Costa Rica. Like Argentina, whose one-fourth to one-third population in Buenos Aires consisted of Afro-Americans who disappeared over time, the skewed sex ratio in Costa Rica—female predominance in the cities, male in the countryside—stimulated miscegenation and assimilation of the Afro-Costa Rican population.24

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Chapter

37

Society in the Meseta Central by the end of the colonial era was not white, but “whiter” than that of the lowlands and the rest of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It was not classless, yet without an export trade, opportunities existed for peasant farmers that clearly were absent on the indigo and cochineal plantations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, which helped meet the demands of the European textile industry.25 The relative lack of commerce in colonial Costa Rica precluded what Costa Rican historian Iván Molina terms “the power necessary (of merchants) to brutally subject the small producer.” Molina describes as exceptional the nature of bargaining amongst classes in highland Costa Rica by the dawn of the national era: “The clue is found in the balance of social forces between merchant and farmer; as a result of the province’s poverty, the commercial sector was structurally weak. . . .”26 The stage (or “path”) was set for the development of a state with a greater inclination towards social reform than existed in the greater isthmus. For more than three centuries Spain built its power in the most northern province of Guatemala, while Costa Rica, the poorest province, remained quite isolated. The former contained the largest heterogeneous population, principally indigenous, while Costa Rica’s highland population of merchants and subsistence farmers underwent a greater homogenizing racial process. Significantly, the populations of Costa Rica’s Pacific region—those areas that today constitute much of the area of the provinces of Puntarenas and Guanacaste—retained the darker racial characteristics and less equitable land tenure patterns of the Nicaraguan Pacific littoral. At the same time the Pacific littoral awaited inclusion in a polity less inclined towards coercive labor relations than elsewhere in Central America. The Puntarenas-San José Axis in Bourbon Costa Rica In the eighteenth century, the Spanish Crown, influenced by French Bourbon administrative ideas, began a series of reforms intended to stimulate colonial commerce in order to raise government revenue. Not only did these reforms revitalize the economy of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, but they literally put Puntarenas on the map. Of significance was the creation of state monopolies for the production and sale of tobacco and alcohol, allegedly a response to the declining trade in cacao on the Atlantic coast. The liquor monopoly targeted the local market and stimulated the cultivation of sugar cane and the manufacture of trapiches (small sugar mills). Tobacco cultivation, first promoted in order to meet the market demand in Nicaragua (1766) and Panama (1769), was expanded between 1787 and 1792 when the colonial authorities in Guatemala granted Costa Rica the tobacco monopoly for the whole of Central America.27

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The designation of La Factoría de Tabaco, the administrative center of the monopoly in San José, helped establish that city as the commercial center of the province and Puntarenas as its port. Most of the commercial expansion in sugarcane and tobacco cultivation took place on the western side of the Central Valley close to San José. Between 1750 and 1790, economic and demographic growth had shifted away from the old colonial capital of Cartago and towards the other highland regions of Heredia, San José and Alajuela, largely because tobacco production was concentrated there, and because its farmers had privileged access to credit via the administrative center of La Factoría in San José.28 La Factoría contracted directly with small producers, advancing them cash payments against the specified harvest and burned excess production to prevent its sale. Sacks of tobacco were transported by mule from San José through the old trading center of Esparza, fourteen more miles to Puntarenas and then thirty more miles south to the old port of Caldera, where the crop would be exported to points north by boat. Contrary to regulations, local authorities often halted the transport in Puntarenas in response to the moisture damage the sacks incurred as they were unloaded from mules from the highlands. In 1787, they hastily constructed warehouses in Puntarenas. The materials, workers, food and shelter required for the project proved to be such a major expense and commitment that officials decided to use Puntarenas as the export terminus instead of Caldera.29 From that time on, and until very recently, Puntarenas has generally been considered the Pacific port for San José, while Caldera has been associated with Cartago and the colonial era. From 1787–92, tobacco was transported through Puntarenas to the port of Realejo in Nicaragua and to the ports of Sonsonate, Acajutla and Conchagua in El Salvador. Although the commerce was short lived due to the poor quality of the tobacco, after 1792 some continued to be transported by land for sale in Nicaragua although the transport of tobacco by boat continued from Puntarenas to Realejo.30 Local shipping, and occasionally shipbuilding in Puntarenas, existed on a continuing basis from about 1800. Such enterprises were frequently led by Spanish and Panamanian merchants residing in Heredia, Cartago and San José who also sold food products and brazilwood to Panama, Guayaquil, Callao, and points in Chile.31 By the end of the eighteenth century imports entering Puntarenas from other parts of the Spanish empire included silk jackets, lace, vicuna towels from Perú, crystal, perfumes, thimbles, tools, pots and pans, books, and drinking utensils.32 The mule trail connecting Puntarenas to San José foreshadowed the oxcart road of the later coffee era and helped consolidate the relationship between San José and Puntarenas. As late as the 1830s,

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this was the most frequented road in Central America, even surpassing the Camino Real which had linked inland towns from Guatemala City to Cartago from the earliest times and which eventually became a rough trail that in some regions was washed away by the rains.33 The port of Puntarenas— initially a make-shift entrepôt for tobacco exports—after 1800 began to assume a more cosmopolitan character as trade expanded and transformed the port into a crossroads of trade between the urban centers of the Meseta Central and the Pacific littoral. The history of the port of Puntarenas, unlike the history of the Pacific region surrounding it, needs to be viewed as an upstart and child of the Bourbon reform era, committed to free trade as the satellite of the rising star of San José. If San José had a “weak colonial history” (in Bergquist’s terms sparing it from the curse of forced labor and economic inequality), Puntarenas had virtually no colonial history, affording it not only the possibility for more equitable labor relations, but also a certain anonymity and freedom absent, for example, in Esparza, the colonial trading post fourteen miles inland from Puntarenas. Esparza retained a greater imprint of its conservative Iberian heritage including social hierarchy and strong Church ties. Puntarenas carried little such baggage. As a developing port in an isolated region of the colony and nation, Puntarenas progressed independently and became a magnet for migrant labor and capital. Within a century, one half of its population was foreign, further expanding its distinctive character as a multicultural center with closer links to other countries than to San José. Despite its precarious topography, the port of Puntarenas, responding to the Bourbon impulse to liberalize trade, expanded its role in coastal, as well as export trade in the early national period. Soon British ships and merchants supplanted the Bourbon trade network and infused the port with greater life which attracted more residents not necessarily from Costa Rica.

Independence In 1821, Mexico declared its independence from Spain, taking the colonies of the Kingdom of Guatemala with it. After briefly joining the Mexican empire, the five southern Central American colonies broke away from Mexico by 1823. They established the five-province Central American Federal Republic, with its capital in Guatemala. Almost immediately internal strife developed within the federation between liberals and conservatives reflecting tensions between centralists and local nationalists. Civil war soon broke out and military figures quickly became heavily involved in political affairs. Costa Rica, a relative backwater, remained isolated and largely uninvolved in the political convulsions of the rest of the isthmus.

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Map 2-4: Commerce from Puntarenas, 1821-1850

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

Source: IvánCommerce Molina Jiménez, Costa RicaPuntarenas, (1800-1850): El legado colonial y la génesis del capitalismo (San José: Editorial Universidad de Map 2-4. from 1821–1850. Costa Rica, 1991), 201. Used with permission.

Source: Iván Molina Jiménez, Costa Rica (1800–1850): El legado colonial y la génesis del capitalismo (San José: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica, 1991), 201. Used with permission.

Civil conflict in neighboring Nicaragua became so severe that the residents of the Pacific province of Guanacaste, on the northern border of the province of Puntarenas, sought annexation to Costa Rica in 1824. Costa

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Rica agreed, and the Central American Congress ratified the annexation. In 1838 the Central American Republic collapsed into the five separate nations of modern Central America, ending the dream of some of Central American unity. During the federation period, Puntarenas gained prominence among the Pacific ports of the isthmus due to close relations with British merchants in Callao, Perú and Valparaíso, Chile. In the 1820s Costa Rica exported maize to Chile and Perú through Puntarenas.34 By the 1830s dyewoods from the tropical forests along the Pacific coast and precious metals from the British mining center of Aguacate together accounted for nearly 80 percent of Costa Rica’s export trade.35 Both industries had a decided impact on the development of Puntarenas before the take-off of commercial coffee after 1840. The dyewood boom from 1832–1836 brought wood from the Pacific plains through the port of Puntarenas for export primarily to England.36 (See Map 2-4) The Aguacate gold and silver mines close to the port, although relatively short-lived, had a significant impact on early commercial life in Puntarenas. In the twenty-three year period from 1821 to 1844, the total production from the nearly 290 predominantly British-owned mines in Aguacate, was valued at between 7 and 8 million pesos. Minerals from Aguacate, which was located close to the mule trail to Puntarenas, left the country through Puntarenas. There is evidence that British mining interests combined with merchant activity in the port. For example, the British mining and railroad engineer Richard Farrer in 1839 was in partnership with José Reyes Mora in an export business in Puntarenas. While the majority of the minerals were exported, presumably through Puntarenas, some of the gold and silver amounting to some 39,486 pesos was purchased by the government and prompted the establishment of the first mint.37 British mining interests on Costa Rica’s occidental frontier during the Federation period not only contributed to the monetary base of the country as a whole, but directed capital to Puntarenas and helped to fortify the port’s position as an important economic center in the pre-coffee era. By 1833, the activity in the port of Puntarenas exceeded that of all of Central American Pacific ports.38 By 1839 exports from Puntarenas included coffee (6,277 quintales or hundredweights), brown sugar (13,916), white sugar (155), blackberries (114), hides (5,395), tortoiseshell (336 pounds), and fine woods, all of which added up to a total value of 62,538 pesos. Imports amounted to some 49,200 pesos, 58 percent of which came from London or Jamaica, 17 percent from Valparaíso, 12 percent from Guatemala, 9 percent from North America, and less than 5 percent from several other Spanish American ports.39 The economic activity of the port, even

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

before the onset of the coffee boom, brought merchants and immigrants from surrounding countries giving the port a cultural diversity that characterized the region in the years to come. By 1837, on the eve of independence from the Central American Federation and the era of commercial coffee, Puerto Puntarenas reported a total population of 239 out of which 133 were males and 105 were females, all living in 55 houses, averaging 4.4 person per household. Of the total, 12 were merchants (10 married, 1 widowed, 1 single), 7 were sailors, 1 fisherman, 1 tailor. There were 46 men who were heads of household and 9 female heads of household. Thirty-five children were male, 22 female. Eighty-one were either servants, guests or domestics. Out of the total population of 239, all but one had Hispanic surnames, indicating that, at this point, immigrants from Nicaragua and Panama (Colombia) predominated as they would in future decades while British merchants and sailors disembarked without staying.40 From 1829 to 1833, some 40 British ships were recorded as entering Puntarenas, attesting to their strong presence.41 The incipient class structure of merchants, artisans, laborers and domestics, living in close proximity predominated for the remainder of the century. An early census reveals a pattern of relative affluence in the port, evidently a reflection of early mining activity in the region, as well as exports. The per capita worth of Puntarenians in 1838 was $105,7, the highest of any town or city of Costa Rica.42 This figure was over twice that of San José ($48,7), Cartago ($28,4) and the national average for urban areas of $29,7.43 Even before the commercial coffee boom started, the port of Puntarenas was becoming an attractive Pacific destination for those looking for a better life.

Coffee and Nation Eric Hobsbawm has remarked: “Coffee is both a product of ‘free trade’ ideology and practice and the first ‘drug food’ not controlled by colonial or imperial trading blocks.”44 Nothing better explains the economic development of Costa Rica’s early national period. Nationhood in 1838 coincided with the increasing demand for coffee in Europe and produced liberal leaders who promoted the commercialization of coffee. In 1840, President Braulio Carillo issued a decree ordering that all lands west of San José be planted in coffee. Direct exports to Europe, bypassing the Chilean middlemen, began in 1843 when, by chance, an Englishman, William Le Lacheur, visited Caldera in his sailing ship, the “Monarch.” He was traveling south and wanted to find more cargo. While awaiting repairs for his ship, Le Lacheur made the journey by mule up to San José. There, he negotiated with Don Santiago Fernández, one of the major coffee growers, who

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handed over his and other’s crop to Le Lacheur with the promise of future payment. “The Monarch” set sail with 5,505 quintales of Costa Rican coffee. About 20 percent of the coffee exports in 1843 went directly to London via the Cape Horn route.45 Le Lacheur returned to Costa Rica in 1845, having sold all the coffee in England. The “Monarch” carried 36,700 pesos worth of silver to pay the coffee growers. The barrels full of silver from England were, however, confiscated by Costa Rican officials, who reimbursed the producers in local currency. The government then restamped some of the six-penny pieces superimposing the crest of Costa Rica on the faces of the British coins. Other coins were melted down for minting.46 Two of Le Lacheur’s sailing vessels collected additional cargoes of coffee from Puntarenas. Altogether, 29 boats carried Costa Rican coffee from Puntarenas during that season. There were about 35 exporters of coffee, with more than half the crop sent directly to Europe. In exchange Costa Rica imported British manufactured goods, particularly cotton cloth.47 The expanding trade with the European market stimulated the development of Puntarenas, as well as the nation as a whole. Early coffee production was restricted almost totally to the Meseta Central. Le Lacheur’s trip to the Meseta from the Pacific coast had to have been difficult. Outside the Meseta itself, very little land had been cleared of forest. Even when tracks were made, they quickly became overgrown with vegetation and dangerously slippery after heavy rains. To travel by mule from the Meseta Central to the Pacific coast took at least five or six days; journeys to the Atlantic coast were expeditions reckoned in weeks rather than days. While Le Lacheur’s visit to Costa Rica in 1843 gave the coffee growers the promise of the development of a lucrative export trade, they knew that primitive transportation from the Meseta Central to the coast might well cause coffee to suffer the same fate that befell sugar a few years earlier. The modest export of brown sugar had eventually stopped because of the scarcity of mules and high overland freight charges, together with decay.48 The government, at this time, had not provided the coffee industry with an improved route to the coast, so the major growers themselves formed the Sociedad Económico Itineraria, sanctioned by government decree in November, 1843. Between 1844 and 1846, the Sociedad organized the construction of a road between San José and Puntarenas, financed in part by a tax of one real per quintal of coffee exported.49 The road to Puntarenas revolutionized transport. Oxcarts replaced mules, each of which could carry nearly a half ton of coffee.50 The cost of carrying coffee from San José to Puntarenas was reduced to less than one peso per quintal.51 The period from December to April, when the

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coffee was transported along the road, coincided with the dry season of the western periphery. During these months, interminable trains of oxcarts made their way down to Puntarenas. The drivers traveled early and late in the day and rested during the midday heat. The carters were sometimes accompanied by their wives and daughters, whose job included preparing meals. Travelers were particularly fond of this picturesque sight, which they frequently described. A voluminous body of folklore has celebrated the caravans of ox-driven carts, wheels decorated in the signature mandalas of various towns. Today travel posters for Costa Rica display young fairskinned beauties, posed in traditional Spanish dress in front of decorated oxcarts. To export coffee from the Meseta Central through the seemingly more rational Atlantic coast was almost prohibitive. Travelers from the Meseta to the Caribbean coast chose from two routes, neither one of which could be characterized as more than a trail. The most often used route led to the port of Moín, a distance of only 180 miles, but the journey often took thirty days. The other route leading from the capital to the river port of Sarapiquí and then down river to San Juan del Norte in Nicaragua was faster but, because of rapids and the difficulty of obtaining canoes, was not as secure; travelers were so few over this route that French Minister Félix Belly, who used it in 1868, frequently had to open the trail with a machete.52 The total reliance on the Pacific route was a significant factor contributing to Costa Rica’s failure to diversify its exports in the nineteenth century. It was difficult to imagine exporting to Europe from the west coast bulky commodities such as sugar, grains, or timber. Coffee had the singular advantage of a relatively high value in relation to volume. Moreover, after it was processed, it could be stored for several months without deterioration. Trade in coffee had not long been established before Costa Ricans began referring to the crop by a phrase which they have continued to use ever since: “nuestro grano de oro,” “our grain of gold.”53 In later years, Le Lacheur was treated as a veritable founding father of the nation as images of his clipper ship graced coins and postage stamps. The opening up of the British market and the construction of the road to Puntarenas welded the new nation to export capitalism and jumpstarted Costa Rica’s liberal era earlier than its neighbors. The flow of coffee exports through the port of Puntarenas from 1855 to 1880 was impressive—from over 3 million kilos of coffee in 1855, to some 5 million in 1861, to over 11 million in 1878.54 In oxcart loads carrying a half ton of coffee each, these figures translate roughly to over six thousand cartloads in 1855, eleven thousand in 1861, and twenty-four thousand in 1878, all loaded onto launches off the shore of Puntarenas. The launches (or lighters)

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described by Wilhelm Marr, a German merchant living in Puntarenas in the 1850s, each carried 80–120 sacks or 5 to 8 tons of coffee.55 At this rate in rough figures, 800 to 1,200 trips were necessary to carry coffee from the port’s shore to larger boats in 1855, 1,400 to 2,200 trips were necessary in 1861, and 2,800 to 4,400 trips by 1878. As such exports grew, the primitive facilities of the port were strained which led to the construction of the large pier on the south side in 1870. Traveler Thomas Meagher claimed that Puntarenas was still in 1858 “  .  .  .  quite primitive. It has neither breakwater, nor pier, nor a wharf, old or new. . . .”56 E. G. Squire in 1858 described the loading process: There is an outer and inner harbor, the former is an indifferent anchorage, protected by two islands from the swell of the Pacific rolling into the Gulf of Nicoya. Vessels drawing more than seven feet of water must anchor in the outer harbor, a league from the landing-place. All goods have therefore to be brought ashore, as at Panama, in lighters, at half tide, and the operation is attended with great delay and no inconsiderable risk.57

Despite the obvious limitations of the port, traffic was considerable. In 1855, 85 vessels entered the port with 1,226 crew members and 600 passengers, most proceeding from Panama to ports in Central America.58 The advent of steamships in the 1850s was another factor contributing to the volume of trade and traffic. In 1860 roughly 25 steam powered vessels entered the port to nearly 50 sailing vessels. By 1890, the number of steamers rose to about 125 to 200 sailing vessels.59 President Juan Rafael Mora (1849–1859) signed a contract with the Pacific Mail Steamship Company to ensure that their ships called at Puntarenas from 1856 onwards. The British clearly led in the numbers of their ships entering Puntarenas. For the 1850–1855 period, 422 boats entered Puntarenas under eighteen different flags—91 British ships, 70 from the United States, 38 from Colombia (Panama) and others from France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Sardinia, Chile, Perú, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico.60 The ships carrying coffee from Puntarenas to Europe and the Atlantic coast of the United States generally took the Cape Horn route, which lengthened the voyage considerably. The building of the Panama Railway in 1855 linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans opened up another possibility. The coffee transported in this way was taken by rail to the Atlantic coast and then shipped to Europe and the United States, but because of the high customs tariffs in Panama, the Cape Horn route continued to be preferred.61

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

The main buyers and shippers of Costa Rican coffee in the nineteenth century were from Great Britain, France, the Hanseatic cities of Germany, the United States, Chile and Perú. Great Britain’s influence exceeded all others in Costa Rica’s import and export trade. Commercial and financial links were established at an early date and lasted much longer than those with most Latin American countries. These links began to weaken significantly only with the First World War.62

British Encroachment The British presence in Costa Rica in the first three decades of independence was as strong as in any of the emerging nations of Latin America. The desire to control Puntarenas was a central concern of British merchants. By the mid-nineteenth century, British and U.S. commercial rivalries in Central America reached a critical juncture as both sought rights to interocean crossings. At this time, the British came remarkably close to establishing a protectorate over Costa Rica with an eye towards dominating the port of Puntarenas. In 1849, Felipe Molina, a Guatemalan who acted as Costa Rica’s Trade Minister to Great Britain, attempted to negotiate a British protectorate of Costa Rica with Britain’s aggressive Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston. The year before, British consul W.D. Christie had arrived in San José to cement Anglo-Costa Rican relations. He reported to Palmerston that England would profit from the establishment of a Costa Rican protectorate. England would be able to control 180 miles of Pacific coast including several good harbors, particularly Punta Arenas, to rival the road the United States was about to construct across the Panamanian isthmus from Chagres to Panama City; Costa Rica would offer a strong market for British products and could pay for them with coffee exports.63 A year later, Molina arrived in London and opened a correspondence with Palmerston, in which Molina indicated that he was prepared to make generous concessions in order to secure British guarantees of protection and markets. Palmerston ordered a draft treaty prepared. With the fall of the José María Castro Madríz government in November, 1849, the new president, Juan Rafael Mora, for reasons not clear, quickly issued to Molina, who was still in London, new instructions which did not include making Costa Rica a British protectorate.64 One can speculate that events in California may have been felt in Costa Rica. The geopolitical balance of power between the United States and Great Britain in Central America underwent a seismic shift when gold was discovered in California. The discovery of gold in northern California increased commercial activity along the Pacific coast and represented a turning point

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for the economies of Central America.65 It heightened the importance of the isthmus, particularly Nicaragua, as an inter-ocean crossing. In the early 1850s, before the opening of the Panama Railroad in 1855 and the transcontinental railroad in the United States in 1869, part of the migration from the east coast of the United States to California was accomplished via Nicaragua. The desire to control and improve the established route—up the San Juan River, across Lake Nicaragua and then overland from Granada to the Pacific coast—invited intervention and near war between the United States and Great Britain.66 Diplomacy prevailed as the Clayton-Bulmer Treaty of 1850 prevented either the United States or Great Britain from unilaterally building a canal in the region or establishing dominion over any territory in Central America. What Costa Rica’s future might have been, had gold not been discovered in California, is anyone’s guess. Costa Rica did, however, avoid the degree of foreign political domination that befell its neighbors, Nicaragua and Panama.

State Consolidation of the Western Periphery: Free Trade and State Monopolies As well as neutralizing British designs for a Costa Rican protectorate, the Clayton-Bulmer Treaty may also have forestalled the elimination of the state liquor and tobacco monopolies, each an example of the nation’s pragmatic approach to fiscal policy. Although generally not emphasized by analysts, the Costa Rican state functioned on revenues not only from duties on the coffee trade, but on profits from monopolies. Molina constantly lamented Costa Rica’s tobacco and sugar (liquor) monopolies as odious transgressions of laissez-faire economics.67 Nevertheless, the state did not abandon its lucrative enterprises and acted more quickly and efficiently than its Central American neighbors (who also inherited colonial monopolies) to exploit these enterprises. The liquor monopoly, in particular, gained greater momentum as a money maker over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, while at the same time spurring sugar production in the Pacific littoral and providing easy access to cheap alcohol for populations of urban areas such as Puntarenas. The reach of the state into the western periphery was realized as much through the infrastructure of the liquor monopoly as it was with the completion of the road to Puntarenas. Because of this and because alcohol consumption in the port, as will be shown in the following chapters, was such a salient feature of the port’s economic, social and cultural development, the development and administration of the liquor monopoly warrants attention as a relevant aspect of state consolidation, as well as an important measure of the state’s reach into its western periphery.68

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica

Beginning in the early decades of the national period, the liquor monopoly held what has been described as a “primordial” place in the economy of Costa Rica.69 Carried over from the colonial era, it existed in de-centralized form in the early years of the federation after 1821, then the republic after 1838, alongside the tobacco monopoly. The tobacco monopoly initially brought in greater revenue than the liquor monopoly, catering principally to the Nicaraguan market, while the liquor monopoly catered to the domestic market. During the colonial era, sugar cane, grown for the production of the almost pure alcohol aguardiente (known popularly as “guaro”), was, like tobacco, subject to the restrictions of the estanco system. Milled in trapiches powered by oxen, the extracted cane juice was boiled down in large cauldrons and cooled in wooden molds to produce brown sugar loaves known as “tapa de dulce,” from which aguardiente was distilled.70 In 1804, only two producers of dulce in the whole of the province of Costa Rica had estancos permitting them to sell it to the crown for the manufacture of aguardiente.71 During the first decades of independence from Spain, production of dulce for the monopoly continued to remain under the control of a handful of wealthy Costa Ricans. By 1843, 19 fábricas (one per district) throughout the country were contracted to make brandy, making fortunes for the producers. Due to the pervasive existence of bootlegging (often by the legal producers themselves) and the termination of the Nicaraguan market for tobacco in 1848, President Juan Rafael Mora (1849–1859) made the decision to centralize the manufacture of aguardiente. The process was completed in 1858 with the establishment of the national liquor factory in San José, marking the ascendancy of liquor over tobacco.72 This decision marked a major advance in the consolidation of the state by establishing an important base for the generation of state revenue. In 1857 Mora created two administrations of liquor with administrators (with salaries higher than the President’s) in the Comarca (later Province) of Puntarenas and the Province of Moracia (later Guanacaste). In the Comarca of Puntarenas, two licenses were auctioned for outlets of aguardiente in Esparza and two in the port of Puntarenas. Nine were available throughout Guanacaste. At this time, to supply the administrations of the two Pacific coastal provinces, an annex fábrica was built in Lepanto, across the bay from Puntarenas in Nicoya, for which, unfortunately, not much data exists. In 1861, the Puntarenas Liquor Administrator José Maria Reyes reported 9,000 pesos in sales in 1859 and 20,508 pesos a year later. The latter represented one fifth of the total output of liquor, making the Pacific littoral provinces and their major port of Puntarenas key locales for sources of state revenue.73

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Ingenios, industrial mills, were introduced in Costa Rica in the 1880s and soon replaced the less sophisticated trapiche system of the Lepanto operation. By 1897, a distillery in Tempisque, Guanacaste appears to have replaced the Lepanto site, supplying the Pacific littoral provinces.74 By 1909, Treasury administrators reported that distilleries in both Tempisque and La Mansión were the two suppliers of aguardiente to Puntarenas. A prime function of the military was to oversee all aspects of the operation of the liquor monopoly at these sites and throughout the country where aguardiente was distributed. In Puntarenas the liquor warehouse came to be situated next door to the police station (see Map 2–2). During the decade of the 1850s President Mora also centralized the administration of foreign imports of liquor, in 1854 raising the licenses of vinaterías (establishments selling foreign liquor) from 60 pesos every two months to 300 pesos. Forty percent of this income was used to buy the imported liquor; 30% paid for the the Camino del Norte, and 30% paid for the policing of each department. During the National Campaign against the notorious U.S. filibusterer William Walker in 1856–57, revenues from the liquor monopoly paid the salaries of the soldiers who fought in that war.75 Hence, the liquor monopoly not only had economic importance diversifying the economy and modernizing the technology of sugar production, but it also had importance as a funding vehicle for national security both in the formation of a domestic police force and an army, both of which had a strong presence in Puntarenas and the Nicoya region. Additionally, it held nationalistic importance in its aid to a war that has often inspired more patriotic fervor than Costa Rica’s struggle for independence from Spain or the Federation.76 For Mora, the benefits of consolidating the state through the revenues from the liquor monopoly outweighed the social liability of greater alcohol consumption by the nation’s citizens. In an irony of fiscal policy, state intervention into the sugar and tobacco industries in the creation and centralization of state monopolies occurred concurrently with and perhaps facilitated the partial closing of the customs house in Puntarenas. In other words, the experiment which curtailed the collection of customs duties in Puntarenas may well have been made possible by the success of the state monopolies. At the same time Mora was centralizing the liquor monopoly, he oversaw most of a thirteen year period of free trade in the port of Puntarenas, from 1847 to 1860, which had a dramatic economic and political impact on the port. In 1847, two years before the Gold Rush started in California and Mora assumed the presidency, a commission in Costa Rica that included Felipe Molina, recommended a three year policy of free trade for Puntarenas.77 Squier reported in 1858:

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica Although Costa Rica has several harbors on the Pacific, yet the only one which has been authorized as a port is that of Punta Arenas, in the Gulf of Nicoya. It  .  .  .  received a considerable impulse from having had accorded to it, for three years, the privilege of a free port. This privilege has since been extended, and no duties, anchorage or tonnage, are imposed on ships, nor is merchandise subject to imposts except when moved into the interior, a custom-house being established at a point called ‘Garita del Rio Grande,’ five leagues from the capital.”78

This meant that ships entering paid no duties nor did the inhabitants of Puntarenas west to Garita del Rio Grande at the foot of the Central Valley. The only restricted articles were those monopolized by the government—spirits, tobacco and gunpowder which, as recorded by Molina in 1849, “must be deposited in public warehouses, and can neither be imported nor exported without special permission  .  .  .  The immunity granted to Punta Arenas has been attended with such beneficial results, that it will, in all probability, be declared permanent.”79 As predicted by Molina, the franquicia—the “exemption”—was extended well beyond three years to over thirteen years lasting from 1847 to the end of 1860.80 The liberal politician and historian Cleto González Víquez later would praise the franquicia as an act of patriotism that brought labor and capital to the port and riches to the country.81 Mora, who had been a partner in a commercial house in Puntarenas, was partial to the interests of Puntarenas. Again, during the National War against William Walker (1856– 57), Puntarenas played an important role as the sole Pacific port of the country transporting soldiers and protecting British commerce, thus gaining the favor of Mora.82 In appreciation, he named Puntarenas an official city in 1858.83 Under Mora, the exigencies of the patria led to a fiscal policy that was more practical than orthodox. It was both interventionist and classically liberal in the salaries paid to soldiers based on revenues from state monopolies and the services provided by a thriving free port. Moreover, the security needed to safeguard liquor operations did more to incorporate the western periphery into the state than anything else at this time. Ousted by a coup in 1859, Mora returned to Puntarenas from exile in El Salvador and was executed without trial in 1860—a fate evidently engineered by his disgruntled former business partner in the coffee trade.84 A park in his name marks the spot of his death in Puntarenas. As examples of the state’s flexible fiscal policy, the liquor monopoly and the franquicia left their marks on the nation as shrewd strategies for state consolidation and national development. They shaped the history of the western periphery,

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particularly Puntarenas, in the culture of drinking that developed amongst the porteño population and in the economic development and political autonomy that evolved in the port during the free trade period. Each contributed to the port’s unique character.

The Impact of the Franquicia on Puntarenas The thirteen years of free trade status for Puntarenas had more than economic significance. Free trade status meant that the port was administratively autonomous from the rest of the country. In the 1850s, the Republic, barely two decades old, functioned with a president, a congress and a judiciary. The judiciary consisted of a Supreme Court, composed of a president (regente), five magistrates, an attorney general, and nine suplentes, or supplementary judges. Below the Supreme Court were the Courts of First Instance, of which there were two for the capital, one for civil and the other for criminal cases. The other provinces of the republic, such as Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago, and Guanacaste, each had only one Court of First Instance. “Punta Arenas, however, being a free port, (had) its own magistrates.”85 What may be concluded is that, while in general the peripheral provinces of Costa Rica enjoyed a good degree of autonomy at this time, Puntarenas, for fourteen years, was nearly independent, enjoying the best of two worlds—local judicial autonomy and regional economic independence. As one would expect, the impact of the franquicia on the infrastructure and population of Puntarenas was dramatic. In 1852 a wooden lighthouse was constructed at the end of the spit that would prove useful in the national war against William Walker. In the same year local authorities planned the construction of the San Raphael Hospital in response to the needs of wage laborers, “sailors without families” and foreigners. The same building housed a prison and military headquarters.86 Also, at this time, Puntarenas boasted the distinction of having stimulated the construction of the first railway in Central America. In 1853, Richard Farrer, an Englishman, contracted with the Mora regime to build a railway from Puntarenas to San José. Congressional approval of the contract for the building of this line, which was to be constructed either of iron or of wood, came on July 24 of the following year. Two years later, in 1856, the Costa Rica Railway Company, Limited, was formed and incorporated in Liverpool. The first leg of the road was to extend from Puntarenas to Esparta, slightly less than 22 kilometers (13 miles), but construction had progressed only as far as La Barranca, some 14 kilometers from its starting point, when it stopped in 1857. It was opened to traffic that year and dubbed “El Burrocarril” by the locals because the train, usually consisting

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of one passenger coach and an occasional flat car, was pulled by a mule. Farrer’s company soon went bankrupt and dissolved in 1864.87 It would be two more decades until construction again commenced on a steam railroad from Puntarenas to San José. Construction stalled at Esparta and was not completed until 1910. During the period of the franquicia in Puntarenas, houses went up and businesses were established. The German merchant Wilhelm Marr in the late 1850s wrote that “Puntarenas creates a good impression,” that the houses of cedro wood give the “appearance of the original American colonies” and that most of the import merchants were foreigners.88 Diarist Thomas Meager described the heady times under the franquicia. The shops were stuffed with European and U.S. articles. Wealthy josefinos began to view the port as a resort as they frequented hotels and alehouses and enjoyed delicacies from the sea such as oysters, shrimp and all varieties of fish. Private palm shaded villas with adjoining bathhouses appeared along the shores.89 The population of the port grew from 239 inhabitants in 1837 to 1,240 in 1851 to 1,502 in 1864. By 1864 women outnumbered men of the port, 805 to 697.90 The influx of foreigners and workers created a hospitality market. Marr describes sitting at the table in the hotel of Doña Narcisa Landambert with French, Spanish, Italian, British, U.S. and German nationals, each paying 1 peso per day for room and board.91 At another point he tells the story of a friend who, covered in talcum powder, animated by the music of a marimba band, and armed with a bottle of wine, stole away for three hours with a mujer de notaria reputación. In this early allusion to sexual commerce in the region, Marr describes the encounter as the “personification of noble degradation.”92 The thirteen year franquicia period fomented an easy alliance of wealth and relaxed sexual mores in the safety zone of a self governing frontier outpost. Its traffic of international and regional visitors promoted an anonymity and license which gave the numbers of women migrating to the port not only economic opportunities in the hospitality trades, but also, for many, what would be the first time away from the social constraints of patriarchal households in places such as Alajuela, Rivas, or Nicoya. This pattern remained a feature of female migration to the port well into the twentieth century. The end of the franquicia in 1861 did not frustrate the growth of the port. Exports of coffee increased and the population continued to grow. A porteño priest, Padre Miguel Pérez, a Deputy in Congress for some years, made a list of houses in the port in 1865. He counted 115 buildings and houses and some 200 rancheros (more primitive thatched roof houses). His own house was among the more opulent and the church doubled as an administrative center.93

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Regional Differentiation of Colony and Nation to 1890

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The port remained in the vanguard of the nation’s march towards modernization in the 1860s. Costa Rica erected a telegraph system from Cartago to Puntarenas before any other Central American country.94 Telegraph systems had been first installed in the United States and Great Britain during the 1840s and 1850s. In 1868 the administration of President José María Castro contracted with Lyman Reynolds, a North American, to construct the line, which was completed within a year.95 The year 1870 marked a turning point in Costa Rican history with the coup d’état that put in power General Tomás Guardia for twelve years. Guardia was committed to the material progress of the nation and has been credited with inaugurating Costa Rica’s Liberal Reform era. He broke the hold of Conservative landowning families, promoted public works and school construction, banned the death penalty, and authorized the Constitution of 1871 which, among other things, reinforced the rights of free labor.96 Guardia opened the country to foreign investment—most significantly via the building of the railroad from San José to Limón and the modernization of the Atlantic port of Limón. Guardia initially had proposed a trans-isthmian railway with a terminus at Puntarenas in 1870 but canceled it by the end of his term due to financial obstacles. Nevertheless, Puntarenas received a major facelift as part of an effort to make the port more efficient. By the last two decades of the nineteenth century and despite the looming threat that the Atlantic port at Limón would steal commerce away from the Pacific, the port of Puntarenas was busy and growing. The total number of ships calling at Puntarenas actually doubled in seven years from 1883 to 1890. While in the Atlantic, Great Britain dominated shipping, in the Pacific, the United States increasingly replaced Great Britain as the primary shipper. The United States led in the number of ships entering Puntarenas, although the percentage actually decreased from 84% in 1883 to 44% in 1890 due to the increase in the total number of other flags entering the port.97 Two years after the completion of the railroad to Limón, census takers reported that 171 cargo carrying boats had entered Puntarenas in 1892, most with flags from the U.S. (86), Colombia (or Panama) (36), Great Britain (18), and Germany (25).98 If coffee gradually was re-directed to Limón, the port of Puntarenas sustained its volume of traffic, but with a more diversified trade, owing, in great measure, to the growing cattle industry of Guanacaste Province. Although the port of Puntarenas was small in comparison to some of the other great colonial ports of Latin America (Havana, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires), demographic evidence reflects a population that was cosmopolitan and racially and ethnically diverse. Single women continued to be prominent in the population of the port. By 1892, 43% of all inhabitants of the city of Puntarenas were single

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women. In the same year, 48% of the population of the port were foreigners, predominantly from Nicaragua and Panama, who reflected diverse cultural and political mores.99 As Chapter Four will point out, the push factors of violence and economic hardships in Nicaragua and Panama, combined with the opportunities for women that existed in Puntarenas, helped to create in the port a demographic profile that was truly an anomaly when compared to Limón and other immigrant urban populations of Latin America where men traditionally outnumbered women. The anomalous development of the port of Puntarenas must be placed in the context of its unusual geography and demography, fueled by the export economy. The port’s transition from physical non-entity, to frontier, then to periphery occurred in such rapid succession that nothing traditional, colonial nor Iberian had a chance to root in its shifting sands. Despite the port’s tenuous physical make-up, it became part of the solution to the centuries old problem of trade from the Meseta Central by providing an outlet for the transport of coffee, the commodity which would define the nation. If the export of coffee enabled the new nation, Puntarenas enabled the export of coffee. In the process, the port created opportunities for men and greater numbers of women with backgrounds, world views, and racial characteristics distinct from those of the population of the highlands.

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Chapter Three

The Mores of Coffee in the Highlands

The economic rhythm of the Meseta Central during the nineteenth century was quite different from that of Puntarenas, creating a distinct culture in the highlands. While the port’s economy was based heavily on the transport and hospitality businesses, the core economic activities of the highlands were coffee cultivation, processing coffee in beneficios, and extending credit. Coffee cultivation on small and large farms depended on family labor, while foreigners and elites dominated the activities of processing and credit. The present chapter attempts an analysis of the formal ideologies of the Central Valley via an examination of the social impact of the coffee economy on the family and on gender relations in general in that region. By the end of the nineteenth century, when the coffee project experienced difficulties due to population pressures, urbanization, diminishing frontier lands, and falling prices of coffee, the liberal establishment directed its energies to both articulating a “social problem” and creating an ideological base for solving it. These energies were geographically specific, aimed at molding and fostering a singular culture in the regions where coffee was produced.

Pressures From Within and Without During the nineteenth century, the steady growth of the coffee economy was matched by the growth of the nation’s population. From 1844 to 1927 the population increased by almost five times with annual growth rates exceeding 2% for the entire period.1 Unlike countries such as Argentina which relied on substantial immigration programs, immigrants played a smaller part in the growth of Costa Rica’s population during this period. Before 55

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1892, foreigners did not constitute more than 2.6% of the total population, this at a time when labor shortages undermined the expansion of coffee exports.2 Lowell Gudmundson has observed that while both Argentina and Costa Rica developed as agricultural exporters over the nineteenth century, the process was substantially different in each. While in both cases the settlement of large areas of virgin land was fundamental from the mid to late nineteenth century, in Argentina this was accomplished by populating large expanses of fertile lands and dislodging existing inhabitants including indigenous people, not only to meet labor demands, but also to populate the interior of the country. Massive rural and urban European (Italian and Spanish) immigration was encouraged. In Argentina a “whiteness” criterion for population building was prevalent. In Costa Rica, no such mass immigration or armed dispersal of the rural population accompanied the mid-nineteenth century transition to coffee culture and economic and political integration.3 Nevertheless, highland Costa Rica was able to meet the contemporary racial ideal prevalent in Latin America by virtue of restrictions on immigration to the Central Valley. E.G. Squire’s journal (1858) reflected the racial concerns of the time, as well as a view of the nation as limited to the highlands: The people of Costa Rica have a larger proportion of pure Spanish blood, less intermixed with that of the negro and Indian, than those of any other Central American state; and if they have attained a greater prosperity, and evinced a greater degree of activity and enterprise, it may fairly be attributed to this circumstance.4

Squire’s observation, a precursor of the “rural democracy thesis,” is evidence of the deep roots of this half myth. Yet, the “white yeoman farmer” had difficulty upholding such an image by century’s end. Towards the close of the nineteenth century, changes began to take place in Costa Rica’s highlands which were to have demographic repercussions for the whole country. The land holding structure of small farms in the Central Valley was challenged both by the inevitable end of available public land and by a series of economic downturns precipitated by the emerging production of coffee in Brazil. A crisis period connected with world-wide overproduction from 1897 to 1907 resulted in a period of low prices, low wages and scarce capital. Some small farmers of the Central Valley, accustomed to paying off creditors with crops, lost their farms thus allowing for a new process of land concentration.5 In addition, small farmers, who had supplemented their income through seasonal work as wage laborers on larger farms, now found wages depressed. A new class of landless laborers pushed into urban

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areas and to the frontier lowlands. From 1892 to 1927, the percent of the total population in the three coastal provinces increased from 16% to 24%. In San José, the population rose from 9,000 in 1864 to 19,000 in 1892, and then to 51,000 in 1927.6 Free and mobile labor became somewhat of a liability for liberal elites. This new “social problem” undermined not only the self image of the coffee barons residing in San José, whose neighborhoods were threatened by this influx, but also the economic base of their livelihoods—the family and wage labor systems of coffee farms. The ideological response of coffee elites was to fortify the image of the family and to sanitize “deviant” sectors of society through programs of social hygiene in order to control labor in a society with a shortage of workers and failed schemes for European immigration.

La Buena Sociedad Cafetalera Historians Lowell Gudmundson and Héctor Lindo-Fuentes have pointed out that, despite the prevalence of nominally “conservative” regimes in Costa Rica in the early national period, (economic) liberalism prevailed well before the (political) Liberal Reform era of the 1880s.7 As sketched out in the Introduction, the formal Liberal Reform process of the 1880s was well organized with quite specific goals for social engineering, designed to address some of the problems that accompanied the more advanced stage of the coffee exporting project. The ground for this movement, as mentioned earlier, was paved with the 1870 rise to power of Tomás Guardia. Guardia overthrew the old governing aristocracy, confiscated their property, and promulgated a new constitution. His liberal administration established the power base for the new modernizing coffee bourgeoisie, whose influence culminated in the 1880s with a series of laws designed to privatize property, secularize society, further educational reform, and promote the export of coffee.8 Guardia’s successor, General Máximo Fernández, propagated a series of laws in 1884 which attacked the institutional and ideological power of the Catholic Church, exiling several Church leaders including the politically active Bishop Bernardo Thiel.9 Besides the political competition that many priests represented, the Catholic Church’s control of the “ideology market”—particularly its control of education—was a serious threat to a state intent on molding the hearts and minds of its citizens to the exigencies of export capitalism. The reforms prohibited the activities of religious orders in Costa Rica, separated secular from religious burial grounds, and excluded the Church from any involvement in public education. In 1886, the subsequent regime of Bernardo Soto (1884–1889) enacted a systematic

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series of reforms, especially in the juridical and educational realms. By 1889 Costa Rica boasted of holding its first democratic election. Electoral politics have continued quite regularly since that time to the present, albeit with interruptions, as well as chronic electoral fraud in the earlier years.10 With the political reforms of the 1880s came a torrent of journals, newspapers and histories dedicated to defining Costa Rica in line with emerging liberal ideology. At the helm of this intellectual production was a group of lawyers known as the Olimpio, who, like their counterparts in the rest of Latin America at the time, looked to intellectual currents in Europe to guide them in their political and ideological formulations. The national project, as articulated by this group of intellectuals, was directed towards emulating (and becoming equal with) the developed countries of Europe. Influences included Jeremy Bentham’s philosophy of pragmatism and Krausism—a Spanish pedagogically oriented rationalist philosophy circulating in Costa Rica after 1870.11 Auguste Compte’s “order and progress” philosophy of positivism was especially influential throughout the region, as it appeared to give legitimacy to more authoritarian approaches to strategies for modernization. It is important to note, however, that this group of ideologues in Costa Rica were lawyers and not military men, involved in a project designed to further the interests of coffee elites, as well as protect an industry that had been successfully launched decades earlier and required less coercion in its administration. No Liberal party per se existed in Costa Rica as it did in other countries. Prominent among this group of thinkers, also known as the “generation of ’89,” were Ascensión Esquivel (President 1902–1906), Cleto González Víquez (President 1906–10 and 1928–32), and Ricardo Jiménez Oreomuno (President 1910–14, 1924–28, and 1932–36).12 As law students during the 1880s, González Víquez and Jiménez Oreomuno both wrote theses on the need for prison reform and later oversaw the building of penitentiaries, hospitals and other institutions in response to “the social problem.” This clique guided the era in what has been termed “moral entrepreneurism.”13 Liberal ideologues embraced a morality that one historian writes “reflected the puritanical Victorian morality of Anglo-Saxon countries.”14 They promoted an image of the Costa Rican citizen as prudent, sober and hardworking, an image Steven Palmer terms “Protestant to the core.”15 Liberals called upon the government to regulate prostitution, outlaw gambling and cockfighting, and generally control forms of entertainment which, although previously acceptable, now became classified as vices. Cleto González Víquez led an anti-vice campaign in 1887.16 A vagrancy law was passed in 1888; another regulated prostitution in 1894. The effort to clean up the capital of San José must be viewed in the context of the

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passion of the coffee bourgeoisie to adopt European styles and culture. Perhaps the most telling was the construction of the Teatro Nacional, the epitome of the oligarchy’s desire for European culture and symbol of Costa Rica’s belle époque. In the 1890s the coffee barons convened to finance the theater, a mixture of classical European architectural styles, filled with art commissioned from European artists. At the same time, a very different script appeared to define the typical Costa Rican citizen. In the liberal push, school officials, poets, writers and historians were coopted into a campaign to promote a view of the nation which described coffee producers and their families as possessing a small piece of land and as being white and hard working. La buena sociedad cafetalera—”the good coffee producing society”—emerged as an important component of Costa Rican liberal nationalism.17 Late nineteenth century tracts celebrated coffee production in ways that emphasized the need for an alliance between large and small coffee growers. As described by historian Héctor Pérez Brignoli, this alliance was half truth, half myth: In Costa Rica, the relationship between the coffee business (formal capital and processing) and the small and mid-sized growers formed the basis for a social dynamic, although unequally. Everyone enjoyed the benefits of coffee exporting. In other terms, we can characterize this relationship as a “non-zero-sum game.” Under these conditions, each sector developed similarly reformist strategies, that is, each competed to improve its relative position in the market of goods and services. The institutionalization of this competition constituted a powerful factor of legitimization. The collaboration and agreement between classes was an essential feature in the slow and gradual process of creating a nation-state.18

Late nineteenth century liberal ideologues were quick to weave this “non-zero-sum game” into a creation myth. The story went that the backbone of Costa Rican society and identity found its genesis in the small yeoman farmer of the colonial past who evolved into the cafetalero of the national period. The usefulness of looking to the colonial past of relative poverty and supposed egalitarian landholding structures and labor relations was aimed at establishing an ideology that would promote harmony between large and small coffee producers and mold an emerging working class with proper mores based on docility, simplicity and virtue. In other words, liberals took a situation not of their making—an inherited free labor system and the legacy of consensus—and molded it into a self serving vehicle for social control.

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Turn of the century costumbrismo—a Costa Rican literary genre depicting national customs—combined with official national histories to generate a series of national myths to complement the liberal project. One story appearing in the periodical press, written by Manuel de Jesús Jiménez, brother of three-time liberal President Ricardo Jiménez, looked back to a golden age in the Central Valley between 1850 and 1870 when “the customs of that era reflect at the same time the gentle simplicity of the colonial period and the modern culture of the Republic.  .  .  .  These were magnificent intervals in which Ticos (Costa Ricans) displayed both civic and domestic virtues.” These years were designated by Jiménez as “the golden age of Costa Rican customs.”19 Another equally nostalgic work described the riches of the typical Costa Rican as lying “in the piece of land, in the team of oxen, in the coffee pot, in the store, and into these things he puts all his energies and thoughts.”20 Efforts to return to an uncomplicated time when paternalistic values prevailed appeared as an attempt by liberal elites to harness its free labor system as it entered a more advanced stage of capitalism. Steven Palmer offers an analysis of the “Golden Age” and la buena sociedad cafetalera, while at the same time limiting its geography. I think, in basic terms, this is why the anonymous Costa Rican subject of the turn of the century was asked to relive, symbolically, the crystallized moment in time during the mid-century when “we” all existed in the intimate community of the Central Valley, equal in opportunity, racial heritage and history, our hard luck or ineptitude cushioned by the good fathers. Day in, day out  .  .  .  the golden age of Costa Rica was re-presented, and the people of the late nineteenth century capitalist polity were invited again and again to symbolically retrieve and reproduce that “real” golden moment when the obeisance and sacrifice of the hard-working sons to the hard-working fathers had engendered that ecstatic, organic moment of national prosperity and glory.21

Here, Palmer assigns the locus of official liberal nationalism exclusively to the Central Valley. A further element of his thesis is the claim of racial homogeneity during the Liberal Reform era through a process of “erasure and bleaching.”22 Textbooks of the period virtually deny the existence of racial “others”—Indians and blacks, regardless of the Central Valley’s three hundred year process of miscegenation and the greater presence of “others” in the lowlands of both coasts.23 An 1886 editorial from the Diario de Costa Rica reflected the liberal quest to seal a consensus among the inhabitants of the Central Valley through claims of whiteness.

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To judge by the elements that Costa Rica embodies, prosperity awaits it in the not too distant future. Its people are hard working and racially pure, the aboriginal peoples are few, and almost all Costa Ricans, in greater or lesser scale, are landowners.”24

The dismissal of the darker races of the Pacific littoral and newly arriving West Indian immigrants in the Caribbean lowlands again situates the reference of this editorial exclusively in the region of the Meseta Central and, by extension, exempts the periphery from inclusion in the national project. Liberal ideologues construed the nation as a tightly bound Eden characterized by class cooperation and racial homogeneity.

Women of la Buena Sociedad Cafetalera “Moral entrepreneurs” directed their messages to women as well. Liberal ideology emphasized the value of wives, mothers, and the family, all of which were useful to the coffee bourgeoisie, who formed the political oligarchy, for reasons other than cementing a consensus among classes. The emphasis on the family aimed at the maintenance of “order.” The institution of marriage assured the orderly transfer of property and assured social order through patriarchal control. In addition, the celebration of the family was seen as consistent with “progress.” Export led development depended on a willing family labor force during harvest times, as well as the reproduction of that labor force in a country with no large tradition of forced labor and little success in attracting European immigrants. Women in the coffee producing highlands, therefore, were targets of liberal ideology because they were important vehicles for the transference of property, as well as the creation and maintenance of a work force for coffee production Demographic research by historian Héctor Pérez Brignoli suggests a correlation between coffee cultivation and declining rates of illegitimacy in the Central Valley after 1840. In the Central Valley births out of wedlock dropped quickly from their late colonial high of around one-third of all births. In the parishes where coffee-growing was most established illegitimacy rates were lowest, remaining at 10% for the second half of the nineteenth century. In contrast, outside of the Central Valley rates of illegitimate birth were 50% or higher, a pattern which persisted well into the twentieth century.25 In the province and port of Puntarenas, illegitimacy rates remained constant at about 50% for the nineteenth century. By 1902, the ratio of legitimate to “natural” births in the city of San José was 3,098 to 732 while the ratio for the port of Puntarenas in that year was 271 to 266.26 Guanacaste and Limón followed the pattern of Puntarenas. The tendency in the highlands

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towards high legitimacy rates more resembled that of Western Europe, while the illegitimacy rates of the three coastal provinces of Costa Rica more resembled those of the rest of Latin America.27 Writes Pérez Brignoli, “What is anomalous in Costa Rica (the very high rates of illegitimacy encountered in the border provinces) is typical of other parts of Central America. The causes of this situation must be sought in the history of the countryside, particularly in the expansion of coffee exports throughout the nineteenth century.”28 In other words the high rate of legal Catholic Church marriages in the coffee producing highlands of Costa Rica was unusual when compared to the marriage patterns of the coastal provinces and neighboring countries. Both coffee producers and the state had an economic stake in perpetuating the institution of marriage in the coffeeproducing Central Valley because it helped stabilize the coffee economy. At the heart of the popularity of legal Catholic Church marriage for the small holder of the Central Valley was the issue of legitimate inheritance of property. Marriage became a basic mechanism to legitimize the transference of wealth and consolidation of family patrimony. Private land titles were increasingly important for smallholder families, both as collateral for loans and as a safeguard of the investment in time needed (five years) for mature coffee shrubs.29 Women of the Central Valley chose marriage as a means of achieving economic security for themselves and their legal offspring even though marriage and family law often worked to their disadvantage. While inheritance law as practiced in the nineteenth century guaranteed gender equality, civil and criminal law more often protected patriarchal privilege. Early Spanish laws established women’s dowries and inheritances, and their rights to represent their husbands and to emancipate their children (to declare them legally of age). Nevertheless, women did not enjoy political equality (women did not vote until 1950) nor rights to property (a woman’s dowry was returned only at the death of her husband). Although Costa Rican women made gains in access to education, participated in economic activities, and enjoyed more relaxed civil divorce laws by nineteenth century’s end, in other areas women’s legal status lost ground as “progressive” French legal patterns replaced Spanish legal codes.30 By the end of the nineteenth century, for example, a married woman could be accused of infidelity and punished by being sent to prison, whereas husbands could be unfaithful for a period of up to a year before a woman could sue.31 The liberal state was committed to the reform of marriage, but was not aggressive about recognizing or addressing inequality. The balancing act that women of the Central Valley faced—the insurance of family patrimony against the increase in laws that favored male

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patriarchy—was not peculiar to liberal Costa Rican society and is representative of a paradox applicable to bourgeois societies in general (one which radical feminists have linked to a type of prostitution within marriage). Eric Hobsbawm argued, “  .  .  .  the structure of the bourgeois family flatly contradicted that of bourgeois society. Within (the family), freedom, opportunity, the cash nexus and the pursuit of individual profit did not rule.”32 The particularities of the Costa Rican case—the prevalence of small farms in the Central Valley, with attendant pressure to consolidate patrimony through marriage, created a situation tantamount to civil death with remuneration. A further explanation for the high marriage rates of the Central Valley may be found in the state’s ideological exaltation of the family and enactment of laws to protect marriage and families.33 Although more research awaits this link, there is evidence that the state actively pursued policies that assured a family labor force for coffee cultivation in a society with a labor shortage and ample agricultural frontier. Pérez Brignoli writes that, in the Central Valley, the insertion of the small parcel of land in a certain context allowed the nuclear family to function as a “true cell” in the coffee economy throughout the period from 1840 to the first decades of the twentieth century.34 Although all manner of labor arrangements have characterized coffee production in Latin America, the Costa Rican state inherited a pattern of small landholding in its coffee producing region with little recourse to the type of traditional labor recruitment found in such countries as Guatemala with large indigenous populations. It could be argued that the state’s interest in promoting family and motherhood—as well as interest in stigmatizing prostitution in the Central Valley—lay in the labor shortage for coffee cultivation, as much as lay in any positivist formula for order and progress. Anthropologist Verena Stolke’s analysis of the case of late nineteenth century coffee cultivation in Brazil is instructive. The issue São Paulo’s coffee planters increasingly faced throughout the second half of the nineteenth century was not only that of finding a new source of labor to replace slaves, but also how to organize and exploit free labor efficiently. The development and organization of a free labor force for the São Paulo coffee plantations was “both an economic and a political process.”35 The politics involved in the expansion of free labor in São Paulo agriculture rested on the preference of the planters for contracting free labor in family units. The immigrant laborers were recruited by agents in Europe under a sharecropping contract. Brazil’s Department of Agricultural Labor in 1934 remarked, “Coffee growing demands not the contribution of casual labor but, indeed, that of ‘well constituted’ families, of at least three hoes.”36 Robert G. Williams suggests that up to 5,000 trees (5 manzanas or 8.7 acres fully planted) could

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be harvested and maintained by a family, and up to 20,000 trees could be maintained, with extra labor needed for the harvest.37 The ratio of hoes to trees and the stability of “well constituted families” likely influenced the Costa Rican state’s attitudes about families and motherhood in a society beholden to a free labor system and dependent on the revenues from commercial coffee. Early Costa Rican law explicitly protected the labor of women. According to the Código General of 1841, the penalty for abuses by husbands against their wives (yanking or cutting off their braids, tearing their clothes, slapping, lashing with twigs and horsewhips, and threatening their lives with knives, rocks, machetes, and other weapons) varied according to whether the consequences of violence impeded the victim from working temporarily or permanently.38 Here, marriage law reflected the realities of a predominantly agrarian society, centered on coffee production and characterized by a shortage of labor.39 From the start, the Costa Rican state was not passive in promoting the integrity of the family in those areas where coffee was cultivated. The law, manifested in the form of municipal councils, alcaldes (sheriffs), judicial courts, and justices of the peace aggressively followed the coffee frontier across the Central Valley.40 Judicial cases preserved from the nineteenth century make clear the increasing role of the state in monitoring the domestic life of husbands and wives of the coffee-producing highlands. Research by historian Eugenia Rodríquez Sáenz, covering the period from 1750 to 1850, examines the state’s influence on concepts of marriage and family in the Central Valley. This period, she writes, saw the rise of the ideal of the upper-class family, consisting of the male self-sufficient breadwinner and the dependent homemaking wife confined to domestic space. As the state gradually centralized after nationhood in 1839, the expansion of the judicial apparatus stimulated church, state and community to play a more active part in the regulation of domestic morality and in the promotion of upper class ideals of marriage and family. Husbands and wives from all classes had access to the legal process and used it as an arena for airing marital discord.41 Using evidence from civil trials of marital discord (for physical and verbal abuse, alcoholism, adultery, administration of family patrimony), Rodríguez Sáenz found that different patterns emerged according to class, region and gender.42 Civil trials outnumbered ecclesiastical processes, attesting to the early lead of the state over church in matters of morality. Moreover, women initiated the majority of complaints, supporting the conclusion that marital litigation was a female resource.43 In cases involving adultery and concubinage, rural communities functioned more “corporately”; that is couples who lived together out of

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wedlock were viewed as bringing dishonor to the community and were pressured by authorities and community to marry. Eighty-three percent of Rodríguez Sáenz’s sample of allegations of concubinage and adultery from 1830–1850 were made by the lower classes of the countryside of the Central Valley. Of these, 33% of accusations came from authorities and neighbors. “It was even carried to the extreme of (communities) drafting lists of unmarried couples in cohabitation.”44 Urban elites, on the other hand, saw such behavior as adultery as bringing dishonor more to the family than to the community and preferred the values of privacy and individuality.45 “It was among the urban upper-class that the public and private worlds were greatly segregated and such a concept of conjugality had stronger acceptance.”46 In both rural and urban settings of the Central Valley, the courts guided constructions of honor that promoted marriage and disparaged concubinage. The links between the shortage of hands for coffee picking, the exaltation of the family in the Central Valley and the stigmatization of public women in the capital bring to mind Luise White’s characterization of the “subversive potential” of prostitution—its ability to retard the proletarianization of the peasantry. In this case, the promotion of the family was tantamount to encouraging a type of proletarianization whereby families became sources of wage labor. The logical corollary of this equation was that women who chose prostitution or concubinage compromised the economy of coffee and threatened national development.

The Liberal Response to “Sin City” Rodríguez Sáenz’s findings of the public-private dichotomy among the upper classes of the cities of the Central Valley earlier in the century are reflected in Marín’s findings of the sharp geographical and cultural divide between “pure” and “dirty” sectors of the population of San José later on in the century. In a sense, the woman of the countryside was not permitted by the community to “fall” whereas in San José, the relative lack of corporate values tolerated the fallen women, but only as a cultural and geographical “other.” A turn of the century Costa Rican novel underscored the divide between rural and urban settings and critiqued the dangerous world of the city. Las hijas del campo, by Joaquín García Monge (1900), followed two young women from the country to the city, led by their patrón,only to fall, through his neglect, into prostitution and moral degradation in San José, the “labyrinth of vices.”47 The demography underlying the “sin city” of San José, as portrayed in García’s novel, is noteworthy. Gudmundson has pointed out, for the nineteenth century, the regional differences in family formation between city

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centers and surrounding villages of the Central Valley. The “rural-urban dichotomy” was characterized by heavy female predominance in the cities with less access to marriage and an older population in general. Women in the central cities were also more frequently engaged in servitude, and young women were more likely to become single mothers. Both of these trends were due to the heavy preponderance of females and greater concentration of wealth there.”48 This pattern was repeated in other cities of the world in the nineteenth century. It was repeated in the port of Puntarenas, but not in Limón where male immigration prevailed. As stated earlier, in Puntarenas, the port’s demography after 1850 included, not only a preponderance of women, but also included dramatically greater immigration and concubinage rates. A different economic dynamic operated in the port. In Puntarenas, the voices of elite bourgeois society, middle class farmers and the state did not trumpet the values of the bourgeois family and did not mediate the marginalization of prostitutes. Recent research by Steven Palmer makes evident that, by century’s end, prostitutes and the working class in general in San José were subjected to an intense ideological campaign and police surveillance. Although few studies to date bridge the state policies outlined by Palmer to the experience of the working class in San José, the onslaught of ideology and the popularity of new techniques of police science, as outlined by Palmer, is of concern to this study if one concludes that the “volume” of “discourse” is correlational to strength of impact. The 1890s saw a dramatic proliferation of newspapers of all types, from an average of five newspapers during the 1880s to twenty for the 1890s.49 In the period from 1871 to 1939, 102 magazines were published, focusing on liberal and Catholic ideals of women and the family and stressing the importance of marriage and domesticity. The readership for this genre came from the cities of the Central Valley.50 At the same time, liberal authorities addressed a “social problem” by launching plans to institute penal laws, build prisons and public health facilities (hospitals, asylums, leper colonies), organize statistics, and further state education in order to “penetrate the depth and breadth of the society, accumulate a body of knowledge about that society and ensure that all the social atoms would be kept in constant and productive motion.”51 The creation of a new police corps in Costa Rica after 1880 followed expressions of the need to control the alarming increase in “vagrants and public women” in San José.52 Jailed prostitutes in the Central Valley—those who were registered and failed to show up for medical examinations, those not registered and charged as vagrants, and those suffering from venereal disease who refused treatment—underwent an elaborate process of penal rehabilitation which

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included instruction by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in the domestic arts of cooking, sewing and cleaning.53 (The liberal state, evidently, was willing to ignore liberal anticlericalism when it came to re-educating fallen women in the virtues of the domestic arts.54) There is no evidence of the presence of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Puntarenas, nor in any other periphery of Costa Rica, suggesting a limited geographical radius of enforceable liberal policies related to prostitution in Costa Rica at this time. As the following chapter will establish, in Puntarenas prostitutes were not only immune to the rehabilitative designs of the liberal state, they routinely escaped from the crumbling wooden jail and hospital of the port. The lesson drawn here is that prostitutes and society in general in Puntarenas were quite insulated from the pressures that accompanied coffee culture in the highlands. The pressure to conform to marriage practices, to bear legitimate offspring, and to contribute to the construction of the liberal nation-state was absent in this periphery. The desire of the liberal state to keep women in private spaces through marriage was largely realized in the highlands, but not in the lowlands. The center saw a more stereotypical private domain for women and dependency on the patriarchal status quo. The state promoted the institution of marriage in the highlands in the form of marriage laws, laws for airing marital disputes—ideological carrots and political sticks—designed to keep threats to the family represented by “the dangerous classes” in line. Efforts to protect family and motherhood were bolstered by strategies of surveillance of prostitutes in the nation’s capital. The high rates of marriage and legitimate births in both rural and urban areas of the Central Valley attest to the effectiveness of an ideology which did not admit “grays” into the spectrum of women’s mores. This rigidity owes its genealogy to the demands of coffee production. For working women of Costa Rica’s peripheries, life outside of the coffee zone was different. The periphery, outside the dynamic of commercial coffee cultivation, was in the business of communication and transport, not planting and harvesting. Liberal ideologues had no reason to speak of or to the periphery nor was there a “market” for liberal ideology in the coastal regions where coffee was not cultivated, where family labor was irrelevant, and where marriage and family patterns had long reflected exogenous influences. The periphery of Puntarenas witnessed more complex arrangements among women and men, as women outnumbered men and single women outnumbered married women. Moreover, the evangelization that took place in the Central Valley was not possible in the peripheries of Limón, Guanacaste and Puntarenas because these areas had not been sufficiently integrated politically, economically, or culturally. State policies of domestic reformation were not effectively communicated or implemented.

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Conditions existed for a very different development of people living in the port of Puntarenas, already with a distinct political history during the colonial period, of foreign presence throughout the nineteenth century, and even of a degree political autonomy during the thirteen year franquicia. Women of Puntarenas were preserved from much of the pressure to legally marry, to be docile, to be white, and to engage in agricultural work. This periphery was more akin to other countries of Central America, but with one important exception. The Pacific periphery of Puntarenas also enjoyed a free labor system. As the following chapter will establish, men and women of the Pacific Central American coast migrated to Puntarenas from Nicaragua, Chiriquí, Colombia (Panama) and other parts; those from Puntarenas might have moved around within the country, but less out-migration occurred to other countries of the region. The regional differentiation of the port of Puntarenas, therefore, proceeds not only from its general distinction from the Central Valley, but also from its political distinction from much of the rest of Central America.

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Chapter Four

The Economic Demography of Prostitution in Puntarenas before 1910

A recent memoir of a woman who lived in Puerto Puntarenas in the 1960s states: The women were always there, eager and waiting for each boatload of different men—all shapes, colors, speaking different tongues and offering varied kinds of money, mostly the precious dollars, for which the locals would perform almost any type of service.  .  .  . Prostitution was probably a bigger money maker in Puntarenas than the fertilizer plant.1

Today, forty years later, prostitution still flourishes in the port, now catering to cruise ships. Prostitution in the country as a whole has taken on very different dimensions as the internet touts Costa Rica as a sexual playground–the Thailand of Latin America. Prostitution is still legal as it has been for over a hundred years. Yet, as already indicated, prostitution in Costa Rica has developed in distinct ways throughout the different regions of the country. This chapter examines the evolution of prostitution in Puntarenas, before the completion of the railway from San José to Puntarenas in 1910, within the context of labor markets, flows of migrants, and regional economic development. It reviews the earliest records of prostitutes in the port after 1894 when discussion of the issue was forced out of the closet with legalization and the requisite registration of prostitutes. It attempts to synthesize the demographic aspects of prostitution within the context of patterns of immigration. By first establishing the ethnic pool from which the large numbers of single women of the port came—nearly one half immigrants of 69

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various racial backgrounds—a demographic profile distinct from that of the Central Plateau becomes clear and establishes the region as racially and ethnically distinct—a departure from the white settler image promoted by liberal elites of the highlands. The push factors that drove many migrants from neighboring Nicaragua and Panama underscore the attractiveness of Puntarenas’ dynamic economy and relaxed labor relations, thus reinforcing the significance of Costa Rica’s free labor system, as well as its anomalous status in the Central American region as a whole.

Migrants, Markets and Merchant Marines As reviewed in Chapter Two, despite the ascendancy of Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast by 1890, Puntarenas continued to be a vibrant port. During the 1880s the number of ships entering Costa Rican ports, most with U.S. flags, increased dramatically. Trade with San Francisco accounted for much of the total of coffee transported from the port, yet even coffee destined for Great Britain traveled in United States ships. Many of the 42 ships from Colombia reported for 1890 most likely originated in Panama, whose maritime importance in the Pacific predated the national period and whose population was adept at river and ocean travel.2 These and other carriers from the Pacific littoral carried on a coastal (cabotaje) trade in lumber, hides, cattle, and various agricultural products that made the Gulf of Nicoya a dynamic maritime thoroughfare. By the end of the century, the port’s annual income from cattle related industries—storage facilities for cattle and taxes on salting plants—amounted to almost one third of the total municipal income of Puntarenas, attesting to the growing influence of Guanacaste’s cattle exporting industry to the north on the economic life of the port, as well as reflecting the success of the port in diversifying its economic base.3 The ever increasing flow of traffic into Puntarenas translated into an increase in potential customers for prostitutes particularly during the dry season from December to May, when coffee was harvested in the highlands and loaded on oxcarts for the trek down to the port for export, as well as year round via the coastal trade from Guanacaste, Nicaragua, and Panama. Boats engaged in the coastal trade loaded and unloaded at the pier on the northern side of the port’s peninsula; steamships involved in international trade used the larger pier on the south side. Between the two piers lay a half mile stretch of brothels, cantinas, dance halls, restaurants, hotels, fondas (boarding houses), and all manner of establishments which responded to the market for recreation and domestic services created by merchant marines, local men and visitors from all points. Despite the competition

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from Limón, Puntarenas was still an important crossroads for commercial activity. Distinguishing the demographic profile of Puntarenas from that of other regions of the country was the prominence of single women in combination with high numbers of immigrants. The 1892 census showed 48% of the population of the city of Puntarenas to be foreigners, predominantly from Nicaragua and Panama, who reflected diverse cultural and political mores.4 Foreigners in that year numbered 1,293, roughly 10% of the provincial population, more than the 3% of foreigners living in the province of San José and less than the 14% of the West Indians in Limón Province. Nearly all (1,223 out of 1,293) of those listed in Puntarenas Province lived in the port, putting the percentage of foreigners in the port in 1892 at close to half the population, up from 40% in 1883.5 The largest number of immigrants in the province of Puntarenas in 1892 came from Nicaragua (468—predominantly mestizo) and Colombia (479—most from Panama, many mestizo and mulatto) with substantial representation from Spain (93), Great Britain (48) and China (26). Only 7 Americans were listed as residents of the province, although 86 ships with North American flags entered the port that year.6 The racially and ethnically heterogeneous makeup of the population of Puntarenas reinforces the image of Puntarenas as a cosmopolitan and pluralistic society. The liberal President Cleto González Víquez, who compiled one of the first histories of the port of Puntarenas in 1933, wrote: If one conducted a careful census, one could see that the population does not have a great many whites; most are migrant laborers and foreigners, some second generation and obviously working class, many from various generations of Nicaraguans and Chiricanos.7

The significant number of Nicaraguans (most from the Pacific littoral of Nicaragua) and Panamanians (predominantly Chiricanos from the western region of Panama bordering Costa Rica on the Pacific) accounted for over 70% of the foreign population of the port and roughly one-third of its general population.8 The number of Nicaraguans in Puntarenas was larger due to serial migrations of Nicaraguans to Guanacaste (446 reported for 1892) and then on to Puntarenas. Guanacastecans, Nicaraguans and Chiricanos helped give Puntarenas its “Central American” character. Women who migrated to the port of Puntarenas from Guanacaste or other parts of Puntarenas Province were driven by poverty and the opportunities that existed in the port for cash enterprises such as prostitution. In the highlands, access to cash was more available in activities related to the

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coffee industry, such as coffee picking, as well as available in the urban centers of the Central Valley which were more plentiful, closer to each other, and more developed than those of the periphery. In addition, the population of the highlands was the principal beneficiary of the public health and educational reforms launched by liberals in the late nineteenth century. Even by 1927, for example, 69% of the population of the highlands nine years of age or older was literate. Literacy rates in Puntarenas and Guanacaste Provinces were 50% and 57% respectively for the same year, limiting the economic opportunities available for populations of the western periphery.9 Rates of literacy among the cantones (counties) of the Pacific provinces reported in the 1927 census reflect the absence of educational opportunities in the least populated hinterlands of the western periphery. While the more populated cantones of Puntarenas and Esparta each reported literacy rates of 56% for the population over nine years of age (still quite below the reported 85% for the cantón of San José), the two more remote cantones of the province of Puntarenas—Osa and Montes de Oro, in the far south and east—reported literacy rates of 25% and 34% respectively. Similarly, in the more isolated cantones of Guanacaste, Bagaces and Cañas literacy rates did not exceed 45% by 1927. The more densely settled Nicoya peninsula reported higher rates of 51% for the cantón of Nicoya and 64% for the cantón of Santa Cruz.10 In Guanacaste Province, essentially two economies existed in the cattle latifundios of the dry plains of the northern mainland and the small subsistence farms of the Nicoya Peninsula, which produced corn, rice, beans, and livestock. As anthropologist Marc Edelman has pointed out, as early as 1864, males predominated in the mainland cattle region, while female sex ratios were higher in the Nicoya Peninsula. The Nicoya peninsula served as a reserve of labor for the regions of the province controlled by latifundios. Except for a small number of cooks and housekeepers, the demand for labor generated by the haciendas was essentially a demand for male labor.11 The port of Puntarenas, the most developed urban area of Costa Rica’s Pacific littoral, was one of the few destinations available for women of the region in need of greater economic opportunities. The increasing network of launch services from Puntarenas to ports surrounding the Gulf of Nicoya and Tempisque River facilitated their migrations. Migrants to the port of Puntarenas from Nicaragua and Chiriquí came from regions which had reputations for economic dislocation caused by violence. The histories of both regions were shaped by liberal-conservative civil wars after independence which continued throughout the nineteenth century. Both were influenced by the booms and busts of competing transisthmian transit operations employing canoes, mules, railroads and

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canals and the need of “forty-niners” to travel from the Atlantic coast to California. In the fray, labor relations in both regions were shaky. U.S. filibusterer William Walker even managed to reimpose slavery in Nicaragua from 1855 to 1857. (In Panama it was only abolished in 1851.) After 1898 the growth of the region was further stimulated by the United States’ campaign for naval advantage after the Spanish American War which encouraged the building of a transisthmian canal and generalized U.S. control over all of Central America. Relatively stable Costa Rica managed to escape many of the encounters with U.S. imperialism that marked the fate of its neighbors—the most prominent intervention being the U.S. stimulated secession of Panama from Colombia, followed by the construction of the Panama Canal (1903-1914) and the U.S. marines’ occupation of Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933. Not to be overlooked were internally generated political upheavals in both Panama and Nicaragua that accounted, in large measure, for the conditions that stimulated the migration of Nicaraguans and Panamanians to Costa Rica’s Pacific lowlands.

The Push from Nicaragua Nicaragua’s pattern of settlement, unlike that of Costa Rica, was concentrated in the lower Pacific regions, specifically the western margin of the Lacustrine Depression (Lakes Managua and Nicaragua) where volcanic soils were highly suitable for agriculture. The main population centers of Managua, Granada, Rivas and León all lay at elevations of less than one hundred meters, a considerable difference from the Meseta Central at nearly ten times that altitude.12 Racial heterogeneity, similar to that of Panama, characterized the region. According to the census of 1890, out of a population of 360,000 inhabitants in Nicaragua, 16,200 were whites, 198,000 Indians, 1,800 negros, and 144,000 mixed.13 Throughout the nineteenth century, male-female ratios favored women, a pattern in large measure attributable to civil strife.14 Court cases from the port of Puntarenas make evident the importance of Rivas, the Nicaraguan port close to the northern border of Costa Rica on the Pacific, as a point of origin for many engaged in litigation in the period under study. In the region around Rivas, indigo had been produced for export in earlier times, but the economy reverted to cattle when Rivas fell victim to the turbulence that engulfed Western Nicaragua during the first half of the nineteenth century. With coffee’s ascendancy in Nicaragua by the end of the nineteenth century, the economic importance of Granada and Rivas had shifted to Managua and León, causing substantial out-migration from Rivas.15 The region’s economy merged with that of Guanacaste, although labor relations differed considerably on either side of the border.

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Marc Edelman’s study of the cattle haciendas of Guanacaste outlines the preference of Guanacastecan hacendados for Nicaraguan workers over the traditionally independent Guanacastecan sabanero (“cowboy”).16 “Hacendados frequently voiced preferences for laborers from Nicaragua where workers had historically been subjected to more rigorous systems of labor control and were consequently more pliable than native Guanacastecans.”17 Descriptions of conditions in Nicaragua in the late nineteenth century suggest that the average hacienda laborer there endured a work regime considerably harsher than that of Costa Rica. Beginning in 1880, day laborers were obliged to register with agricultural judges in their place of residence and to carry a certificate provided by their employer testifying to the nature of their work. This measure sparked a major peasant rebellion in Matagalpa in 1881, which was violently repressed by the army.18 In contrast to the Liberal Reform period of Costa Rica, the strongarmed Liberal regime of José Santos Zelaya (1893-1909) in Nicaragua was marked by labor policies that included the forced recruitment of labor for coffee and sugar plantations.19 Vagrancy laws during the Zelaya regime, more along the lines of those already established in Guatemala and El Salvador, aimed to create larger land and labor markets that could serve as a base for a coffee export economy. The Liberals created a pervasive apparatus of repression that included naming authorities with police powers in every cantón (jefaturas políticas), replacing indigenous community government with municipal structures responsible to the national state, and maintaining and reinforcing the power of tyrannical agricultural judges and jueces de mesta.20 Given these conditions, and the frequent civil conflicts that racked Nicaragua, it is not surprising that substantial numbers of Nicaraguans migrated to Costa Rica.

The Push from Panama In the last half of the nineteenth century, the spill-over from Colombia’s civil strife left Panama in constant turmoil. Local self-government for the department of Panama was extended when the Liberals were in power and restricted when the Conservatives prevailed. The fortunes of local partisans rose and fell abruptly and often violently. According to one estimate, the period witnessed forty administrations of the Panamanian department, fifty riots and rebellions, five attempted assassinations, and thirteen interventions by the United States.21 In 1885 a civil war shook Colombia and the United States again intervened. A similar chain of events took place during the “War of a Thousand Days” (1899-1902), which began when Liberals

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invaded Chiriquí and was followed by the intervention of U.S. troops in 1902 and independence from Colombia a year later.22 The market for labor in Panama underwent dramatic swings resulting from political violence and the vicissitudes of Panama’s transportationbased economies—the Panama Railroad, constructed in 1850-1855, the ill-fated French canal project (1879-1890) and the American canal project (1903-1914). Chiricanos, men and women of Indian and mestizo origin, alternately were engaged in subsistence farming in Chiriquí and in transport.23 The transportation projects provided a powerful incentive for the migration of laborers from the West Indies, Europe, India and China, a minority of whom returned to their homeland, while others stayed and settled in Panama or responded to other opportunities in other countries. In the Pacific region, Puntarenas was one such place. The infusion of Indians, mestizos, blacks, mulattos and Chinese from Panama into the population of Puntarenas added to the port’s reputation for being urbane on the one hand and to having a “floating population,” including some trouble-makers, on the other. In fact, a great deal of scapegoating went on in the reports of provincial authorities to officials in San José. In 1885, the Governor’s report to the central government complained that more police were needed to prevent indecency, gambling and vagrancy in such a heterogeneous population. “The sea breezes bring in the wrong element.”24 Another in 1903 complained, “The troublemakers are all from Colombia”25 (i.e., Panama). There is no way of determining the exact racial make-up of Panamanians who emigrated to Puntarenas except to assume a fairly multi-cultural amalgam.26 Nor is there any way to determine how many women emigrated to Puntarenas or what kind of work they did. No major study yet exists on the role of prostitution in the transit booms of Panama’s past, although it clearly existed. In Donna Guy‘s study of the 1927 League of Nations investigation into the trafficking of European and U.S. women (“white slavery”) into legalized prostitution in Latin America, she indicates that Panama was included in the report due to the presence of the U.S. military in the Canal Zone. “In the cities of Colon and Panama many minor females were found in bordellos, but since they were native-born, and mostly black, their problems did not merit much consideration from the investigators.” In these cities, whose red light districts were off-limits for resident Canal Zone military personnel, at least 600 women were registered as prostitutes, although they represented “but a fraction of the women who were believed to be engaged in sexual commerce.”27 A significant contribution of Panama to the demography of Puerto Puntarenas was that of the Chinese who were contracted first for the U.S. railroad project in Panama (1850-1855), then by the French for the first

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canal project in the decade of the 1880s. Although there is a popular belief that Chinese laborers first entered Costa Rica to work on the Atlantic Railroad in 1873, the Chinese presence in Costa Rica preceded the railroad by at least eighteen years (1855) in the region of the Pacific. The impetus for the first migrations of Chinese to Costa Rica during the nineteenth century were the same as for Perú, Cuba, and the United States—civil war (the Taiping Rebellion of 1850-64) and hard times in China along with the need for a cheap labor force in the receiving country.28 Precise documentation of the Chinese in Costa Rica’s Pacific region is absent owing to official discrimination. The official counts of Chinese in Puntarenas in 1892—26 Chinese listed for the Province, 21 Buddhists and Confucians listed for the cantón— are clearly under counted.29 Another provincial count in 1902 of sixty-two men and four women of Chinese origin also seems suspect.30 Contributing to the uncertainty of numbers of Chinese in Costa Rica in general was the 1897 decree outlawing all Chinese immigration to Costa Rica. Restrictions against lawful immigration from China remained on the books until 1943. Neither this nor more restrictive legislation in 1906 stopped the flow of Chinese immigrants to Puntarenas. The importance of the Chinese in the commercial life of Puntarenas cannot be overstated. In Puntarenas, as in Limón, the Chinese were disproportionately represented in commercial activities. They dominated the commerce of vice (prostitution, liquor bootlegging and gambling), as well as other legitimate commercial activities, particularly sales of liquor. By 1907, 36.5% of all municipal taxes in the Cantón Central de Puntarenas were collected from Chinese businesses. Almost one half of the revenues from taquillas (domestic liquor establishments) were from Chinese, as were over one third of the revenues from vinaterías (foreign liquor establishments). These two categories alone represented 72% of all municipal revenues from businesses.31 The Chinese were, on the one hand, marginalized and feared by politicians of the Central Valley and, on the other, indispensable to the economic life of Puntarenas.

The Demography of Prostitution Although there is little available data for determining the gender ratios of porteño immigrants during this period, male-female ratios in the early censuses of Puntarenas point to a predominance of women, an indication that opportunities existed in the port that were lacking elsewhere. The 1864 census reported 805 women to 697 men in the city of Puntarenas; by 1883 women outnumbered men 1,188 to 940.32 While the cantón of Puntarenas reported a predominance of males in the 1883 census (2,074 men to 1,944

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women), women in the age group of 15-20 years old outnumbered men 217 to 188, an indication of the port’s heavy representation in that category, as well as pointing to substantial immigration of women of that age group.33 By 1892, out of a total port population of 2,538, 43% were single females, while 39% were single men. Male-female ratios of singles widened most in the 15 to 35 years category favoring women and, again, suggesting the immigration of women of that category. The remarkable figure of 82% of the total port population of single men and women, outnumbering the category of marriage—reported as representing 13% of the total population—reflected the predominance of concubinage over legal marriages.34 Legal unions in the highlands greatly outnumbered non-legal unions, while concubinage was more common in Puntarenas, as it was in all of the coastal peripheries at the turn of the twentieth century and beyond. In 1905, for example, the port of Puntarenas reported 48 legitimate births to 149 “natural” births.35 By 1910, the province of San José reported 19% out of wedlock births to Puntarenas Province’s 46%.36 The predominance of concubinage in Puntarenas reflected for men and women the existence of pragmatic options for social and sexual reproduction. Such arrangements afforded many women a spectrum of choices and flexible lifestyles that might include formal or clandestine prostitution. Determining the numbers of prostitutes in Puntarenas over the decades is problematic given the paucity of primary sources before its regulation in 1894 and given that the majority of prostitutes refused to register after 1894. A detailed demographic profile over time of prostitutes in Puntarenas may not be possible, but general trends are clear. In addition, we do know that female prostitutes existed in great numbers throughout the country beginning in the 1830s.37 Police reports at the turn of the twentieth century put the number of prostitutes in the entire country at about 12,000 or 9% of the total population. Of this number, 4,000, or one-third, allegedly practiced their profession outside of San José.38 The first listing of registered prostitutes in the port appeared in print in 1894 shortly after the legislation requiring registration. There were 21 in the port, 865 nation-wide, a fraction, of course, of the numbers of actual prostitutes in the country. Of the first 21 in the port, 11 were born in Puntarenas; 8 were from other parts of Costa Rica; one was from Colombia (likely Chiriquí); another from Nicaragua. Although registered as legal prostitutes, all were listed as having other professions: 6 cooks, 1 seamstress, 12 maids, and 2 cleaning women. In virtually all court cases involving known prostitutes, registered or not, the term “de oficio domestico” (of domestic trade) appears as their occupation. In the censuses this appellation covers many other women, such as housewives, and some men as well.39 By March, 1897, 96 more women signed the registries for a provincial total of 117.40

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Table 4-1 offers a statistical overview of registrations of prostitutes throughout the country in the first three years (1894-1897) after enactment of the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea. Only 3% of registered prostitutes in Puntarenas during this three year period changed jurisdictions, that is moved to another city, while 6% in San José changed jurisdictions and 18% changed in the more conservative province of Cartago. What this would suggest is that the economic viability of sexual commerce underwent degrees of change. Another explanation is that social mores or pressures induced women in the more conservative areas of the highlands to move. Cancellation figures may also reflect changing attitudes. While 18% of registered prostitutes of Puntarenas canceled their registrations in the three year period, fully 39% in San José and 45% in Cartago canceled during the same period.41 Table 4-1: Age, Origin, and Mobility of Registered Prostitutes, 1894-1897

Table 4-1. Age, Origin, and Mobility of Registered Prostitutes, 1894–1897.

Source: Source: CostaCosta Rica, de Gobernación Policía de 1897 (San José: Rica, Memoria Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1897y(San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1897), 173. Tipografía Nacional, 1897), 173.

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Photo 4-1: In the Imagination of a Prisoner: Mural Painting from San Lucas Island Prison, ca. mid-twentieth century

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Anonymousof a Prisoner: Mural Painting from San Lucas Island Photo 4-1. In Source: the Imagination Prison, c. mid-twentieth century.

Source: Anonymous

The 14% figure for Limón of jurisdictional changes may be accounted for by out-migration or return-migration of its 46% Jamaican population of registered prostitutes to other regions of the Caribbean or back to Jamaica. Limón’s strong presence of immigrants contrasts with Puntarenas’ 48% of registered women who were natives of the port or province and

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who, generally, did not leave. The presence of local women among the ranks of registered prostitutes in Puntarenas suggests that their profession was passed on to them (or at least accepted) by their mothers, with whom many lived. Nineteen percent of those registered in Puntarenas listed their place of origin as San José, while 1% in San José came from Puntarenas. In 1895 alone, 18 new inscribees from San José appeared on the registries in Puntarenas where presumably life was easier for those who chose la vida. Given the relative size of the populations of each city (19,326 for the city of San José in the 1892 Census as opposed to 2,538 for the port of Puntarenas), these figures are not surprising. Yet, transfer of jurisdiction figures indicate less of a tendency of prostitutes in the port to move around the country prior to the completion of the railroad from San José in 1910.42 The mobility of prostitutes in Puntarenas before the railway was somewhat restricted and concentrated on trips to the mining operations in inland areas east of the port on paydays. The short-lived British gold mining operations of the old mining region of Montes de Aguacate before 1900 was one such site. Later, in the 1910s and 1920s, the U.S. owned gold mines in highland Guanacaste and Alajuela provinces to the east of the Pacific lowlands attracted porteño prostitutes.43 Registered prostitutes of the port in the 1894-97 period were older than those of other jurisdictions—the greatest number being in the 21-25 year old category—reflecting a greater maturity, a greater reluctance to cancel their registrations, and a greater presence of migrants. In Guanacaste, as well as in the four provinces of the highlands, more registered prostitutes fell in the age category of 16 to 20 years old than in any other. Only Limón recorded a pattern similar to that of Puntarenas of older registered prostitutes, likely reflecting the impact of immigration as women generally migrated after a certain age. Both Puntarenas and Limón shared ongoing immigration of Panamanians and Nicaraguans. In Limón, 11% of registered prostitutes were from these regions while, in Puntarenas, 9% were from Panama and Nicaragua with another 15% from Guanacaste, “Little Nicaragua.” Registered prostitutes from the four provinces of the Central Valley were a more homogeneous group demographically. Nearly all listed their origins as being from the Central Valley and together they represented 82% of all those registered from 1894-1897. The sample of women from the provinces of the Central Valley did not possess the variety of cultural, racial, and national characteristics of registered prostitutes in the coastal provinces. Those from Puntarenas, older native women mixed with migrants, less inclined to move or cancel their registrations, were culturally distinct from registered prostitutes in the highlands by virtue of relative isolation from the more conservative and traditional center of the country.

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This slice of life in Costa Rica’s western periphery, a unique sample of the nation’s gender history, played out its destiny within the confines of the red light district, “la colmena.” It was part of a tide of dynamic forces driven by trade, migration, transportation, and tourism in the western littoral—an economic environment every bit as vital as that of the Caribbean littoral. By the turn of the twentieth century, prostitutes were active members of a diverse community long established in the hub of the nation’s western periphery.

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Chapter Five

Structure and Experience: The Law and La Vida

When Liberal politicians from San José enacted the centerpiece of their policy on prostitution—the July 28, 1894 Ley de Profilaxis Venérea (Law of Venereal Prophylaxis)—“public women” in Costa Rica’s peripheries received their first taste of a central governmental program that attempted to impose controls on them and their livelihood. After decades of sporadic attempts to isolate women found to be infected with venereal disease, the law specified the restrictions, as well as freedoms, determined necessary to ensure liberal morality and the physical health of the nation. The present chapter analyzes the impact of this legislation on prostitutes in Puntarenas through an examination of the dialectic between structure and experience or between the “top-down” designs of the central government and the “bottom-up” responses of prostitutes on the streets of the port. The chapter outlines the legal aspects of the 1894 law requiring prostitutes to register, then traces its reception in Puntarenas. Prostitutes exploited the law, either by ignoring aspects of the law not to their liking, or using their legal status as workers to challenge authorities. A review of court cases shows prostitutes as members of social networks that included not only other prostitutes, but also friends from all parts of the social spectrum of Puntarenas, an indication that women who chose prostitution were well integrated into porteño society and viewed as more “ordinary” than “unordinary.”

Structure of the Law The law called for the creation of a Department of Hygiene with a central office in the capital and branches in the provincial capitals, each employing a medical director, a police chief (over thirty years old, married and with a 83

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good reputation), and four auxiliary agents. Prostitutes were required to sign the registries giving age, civil status, address and nationality, as well as submit any change of address or jurisdiction. The law required prostitutes to submit to medical exams every eight days and, if infected, be treated in a hospital. Commercial sex was prohibited less than 200 meters (two blocks) from schools, and prostitutes could be forced to move if neighbors complained of scandalous behavior. The law provided that registered prostitutes could not be prosecuted for vagrancy, a provision which legally legitimized their trade and enabled them to move around in a manner not available to clandestine prostitutes. Registered prostitutes could be removed from the registries for good conduct or marriage. Underaged prostitutes (under 16 years) could be prosecuted as vagrants or forced into hospitals if infected. A woman in concubinage was exempt from the category of clandestine prostitute if she lived with one man and demonstrated good conduct. The municipalities were charged with providing asylums and hospitals, while the central government would provide stipends for such institutions. Penalties included: 10 days in the Casa de Reclusión for evasion of registration; 30 days for failure to be inspected, 60 days for the second offense, 120 days for the third or more times. The law provided for incarceration of 3 months for those who knowingly were infected yet refused to get examined. There were penalties for those who allowed male minors (under 16 years) in their establishments or who performed immoral acts in the street, public places, and theaters. Finally, if a Medical Director gave false certificates of health, he would be relieved of his position.1 Only five years after the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea first established the regulation of prostitution, some of its important provisions, such as the exemption from vagrancy laws, were revoked. By 1899, some women throughout the country, choosing security at the cost of possible stigmatization, registered as prostitutes to ensure that their jobless status, in a time of economic downturn, would not result in an arrest for vagrancy. As a result, plans were made to revise Article 9 of the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea to drop the exemption from the vagrancy laws.2 In Puntarenas, where arrests and convictions for vagrancy among women were rare, the revision of the law meant little. In general, punitive action against prostitutes was lenient, even in the Central Valley. In Juan José Marín’s review of police records in San José from 1850–1930, 65% of prostitutes who served prison terms were jailed for less than 5 days, while 82% of those fined paid less than 5 colones (about a week’s salary for a domestic worker).3 In Puntarenas, the institutionalization of commercial sex by the central government did even less to alter what had been the attitude for decades, that is the tacit acceptance of

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the sex trade by public officials, merchants and residents. Women registered at will, ignored inspections, evaded penalties, and practiced their trade in mainstream locations of the port. In practice, despite periodic crack-downs, almost every aspect of the new law was routinely ignored in Puntarenas.

The Law as Practiced in Puntarenas When, in December of 1894, a branch of the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea was set up in the port, a first group of 21 women signed the local registry. “Public women,” if infected with venereal disease, were to go to San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José if they were from the four highland provinces or Limón. Due to distance and problems of transport, the government of Puntarenas was to establish its own local service.4 The local office of the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea and office of Medical Director, appointed from San José, was established with a subsidy of 258 pesos for the first year.5 Within a short time, local officials began complaining about the new medical director. In a provincial report to the central government it was asserted that: . . . the constant disagreement between the municipality and the Medical Director, Doctor Parreño, the only medical operative here, is putting the operation in jeopardy. The total disorganization of the department is leaving the proceedings paralyzed.6

Conflicts between San José and the municipalities of the periphery were common. Squabbles about medical appointments from the central government were one of a series of persistent clashes in the division of powers in Costa Rica’s federal system. Political appointments to posts in the peripheries frequently included non-elite men and foreigners who were little qualified. Doctors appointed from San José were, according to Steven Palmer, “fourth tier” doctors. The higher tiers were highland elites educated in Europe or North America who preferred to live and practice in San José.7 The appointments of envoys from San José to the frontier provinces were often considered demotions, almost punishments, and reserved for the inept or delinquent. In 1894 complaints were lodged against the médico cantonel, Dr. Luis Montiel, referring to him as “a notorious charlatan.” In October of 1896, the sixteen medicos de circuito who were established throughout the country were charged with lax enforcement of the profilaxis laws. Complaints of corruption abounded as many doctors outside of the capital were considered “dangerous.”8 In April, 1896 the main office reported the provincial figures for numbers of examinations of registered prostitutes for

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the year: San José, 15,193; Cartago, 526; Heredia, 6,563; Alajuela, 2,421; Guanacaste, 269; Limón, 570; and remarkably, Puntarenas, 6.9 Regulation in the port was slow in getting underway presumably due to the corruption of doctors, as well as the lack of action by the hygiene police. For municipal police, it appeared to be business as usual. In the year after the first registrations, three inscribees went to San Rafael Hospital in the port, one of them for syphilis. All three eventually fled the hospital. One report to San José lamented the difficulty of isolating infected prostitutes because San Rafael Hospital was not secure and was uncomfortable.10 A newspaper editorial complained two years later, “We can’t enforce the law because of the inconveniences of the detention and care facilities. The jail does not have adequate rooms, only a little one for the numbers received. The hospital is not ready to give housing with the needed security.”11 By 1898 a disproportionate number of registered prostitutes of the port, 70, were sanctioned for non-compliance—presumably fined for refusing medical examinations.12 The rickety and cramped jail of turn-of-the century Puntarenas stood in contrast to the facilities in the highlands where, as early as 1836, in the first capital of Cartago, a Woman’s House of Correction housed prostitutes, an indication of the greater attention and resources allocated to the regulation of commercial sex in the Central Valley.13 In Puntarenas no comparable establishments were created. Another difference lay in the social geography of prostitution in each region. Unlike San José, in the port there were virtually no geographical boundaries between commercial sex establishments and other businesses and residences. la colmena, for example, the red light district that spanned the width of the peninsula from the large pier on the south to the small pier on the north, was within two blocks of the Catholic Church, the railroad station and Parque Victoria which was used by clandestine prostitutes. An 1897 article in El Pacífico, “Mujeres Públicas,”, complained that Article #4 of the Ley de Profilaxis, requiring prostitutes to live 200 meters away from schools, was violated as some prostitutes resided in a house 50 meters from the escuela de niñas. The editorial made the requisite plea: “We ask the police to enforce the law.”14 The editorial positions in El Pacífico, not unlike the provincial reports to the central government contained in the Memorias, adopted predictable attitudes of outrage and indignation when the letter of the law was routinely ignored by porteño inhabitants. El Pacífico was the port’s first newspaper and, published from 1896 to 1917, borrowing much of its editorial content from San José’s state subsidized journal El Diario.15 Little evidence exists that residents of Puntarenas complained much about prostitution, nor is there any substantial evidence that they appealed to Article #5 of the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea, forcing prostitutes to move if neighbors reported scandalous behavior. faltas a la moral and

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escándalo, those categories of misdemeanors corresponding to such complaints, were highest in 1907, but were not the result of outcries from the local citizenry. In that year convictions in the port for these offenses were 34 and 51 respectively. Of the 34 convictions for faltas a la moral, 20 were for men, 14 for women. Of the 51 convictions for escándalo, 35 were for men, 16 for women.16 Arrests and convictions for all crimes increased nationwide in that year (1907), in part a result of an economic downturn related to plunging prices of coffee, but also the result of a general crack-down on crime under the first presidential administration of “moral entrepreneur” Cleto González Víquez.17 After this year, figures in both categories, particularly the more relevant faltas a la moral, dropped considerably. By 1909, the port reported only one conviction in that category. The “scandalous” behavior of prostitutes in Puntarenas was more likely to come under sporadic attack as a result of the periodic crack-downs of liberal politicians from the highlands than by locals. The most persistent evidence of evasion of the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea was reflected in reports which alluded to the great numbers of clandestine prostitutes as reported in newspapers such as El Pacífico. A recurrent theme of the pre-1900 period in El Pacífico. was the ineffectiveness of the Oficina de Profilaxis Venérea in the port. Typical of these articles was a complaint made in 1898: “This most important branch of Public Hygiene is so neglected  .  .  .  the registry of women should be scrupulous, frequent and without exception. Many evade the registry and many have never registered; they incubate and risk terrible diseases.”18 After 1900, however, articles about prostitution all but ceased, as the newspaper included more flowery essays or news from Cuba, Mexico and Panama—anything but what was happening outside its front door. The concern over syphilis, the rationale for the enactment of the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea, underscored the growing alarm over clandestine prostitution. A report to the central government in 1897 cited one case of first stage syphilis, 33 other cases of venereal disease, 34 admitted to San Rafael Hospital and 30 released. The report laments the evasion of registration in Puntarenas: “These women with their malice and cunning get false witnesses.” The most common ploy for evasion of registration was the claim of plans to marry. In 1897, two out of thirty such claims in the port actually materialized, that is were followed through with matrimony within six months of the claim.19 In 1898, El Pacífico. lamented the epidemic of venereal disease among the young of the port.20 Another article in the same year complained about the problem of underaged prostitutes and claimed that the port was more of a Mecca for “public women” than neighboring Guanacaste “even though Guanacaste’s population was twice ours.”21

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By 1899, the total number of registered prostitutes in the port reached 156, a number which officials bemoaned as the tip of the iceberg. Politicians from the Central Valley attributed the greater numbers of those who practiced clandestinely to hard economic times, as world coffee prices dropped, causing widespread economic hardship throughout Costa Rica. Syphilis in the nation rose to 74 reported cases in 1898 from 35 cases the year before. A government official from the capital, José M. Castro F., commented: One hopes that with better economic times, the houses of correction will open with new industrial shops.  .  .  .  it would be advisable to issue a law which obliges the politicians and police of the minor counties to chase after prostitutes, returning them to their respective provinces for inscription and sending undercover police to make them register.22

In Puntarenas, it must be said, that while the numbers of clandestine prostitutes and incidence of venereal disease were clearly on the rise by the end of the century, the causes of these increases were more attributable to the migration of women from the highlands and other parts to Puntarenas and the ease with which one could evade the law in Puntarenas, rather than to the economic circumstances in the port. A recession in the coffee economy affected the population of the highlands more than it affected Puntarenas, where the competition from Puerto Limón after 1890 diminished Puntarenas’ reliance on coffee monoculture and where the growth of Guanacaste’s cattle exporting industry began to be felt. Clandestine prostitution in the port was less a response to the economic jolts that overtook the coffee economy in the highlands, and more a response to the more diversified economy of the region—that is, less a response to hard times than a response to stable times. At the turn of the twentieth century the attacks on clandestine prostitution had all but stopped. Not until the crackdown of 1907 was there a return to enforcement when seven were arrested for clandestine prostitution under the vagrancy law. Two of them were sent to the Hospital de la Algododera (the Casa de Reclusión) in San José to be treated for syphilis.23 This upsurge of enforcement was short-lived as convictions for vagrancy by males and females in the port totaled six in 1908, one in 1909, and no convictions in 1913.24 The Memorias do not give the numbers of registered prostitutes anywhere in the country again until 1916 (a seventeen year gap from the last reported numbers in 1899), when apparently central government officials felt the need to respond to the rise in venereal disease in the nation, in some measure fueled by growing international concern about venereal disease during the First World War. The fact that only two clandestine prostitutes

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from Puntarenas were reportedly sent to the Casa de Reclusión in San José, during the time period of 1880 to 1910, suggests the isolation of Puntarenas from the reach of the liberal state, as well as the greater acceptance of prostitution by officials in the port. Until the completion of the Pacific Railroad in 1910, the commute by oxcart was still the principal mode of travel between San José and Puntarenas, allowing the municipality to evolve generally without interference from highland liberals. If few of the reports and newspaper articles of the day directly addressed prostitution, they did pay a great deal of attention to the law which regulated prostitution, a tendency in a nation which had prided itself on being run by lawyers rather than generals. In the process, they reveal rather progressive state attitudes about the causes of prostitution and venereal disease. A report from an official from the Department of Venereal Profilaxis during the recession of 1899 called for trade schools for clandestine prostitutes, making the comment: “the morality of a country is in proportion to its prosperity.”25 Another report from the capital in 1894 lamented the numbers of women infected with syphilis and attributed the rise to military men, who traveled throughout the country.26 What is remarkable about these two attitudes—one, that prostitution is driven by poverty and, two, that men can pass it on to women—is that, for its time in the late nineteenth century, it reflected a relatively sophisticated attitude about sociological understandings of criminology, as well as germ theory. In Argentina in the same period, Donna Guy documents official attitudes towards female deviance as steeped in the biological determinism of Social Darwinism, as well as official acceptance of the belief that syphilis was contracted through women alone.27 By Latin American standards, official attitudes about prostitution in Costa Rica were enlightened, although, in the highlands, colored by patriarchal codes that separated women into moral categories—the married mother of la buena sociedad cafetalera or the harlot of unclean neighborhoods. Stripped of the liberal obsession with family that characterized attitudes about commercial sex in the Central Valley, attitudes about prostitution in Puntarenas were less concerned with propriety than those of the highlands. As stated earlier, certain articles of the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea, such as Article #5 requiring prostitutes to move if neighbors complained about them, were relatively dead letters in the port, but evidently not in San José. Juan José Marín alludes to the anxiety of “las pobres pero honradas” (the honorable poor) of working class communities in San José, who frequently litigated against prostitutes in their neighborhoods.28 Scandalous behavior in Puntarenas was more likely to come under scrutiny in the form of crack-downs on vice by liberal politicians from San José. If municipal

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authorities were involved, it appears that they were more interested in seeking revenue through fines. Porteños had little to gain from interfering with cantina life. Commercial sex was too profitable for too many people, and, from a cultural standpoint, local citizens were reluctant to harass women whom they lived alongside and whom many had known since childhood. The Ley de Profilaxis Venérea had a long, if ineffective, career in Puntarenas. In addition, the nation-wide regulation system in effect from 1894 to 1943 never achieved its goal of controlling the spread of venereal disease, yet, in theory and practice, the system typified the Costa Rican liberal approach to problems through legal rather than more coercive methods— that is, to pass a law and then let it percolate through the bureaucracy in San José. In Puntarenas, the law, as the articles about it in El Pacífico, only created liberal window dressing for a frontier society which had its mind on sustaining its economic survival in the way it had done for decades.

The Structure of Prostitution in Puntarenas Women who chose commercial sex as a livelihood in Puntarenas did so on their own terms. They rented space independently and negotiated with clients, often, without middlemen or middle women. Most were single, many natives of the port, and those who registered were in no hurry to get off the registries or to leave the jurisdiction. In the years before the completion of the railroad to San José, if visits from San Josites were not frequent, “public women” in the port did come into contact with a constant flow of visitors and immigrants from elsewhere giving them an exposure to other cultures that was rare in the highlands and affording them a degree of tolerance and flexibility in their world views. Most would not marry although passionate relationships were reported, and most would have children. The bonds that united “public women” were strong, and their loyalties to each other were often fierce. If the regulation system was so easy to evade in Puntarenas, why did prostitutes register at all? There is evidence that prostitution differed significantly among registered and clandestine prostitutes in the port. The law may not have made prostitution necessarily respectable, but the profession was legally sanctioned in a country which took pride in its legal system. Once registered, a woman had recourse to the courts, as well as the advantage of mobility without the fear of harassment. Lara Putnam, following the suggestion of labor historian Carlos Luís Fallas Monge,29 has shown how the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea promoted the idea of a “de facto gremio” (a trade union) among registered prostitutes in Limón in the same period. “The state hygiene apparatus continually brought public women in contact with one another, in the Casa de Reclusión, the Hospital de Profilaxis

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Venérea, and in municipal doctors’ offices for weekly exams.”30 Similarly, court records involving registered prostitutes in Puntarenas reveal the existence of mutual support networks binding registered prostitutes together as witnesses in court cases, in living arrangements, and in the social environment of la colmena. However, prostitutes in Puntarenas were not primarily migrants, as they were in Limón in the same time period. Rather they were generally locals who also relied on kinship ties as indicated by the fact that many lived with their single parent mothers. They also had support from other public women as evidenced by the rosters of witnesses in court cases involving prostitutes. In general, for the “public women” of Puntarenas who were more than freelancers, there was more to gain than lose by registering. After registration, the only real requirement was the weekly medical examination. A woman normally contracted for sex independently by renting space in a licensed establishment. Pimps do not appear in great numbers in studies of prostitution in Costa Rica until after the Second World War, apparently due to the structure of a regulation system which offered more protection than harassment to prostitutes. A good number of registered prostitutes in Puntarenas lived at home or in a rented room and walked to work at a brothel a few blocks away. Brothels were frequently appendages of other businesses. Prostitution took place officially and unofficially in bars, cantinas, billiard halls, dance halls, hotels and fondas which dotted the streets running north from the large pier to the south to the red light district, la colmena, which ran slightly east of what is today Calle Central to the small pier and market on the north. Almost all arrests of prostitutes in the files of the Archivo Nacional occurred in the morning or afternoon, with the greater number of arrests made during the dry months from January to May. This suggests that business for public women went on during “normal” business hours and that business was heavier during the dry months when traffic from the highlands was heavy. One may speculate that the day-time activity was attributable to the fact that daylight hours without electricity only lasted from about 6 AM to 6 PM year round or that, during the rainy season, pounding rains descended upon the port after about 6 PM making it inconvenient for customers to be out and about. The research of legal scholar Javier Desanti Henderson notes the same trend for the 1980s in the red light district near the market and small pier which catered to the daytime trade of cabotaje (coastal trade). Commercial sex was carried on between nine in the morning and seven at night in this area putting it more in the category of a mainstream business than an activity associated with a night time counterculture.31

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Some of the names of the brothels in the period before 1930 situate commercial sex in the area of “La Colmena”: El Miramar (near the market)32, “La Colmena”33 and “El Recreo,”34 and the red light district cantinas of “Cholo Santos,” “Pío Chan” and the “Chino Pedro.”35 It is likely that the “Cholo (of mixed blood) Santos,” referred to as a brothel owner in a later memoir of a porteño doctor, was Santos Rivera, an immigrant from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In 1907 at the age of 29, Santos owned two billiard halls, a vinatería and a taquilla and continued to own them in 1915, according to the commercial censuses of those years.36 His name pops up over and over again in archival records tying him to a close knit group whose members span the social spectrum of Puntarenas. He appeared as a witness in a case against the prostitute Delfina Porras Flores, tried for a knife attack against another prostitute during a medical exam in 1910. Porras rented a room from Jacobo Sánchez, a local Chinese businessman who in 1907 owned a vinatería, un almacén, a bar, and una tienda.37 Santos Rivera rented space in the house of “Mister Fulton,” (Miguel W. Fulton) on Calle de la Palma.38 Together with his wife, Ana, the Fulton’s were prominent porteño landlords who owned a bakery and pulpería (a small general store). “Mister Fulton” came to Puntarenas from England via Jamaica. A son of the Fulton’s, Miguel, became a respected dentist in the port.39 References to “doña Ana” appeared in two court cases involving prostitutes. In a 1908 case of theft against a former prostitute Monica Carmona Vargas, a character witness for Monica, artisan Ramón Bolivar Castillo, a native of the port, lived in the house of Anita de Fulton on Calle de las Morales.40 In a second case, Alejo Panal Zapata, a 20 year old native of the port, was a lodger of “doña Anita de Fulton” for ten years. In 1910 he testified to being with three prostitutes when one was assaulted by a fourth in the Salón de Baile de “La Colmena.”41 Thus Santos Rivera, the probable brothel owner, was a major economic figure in Puntarenas. The economic logic of his network was this: Delfina Porras and Monica Carmona, both prostitutes, attracted business to the billiard halls, vinaterías and taquillas of Santos Rivera, as well as paid rent to him for brothel space. Santos Rivera, in turn, paid rent to the Fulton’s as did other of the customers/friends of Delfina and Monica. The sex trade not only benefited Santos Rivera but probably helped pay for Miguel Fulton Jr.’s dental education abroad. All parties probably lived and worked within a five block radius of each other making them highly cognizant of the dynamics of their interdependence. The same logic financed the municipality. A municipal tax table from 1907 shows the degrees of profitability of businesses in the port and helps show the ripple effect prostitution had on

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the economy of Puntarenas. Fees imposed by the municipal government— which presumably reflected profitability—were highest for businesses most closely associated with prostitution. The businesses of Santos Rivera, for example, particularly the vinatería and taquilla, fell in the highest taxed categories listed in the table and generated the most municipal revenue of all businesses of the port. In 1907, out of the annual municipal revenue from taxed businesses of approximately 25,000 colones, about one half of this amount was collected from taquillas and another one fourth from vinaterías.42 The official categories which organized local taxation were ambiguous concerning spatial arrangements. A business might share the same building or social space with a licensed or de facto brothel as was the case in 1910 of the taquilla of Santos Rivera. During the “Septiembre quince” fiesta (September 15th Independence Day festivities), a fight broke out in the Salon de Baile de “La Colmena” (the “Beehive” Dance Hall) between Joséfa Gómez Mendoza and María Zuñiga, both prostitutes, in which Joséfa, in a jealous rage, hit María with a crystal vase and broke her nose. Two of the witnesses called to testify, Alejo Panal Zapata and the 33 year old “madam” Filomena Naranjo, testified that they were in the taquilla section of Santos Rivera’s establishment having some rum and “saw nothing.” The taquilla of Santos Rivera was used as the bar for the dance hall as many of the witnesses in this case testified to leaving the dance floor and heading to the taquilla. The “madam,” Filomena Naranjo (whose “real” residence was on Calle de la Palma) testified that she had run outside with a glass of water to give her young daughter in the middle of the festivities, and then returned to the taquilla, an indication that brothel space adjoined the dancehall and bar.43 A witness in an assault case in 1920 made reference to “the establishment of Santos Rivera, La Colmena,” as a meeting place.44 In a ten year period, Santos Rivera was repeatedly connected in various ways to the contiguous spaces of taquilla, dance hall and brothel, where prostitutes congregated. He paid taxes only on the taquilla, an indication of the close alliance between alcohol and commercial sex, as well as an indication of the round about way the municipality profited from both. The well known brothels of “Chino Pedro” and “Pío Chan” made clear the role of Chinese immigrants in the sex industry of Puntarenas. “Pío (Pious) Chan” probably refers to one of two Chan’s, Santiago and Alfonso, of the 1907 commercial census who later incorporated Hop Hing Chan y Co. They were owners of a pulpería (small general store), tienda (store), taquilla and vinatería in 1915. “Chino Pedro,” in all likelihood, refers to Pedro Quirós, listed as Chinese (the only Chinese “Pedro”), the same who appeared in 1902 as a character witness for (1895) registered prostitute

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Antonia Montoya Ortega, accused of assault on another prostitute. At that time he identified himself as a day laborer. Two years later (1904), an injuria (defamation) case between two women took place “at the corner of the establishment of Chino Pedro,” in which Potenciana Díaz Aguirre, married, sued Francisca Jiménez, single, for damage to her reputation.45 In 1907 Pedro Quirós appeared in the commercial census as a fonda owner, but did not appear among the ranks of legitimate businesses in 1915. He did, however, advertise his new Hotel Peking in that year in El Puntarenense.46 In general, however, the Chinese did not appear in court cases involving prostitutes. Normally they rented space to prostitutes but had little direct involvement with sexual commerce other than profiting handsomely from room rentals and sales of liquor. If arrested at all, it was usually in connection with infractions of the liquor laws or as bootleggers. The path of their commercial activities pointed to a pattern of diversification which could ultimately lead to replacing disreputable trades with more respectable businesses and status within the community. Marín’s study links the Chinese more directly to sexual commerce in San José and for longer periods of time.47 According to data compiled by Zaida Fonseca, those Chinese who left positions as laborers on the Atlantic railroad project and made their way to the highlands had less capital to invest in commerce and were more likely to be involved in marginal activities than those who settled in either of the two ports of Limón and Puntarenas.48 Besides a lack of capital, racism on the part of highlanders may have accounted for the marginalization of Chinese in that region. One may assume that the same racist rhetoric contained in legislation (penned in San José) banning Chinese immigration militated against the acceptance of the Chinese in legitimate enterprises in the Central Valley. Although not enforced, an immigration law of 1897 barred Chinese, Arabs, Turks, Syrians, Armenians, and Gypsies on the grounds that they were: harmful to the progress and welfare of the republic (since) because of their habits of life, and their nomadic spirit, which is unadaptable to an environment of order and work, they would be for the country a cause of physiological degeneration and propitious sources for the development of idleness and vice.49

Moisés Guillermo León Azofeifa’s research on the Chinese community of Limón describes a general trend over the years of Chinese moving away from not-so-respectable types of economic activities and into more accepted ones. Mr. Zong Wei, as an example, has a small hotel where prostitutes ply their trade. Next door to the hotel, he has a restaurant-saloon, and

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next to it, he is preparing to open an ice-cream shop. Members of the Chinese community have talked to Mr. Wei about the inconvenience of establishing an ice cream shop near a hotel such as he runs.50

This pattern was repeated in Puntarenas, as Chapter Seven will show. Associations of respected second generation Chinese were among the most prestigious groups in porteño society. Those who involved themselves in the commercial sex trade, for the most part, did so indirectly, as did most Puntareneans. Lara Putnam’s research for Limón shows a marked prejudice by both West Indian and Hispanic women towards Chinese men that does not appear to have existed as strongly in Puntarenas. Putnam found through testimonies in insult suits of migrant women of all backgrounds a negative attitude towards Chinese men. “Not only did Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans, and Jamaicans all use ‘whoring with chinos’ as emblematic of the worst female degradation, but among all groups insults having to do with Chinese men were most commonly uttered by debtors confronted with their inability to pay.”51 The inability to pay debts to Chinese reflected Chinese men’s roles throughout the country as retailers in pulperías. Of the 69 pulperías in Puntarenas reported in the Commercial Census of 1907, nearly one half were owned by Chinese men.52 Yet the presence of Chinese men in insult suits is less present in Puntarenas. The reasons for this are speculatory, but likely stem from the cultural backgrounds of West Indian women of Limón who composed the majority of female plaintiffs of insults cases, as well as stem from Limón’s less heterogeneous migrant population—the majority from Jamaica. In Puntarenas, migrants and natives of Puntarenas merged a culture that had both a deeper history than that of Limón and a greater variety of migrants, affording perhaps a greater degree of tolerance. The fact that a greater number of nationalities had been migrating to Puntarenas for a longer period of time gave it an urbane character and may account for the lesser tendency towards competition among ethnic groups. Moreover, in the same way the Fulton’s may have tacitly acknowledged a cross class consensus with prostitutes based on economic ties, people of various ethnicities appear to have united in a similar consensus towards the same end. Certainly, the red light district of Puntarenas, packed into a half mile space between two docking areas for boats, reflected a customer base for prostitutes as diverse as the many flags of ships described earlier. This geography was not duplicated either in Limón, where demand for the services of prostitutes stretched to the far reaches of the banana plantations, or the ghettos of San José, where differential class relations characterized these areas more than differential race relations. The structure of prostitution in Puntarenas,

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therefore, needs to be placed into the context of its unusual geography, truly a heterogeneous beehive.

Shades of Gray: Public Women and Women in Public 53 Another more nuanced area of social consensus in porteño society concerned relations of gender—in particular, the position of prostitutes among other working men and women in Puntarenas, one aspect of what an earlier chapter refers to as “the ordinary woman thesis.” A review of judicial files reveals much about how prostitutes and other single women, as well as men negotiated the social and cultural terrain of the port. Of the first 21 registered prostitutes of the port in 1894, the names of 20 appear, buried deep in a police file for San José.54 This list of names makes possible an analysis of the lives of registered prostitutes at the turn of the century, as well as a synthesis of social activity and interaction among men and women of the port. Approximately ten of the registered prostitutes from the list appeared in seven full court cases available at the Archivo Nacional de Costa Rica. Another seven or so cases existed that were not fully legible or were incomplete. Several other cases involving prostitutes not on the list were available, although their professions were rarely noted as such. Occasionally references were made to expressions relating to sexual commerce that make it easy to identify a prostitute: una mujer pública and de la vida alegre (“a public woman,” “from the happy life”) are among the most common. The women appeared in various capacities—as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses and in testimony. The charges in the cases ran the gamut from assault, murder, and police corruption, to breaking and entering, theft, and injury to reputation. At times they appeared some years before or some years after registration in 1894, at which times the occupational status of the women may have changed. The absence of half of the registered prostitutes on the list from archival records involving criminal activity could suggest that half of the women kept out of trouble, but it is more likely they were arrested and fined for various faltas (misdemeanors)—drunkenness, moral transgressions or such, for which no trials existed and, therefore, the archives contained no record. For example, in an assault case of 1902, among four 1894 porteño inscribees, the defense lawyer revealed the 1901 arrests of two of them: Antonia Montoya had 8 convictions for drunkenness, disobedience, scandal, and mistreatment of property; Carmela Cordova had 6 convictions that year for drunkenness, scandal, disobedience and assault.55 None of these cases exist in the archives. A tight social network enveloped and protected single women of the port. Many of the same names appear several times over the course of twenty

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years—from female fonda (boarding house) owners and jornaleros (wage laborers) to comerciantes (merchants)—as character witnesses or appearing indirectly in the testimonies of witnesses. The case of 1894 inscribee, Trinidad Morales Carmona, 23 years old and a native of the port, accused in 1893 of robbing her U.S. boyfriend of three gold coins and a ring, is instructive of the porteño approach to justice when it concerned “one of their own.” Police went to Trinidad’s house to look for the missing items. They were met by her mother, hysterically asserting her daughter’s innocence, even after the police found the stolen items. Trinidad and her mother hired an eloquent lawyer, Manuel Ruiddi, for her defense. Ruiddi argued that the plaintiff, José Lamont, a transient from New York who came to the port on the way to California and had worked as a boss at La Trinidad Mining Company in Puntarenas comarca (province), was so in love with Trinidad that he gave her the gold coins and ring. Lamont then accused her of stealing, according to Ruiddi, because “it’s easy to scapegoat a prostitute.” Ruiddi departed from the pattern in most cases involving prostitutes in which prostitution, even among those legally registered, was rarely mentioned either by accused or accuser. Ruiddi apparently was attempting to embarrass Lamont who did not want the story to get back to his workplace. Nevertheless, Trinidad was convicted and sentenced to a year and a half in the Casa de Reclusión in San José. However, she was freed on appeal by a local jury that included names that pop up again and again in support of prostitutes—Eudoro Peterson Espinoza, notary, Blas Aguirre, listed in the 1907 commercial census as a bar and pulpería owner, and others, many of whom had known Trinidad and her mother for years.56 The acceptance of prostitution in the port by working, middle and upper class witnesses on both sides of cases was a feature of social interaction that supports the view that “public women” were not treated as particularly “unordinary.” When compared to Marín’s study of popular sectors of the capital for the same period where “the poor but honorable” made regular complaints about underaged streetwalkers, one can assume that inhabitants of the streets of working class San José responded differently to prostitution than those of Puntarenas.57 Other registered prostitutes besides Trinidad Morales also lived with their single mothers thereby suggesting ongoing familial relations, as well as reflecting a pattern of matrifocal domestic structures engendered by out of wedlock sexual unions. The 1894 inscribee, Benedicta Iglesias, de único apellido (of one name suggesting she was raised by a single mother) appeared in a 1902 case involving a fight between two other registered prostitutes. Benedicta and a fourth registree, Carmela Cordova, lived in the house of Benedicta’s mother, suggesting an extended family and acceptance of prostitution. The mother’s house was close to the railroad station and

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larger pier, a central location for commercial sex.58 The women in these cases, living with their mothers, do not fit the traditional Central Valley stereotype of the prostitute as a farm girl who escapes from the countryside to seek opportunity as a house servant in the city, only to fall into sin. The cohesion of kinship ties which was a feature of many of the households of prostitutes in the port of the period did not always protect women from the physical dangers of a life in prostitution. María Guevara (alias “pony”), registered as a prostitute in 1895 and appearing in archival records as early as 1888 as a cook in the port, was one such victim of violence. A report from the district attorney in 1905 cited her death as caused by a knife wound to the heart by a man who fled the scene of her house at 10 AM and disappeared. She was in her thirties and left a mother and three children. The state buried her. What may have protected more prostitutes in the port from such fates, however, if not necessarily domestic structures, was the preponderance of women. Male-female ratios that favored women in the port appear to have curbed the crimes of passion more prevalent at the time in Limón, which Putnam attributes, in part, to the shortage of women. One-fourth of all victims of recorded homicides in turn of century Limón were women, this at a time when males outnumbered females almost two to one.59 “When women were scarcest in Limón  .  .  .  they were more likely to be targets of deadly violence.” In Puntarenas Province in the period from 1890 to 1925, women represented roughly one in eight of all victims of homicide, slightly more than the one in ten figure for San José Province.60 In the port of Puntarenas, the greater numbers of women in a more dense geography with networks of protective friends and kin apparently helped to ward off some of the grittier aspects of sexual commerce that existed in Limón.

The View From a Compañero Eudoro Peterson Espinoza (a member of Trinidad Morales’ appeal jury) is a good example of the type of resource available to prostitutes of the port. As a local, single, male native of the port, likely the offspring of a British father and Hispanic mother, he was immersed in the social life of the port and at home in the company of prostitutes, acting in many cases as “protective compañero.” No n’er-do-well, he was described in various court cases as a notary, a public servant, and a merchant. His flamboyant signature appeared in many court cases in various capacities. What distinguished him above all was his support for prostitutes. A review of three cases in which he appeared as a witness offers a view of life in the port that reveals much about the political values and social mores of prostitutes and other single

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women of the port, as well as evidence of the type of cross-class support system that existed between single men and women of the port. Prostitutes in each case are seen as “ordinary” in their interactions with authorities, cantina culture, and other single women. In the first, a registered prostitute takes on a local police official; in the second, the growing taboo of excessive alcohol consumption is viewed, not in the light of addiction and pathology, but in the light of the role of alcohol consumption in the port’s and nation’s economy; in the last, subtle codes of honor distinguish a younger prostitute from an older single female fonda owner, providing a glimpse into how personal standing was formulated on the streets of Puntarenas. In 1899, Peterson Espinoza, 37 years old, appeared as a witness for the plaintiff, registered prostitute Antonia Montoya Ortega (alias “Giraffe”), in a case involving charges of corruption against a police official Francisco Isauro Briceño Alvarez (a bureaucrat in the Central Police Station), a native of Santa Cruz, Guanacaste. The first part of this case involved the complaint of Señora Rosa Acebedo to Briceño about the “scandalous concubinage” of her husband Rafael Acebedo with Antonia Montoya. Briceño went to Montoya and allegedly tried to extort 5 pesos in paper money from her to let her go free. According to Montoya, he terrified her, damned her to hell, demanded the five pesos right away, and said that the case was in his hands, not hers, and that he could determine the outcome. She said that she was so terrified, she gave him the money. The demand of money was supported not only by Peterson Espinoza, but other registered prostitutes, including Genovera Arias who, now married and 23 years old, three years prior was convicted of assault with a knife against Montoya. Arias was sentenced to 60 days in jail for this crime.61 Previously bitter enemies, the two women were now united in the face of a common enemy, a bullying police official who threatened to deny due process to a prostitute. Peterson Espinoza, along with three other registered prostitutes and some men, supported Montoya’s story. Briceño was found guilty and sentenced to one year, five months in jail to be served in his original jurisdiction of Guanacaste. For reasons unclear in this file, he was freed on appeal. In other words, each side made its point and was satisfied, an apparent pattern in the justice system of the port.62 The success of a prostitute in Puntarenas in pursuing litigation against a police official stands in contrast to the picture offered by historian David McCreery for Guatemala where any woman convicted of “bad conduct” could be condemned to a bordello for three years63—a system more similar to the forced labor of “comfort women” in the Japanese prison camp bordellos of World War II, than to that of Costa Rica.64 The contrast in state attitudes towards prostitutes in the neighboring countries of Guatemala and Costa Rica, experiencing parallel cycles of coffee production for

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export, is a reflection of the differential labor relations fostered by each state—in Guatemala, coerced; in Costa Rica, free. Puntarenas’ working class acceptance and support for the civil rights of a prostitute, despite an adversary from the municipal police force, underscores not only the status of the prostitute in Puntarenas as an “ordinary” worker and citizen, but also the attractiveness of Puntarenas as a destination for citizens of the more repressive regimes of neighboring countries. The ubiquitous Peterson Espinoza appeared in 1910 as a defense witness for prostitute Delfina Porras Flores, 21 years old, a resident of the port for three years, formerly from Heredia in the highlands. Now 48 years old and still single, Peterson Espinoza listed himself as a merchant. Porras had been charged with stabbing another prostitute, Michaela Rodríguez Díaz, during a medical exam at the police station while intoxicated. Peterson Espinoza testified “She’s not a habitual drunk (ebria habitual), although she drinks from time to time there is no disorder when she drinks. She is neither scandalous nor a troublemaker. Although a ‘public woman’ she has moderate habits.”65 This type of character reference pervaded the testimonies of court cases that involved prostitutes. In trials involving prostitutes, the case was often made, that they were not dishonorable because of their profession, but rather because of their drinking. In the above case, another witness, Francisco Velásquez García, a single artisan, born in the port, testified, “that she wasn’t a habitual drunk although the few times she has drunk has made her crazy, but not violent.” María Mora Esquivel, married, a native of the port, testified, “She was drunk that day, starting in the morning; she came for lunch but was too drunk to eat. She acts like an idiot when she drinks.” Porras’ own testimony stated, “I don’t remember a thing because I was too full of liquor.” She was judged guilty and sentenced to the 40 days already spent in jail on the condition of paying for the damages to Michaela. Alcoholism or excessive drinking was adduced in many of these cases to convince judges that drink-related loss of control should be a mitigating factor. A distinction was made between one time drinking and habitual drinking, indicating that degrees of guilt were attached to levels of drinking.66 However, behavior that included excessive drinking was judged beyond the legal criteria for guilt or innocence. The credibility of witnesses, as well as the characters of defendants in many cases, was evaluated according to their habits of drinking as well as other qualifications such as levels of education, reputations among neighbors and records of steady work.67 In the previously mentioned police corruption case, Eudoro Peterson Espinoza was attacked as a habitual drunk who associated with habitual drunks and “therefore, should be discounted as a witness.”68 Habitual drinking was not only a legal liability, but a measure of bad character and the basis for dishonor.

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Table 5-1: Convictions for Drunkenness per 1000 Inhabitants

Table 5-1. Convictions for Drunkenness per 1000 Inhabitants for Selected Counties for Selected Counties (Cantones), 1904-1910 (Cantones), 1904–1910.

Source: Ricardo Jinesta, La evolución en Costa Rica, 2d. ed. (San Jose: Imprenta Falco Hermanos, 1940), ed. 237; Source: Ricardo Jinesta,peniternciaría La evolución peniternciaría en Costa Rica, 2d.

(San José: Imprenta Falco Hermanos, 1940), 237; República de Costa Rica, Resúmenes EstadístiRepública de Costa Rica, Resúmenes Estadísticos, cos, Años 1883-1910, 8; 142-43. Años 1883-1910, 8; 142-43.

This feature of regional mores was not without a structure related to local and national politics. Puntarenas appears to have been the drinking capital of Costa Rica. From 1904 to 1910, the cantón of Puntarenas had more per capita convictions for drunkenness than any of the other 42 cantones in the country. For example, as suggested in Table 5–1, in 1904 the Cantón Central de Puntarenas reported more convictions for drunkenness than were reported for the Cantón Central de San José where the population was five times that of Puntarenas. Moreover, the profitability of ebriedad for port and nation cannot be ignored in making sense of this phenomenon. Municipal taxes on taquillas and vinaterías were the highest of the port’s revenues, and, as will be taken up in Chapter Eight, national revenue from the state’s liquor monopoly ranked second to revenue from trade duties. Both the central government and the municipality shared an interest in the consumption of alcohol by the population of Costa Rica and its visitors. The issue of excessive alcohol consumption in Puntarenas and the analysis of how honor and stigma were constructed by men and women

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of the port have to be placed in the context of alcohol’s profitability and availability. The third case involving Eudoro Peterson Espinoza speaks to the issue of honor as expressed in an injuria suit involving an older single woman in the port. Injuria, or insult, was a type of defamation suit that claimed injury to one’s reputation. The case serves to illustrate the thin social boundary that separated one group of single women—fonda owners (boarding house proprietors)—from prostitutes. In August of 1901, then a “public servant,” Peterson Espinoza was strolling past the fonda kitchen window of Carolina Cardenas Vargas, 40 years old, with some male friends when she yelled at him, “There goes the face of a dog.” Peterson Espinoza filed an injuria suit immediately, then allegedly returned to the scene and called her “una puta, rebandida, sinvergüenza”—“a reviled, shameless whore”—at which time Cardenas Vargas hit him with her umbrella, then filed a counter suit for injury. In the end the court favored Cardenas Vargas and Peterson Espinoza was ordered to pay her legal fees. Peterson Espinoza, who appears to have spent considerable time in the company of prostitutes, made a distinction between “prostitutas” and “putas.” A “prostituta” was his friend, while he used the term “puta” as an insult. This points to a distinction between an accepted profession (prostitution) and an appropriation of a tradition of honor which cites sexual improprieties as the basis for dishonor.69 Yet, a look at the worlds of the fonda owner and the prostitute shows more overlaps and “grays” than polarities in their work and living routines. Generally close ties existed between the prostitute and the female fonda owner. In the women-dominated port, owning and operating a fonda was one way an aging single women could make a living. According to the Commercial Censuses of 1907 and 1915, female fonda owners of the port represented the highest percentage of women of any taxed category in the country. In 1907, 7 out of 9 taxed fondas were owned by women; in 1915, 17 out of 20 fondas were owned by women.70 Many other more informal domestic services existed that did not appear on the tax records. No direct evidence shows that aging prostitutes became fonda owners or madams, but their worlds appear to have merged, suggesting that this could sometimes be the case.71 A tour through a winding trail of archival evidence may illustrate the close-knit working arrangements found among fonda owners and prostitutes. Eudoro Peterson Espinoza, in the above injura suit, claimed that he was never at the fonda of Carolina Cardenas later in the day, but at the fonda of La Señora Alquilera (whose full name he couldn’t remember) with some other men, establishing this fonda as a hangout for local men. Another 1907 fonda owner, Ramona Banabino de Duarte, a native of the

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port, appeared in the (previously mentioned) 1902 assault case as the owner of the bar in which registered prostitutes Casimira Parra and Antonia Montoya became seriously inebriated. (A character witness for Casimira in that case was 1907 fonda owner and later brothel owner Pedro Quirós Garcia.) In 1897, five years prior to this case, the same fonda owner, Ramona, sued Anibel Ulloa for using slanderous words in a public place, the taquilla of Señora Ester Herrera. Anibel had stated that: “I might be old but I am not the enema bag that whore Ramona Duarte is since that fart shacks up with Juan Sandino.” Felipa testified, “This dishonored and discredited me in a public place.” Anibel was fined 75 pesos.72 Asserting her honor in the face of being called a whore in a bar at 6 AM tells us little about why Ramona was there except that it was most likely work-related and that this work might have afforded her the resources to construct a defense of her honor and bring it to court. Ramona’s various manifestations tie her to the cantina culture of prostitution earlier and to fonda culture by 1907, suggesting a transition, based on age, from prostitution to barkeep to fonda owner. Only subtle differences may have distinguished her as “public woman” or “woman in public.” Codes of honor were equally as slippery. For the elusive Ramona, dishonor meant being called a whore; for the registered prostitute Antonia, dishonor meant being judged an alcoholic in an assault case. The meaning of honor for working women of Puntarenas was arbitrary and grassrooted. For Limón, Lara Putnam refers to “the heated exchanges reported in insults suits (as)  .  .  .  a street theater of personal standing, fueled by righteous indignation and animated by an aesthetic of verbal artistry.”73 For working women of Limón, dishonor could mean sleeping with a Chino; in Puntarenas, it could mean being victim to any combination of words: “You are your daughter’s pimp”74—“You take it up the ass”75—or “you don’t know how to work”76—are a few. As “street theater” one could perform or participate in the ritual of defending one’s honor by taking the case to court. This was not unlike what Brazilian cinema scholar Robert Stam terms the “carnivalesque principle,” where the popular classes parody the rituals of the elites through masquerade.77 The evidence for both Limón and Puntarenas suggests that, among women filing injuria suits, lower class women, such as prostitutes, predominate, giving injuria suits in each region a significance as vehicles for agency and resistance among women of non-elite backgrounds.78 Although the same vehicle was available in the courts of the Central Valley, unfortunately no studies have come out yet showing the patterns or quality of participation by women of this region in such cases. For upper class women of the Central Valley neither an active street life nor court appearances were part of the orthodoxy of honor. In theory and to varying degrees in practice this ideal was upheld. In the Central Valley the

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discourse of honor was reserved for families and men following the literature on honor in Mediterranean societies. The “honor/shame complex” argued that the maintenance of family honor was based on the control of female sexuality.79 Women must be virgins at the time of marriage, approved by the head of the family. However, male reputation and honor is enhanced by the conquest of other men’s women, while at the same time made vulnerable by the sexual activity of their own wives, daughters or female kin.80 The honor/shame complex complemented liberal ideology, reflecting and perpetuating the demography of marriage in the Central Plateau. Yet what historian Steve Stern terms the “loopholes and spaces for maneuver within the honor/shame complex of values” were available in San José and, according to Steven Palmer, utilized by the emerging “dangerous classes.”81 In Puntarenas, where economic life integrated different classes to a greater degree than in San José, honor and shame did not have the “white” and “black”/ “pure” and “dirty” dichotomous quality they had in the capital. Moreover, in the port, “loopholes” within the honor/shame complex were less relevant in a society which had limited central government influence before completion of the Pacific Railroad in 1910 and no means of easy communication with the highlands, save for the telegram. Concepts of honor in the port were home-spun and skirted liberal ideology by virtue of a demography that favored single women and an economy that had little need for family values. In the highlands, a married woman was dishonored if she appeared alone in public. In the port, a single woman was dishonored if insulted in public. Well before the completion of the Pacific Railroad in 1910, the economies of transport and hospitality had molded a populace in Puntarenas with shared interests and geographies amongst classes, races, sexes and ethnicities which, when combined, constituted a relatively self governing indigenous culture which may have employed the same judicial system as was used in the highlands, but did it in its own way. “Public women” were but one (ordinary) part of this culture.

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Chapter Six

The Triumph of Nationalism: The Pacific Railroad

Life in Puerto Puntarenas transformed quickly with the completion of the Pacific Railway in 1910. The old oxcart route was replaced with a transportation link that made travel easy and routine for the populations of the Central Valley and the western periphery. The present chapter examines this event through the selective eyes of a liberal. The 1933 publication of the history, Puntarenas (algo de su historia), by President Cleto González Víquez, came out shortly after his (second) Presidency (1928–1932) and may be considered the first liberal attempt to acknowledge the importance of Puntarenas and thus, in the language of Benedict Anderson, to extend to the port “an invitation into the nation.”1 González Víquez’ history traced the port’s background from its inception in the late colonial era to the 1910 completion of the Pacific Railroad. At this point the history stopped. For González Víquez, there was no more to say after the completion of the railroad. Save for lists of the port’s earliest citizens, González Víquez’s history dedicated no more than one or two paragraphs to the people of the port. From this liberal viewpoint, Puntarenas was born with the railroad, not with its human capital. To understand González Víquez’s fixation with the Pacific Railroad, as well as the myopia that befell liberals in general with respect to the society and culture of the port, is to understand the place of railroads in the development of Costa Rican nationalism. What moved González Víquez to celebrate the port of Puntarenas with the completion of the Pacific Railroad had not only to do with the contribution the Pacific Railroad made to the economic progress of the nation, but also to do with the neutralization of the national disgrace brought on by the earlier failure of the Atlantic Railroad. 105

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Railroad Fever, Imperialism and Nationalism Gone Sour From the point of view of González Víquez’s history, Puntarenas’ place in the nation could be defined by what it was not, rather than what it was. It was not the Atlantic coast city of Limón characterized by control by foreign capital. Its people were not predominantly foreign or black. The subtext in González Víquez’s narrative appears motivated by the rise in the popularity of eugenics and racist interpretations of citizenship emerging at the time, as well as motivated by the pressures of national politics in the early 1930s. Leftist critics in the 1930s in Costa Rica took liberals to task for the SotoKeith Contract of 1883, which ceded to foreigners a massive amount of Costa Rica’s national territory. By century’s end, this land had become the basis for the United Fruit Company’s operations in Costa Rica. The liberal oligarchy’s concessions of parts of the Atlantic territory and railway in the 1880s came back to haunt them in the 1930s when a tide of leftist critics re-interpreted the event as one that linked the liberal oligarchy to foreign imperialism and established Costa Rica’s eastern frontier as the prototype of the “banana republic.”2 Unwittingly, Puntarenas entered the national debate of the 1930s as a case study of liberal success in railroad building. Through the lens of this first major history of the port, published in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression when liberals were under fire by the newly created Communist Party, one may see González Víquez’ “invitation” to Puntarenas as a liberal attempt to deflect criticism from the left by showing how the Pacific Railroad differed from the experience of railroad building in the Atlantic region. Built and operated by Costa Ricans under liberal administrations, the experience of the Pacific Railroad departed radically from its counterpart on the eastern coast. The story of the Puntarenas railway began in the 1870s. The first phase of President Tomás Guardia’s 1870 plan for a railroad traversing the country from coast to coast involved building a line from San José to the Atlantic port of Limón. In 1872 Guardia appeared before the National Congress and announced the signing of a contract with the celebrated entrepreneur, Henry Meiggs, to build the line from the Central Valley to the Atlantic. The government secured a loan for half a million pounds sterling from the London investment house of Bischoffsen and Goldschmidt to finance it.3 Guardia’s plan was aimed at increasing coffee profits by dramatically shortening the old route that transported coffee by oxcart from the Central Valley to the port of Puntarenas, then by steamer around Cape Horn to North America and Europe. Guardia explained his project as “a reproductive enterprise that would not only pay for itself in a few years, but

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also open up immense tracts of presently worthless land, which would soon be worth more than the total cost of the project.”4 The railroad was touted as a cure for social and economic ills: it would bring immigration, and create new centers of population in the steamy jungles of the eastern frontier. In Guardia’s words, the railroad was the instrument for the “redemption of the country.”5 Steven Palmer has analyzed some of the elements of the liberal nationalist discourse of this period. An 1876 informe presented to Guardia by advisor Eusebio Figueroa outlined a development strategy to be pursued to get the most benefit out of the inter-oceanic railroad, economically, socially, and nationally. Figueroa recommended that the government allot lands on either side of the railroad between La Angostura (the narrow neck of land connecting Puntarenas to the mainland) and Limón, to Costa Ricans or foreigners “without distinction” so that “foreign capital (would be) converted into national capital.” Answering criticism that this would divert the always scarce labor from the coffee plantations of the Central Valley, he suggested populating the area with vagrants, criminals and the insane, along with their families, who would “breath the pure air  .  .  .  and get a rest from their manias.” This glorious project, according to Figueroa, by “extracting the juice from the virgin land,” would help realize “Costa Rica’s manifest destiny.”6 Figueroa’s report reflected contemporary attitudes about the frontier as seen from the center. It was to be a space held at arm’s length from the center, populated by foreign agricultural capitalists, foreign low-paid labor and the rejects of the Central Valley. The dynamic between the railroad project and manifest destiny implicitly accepted that what was outside the Central Valley was to be a colony that would be integrated into the Central Valley metaphorically through conquest and rape of “the virgin land.”7 As fate would have it, the first phase of the inter-oceanic railroad from San José to Limón played out in a way totally antithetical to Figueroa’s vision. By 1881, construction was hopelessly stalled and the country’s access to credit at an all-time low. Poor management and labor problems plagued the project. Thousands of foreign laborers—Italian, Chinese and West Indian (mostly Jamaican)—engaged in protests over working conditions or died from fevers, slowing down the pace of the work. After Guardia died in 1882 (many said from a broken heart), President Próspero Fernández negotiated the infamous Soto-Keith contract (1883) whereby Meiggs’ nephew Minor Keith, an American, undertook the renegotiation of Costa Rica’s debt with European financiers in return for the concession, for a period of 99 years, of the railway and the land which it traversed, which included an enormous strip of land on either side of its entire length, telegraph lines, buildings and the port facilities at Limón. Altogether, the Republic handed

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over 800,000 acres of land, nearly 7% of the national territory, to foreigners. Keith, within a very short time, accumulated a sizable fortune from exporting bananas grown alongside the railroad tracks and transformed this massive concession into the United Fruit Company, soon to be known as the “octopus.”8 Following Palmer’s analysis, the liberal response was the “strategic withdrawal of nationalism” from the Atlantic periphery to the Central Valley. The concept of nationhood that developed during the first phase of the railroad dissolved after Guardia’s death in 1881 and after the Soto-Keith Agreement of 1883. By the time the Atlantic line was completed in 1890, the nation was fully demoralized due to the territory ceded to Keith and the overwhelming debt owed British creditors. Nationalism receded as the national project became identified exclusively with the Central Valley.9 The first Costa Rican novel, published in 1898, presents a Costa Rican male protagonist as symbolically castrated and thus incapable of confronting a U.S. railroad magnate who steals his lover and his country on the same day.10 In symbolic terms, the nation had moved from Figueroa’s vision of the rape and colonization of the lands outside of the Central Valley to a vision of a nation raped by foreigners.

Redemption: The Pacific Railway The debacle of the Atlantic Railroad, Costa Rica’s first major encounter with foreign investment, eclipsed for years any hope that the railway to the Pacific would actually be completed, let alone have a positive outcome. Yet, two years before his death and despite the enormous problems that beset the Atlantic leg of the railway, President Guardia authorized the construction of a Pacific Railroad in 1879. In response to the Atlantic experience, this leg of the inter-oceanic railroad was to be nationally controlled and the labor force was to consist of Costa Ricans.11 Contemporary journalist William E. Curtis gave an account of Guardia’s priorities in the construction of the Pacific Railroad. The shorter line, from San José to Punta Arenas, was attempted under the personal supervision of the president himself, who went at it in a very queer way. All the necessary material and supplies to build and equip the road were purchased in England, sent by sailing vessels around the horn, and landed at Punta Arenas. But instead of commencing there, the President  .  .  .  repudiated all advice, rejected all suggestions, and ordered the whole outfit to be carried seventy-five miles over the mountains on carts and mule-back, so as to begin at the other end.

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This undertaking was more difficult and expensive than the construction of the road.12

Guardia apparently was motivated by pressures that came from two sectors. On the one hand, the property-owning class, after a decade of problems with the Atlantic Railroad, was not willing to pay for another expensive railroad project. On the other, the construction of railroads threatened the livelihood of the mule drivers and cartmen (boyeros), causing outright opposition and a “threatened revolution” by this long-standing and powerful segment of the labor force of the republic. Guardia mollified the property owning class of the Central Valley by rushing the progress of the Pacific Railroad by means of limited rail service in the highlands. He calmed the mule drivers and cartmen by providing them work in carrying supplies for the railroad.13 The power of the cartmen’s guild makes clear a strong regional divide in the composition of labor forces that existed in the eastern and western peripheries of the nation. In the Atlantic zone, mostly Jamaican workers were imported by foreign capital and resisted their harsh conditions through strikes and work stoppages.14 In the Pacific zone, a powerful cartmen’s guild was accustomed to having a fair degree of leverage in a scarce labor environment as the principal transporters of the prime national product—coffee. As well as transporting imports to the highlands, the cartmen functioned as a security force as the prime carriers of specie from Puntarenas to banks of the highlands. Wrote Curtis in 1887: Thousands of dollars in gold are often entrusted to them and never was a penny lost. A banker of San José told me that he usually received $30,000 in coin each week during coffee season by these oxcarts and considered it safer than if he carried it himself.  .  .  .  15

The importance of the carters to the economic development of the nation calls to mind labor historian Charles Bergquist’s thoughts on the influence of workers in export sectors. He has theorized that national workers employed in export sectors form a type of labor aristocracy with varying degrees of leverage according to the ethnicities and nationalities of capital and labor.16 Aviva Chomsky, applying these ideas to competing Costa Rican and West Indian workers in Limón in the 1930s, has suggested that where “capital and labor were divided between foreign and national sources, conservatives tried to rally nationalist workers against the West Indians, while radicals tried to rally anti-imperialists of all classes against the (United Fruit) company.”17 In contrast to the situation described for

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Limón by Chomsky of infusions of both foreign capital and foreign labor, in Costa Rica’s western frontier, both labor and capital, for the most part, were national, deflecting the potential for conflict. “Tico” cartmen, many holders of small parcels of property, formed part of a capitalist consensus between national elites and national peasant-small holders of the Central Valley, which, when combined with the strong performance of coffee exporting, amounted to, in Bergquist’s scheme, the absence of scapegoats and a win-win situation for capital and labor, with the result that labor was less militant.18 It would seem that any discussion of the development of Costa Rica’s free labor system in the national period needs to take into consideration the autonomy of coffee’s first transport workers, the cartmen.19 Contemporary descriptions of the Costa Rican laborers who built the Pacific Railroad under a team of North American contractors described similarly independent workers who helped speed the project. One American observer wrote: Almost all the manual labor has been performed by native Costa Ricans, who on the whole have proved good workers. The peons  .  .  .  need to be handled in a certain way to get good results. They resent rough talk, so that some of the American foremen, who were in the habit of cursing their men, had to learn their business over again. The peons when they were sworn at laid down their tools and went home; call it Spanish pride or what you will, they will work for no one that they think is calling them bad names.  .  .  .  At the same time they are independent, for many of them have their own patch of land which they cultivate, or an assured position on some rich man’s coffee hacienda. If not satisfied therefore with things on the railroad work, they return to their own.20

The situation described here complemented the picture of the cartman and the small yeoman farmer of la buena sociedad cafetalera. It also reflected the nation’s chronic labor shortage which, coupled with Costa Rica’s free labor system, widened options for workers. Although research awaits the role of labor in construction of the Pacific Railroad, it is certain that it differed from that of the Atlantic railroad in terms of racial and national characteristics of workers, as well as mortality rates and labor unrest within the work force. In the minds of González Víques and other liberals, the incorporation process of the western periphery via construction of the Pacific Railroad by freelancing “white yeomen farmers” must have been welcomed as another brushstroke on the canvass of consensus among classes painted by liberals since the 1880s. Guardia gingerly proceeded with the construction of the Pacific Railroad, beginning work at both ends of the line, leaving the old method of

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transport by oxcart intact for some years. Work began in Puntarenas on January 1, 1880, initially following the old “Burrocarril” and completing thirteen miles to Esparta. However, the Puntarenas-Esparta railway connection was poorly constructed, needing fills, rectification of gradients and a sea wall to protect the railway from high tides along the narrow stretch through La Angostura. Nevertheless, the section to Esparta was completed in 1883, shortly after the death of Guardia.21 Again, the cartmen’s guild petitioned the central government to have the railroad dismantled because of the competition it offered. A law was passed to dismantle it, but was delayed, then reversed, when the cartmen in the summer of 1884 discovered that, when hauling the year’s coffee crop from the Meseta Central to Puntarenas, it was less expensive to ship the produce over the railway from Esparta to Puntarenas than it was for them to haul it themselves. As a result of the cartmen’s business, the railroad showed its first profit. The government appointed an engineer, Luis Matamoros, to take charge of the administration of the railway. By 1885, the line was profitable and a second locomotive had been purchased to improve service.22 The Esparta line remained in service until ultimately joined to the main line from San José in 1908. Initial work on the railroad from the highlands resulted in service which ran between the three Central Valley provincial capitals of San José, Cartago and Alajuela. The central government treated the operation as a vehicle for patronage jobs and treated the train operatives with the same deference accorded to the carters. Curtis wrote in 1887: The government uses it (the Pacific Railway) as a political machine, employs a great many superfluous and incompetent men—mostly the relatives and dependents of influential politicians—carries freight and passengers on credit, and does many other foolish things that make profits impossible.  .  .  .  On every train of three cars, one for baggage and two for passengers, are thirteen men. First a manager or conductor who has general supervision, a locomotive engineer and stoker, two ticket takers, two brakemen for each car, and tow men to handle baggage and express packages—all of them being arrayed in the most resplendent uniforms, the conductor having the appearance of a majorgeneral on dress parade. Freight trains are run upon the same system and at similar expense.23

Apparently, administrators felt the profitability of the railway was secondary to the cultivation of support for themselves and for the railroad.

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The period between 1885 and 1910 witnessed more problems that delayed construction including changes in contractors and in destination. The government of Rafael Yglesias Castro (1894–1902) revitalized the project in 1895, although, for reasons of cost and efficiency, it was not to terminate in Puntarenas, but in Tivives to the south of Puntarenas. Although it was to be government owned, in 1897 a contract was awarded to the U.S. firm of John S. Casement to speed up completion.24 Nevertheless, the work was slowed by political, financial and geographical obstacles. When Yglesias’ term ended in 1902, 24 miles of railroad had been completed from San José as far as the Río Grande de Tárcoles. Building the bridge over the Río Grande was the most difficult task of the entire project as the chasm was 652 feet wide and 310 feet deep. John Casement’s nephew James later wrote, “It put the fear of God into the Casements.” Experts were called in to erect the bridge, which was 219.4 meters long (see Photo 6–1). At that time there was only one counterpart in the world, that being the Zambezi span in Africa.25 It was at this point that the citizens of Puntarenas, who all along had opposed the construction of the railroad from San José to Tivives, launched a campaign to have their town redesignated as the Pacific terminus of the railroad. Their deputy in Congress, Tobías Zúniga Montúfar, initiated a bill changing the location of the proposed terminus, and on May 28, 1904 it passed.26 Photo 6-1: Postcard of Río Grande Bridge, 1905

Photo 6-1. Postcard of Río Grande Bridge, 1905. Courtesy of Omar Di Nicola, www.grusspostcards.com Source: Courtesy of Omar Di Nicola, www.grusspostcards.com

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Puntarenas had the great advantage over Tivives of being an established port for a good part of the nineteenth century, as well as having a merchant class with important commercial ties to San José and to politicians who would be inclined to hear their petitions. Furthermore, the Municipal Council of Puntarenas employed an effective strategy to secure backing for the proposed revised terminus. In 1904, the Municipality approved the construction of the municipal baths, consisting of a large bathhouse raised over the beach close to the large pier, which would promote tourism from the highlands by offering all manner of services for bathers, the majority of whom could not swim. Los baños offered changing and washing areas, bars and restaurants, verandas, and dancing at night to band music.27 Los baños would provide a meeting place for all classes of josefinos and Puntarenians throughout the twentieth century—a place to have fun under the sun while presumably improving one’s health through the proximity of the (less than pristine) Pacific waters of Puntarenas. Port newspapers cited Puntarenas as another Newport, Atlantic City and Brighton.28 This ingenious strategy, in the heyday of the seaside health resort and commercial recreation booms in the United States and Europe, resonated in the imaginations of Costa Rican elites in the highlands, who now viewed Puntarenas as a place of retreat and sanctioned sensual pleasures like those of advanced, modern societies.29 Elites from the highlands began to vacation in Puntarenas in greater numbers, apparently without complaint of the same vices they found unacceptable in the highlands. Operating outside of the traditional constraints of family, church, and community, Puntarenas took on the role of a “get-way” under the guise of a health retreat. The Pacific Railroad was finally completed in 1910 with the first through train from San José to Puntarenas arriving on July 23. Daily passenger and freight service between San José and Puntarenas with 19 stops in between was initiated soon after. Travel from the Meseta Central to the Pacific coast took a little over five hours, a trip which in the past sometimes took five days.30 The total cost of the Pacific Railroad was 6.8 million dollars plus an additional 1.8 million dollars for electrification in the late 1920s. This was a considerably less expensive project than the Atlantic Railroad had been at approximately 18.8 million dollars and a greater number of deaths. Unlike the Atlantic railroad which in 1905 was leased by the Northern Railway Company of Costa Rica, a branch of the United Fruit Company, the Pacific Railway remained under government management and was therefore public service-oriented with low rates. The freight rate per ton-mile on the Pacific Railway was considerably lower than that of the Northern Railway system.31 During the 1920s, income from the Pacific Railroad amounted to 9% of all state revenue.32 Total profits of the

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Pacific Railroad for the years 1904 through 1932 were 3.4 million colones, less than its Atlantic competitor, but in greater measure contributing to national development.33 Guardia’s prophesies of population increase and the opening of an agricultural frontier became a reality, ushering in a golden era in the history of both the port and province of Puntarenas. The lands on either side of the railway, which wound west from San José through Alajuela and Atenas, dropping down to Escobal, Orotina, Esparta and Puntarenas, comprised the new “bread basket” of Costa Rica. The province of Puntarenas showed an increase in population from 12,167 inhabitants in 1892, to 28,739 in 1927, with an annual average growth rate of 2.5%, second in average annual rate of increase to Limón Province (4.2%) whose growth escalated as a result largely of the importation of an immigrant male West Indian labor force during the construction of the railroad and subsequent banana booms. In the port of Puntarenas, the population rose from 2,538 inhabitants in 1892, to 4,735 in 1910, to 6,676 in 1927, this in a city whose geography did not allow for much “urban spread.”34 Reports from the Ministerio de Fomento showed the volume of goods traveling back and forth by train by 1913 between the port of Puntarenas and San José. An increase in domestic trade was reflected by the nearly 66 million kilograms (145 million lbs.) of “articles of the country,” loaded on the train at various stops. Over 21 million kilograms (46 million lbs.) of foreign and regional merchandise, most loaded in Puntarenas, was transported by train. Over a half million pounds of horses, cattle and other livestock boarded the trains that year. Other products shipped on the Pacific Railroad included rice, sugar, fruits, eggs, fish, wood and livestock—a veritable bounty for the internal market and a much needed relief from the reliance on imported foodstuffs that coffee expansion in the Meseta Central had prompted.35 Puntarenas assumed a prominent role in the export of coffee, almost equaling Limón’s share of the export trade in 1918 and 1919 (exporting 40% and 46% of the total weight of coffee in those years), and even surpassing Limón’s share of the trade in 1929 with 91% of that year’s trade. This was quite a jump from a low of 3% of coffee exports in 1908 and an indication of Puntarenas’ dominant role in the export of coffee for the world market. By 1930, Puntarenas nearly regained its former nineteenth century dominance in coffee exports.36 Puntarenas’ share of total imports rose substantially by the 1920s partly as a result of the transportation revolution made possible by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and facilitated by the Pacific Railroad. Imports by weight through Puntarenas, excluding livestock, rose

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from 4% of all imports in 1908, to 11% in 1911, to 27% in 1918, to 44% in 1930.37 The number of boats entering Puntarenas rose from 80 in 1914, to 126 in 1917, to 153 in 1920.38 Contributing to this rise was the revitalization of cabotaje in the Gulf of Nicoya, a veritable daily Noah’s Ark of people and animals coming and going from the wharf on the northern side of the port, a stone’s throw from la colmena. Cabotaje, after the completion of the Pacific Railroad, constituted the principal means of transportation on the Pacific littoral from Nicaragua to Panama which would dominate until the construction of the Inter-American Highway during the war years of the 1940s. By 1913, 20,631 passengers and 5,247 livestock traveled on mail ships to Puntarenas from the Nicoya peninsula, up from 7,118 passengers and 283 livestock in 1906. Ferry service to Puntarenas from points on the Nicoya peninsula increased from 4 trips daily in 1908 to 12 trips daily in 1913.39 Added to this was the great number of passengers on the Pacific Railway who traveled to Puntarenas from inland points. In 1914, roughly one third of all revenue from passenger travel was generated by those boarding the train in San José while about a quarter of passenger revenue came from those boarding in Puntarenas.40 In 1911, 182,362 passengers rode the train; by 1920, 224,049 passengers took the train.41 Although the actual population of Puntarenas through the 1910s, as recorded in published records, was less than 5,000, the volume of people coming and going was enormous, creating larger markets for all manner of goods and services. To sum up, by 1933 the Pacific Railroad, owned and operated by the Costa Rican government and run at a profit, represented a triumph of national enterprise and government initiative, a rebirth for the economy of the port of Puntarenas, and the opening of the western frontier for agricultural colonization. While the Boston-based United Fruit Company took control of the Atlantic railroad and dominated its frontier with the cultivation and export of bananas, the Ferrocarril al Pacífico served the national interest by keeping rates lower for passengers and freight than those of the Atlantic railway, as well as opening up lands for the cultivation of a variety of agricultural products, formally imported due to the increasing predominance of coffee monoculture. It is probable that it was because the Pacific Railroad served the national interest so immediately and so directly that González Víquez’s history of the port ended with the completion of the Ferrocarril al Pacífico. For González Víquez, the completion of the Pacific Railroad was the crowning achievement of his first term as president from 1906–1910, and he, no doubt, felt personally responsible for its successful construction. Later, the Pacific Railroad was equally important during González Víquez’s

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second term as President from 1928–1932, immediately preceding publication of the history. Yet, a great deal more was at stake with the success of the Pacific Railway than its economic importance or the political vanity of González Víquez. When the second phase of the inter-oceanic railway from San José to Puntarenas was completed in 1910, it was clear that Costa Rica need not be totally dependent on foreign involvement for national enterprises, thereby reinforcing the liberal vision of Costa Rican autonomy. The contrasts between the two lines were striking in terms of construction and labor costs, make-up of the labor force, ownership and benefits to the nation. González Víquez’s history may be viewed as a celebration of the Pacific Railroad as a face-saving triumph which absolved the earlier liberal leadership from the “failures” of the railroad to the Atlantic. In a real sense, the success of the Pacific Railroad represented the vindication of Guardia’s 1870 dream of a trans-oceanic railroad, a liberal mission of progress. The figure of Guardia, the precursor of the Liberal Reform movement of the 1880s, in spite of his fall from grace at the end of his life, was an imposing presence in the memory of González Víquez during his formative years. If González Víquez’ work celebrated the fact that the liberals of the Central Valley did not make the same mistake twice, his “invitation into the nation” was not wholehearted. In the 1930s, a liberal “conspiracy of silence” shrouded the people and lifestyles of the port. The people and culture of the port won greater acceptance from the center, in part, because of what the population was not rather than what it was. The people of Puntarenas were not of predominantly African descent and the region was not controlled by North Americans as was the Atlantic coast. The 1927 Census had caused alarm in the highlands with a reported 94% black population in Limón Province.42 By the end of the 1930s, the United Fruit Company, forced to relocate from the Atlantic coast on account of soil diseases, moved operations to the Pacific to southern Puntarenas Province where—urged on by a central government intent on excluding blacks from its population—it abandoned its formerly predominantly black work force and initiated an all white labor policy.43 González Víquez’s history, which alluded to the people of Puntarenas as forasteros (migrant laborers) skirted the issue of race as (taken up in the next chapter) did census takers in 1927.44 In reality, the people, culture, and economy of the port continued in a style dictated by its tradition as a bawdy port of mulatto and mestizo migrants, characterized by hard drinking and paid sex and, after the railroad, fueled more intensely by an economy fed from three directions—the highlands, the region, and the world.

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Chapter Seven

Society in Puntarenas after Completion of the Pacific Railroad

Travel by train between San José and Puntarenas after 1910 brought commercial revitalization to the port and nation through the freight it carried, and a new boost to the tourist industry of the port as a result of the passengers it carried. Heretofore a “pole of development,” Puntarenas was now linked to the center by virtue of a trip reckoned in hours rather than days. As outlined in the previous chapter, ex-President Cleto González Víquez characterized the Pacific Railroad as a liberating panacea for the national economy and ego, but left telling gaps in his treatment of the port’s inhabitants. This chapter attempts to fill in the gaps of his history through an examination of porteño society after completion of the railroad. It examines the attitudes of the people of Puntarenas across class lines in order to assess the impact the railroad, economic growth, and tourism had on porteño society and mores—those elements of history absent from González Víquez’s work. The chapter views prostitution, as did Chapter Five, in the context of a cross class continuum of consensus among economic actors in the port. As vice became more profitable, all classes continued to participate in its exploitation and remained apart from the politics of morality and social hygiene that intensified in the highlands, regardless of improved communication links with the highlands, of the progressive experiments of President Alfredo González Flores (1914–1917), or of the increasing surveillance by liberals of popular classes at least in the highlands. Finally, an analysis of race, marriage and household data in the 1927 Census and cross-regional legitimacy rates will show the degree to which porteño society continued to maintain its own identity and resist assimilation of the values of the patriarchal family 117

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of the highlands. More marginalized than ever from the formal ideologies of the center, porteño society experienced the railroad in a way quite different from González Víquez’s perspective. The juxtaposition of González Víquez’s omission of the people of the port with data that confirms this society’s continued status as a racial and cultural aberration in the minds of liberals accomplishes two ends: it challenges liberal perceptions of the nation as being racially homogeneous and possessing traditional family values, and it bolsters the thesis of differential economic, social and cultural development in this periphery by accentuating the divide between traditional historiography and local experience—a divide challenged by the easy communication made possible by completion of the Pacific Railroad, but not bridged.

Renewed Class Consensus A letter from a disgruntled pastor of Puntarenas’ principal church, Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, to the Bishop of the Archdiocese of San José in 1912 suggests the frustration that accompanied carrying out the work of the Catholic Church in the port. As part of a request to be relieved of his duties, Father Salomón Valenciano wrote: The parish is divided into two social sections: a brute and corrupt popular class easily dismissible; and an artistically corrupt aristocracy (“una aristocracia artísticamente corrompida”), that views the priest with disdain and comes with demands that try my integrity and draw me into a constant and exhausting battle.1

It is not altogether clear what Father Valenciano meant by the allusion to an “artistically corrupt aristocracy,” but it is evident that he regarded this class as a threat to his work. What is more relevant is Father Valenciano’s characterization of the class structure of the port two years after the completion of the Pacific Railroad. What he was suggesting was that there were more commonalities than not among what he perceived to be two distinct social classes in the port. His claim of two classes was likely a simplification of the reality of a more subtle gradation of class structure separating the “who’s who” from the “who’s not.” However, his view of the shared interests of these classes—including moral corruption—merits consideration. Moral corruption, be it in the form of sexual impropriety or excessive drinking, was for decades a constant in Puntarenas, bringing in profits to all classes of porteño society. It is evident that the new prosperity brought to the port by rail service to San José reached all sectors of porteño society, so that all

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were freer to do what they had been doing before the completion of the railroad, if disguised in fancier dress. In 1915, Pedro Quirós (“Chino Pedro”) ran a large ad in the newspaper El Puntarenense for his Hotel Pekin, “the most popular hotel on Puntarenas” on the Calle de Comercio adjoining la colmena.2 Fonda owner Rosa Obando, a Costa Rican national with one of the highest taxed fondas in the Commercial Census of 1915, ran an ad in the same paper announcing that, since September 15th (Independence Day), the new location of her Hotel Minerva was the corner of McAdam’s house and the F.J. Alvarado Import and Export House just north of los baños near the large pier. Rosa Obando advertised her establishment as having “ventilated rooms” suitable for families, single people and pensionistas at suitable prices.3 Obando was no stranger to the grittiness of urban life as she was involved in a fight in San José in 1912 with Juana Porras, another porteño fonda owner in the 1907 and 1915 Commercial Censuses, who appeared in numerous litigations.4 Obando was clearly coming up in life by relocating to the beach side of the peninsula next to the establishments of two “big shots.” Enrique McAdam, Rosa Obando’s new neighbor, was a member of the port’s elite (a founding member of the prestigious Centro de Amigos consisting of Hispanic male merchants). The elite usually consisted of Hispanic merchants who paid their taxes and avoided contraband activities. McAdam was a leading builder and contractor in the port whose work was well respected. Born in the port to a Canadian father and Nicaraguan mother, raised and educated as well in the port, he was credited with owning an ice factory, a furniture making establishment and a sawmill. He built the Boys’ school, the slaughterhouse and the municipal market. He owned his own house and a farm together with six other houses which he rented.5 An ad in El Correo del Pacífico in 1909 made reference to the Hotel de Pacífco situated in the house of don E. McAdam next to Rosa Obando’s later hotel.6 Commercial censuses listed him as the owner of a vinatería, refresquería, cantina and a transport business.7 He was cited often for his ties to civic organizations throughout the port. Yet his world included the world of la colmena in the houses he rented to prostitutes, in the liquor he sold, in the tourism he promoted and in the streets he walked. The lucrative contracts awarded him by both municipality and the central government made it difficult for him to conduct business in any way other than open. Yet, as a member of the “liquor cartel”—that group owning vinaterías and taquillas—he shared the interests of the cantina culture. The commerce of hospitality included a spectrum of inter-related establishments from brothel to “health retreat,” allowing Enrique McAdam to integrate the whole package into his life with apparent ease.

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Not all fonda owners achieved the same degree of success as McAdam or Rosa Obando. A legal battle involving the fonda of Margarita Pizarro Muñoz in 1912 shows how life could be difficult. Pizarro, a forty year old native of Liberia in Guanacaste, migrated to the port in 1905 and by 1910 had established a fonda in a space she rented with her teen-age daughter. In 1912 she brought suit against her contiguous neighbors, Pascuela Cordero and daughter Vita, for “breaking and entering” during a fight between their daughters over a boyfriend. Cordero’s defense attorney argued that even though Pizarro’s fonda was in a rented space, it was a “public house” and therefore immune to the charges of breaking and entering. The defense lawyer implored the judge to take into consideration the “terreno real de la vida humana entre cierta clase social” (the reality of life among a certain social class). He argued that this was simply “an argument among friends whose habitations are attached and whose interiors are only three yards away from each other  .  .  .  and who share the same space, water pump and toilet.” Nevertheless, Pascuela was convicted and sentenced to pay bail.8 In this case, the boundary between what was public and what was private was somewhat clarified, as population pressures in the cramped vecinos became more severe in Puntarenas and gray areas of semi-communal life—in this case the overlap of commerce with private space—were tested. Margarita Pizzaro’s fonda was one among many new establishments created by older women of the port to cash in on the rising tide of visitors to the port—if not the tourists that Rosa Obando was courting, then the less distinguished cabotaje traffic from the Estero. Registered fondas owned by women jumped from 7 in 1908 to 17 in 1915.9 Pizzaro’s fonda was registered and taxed in the Commercial Census of 1915, but many were not, as the premium on the limited geography of the port led renters to commercialize personal space. With the greater population pressure on the port, living arrangements within the port were often casual and transitory, as was the case with 17 year old Ramona Pasos Hernández and 21 year old María Zuñiga, both prostitutes originally from Guanacaste, and their “madam” and friend Filomena Naranjo, 33, a native of the port. Their testimonies in an assault case, which took place in a dance hall in la colmena, make evident the existence of a complex social geography among women working in the heart of the port. The young Ramona Pasos Hernández testified that she lived at the house of “madam” Filomena Naranjo “en la calle de la colmena.” Yet a few days before her testimony an “orden para citar á testigos” (order to testify) was delivered by police to “la Señora Ramona Pasos,” stating that she lived “in rooms in the house of don Eudoro Peterson.” Police obviously knew who her friends were and where to find her. “Madam”Filomena

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Naranjo lived at her brothel in la colmena, but testified that she rented the house of Arturo Barrantes on la Calle de la Palma.10 Assault victim María Zuñiga also lived in Eudoro Peterson’s house with her friend Ramona Pasos Hernández. Yet two years later, then married, she appeared in another case where she lived with her mother, Rosa, also from Guanacaste. This time both Zuñiga and her mother were assaulted by Zuñiga’s’s inebriated husband, Erasmo Aguirre, a 23 year old jornalero from Rivas, Nicaragua.11 The use of multiple domiciles underscores the mutual support common among prostitutes, their friends, their madams and their mothers—all connected via shared and fluid living arrangements made necessary by economic uncertainties and the pressure of many people in a fixed space. The social geography of the port lent itself more and more to unorthodox patterns of housing among young, single men and women. The published 1927 Census shows a category of residence in the port, “not declared,” that does not exist in any other city of Costa Rica: 16% of porteños were identified as homeowners, 1% had mortgages, 69% were renters, and 14% “undeclared.” In Puntarenas, with the great flow of traffic in and out of the port, it was apparently easier to be part of a floating population or, at least, to be housed in a way that evaded categorization.12 Registered prostitute “María Dobles,” described by Lara Putnam, who traced the migratory patterns of a number of prostitutes from Limón during the same period, offers an example of how an older prostitute negotiated the gray area separating the public woman from the woman who worked in public by taking advantage of opportunities afforded by the Pacific Railroad. In 1905, as a registered prostitute, she lived in San José with her live-in boyfriend. The couple moved to Limón in 1906, where she worked briefly in the port’s largest brothel. Ten months later she was alone, earning a living as a seamstress and cigar-maker in Puntarenas. The next year she was back in San José, living with her mother. María Dobles reappeared 24 years later (1932) when her legal husband of ten years, “Esteben Martínez,” now with a younger woman, sued her for the retention of his belongings which included 1,650 colones in IOUs (more than a full year’s salary for a well-paid artisan at that time). María responded that his accusation was false and attempted to stop his actions to liquidate their mutual assets. Martínez worked for the Pacific Railroad and the two had built a business lending money to other employees of the railroad in exchange for promissory notes against their salaries. María Dobles testified, “(These IOUs) are the product as much of my labor as his, and therefore belong to both of us.  .  .  .  I have many witnesses and many ways of proving how hard I have worked, in many cases contributing more money than that which he contributed through his salary.”13

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This case suggests a way in which the accumulated capital of an older prostitute entered the economy through the vehicle of the Pacific Railroad. The markets created by the Pacific Railroad did not discriminate (as could be the case with the ideological constraints associated with coffee cultivation) in allowing one woman to cross the line from “public woman” to lender. María Dobles exploited the opportunities at hand which led to her upward economic mobility. As a lender, she became more affluent, more respected, and more “ordinary,” although the path to this end was gradual and full of impediments. On a larger scale, the Pacific Railroad may have prompted Enrique McAdam to merge liquor with hygiene—to acquire a cantina and, at the same time, sign a contract to build a new market, complete with refrigeration, which when completed was considered “the best in the country.”14 The balancing act that all classes in porteño society assumed within the spectrum of commercial activities available to them continued with the completion of the Pacific Railroad. In these business profiles, a process of amalgamation joined together diverse commercial activities— in the first, prostitution with an informal loan business; in the second, a needed infrastructural project of a hygienic market with a cantina. In Puntarenas, the commodities of salubridad, hospitality, vice and transportation were open to all classes and were exploited to varying degrees. Contradictions were irrelevant, stigma impractical. What may have been regarded as a double standard in San José, in Puntarenas, was a single standard of the commercially possible.

Church Concessions to Local Morality Returning to the disgruntled pastor of Sagrado Corazón de Jesus, Salomón Valenciano: The spiritual administration of a floating population, participating in an economy of hospitality and sexual services, was not an easy task. As it turned out, he was not relieved of his post in the port for a few years, his complaints of the moral corruption of porteño “aristocrats” and “commoners” apparently ignored by higher ups in San José. In 1913 he did not complain when assigned as chaplain once a week to the nearby island prison of San Lucas, a short boat ride from the port, a venture which brought him into contact with the most seasoned criminal element of the country.15 A year later, in what appeared to be a political scuffle between him and his future successor, Valenciano wound up in San Rafael Church in Cartago in the Central Valley, a move uncharacteristic of the way the Catholic Church worked.16 Normally, priests from the periphery were moved around locally as were those in other areas of the Pacific littoral, who had a rather sustained history of getting into trouble through

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sexual improprieties or political intrigues.17 Interestingly, Valenciano, writing from Cartago, subsequently asked permission to return to Puntarenas without a salary to live in the house of his sisters, an indication that he was a native of the port.18 His emotional ties to the port were apparently strong regardless of his struggles with the “artistically corrupt” and others of the port. For whatever reasons, Church authorities in San José kept him in Cartago replacing him with the more dynamic and apparently less judgmental Daniel Carmona, whose moral mission included creating one of the more spectacular annual festivals in Puntarenas. The feast of La Virgen de la Mar after 1915 became one of the port’s more attractive annual events consisting of a flotilla of boats up and down the Estero, each decorated with brightly colored flags by various civic and business groups, which attracted tourists from all parts of the country and region.19 A pastor who managed to merge Church interests with the local economy apparently was more to the liking of Curia officials than his predecessor. For church and state officials in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, Puntarenas’ claims of salubridad—the belief in the curative powers of its breezes and salt waters—eclipsed the port’s more unseemly reputation. Newspaper reports show a steady stream of members of the elite from the highlands making the trip to Puntarenas for official business or for “rest.” In 1922, the President Julio Acosta came to Puntarenas via the presidential railway car to visit the British cruiser “Birmingham.” In July of the same year, ex-President Cleto González Víquez arrived via un carro gasolina with his family and doctor “for a rest.” A month later, the Archbishop himself arrived from San José with an entourage that included his doctor, his sister, a secretary, and another priest. The purpose of his visit was “to convalesce” in a reserved section of the San Rafael Hospital, not far from from Rosa Obando’s fonda near los baños.20 El Heraldo, a port newspaper appearing in 1918 ran a regular feature “Los que viajan,” documenting the comings and goings of people from the Central Valley each day through the port by train and by boat. Important tourists became the mainstay of the society page. The fusion of josefinos with porteños was facilitated by the popularity of the beach culture of the rich, made popular by North American and European captains of industries, whose families summered in Newport, Brighton and Atlantic City. In Puntarenas, the finer hotels, restaurants, and perfumeries together created an image which helped to obscure the grittier side of life.

Vice During the War Years The anticipated economic boom of Puntarenas proceeding completion of the Pacific Railroad was somewhat slowed after 1914 when war broke out

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in Europe. El libro azul, published in 1916, a rather lavish “coffee table book” celebrating in photographs and text Costa Rica’s eminent citizens and accomplishments, chose to ignore the signs of economic slow-down, instead emphasizing the revitalization of tourism in Puntarenas brought about by the completion of the railroad. Puntarenas, on the Pacific Coast, was well-known as a health resort for sea bathing, and for that purpose people came in great numbers from other places to spend their summer there. .  .  .  We have not space in which to speak of the astonishing progress of Puntarenas during the last five years.  .  .  .  of special importance is the wharf made of concrete on the “Estero,” where small vessels which ply the Gulf of Nicoya land. Another is the Railroad Station, an elegant building which does credit to Puntarenas, and others of minor importance, such as the new Prison, the Hospital, the School for Girls and Boys, the church and the building occupied by the Telegraph and Post Offices, which it was found necessary to enlarge, owing to the extraordinary increase in business of the Port, which is more noticeable every day.  .  .  .  A brilliant and prosperous future is in store for Puntarenas, for with the recent opening of the Panama Canal, it commences a flourishing era of great progress.21

There is both truth and hyperbole in this piece of propaganda. Behind the portrayal of Puntarenas as Costa Rica’s “Newport” after the completion of the railroad, lay the economic repercussions of World War I (1914– 18) which gradually inflicted serious financial strains on the country as a whole. The Panama Canal, which had provided a strong rationale for completion of the Pacific Railroad, opened for traffic in 1914, the same year that war began in Europe. By the end of 1914, a report from the provincial governor of Puntarenas to San José made clear the existence of paradoxical political and economic currents, a situation which began to undercut the expected economic boom of the port. On the one hand, as reported by provincial officials to the central government in 1914, projects were underway that promised to establish Puntarenas as a modern seaside resort. Plans were in the making for a tranvía (streetcar) of one car holding 16 to 24 persons “to be powered by either electricity, gasoline, oil or some other combustible agent” to traverse the port to the north from the Parque Victoria, east and south to the railroad station, then around and back, stopping at every block. Enrique McAdam’s new market was completed in October, 1914. Plans for a cañeria (a plumbing system of clean water) were being made, as well as a night school

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for adults, a library and the purchase of a motorized ambulance for the sick and “for the inebriated.”22 Mass culture began to affect the port with the publication of numerous newspapers.23 Tax listings on theatrical performances, operas, cinema presentations as well as puppet shows, “panoramas,” and circus productions (first and second class) demonstrate the impact on the port of commercial entertainment enterprises.24 An advertisement in El Puntarenense in 1915 alluded to La Empresa del Cine as featuring the “most modern and artistic movies, the envy of Josefinos.” Another advertisement announced the coming of “Marco Antonio y Cleopatra” at the Salón Mascota.25 On the other hand, promises of progress were tempered by the governor’s lament that the (temporary) closing of the Abangares gold mines and la conflagración en europa had each adversely affected industry and commerce in the province. Although the municipality of Puntarenas was in the black for 1914, this would not last long.26 By 1916, the Municipality of the Central District of Puntarenas took in 67,079 colones and spent 107,956 colones, a notable change in two years time.27 World War I reduced the European market for Costa Rican exports, restricted the flow of European imports to Costa Rica, and put a brake on credit from European banks. National politics took a dramatic turn, in part as a response to international events, with the reformist administration of President Alfredo González Flores (1914–17), whose term ended in a coup (sanctioned by González Víquez), the first since Guardia’s take-over in 1870. González Flores was appointed to the presidency by Congress after the 1913 presidential race ended in a stalemate. He took power in 1914 three months after war had erupted in Europe. His tax and banking initiatives have been considered the first twentieth century attempt to reform the liberal state in Costa Rica. In 1917, González Flores’ one-time benefactor and Minister of War, Federico Tinoco Granadas, acting on behalf of the interests of the liberal establishment—the agro-export bourgeoisie, the mercantile-import bourgeoisie and foreign capitalists—overthrew him.28 Significantly, the business community of Puntarenas also profited from his overthrow as the political reforms of the new president spilled over into the moral realm of prostitution and alcohol consumption in the port. An examination of the impact on Puntarenas of the controversial González Flores experiment is useful for an understanding of the cross class investment in vice that characterized economic life in the port. González Flores proposed a number of significant economic and tax reforms, likened to those of the earlier Progressive movement of the United States, intended to ease the economic crisis brought on by the war in Europe, improve government administration, and make the economy

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more equitable. One of his most controversial reforms was an income tax (1915), patterned after the Sixteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1913), a reform which hit the liberal bourgeoisie particularly hard. The young González Flores (in his thirties) was an idealist with certain ideas on state intervention in morality, as well as in the economy. A 1916 report by the Director of the Department of Venereal Prevention reveals something of the González Flores administration’s approach to vice. The Informe proposed a special zone for prostitutes of San José “de donde no les sea permitido salir ni se les permita la entrada a las mujeres que no sean de su clase ni a los jóvenes menores de edad”29 (“from which prostitutes would not be permitted to leave nor would women not of that class be allowed to enter nor minors.”) While not realized, this proposal was the most restrictive scheme yet for the enclosure and isolation of prostitutes in San José—a veritable ghetto for registered prostitutes in the middle of San José. González Flores’ approach to alcohol consumption and the state liquor monopoly, possibly influenced by the Temperance Movement of the United States, was equally unrealistic, particularly during hard times. González Flores challenged the double standard encouraged by the state liquor monopoly. El libro azul, published one year before his overthrow, made reference to González Flores’ plans to abolish the national liquor monopoly. Unaware of his impending ouster, the editors backed the controversial program: The suppression of the (Fábrica Nacional de Licores) National Liquor Distillery is another of his projects, as he considers it illogical and immoral to have the Government produce the liquor which serves the people to lower their physical and moral standard and be the very same Government that has to punish the crimes committed through its demoralizing influence. What has been done so far, with the distillery and sale of liquor by the Government is just the opposite function to one which logically, humanely and legally should follow.  .  .  .  The same government develops and improves the means of producing intoxicating liquors which it sells with a handsome profit to the people that it pretends to moralize, and who eventually it has to punish for not becoming good and moral, as they might have been had the production and sale of liquor not acted in a contrary fashion.30

This puts into relief just how far the young President was willing to go to realize his progressive program during a time of severe fiscal problems, brought about by the interruption of trade and credit from Europe during the war

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years.31 In effect, he wanted to replace liquor revenues with direct taxation. To an extent, the liberal state had been able to coddle the bourgeoisie by not taxing it and running the business of government, through revenues from the state liquor monopoly. That the cost of this strategy entailed a high rate of arrests for drunkenness, as well as pervasive alcoholism, did not seem to matter to the liberal establishment. The “necessary evil” of the liquor monopoly, which benefited the state at the expense of fostering alcoholism among its citizenry, was one example of the utilitarian approach to fiscal policy that liberals espoused and which benefited the coffee bourgeoisie by avoiding income taxes. On the local level, municipalities such as Puntarenas shared the liberals’ reliance on the liquor monopoly in the revenues collected from taquillas and vinaterías and in the fines collected from arrests for drunkenness. The municipality of Puntarenas rationalized its high incidence of alcoholism by diverting police fines for drunkenness to such purposes as financing schools.32 In reality, however, the municipality of Puntarenas encouraged the same “social problem” that the liberal oligarchy of the highlands both helped to create and attempted to eliminate through a program of social hygiene. The difference was that, in the port, social control and geographical segregation were not options as in the highlands. Vice was as integral to the economy of Puntarenas as coffee was to that of the highlands. As war continued in Europe, the nation’s reliance on income from coffee exports was tested. Profits from the national liquor monopoly became too important to the state to accommodate González Flores’ moralist vision. The state-owned Banco Internacional, created in 1914, which extended credit to hard pressed producers, was capitalized by the government in the form of bonds—a first lien on all customs duties deposited in the National City Bank in New York—and treasury bonds guaranteed by customs duties and by the national income from liquor. As revenue from customs duties decreased during the war years, income from the liquor monopoly became more crucial in maintaining a base for domestic credit.33 Two years into the war, it became clear that a temperance movement in Costa Rica was not going to garner much political support. González Flores’s progressive program was met initially by the establishment of Puntarenas with politeness and the usual empty words of praise. As times became tougher, however, the business establishment of the port made demands on the González Flores administration to lift all restrictions on the sale of alcohol in the port. Two reports from Puntarenas to the central government, one in 1915 and the other in 1916, demonstrate an attitudinal change that took place among local politicians and elites in the face of worsening economic conditions.

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A 1915 report (covering activity for 1914) from Puntarenas’ Chief of Police, don Amadeo Boza McKeller, supports “the social mission” of González Flores’ new initiatives: Drunkenness has been a vice formerly believed to be difficult to get rid of, but the moralizing laws of the government, complied with faithfully by authorities, have demonstrated conclusively that good practical results are in sight. The suppression of the Saturday dances, if hurting the interests of the taquilleros, has also certainly advanced morality; now the worker cannot waste his salary in bachanals (las bacanales); instead he is required to work to devote the fruit of his labor to maintaining his family.34

Apparently, the Chief of Police was trying to impress the new reformist President by demonstrating support for a new program to curb drinking and prostitution at the expense of the taquilleros’ income and thus municipal taxes. Within two years, more of such actions affected the taquilleros and hence reformist policies were re-thought. An agreement between the central government and the municipal council of the port in 1916, when the full impact of world events was being felt throughout the country, addressed the issues of tourism, taquilleros, and the need to loosen the laws on liquor licenses.35 In the accord, the central government approved a request, submitted by the business community of Puntarenas, for an increase in the number of patents (or liquor licenses) for the summer months of January through April of 1917. The same petition requested a reduction in railroad passenger fares in order to stimulate tourism from the Central Valley. The number of taquilla licenses would be increased by 25%, vinatería licenses by 50% and commercial enterprises (shops, department stores, grocery stores, hotels and tortoiseshell shops) by 75%. The petition argued that taxes from this would benefit the municipality. Liquor taxes generated the most income for the port.36 The request for a temporary relaxation of the patent laws by the business community of Puntarenas in 1916, in the midst of national and local fiscal crises, reflected its impatience with González Flores’ lofty reformism, which was out of sync with the realities of economic life in Puntarenas. The port lined up with the old liberal economic status quo, particularly with respect to the reliance on liquor revenues. An examination of the petition presented to the President by the Municipal Council of Puntarenas offers a look at the business community’s investment in fostering alcohol consumption in the port. The petition consisted of a letter submitted to the Municipal Council, written by the leading members of the port’s commercial class. These names included

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the “higher-ups” of porteño society, as well as the leading members of the Chinese informal economy who, while not members of the all-Hispanic Municipal Council, had strong ties to the Council and shared the same commercial interests.37 Among the “higher ups” was “don” Teodoro Roiz, born in Santander, Spain and a prominent member of the Spanish Colony and Beneficent Association. He owned a soap and candle factory in the port and imported cognac, champagne and beer from France and Spain. Also signing the petition was “don” Serafin Saravia, a native Costa Rican, who was a merchant specializing in the export of lumber (cedar, mahogany and cocobolo) to Europe and South America, as well as hides, deer skins, rubber, and mother of pearl. He held the position of Consul for Perú and was married to “doña” Filomena Roger, “a prominent member of Puntarenas society and for many years Captain of the port.” She was related to “don” Pablo Angulo Roger, the Municipal Treasurer, whose home doubled as the city Treasury. Another signature was that of Nicolás Lizano, formerly Governor of the Comarca of Puntarenas. In this group were several members of the Chinese merchant community, many closely associated with sexual commerce—most notably brothel owners Pedro Quirós (“Chino Pedro”) and Pío Chan. They were united in their opposition to the central government’s restrictive commercial license policy and all, in one way or another, owed much of their livelihoods to alcohol consumption in the port, as well as to the activities associated with it. Progressive interpretations of morality were as antithetical to the economic way of life of the port as liberal morality had been, particularly during times of recession. In Puntarenas, vice was the glue that held all classes together.

Contraband Activities The frontier aspects of Costa Rica’s federal system in terms of contraband activities persisted well past completion of the railroads. If Pedro Quirós and Pío Chan represented the elites of the informal economy of Puntarenas, another element represented the mainstream of the informal economy. Bootlegging was an accepted practice in Puntarenas, as well as throughout the littoral provinces of Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón.38 Neither accelerated communications by railway, short-lived progressive reforms, nor the Tinocco dictatorship (1917–1919) appear to have limited the production and distribution of contraband liquor in the littoral provinces. Both before and after 1910, the Chinese were particularly active in bootlegging in all three provinces. For Limón, at the height of the banana boom in 1908, Leon Azofeifa writes, “many merchants were selling liquor without licenses, prompting the council to take measures against them. At

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a later date, it would become evident that many Chinese merchants were among those who did not have liquor licenses.”39 Newspaper reports of periodic crack-downs on infractions of the Ley de Licores in Puntarenas demonstrated a parallel trend in the high incidence of Chinese involved in contraband liquor activities. An article in El Heraldo in 1919 provides an example of the admission of open bootlegging during a period of crackdowns by the Ministerio de Gobernación. “The police arrested a Chinese man selling guaro and rum in public to the music of a marimba and guitar band.”40 The next day another article appeared: “The Ministro de Gobernación is cracking down on infractions. Last Sunday Juan Rafael Chan, José Sing Li, Abraham Brais and José Lin Sánchez were fined 25 colones each.”41 However, even during times of serious police vigilance, penalties were not onerous. Official figures on infractions of the Liquor Law in Puntarenas were scant, an indication that arrests and fines were minimal and sporadic.42 The sale and consumption of opium in Puntarenas is a subject shrouded in mystery, but which nevertheless should be noted. In 1928, Minister of Public Health Solon Nuñez was quoted by one San José newspaper as saying that, before 1925, heroin, and particularly opium, “was entering the country by the tons.”43 The first mention of opium entering the country is in reference to the market for opium among Chinese laborers in the 1870s working on the railroad. Leon Azofiefa writes that opium was made available to them on a weekly basis.44 Steven Palmer, outlining the background of a heroin epidemic among hundreds of young artisans and prostitutes in San José from 1928–29, traces its sale to the end of the nineteenth century when a variety of drugs, later called “heroicas” or “estupefacientes,” were available in pharmacies throughout the country. A 1907 law, not enforced, called for importers to report the presence of opium products to the Ministerio de Gobernación. Not until the 1920s were some drugs declared dangerous and more restrictive legislation enacted.45 A social history of drugs in Puntarenas might begin with the port’s reported 15 pharmacies in 1905. This number is substantial when compared to the reported 18 pharmacies in San José with over five times the population of Puntarenas, or when compared to the reported two pharmacies in Limón whose volume of trade was almost ten times that of Puntarenas in that year.46 Unfortunately, municipal taxes on pharmacies in the port did not appear in subsequent commercial censuses, so information is scant. El libro azul (1916) profiled two of the more up-scale pharmacies of the port, owned by Hispanics, with photographs of well-stocked, spacious store interiors of many workers. Farmacía “La Victoria” was described as “the best-known and recommended in the port of Puntarenas, (that) furnishes

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the other stores of the Province with drugs, for, added to his wide scientific knowledge, Señor Garrido (the owner) is also a businessman of exceptional capabilities.”47 The leap from Señor Garrido’s business acumen to the “tons of opium” that Health Minister Nuñez claimed (legally) entered the country before 1925 is an easy one, if empirically shaky. The later memoirs of Dr. Alvarez Valle make reference to the drug addicts and homosexuals that frequented la colmena.48 Nevertheless, regardless of evidence that opium came to the country in large quantities, court cases of prostitutes in the port show that alcohol and the culture of the cantina most often encouraged the problems that landed these women in court and sometimes jail. Absent were accusations of bad character attributable to the consumption of opiates.

Las Bacanales: Vice as Usual in Puntarenas There is no evidence that mores were shaken significantly in Puerto Puntarenas after the completion of the railway when a new wave of visitors from the Central Valley descended on the port. Nor is it apparent that “the social mission” referred to in the Memoria of 1914 was anything more than a phrase used to placate the regime of González Flores. Vice was too profitable and had enjoyed free rein in the port for too long. The “social mission” in the port itself, due to the completion of the railroad and the new flows of people that accompanied it, failed to address the increasing numbers of clandestine prostitutes and the highest percent of arrests for drunkenness of any city in the country. Nevertheless, the usual cries of outrage over clandestine prostitution filled the provincial reports of Puntarenas to the central government. In February of 1912, the head of the Health Department of Puntarenas, Dr. Spencer Franklin, reported, “I must inform you that the service of Profilaxis Venérea isn’t going well in this city. To those doctors conducting examinations every Monday, only 15 women go and all are clean. But in my practice everyday come in those with venereal disease  .  .  .  those not inscribed are transmitting the disease, the majority of whom attend the public marimba dances and need to register.”49 These were the Saturday dances—las bacanales—referred to earlier, that were occasionally suppressed, hurting the taquilleros. In practice, porteño authorities were doing less and less to regulate the activities of prostitutes. Throughout the country, but especially in Puntarenas, the public profile of the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea began to fade in the years after 1900. A report in 1899 put the number of registered prostitutes in the country at 2,196 while the reported total for the 1910–1916 period was down to 862.50 The census of registered prostitutes and weekly

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examinations only appeared in the Memoria de Gobernación y Policía in 1916 after a 17 year gap, covering the years from 1910 to 1916. A reported 105 prostitutes registered for the six year period in Puntarenas. Out of that number, only 14 (13%) were reported as showing up for exams, 81 were absent and 10 had moved to another jurisdiction. These figures represented a decline in registration and compliance in the port from an earlier three year period from 1894 to 1897 (Table 4–1) when, out of 117 registered prostitutes of the port, 21 canceled registrations and 50% were sanctioned for failure to show up for examinations. For the country as a whole in the six year period from 1910–1916, out of 862 registered prostitutes, 299 (35%) were examined.51 This indicates a sizable decline in total registrations from the earlier figures, but not necessarily rates of compliance through weekly medical examinations. From 1894–1897, total registrations in the country numbered 1,744 with 30% sanctioned for non-compliance.52 Between the two periods, compliance in Puntarenas dropped from 50% to 13%; nationwide, compliance dropped from 35% to 30%. Regulation in the port was quite a bit more lax than in the country as a whole.

The Treatment of Syphilis Evasion of compliance by prostitutes in the port was motivated, in part, by official procedures for dealing with infected prostitutes. Until 1923, when a venereal disease unit was built in San Rafael Hospital in Puntarenas, infected women of the port were “sentenced” to the Hospital de La Algodonera in San José which doubled as a prison and was administered by the Sisters of Good Shepherd. There is little evidence of the numbers of infected porteño prostitutes serving time in La Algodonera.53 What seems fairly apparent is that this possibility drove many registered prostitutes away from registration and exams. When a clinic for venereal disease was completed in the port by 1923, 26 out of 26 registered prostitutes showed up for exams—the first perfect record, up from 16 out of 106 in 1919, 19 out of 95 in 1920, and 12 out of 27 in 1922.54 The prospect of being treated “medically” rather than “criminally” may explain the difference. Even after waves of josefinos descended upon the port by train after 1910, both local and national authorities did little to enforce the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea. For the year 1916, there were 54 arrests in the country for non-compliance, with penalties of one month in jail. Broken down by province, arrests were: San José, 17; Cartago, 8; Heredia, 9; Alajuela, 19; and Puntarenas, 1.55 To what may we attribute the relatively invisible role of the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea in Puntarenas? One explanation could be that, while syphilis was a widespread problem, as reported

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by health officials, people were not actually dying from it. Other diseases were more serious. In 1912, some of the causes of death in the nation were (in order of severity): intestinal parasites (641), children’s convulsions (558), infantile cholera (396) bronchitis (356), dysentery (341), gastroenteritis (305), enteritis (305), tuberculosis (290), malaria (223) and accidents (220). Other causes of death included: cancer (171), whooping cough (121), bronchial pneumonia (111), typhoid (85), influenza (57), hookworm (50), scarlet fever (13), diphtheria (12), and yellow fever (3).56 Venereal disease was not among these, although by 1916, the Hospital de La Algodonera treated 249 cases of various forms and combinations of venereal disease—gonorrhea, syphilis, and chancres.57 Deaths from syphilis appear in the Anuario Estadístico for the first time in 1917. In that year, 20 deaths were reported as the result of syphilis. In 1918, there were 31 deaths from syphilis, of which 3 were reported from the Province of Puntarenas. The greatest number of 13 deaths came from Limón Province for that year. By 1919, 27 deaths were attributed to syphilis with none reported from Puntarenas. These figures must have seemed insignificant when compared to the reported 358 and 440 deaths from tuberculosis in the country in 1917 and 1918 respectively.58 In 1920, 2,298 deaths from influenza in the country overshadowed all other diseases.59 With so many other more threatening medical problems in the country, it is possible that syphilis itself was viewed more as a moral problem than a medical one. This might account for the greater degree of enforcement of the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea in the highlands—where standards of morality were stricter—than in the lowlands, where they were not. This brings forth the question of state attitudes about syphilis itself. If it was not killing people, then why the concern? Syphilis had unique properties that posed other threats. It was highly contagious and difficult to diagnose and treat. A mother could pass it to her child during the birth process. The appearance of symptoms of syphilis—oozing sores on the body— suggested that the victim had engaged in sexual relations with someone who had more than one sexual partner. It was identified with prostitution. Moreover, some patients exposed others to it years before seeking medical attention. All of these conditions posed threats to the sanctity of the family, the bedrock of coffee culture in the highlands, owing to its role in insuring a population of healthy workers in a society which had failed to attract European immigrants. The most precise means of making a diagnosis was the Wasserman test which required a blood sample. For most of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, physicians had relied on compounds of mercury bichloride and potassium iodide to treat syphilitic lesions, although it was

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not clear if these preparations eliminated the disease from the body.60 The Wasserman test was administered in only 3 cases throughout the country in 1912.61 By 1924, 223 Wassermann tests were listed in the laboratory of the newly created Ministerio de Salubridad Pública in San José. As campaigns for social hygiene intensified in Costa Rica’s highlands during the 1920s, more efforts were made to treat venereal disease. By the 1920s anti-venereal clinics were using Neo-Salvarsan, a compound which better suppressed the symptoms of the disease. Not until the development of penicillin in the 1940s was a cure for syphilis finally available. Women of the port convicted of crimes or found to be infected with venereal disease theoretically were incarcerated in the Carcél de Mujeres in San José, administered by the sisters of Good Shepherd beginning in 1914.62 In 1921, 47 women convicted of crimes entered the jail; 38 left. There were 416 detainees and 226 prostitutes infected with venereal disease that year, coming from “distinct places in the country.” 204 were “cured” and allowed to leave after treatments of iodine of potassium taken orally, injections of mercury and 552 injections of neo-salvarsan.63 In 1923, the same year a syphilis clinic was established in Puntarenas, 1,333 injections had been administered of Neo-Salvarsan, Mercury and Trepol nationwide.64 The 1920s saw the culmination of state efforts to sanitize the population with the creation of the Subsecretariat of Hygiene and Public Health in 1920, led by Dr. Solón Nuñéz and Rockefeller Foundation emissary Luis Shapiro, which by 1927 became the Ministry of Public Health. Steven Palmer has characterized the area of public health in Costa Rica at this time as “the most effective of interventions by the liberal state in the magnum opus of social hygienization.”65 Indeed, from the 1910s on, the reports to the central government from all provinces, including Puntarenas, were laden with statistics on birth and death rates, diseases, and all manner of social pathologies associated with petty and more serious criminal behavior. Writes Palmer: As the (Rockefeller) hygiene program became entrenched throughout the country’s primary school system, the distinction between physical and moral hygiene was blurred, and both were linked to national values. Being a good Costa Rican became increasingly impossible unless one defecated in a latrine, bathed once a day, and underwent scientific examination and purification at the hands of the state.66

Save for the creation of a clinic for venereal disease in Puntarenas and the periodic upgrading of the San Rafael Hospital (which in 1927 reported housing 41 patients to census takers), institutional facilities spawned by the

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public health frenzy of the highlands were relatively absent in the port.67 The case of the aforementioned U.S. trained district physician, Dr. Spencer Franklin, is an example of official priorities with respect to the allocation of medical resources in the port. In the account of George Putnam Palmer, a U.S. publisher and travel writer visiting Puntarenas in 1912, a portrait emerges of the political hierarchy of government appointed medical personnel. Franklin met Palmer’s boat to inspect the passengers and crew for contagious disease. Palmer spent the day with Franklin and noted that he was the real “boss” of the port. According to Palmer, “No walk we took was free from interruption by some one who wished medical advise.”68 On top of his salary of 400 colones a year from the central government (about $2,400), his private practice was prosperous putting him in a more elite category of doctors than those associated with the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea, who were less educated and less well paid.69 The security of the port was a greater priority for the state than the health of the port’s inhabitants. Although potable water and modern sewage systems were respected in the port as absolute infrastructural necessities, the tenets of physical and moral hygiene in the highlands, which targeted alcoholism, prostitution, concubinage, and vagrancy were, for the most part, ignored in the port, regardless of contact with the steady stream of elites from the highlands in the summer months between January and May. Citizens of the port enjoyed an exemption from the nationalism of “purification at the hands of the state.”

Drinking and Crime in the Port Certainly the greatest affront to the principle of moral hygiene in the port was its high rate of alcoholism and arrests for drunkenness. Convictions for faltas de embriaguez (misdemeanors of drunkenness) in the port peaked in 1913 at 995, up from 459 in 1909.70 In 1910 the cantón central (central county) of Puntarenas reported 1,062 convictions for drunkenness compared to 1,797 for the cantón central of San José, this in a population roughly one fourth that of the cantón of San José. The figure for the cantón of Puntarenas represented the highest per capita number of convictions for drunkenness of all 43 counties of the country.71 As indicated in Table 7–1, the port of Puntarenas, as compared to the capital of San José and Puerto Limón for the 1913–1919 period, reported a disproportionately high number of convictions for drunkenness. For example, based on the published population data for 1921, the 175 per 1000 convictions for drunkenness in the city of Puntarenas in 1913,

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Table7-1:ConvictionsforDrunkennessintheCitiesof Table 7-1. Convictions for Drunkenness in the Cities of Puntarenas, San José and Limón, 1913–1919 Puntarenas,SanJoséandLimón,1913-1919

Puntarenas

SanJosé

Limón

Date

convictions

per 1000* convictions per 1000** convictions per 1000***

1913

995

175

1914

581

102

1,977

47

439

60

1915

525

92

1,464

35

170

23

1916

672

118

1,191

28

184

25

1917

501

88

1,151

27

156

21

1918

338

59

659

16

139

19

1919

364

64

563

13

124

17

1,802

43

761

104

*Based on published 1921 population (5,689 ) for city of Puntarenas **Based on published 1921 population (42,240 ) for city of SanJosé ***Based on published 1921 population (7,325) for city of Limón

Source: República de Costa Rica: DGEC, Anuario estadístico, años 1913–1919, 1921. Source:República de Costa Rica: DGEC, Anuarioestadístico, años 1913-1919, 1921

as compared to the 43 per 1000 for the capital of San José for the same year, is strikingly higher. For the seven year period of 1913–1919, the average per 1000 convictions for drunkenness was 100 for the city of Puntarenas, 38 for the city of Limón, and 30 for the city of San José, a telling indicator of the volume of alcohol consumed in Puntarenas, even factoring in the busy traffic which was not counted in the population figures. Provincial figures for convictions of drunkenness indicate that the vast majority of arrests took place in the provincial capitals. For example, in 1913, the 995 convictions for drunkenness in the port of Puntarenas amounted to 95% of the 1,041 reported for Puntarenas Province. Convictions in the capital of San José amounted to 1,041 out of the provincial total of 1,802 convictions, or 85% of all convictions for the province. In Limón, the port reported 761, or 94% of the 803 convictions for drunkenness in Limón Province.72 This is not surprising given that liquor licenses were concentrated in populated areas where police and judicial infrastructures were in place. Figures on sales of liquor from the Fábrica Nacional de Licores (the National Liquor Factory) in 1911 attest to the inordinate amount of drinking taking place in Puntarenas. In that year, the port of Puntarenas received greater than a third of the quantity of aguardiente and liquors as was received by the capital of San José, whose population was over six times that of the port.73

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The per capita consumption of alcohol in Puntarenas well surpassed that of all other cities, and was not carried on primarily by visitors. A breakdown of convictions for drunkenness and misdemeanors in the cantón of Puntarenas for 1914 indicates that, despite the barrage of reports to the central government from provincial officials that “outsiders” were the troublemakers, the majority of those arrested were natives of the cantón. Of the 1,185 convictions for faltas in 1914—581 for drunkenness—1,103 were natives of the cantón, 82 outsiders, 883 Costa Ricans, and 312 foreigners. In addition, 975 included men, 210 women, 1,079 single, 80 married.74 Male-female ratios in the port which favored women, when combined with the greater number of drinking venues in Puntarenas, created a situation of increased drinking in the port by women. The Liquor Law(Ley de Licores) of December 6, 1906 allowed for one taquilla and one vinatería for every 300 inhabitants in provincial capitals, calculated every two years by the municipalities75 If Puntarenas’ population remained fairly constant in the 1910s at about 4,000 inhabitants, this allowed for about 13 of each type of establishment in the limited geography of the port—a greater concentration of bars and women than in other cities. Add to this the disproportionate number of visitors frequenting these establishments and a picture emerges of a chaotic beehive. It is quite likely that, as with the situation of bootlegging, drinking establishments without licenses also operated throughout the port. Still, despite the influx of outsiders, the basic profile of the troublemaker in 1914 was that of a single local—18% female, 82% male—arrested for drunkenness. In Puntarenas, more than any other urban site in Costa Rica, the “social problem” entailed excessive alcohol consumption by single men and women. A report from an official in the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea of San José in 1925 cited alcohol as the indirect cause of venereal disease. “The drunk is not in a condition to judge the danger and take precautions. The history of many cases of syphilis and gonorrhea show that these illnesses have been contracted después de una orgía (after an orgy).”76 This report linked alcohol with venereal disease and prostitution, warning that the intemperate mix of each went against the grain of suitable behavior. Regulated prostitution was the prerequisite for this official’s livelihood as an employee of the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea, just as alcohol consumption was the basis of profits for the state liquor monopoly. Rather than challenge the institutions upon which prostitution and alcoholism rested, calls for moderation and restraint replaced the more insistent reform efforts in vogue at the time in other nations, particularly the United States. True reform was replaced with the articulation of a “social problem” in which single people were depicted as drinking too much and threatening

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the national genetic pool with unsafe sex and increased incidence of venereal disease. The liberal solution to this problem by the 1920s in the highlands was more police surveillance. In 1922, the number of police for the first time outstripped the number of soldiers in Costa Rica.77 In Puntarenas, by 1921, there were 106 police in the port of Puntarenas, primarily engaged in arresting and processing drunks.78 Processing consisted of the collection of fines, an activity which was an important source of municipal revenue. Nevertheless, aggressive challenges against vice were few as court cases and newspaper reports showed very thin lines between the keepers and the kept. A 1920 report in El Viajero titled “El hecho de sangre de la Colmena” (“Bloodshed in la colmena”) noted a scene of “disturbance and corruption,” where a police lieutenant and another police officer exchanged blows with two civilians in a brothel during a civic fiesta.79 Cantina life in the port was not confined to sailors and visitors, but an integral part of the social life of municipal employees such as the above police officers. While the business of collecting fines for the increasing amount of faltas continued after 1910, as shown in Table 7–1, total numbers of penalties for drunkenness did not increase significantly. Published data of criminal activity in the provinces mirrored this pattern, that is, did not show a marked increase for Puntarenas, suggesting that a “social problem” (based on criminal activity) in Puntarenas was not necessarily greater than it was before the completion of the railroad. As Table 7–2 indicates, with the exception of 1915 when 271 criminal cases were reported for the province, the years from 1911 to 1919 show the number of criminal cases more or less in line with that of the pre-railroad years, despite the increase in the provincial population after 1910. Lara Putnam has documented that, for Puntarenas Province, the average annual homicides per 100,000 for the 1890–1925 period was 20.1, higher than the 7.6 homicides for San José Province, in line with 20.2 homicides for Guanacaste, and less than the 30.5 average for Limón Province.80 These figures tell us that despite the fact that general criminal activity did not increase in Puntarenas Province after the completion of the railroad, homicide was consistently heavier in the coastal provinces, presumably because of the relative absence of police and ideological pressure in the periphery, transient populations, and drinking habits characteristic of frontier and port life. The apparent jump in criminal activity in Puntarenas in 1915 to 271 cases was likely a response to the need to fill up the new jail in the port. Despite an actual decrease in the crime rate of Puntarenas from 132 in 1912 to 98 in 1913, President Ricardo Jiménez, in 1913, superseded the authority of the Municipal Council of Puntarenas by ordering the erection of a new cement penitentiary. It adjoined the police barracks of the port, next door to

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Table 7-2: Criminal Cases by1904–1919 Province, 1904-1919 Table 7-2. Criminal Cases by Province, Date Puntarenas 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919

57 94 52 185 151 100 101 100 132 98 –271 129 169 127 102

Per 10,000* 23.6 38.9 21.5 76.6 62.5 41.4 41.8 41.4 54.7 40.6 –112.2 53.4 70.0 52.6 42.4

San José

Per 10,000**

Limón

697 468 324 687 722 447 427 659 650 401 –545 760 494 379 269

48.4 32.5 22.5 47.7 50.1 31.1 29.7 45.8 45.2 27.9 –37.9 52.8 34.3 26.3 18.7

39 63 23 81 69 69 50 34 234 237 –261 131 107 117 63

Per 10,000*** 16.4 26.5 9.9 34.1 29.1 29.1 21.1 14.3 98.5 99.9 –109.9 55.2 45.1 49.2 26.5

*Based on 1921 population of 24,146 for Puntarenas Province **Based on 1921 population of 143,958 for San José Province ***Based on 1921 population of 23,749 for Limón Province

Sources: República de Costa Rica, DGEC, Anuario estadítsticos, años 1911–1919, 1921; Sources: La República de Costa Rica, DGEC, Anuario Ricardo Jinesta, evolución peniternciaría, 238. estadítsticos, años 1911-1919, 1921; Ricardo Jinesta, La evolución peniternciaría, 238.

the liquor storehouse, sandwiched between the Catholic Church and la colmena.81 When completed in 1914, it bore a resemblance to the penitentiary erected in San José in 1910 by then President González Víquez—a “European-style” panoptic penitentiary with a central tower for observation of all parts of the prison. These achievements by the two sacerdotes de la patria (priests of the fatherland)—two time President González Víquez (1906– 1910, 1928–1932) and three time President Ricardo Jiménez (1910–1914, 1924–1928, 1932–1936)—offer an example of liberal theory over-shooting the reality at hand.82 Both men, starting their careers as law students together, had been members of the braintrust of the Liberal Reform period of the 1880s. González Víquez graduated from law school in 1884 with a dissertation entitled “Criminal Irresponsibility.” In it, he anticipated the reform of the penal system through the construction of a “majestic and tranquil penitentiary that receives, like a profoundly loving mother, the wretches who have strayed from the path of duty.”83 During the same period, his fellow law student Ricardo Jiménez wrote on the same theme, stressing the inadequacies of Costa Rica’s system of “collective prisons” (many dispersed throughout the periphery). He also proposed the adoption of the European penitentiary model with a cellular system which would deter recidivism by

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“awakening the conscience of the criminal” and isolating him from “moral contagion.”84 In reality, neither prison fulfilled the moral mission which was intended to correct prisoners through a prolonged program of rehabilitation. Neither was particularly nurturing and neither separated criminals for individualized treatment. Describing the penitentiary in San José, Steven Palmer writes that the facility departed radically from the penitentiary ideal in that the majority of prisoners at any one time were juveniles and adults convicted of misdemeanors and unable to pay their fines. A 1914 report noted that there were 155 such prisoners on an average day in the penitentiary in San José causing overcrowding, its population constantly being cycled through on short sentences.85 A 1921 report from provincial officials in Puntarenas to the central government described a situation in the Cárcel Pública of Puntarenas similar to the one described by Palmer. At this time the prison had a warden, an assistant and 7 policemen. An inventory for the prison listed 20 cots, 3 tables, 4 benches, an electric bell and 4 spittoons, among other things. Of the 90 prisoners jailed for criminal activity that year, 25 remained and 65 had been transferred to the all male island prison of San Lucas, a ferry ride away. 1,093 entered and the same number left as detainees, presumably unable to pay their fines for misdemeanors.86 The large number of detainees reveal the function of the jail more as a holding tank for those arrested primarily for drunkenness and unable to pay their fines. All the positivist theories of criminology originating from Europe and filtering through the personal libraries of Costa Rica’s liberal establishment could not mask the fact that the profits produced for the state and for private individuals from alcohol production and consumption in Costa Rica since colonial times had encouraged a culture of drinking. This culture was particularly intense in Puntarenas and served as the basis of a “social problem,” as well as drove the penal policy of the Carcél Pública in the port.

Prosperity, Labor, and Mass Culture on the Eve of the 1927 Census If the First World War had pre-empted any radical moral reform in Puntarenas and the country as a whole during the 1910s, the affluent 1920s, with modernized entertainments, reinforced the relaxed mores that had been a feature of porteño life. For single young women of the port, some, no doubt, away from patriarchal households in other parts of the country, the freedoms offered in the port went beyond the options to drink and dance or to engage in paid sex. The port in the 1920s boasted other paid entertainments

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that provided a lure to young men and women other than merely a place to find work. Life in the port was prosperous. A 1922 editorial in El Heraldo boasted of the abundance of opportunities in the port. “No one goes to bed hungry as in other great population centers.”87 This prosperity, as well as a deep-rooted interdependence among classes of the port in the common pursuit of livelihoods based on transportation and tourism, acted to deter the formation of a more contentious class consciousness as was forming in other parts of the country. The role of the state in shaping such a consensus is evident in early legislation listing guidelines for the conduct of oxcart drivers, dock workers and sailors in Puntarenas. In 1846, the “Reglamento de Puertos” and “Ley Para el Gobierno de los Puertos” outlined all operations of the port including the rights and obligations of transport workers, as well as their organization which included merchantsupervised guilds. The “Reglamento Para la Marina del Golfo de Nicoya” of 1865 regulated every aspect of the regional trade of the Gulf of Nicoya including the salaries and conduct of sailors.88 The apparently fair hand of the state, motivated by the need for a stable work force in its export sector, was therefore well established and insured relatively smooth relations between merchants and transport workers. By the last two decades of the nineteenth century, labor activity in the port of Puntarenas followed the model created by artisans in the cities of the highlands, some under the influence of classic liberalism or Freemasonry. These workers belonged to mutual assistance organizations, often with employer participation. In general they limited themselves to creating savings associations and undertaking cultural activities. Laborers of other peripheries of Costa Rica pursued more militant paths to protest their working conditions. In the 1870s, Chinese and Italian laborers of the Atlantic zone, imported to build the railroad, were the first laborers of Central America to riot and go on strike against inhumane working conditions. In the rural western periphery of Guanacaste, peasant resistance to landlord encroachments was a feature of the 1900–1930 period.89 The 1911 Abangares miners’ strike in highland Guanacaste in which some 14 West Indian foremen were killed by Hispanic laborers was a flare-up reflecting local dissatisfaction with foreign mining operations.90 In general however, the lack of more coercive labor relations and the absence of European immigration in Costa Rica acted to insulate the country from the revolutionary upsurge in Europe which found its way to other regions of Latin America through emigrants from such countries as Italy and Spain. Even though a Centro Socialista sympathetic to the Russian Revolution existed in 1919, the Bolsheviks had few followers in Costa Rica until the late 1920s.91 Before the creation of the Communist Party in 1931, the only nationwide labor activity involving the urban centers of the

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highlands as well as the ports of Limón and Puntarenas occurred in the General Strike of 1920, which sought and won a wage increase and eight hour day for the nation’s workers. It was initiated by carpenters and cabinet makers, then taken up by the Confederación General de Trabajadores and the Centro Socialista. Significantly, before the strike even began, the first group of strikers to have their demands met were those employed by the state—workers of the Pacific Railroad, the National Liquor Factory, the various ministries and so on.92 The state acted in a concessionary manner when faced with a strike that threatened its own operation and sustenance. While the state feverishly sought to mold the “dangerous classes” of highland urban centers such as San José in the virtues of hard work, it was quick to appease “the converted,” particularly those workers employed in industries that directly or indirectly financed the state. Artisan labor unions existed in Puntarenas after 1910, but, for the most part, their members were involved in social welfare projects and planned parties instead of strikes. In September of 1916, El Centro de Artesanos de Puntarenas organized a party for the prisoners of the new Cárcel Pública.93 On the eve of Easter in 1922, el Centro de Obreros de Puntarenas held an “animated” dance that lasted until Easter morning, offering “honest distractions to union members.”94 The same organization held an annual fiesta in January. The port was anything but a hotbed of labor unrest recalling the labor tradition, outlined in Chapter Six, of coddled oxcart drivers and railroad workers of the western frontier. The prosperous 1920s helped neutralize unionism in the port—a unionism, then and later, more resembling the bread-and-butter unionism of other liberal democracies than the Marxist militancy which characterized the labor movement in Limón in the 1930s, or the right wing corporatism of other Latin American nations, such as Argentina.95 During the 1920s, the impact of the advent of advertising and electricity in Puntarenas was reflected in the proliferation of mass culture entertainments such as radio and cinema. As early as 1918, advertisements appeared in local newspapers for records, phonographs, and typewriters.96 An editorial in 1922 lauded the “Yankee” style of women wearing Knickerbocker pants.97 Ads began to appear for Chesterfield cigarettes.98 Inhabitants and visitors of the port had access to all the amenities of modern life. The traveling tour group Tango Argentina appeared at the Teatro Puntarenas.99 Not far away, the Teatro Sun Yat Sen regularly showed films of Rudolph Valentino such as “El hijo del sheik.” Other advertised films included “La marca del Zorro” with Douglas Fairbanks, Marie Pickford and Estella Dallas and “Una noche del amor” with Ronald Coleman and Vilma Bankey.100 On the birthday of Sun Yat Sen, November 12, the Teatro Sun Yat Sen and all Chinese

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establishments of the port closed so that the Chinese community could celebrate at a party in the Club Wa Sion.101 An editorial in El Heraldo of the same year implored porteño citizens to learn English “just like the President (Ricardo Jiménez).” presumably in order to converse in the language of the nation (the U.S.) which was leading the consumer revolution.102 The port of Puntarenas had become a truly metropolitan center, made all the more so by mass transportation and mass entertainments. The same context that linked Sun Yat Sen to Ronald Coleman, linked Rudolph Valentino to tango and the brothel, and linked highland society to the international visitors and brown skinned service sector of the port, must have created serious ideological cleavages for liberal elites from the Central Valley whose self image included a white nation upholding family values. On the eve of publication of the Census of 1927, newspaper editorials and advertisements in the port painted a glossy and romanticized picture of street life in Puntarenas. One editorial, noting the opening of the “summer” season in January wrote: “As the tourist season begins, the very busy streets and leisurely nights give the impression of a beautiful Oriental garden where silk dresses glow, worn by beautiful girls of the interior, as well as the no less beautiful girls of Puntarenas.”103 Beneath the surface of this gauzy facade lay the more stark reality of a service sector catering not only to the beautiful people of the interior and the large steamers of the southern pier, but to the 22, 258 recorded passengers that entered the port in 1927 via mailships, ferries and small craft at the small pier on the north, emptying into la colmena.104 These were the littoral populations of Ballena, Beberdero, Chomes, San Lucas and scores of other points along the Gulf of Nicoya, Nicaragua and beyond whose numbers increased dramatically after rail service had been established between the port and San José in 1910, and who did not meet liberal racial standards for being “real” Costa Ricans. A measure of the way liberal society from the highlands handled this often confusing influx was its selective presentation of data collected for the 1927 Census, the first national census since 1892. In the census, liberals from the highlands sought to integrate the hodgepodge of cultures existent in Puntarenas into the nation through a process of white-washing that made the publication of the 1927 Census as much a political event as it was a demographic event.

Race and Civil Status in Puntarenas in the 1927 Census The 1927 Census was the first official national census to include the category of race, at a time characterized by a national obsession with eugenics, popular

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internationally and espousing theories of mongrelization and racial degeneracy. By the 1920s in Costa Rica, campaigns for social and racial hygiene dovetailed nicely with liberal half-myths of national whiteness and rural family values. The section on race in the published census included a paragraph reflecting the mind set of officials intent on fostering the “white legend.” As judged by these figures, the population of Costa Rica includes a high percentage of the white race, supposing that this group is composed of pure whites and others of whom the proportion of white blood is quite high. One may attribute, with good reason, the conditions of social and political order prevalent in our country, which have endowed us with those habits of peace and work so traditional among our people, to the racial homogeneity of the Costa Ricans.105

When the preliminary official report of the 1927 census returns came out, it revealed a national population far smaller than anticipated and which included over 19,000 Negroes in Limón, 832 Negroes in the Central Valley and 301 on the Pacific Coast. As Lara Putnam writes for Limón: The 1927 scandal both reflected and encouraged an increasingly racist conception of national rights, entitlement, and progress. In the following years accusations about immigrant workers’ biological nature and moral character would assume a central role in long-standing debates over the banana industry’s impact on the national economy.106

Although not faced with the same “scandal” producing data as was collected in Limón with its majority black population, census takers in Puntarenas bent the data on race to subvert that region’s anomalous demographic profile in the same way as is documented by Putnam for Limón. Of the roughly 75% native population of the port, 99% were counted as “white” even though 21.5% of this group came from Guanacaste Province which reported 68% mestizo population and 32% white population.107 Data obtained from the CIHAC data base, which consists of a representative one-in-ten sample created from the original tally sheets of the 1927 census, reveals the racial make-up, reported by census takers, of the roughly 25% foreign population of the port.108 The largest group of immigrants were from Nicaragua, mostly men from ages 17–30. All Nicaraguans (about 370 men and 140 women) were noted as white. Of the estimated 60 men and 30 women from Panama, 40 were noted as white, 10 mestizos, and 40 mulattos. All other immigrants from Latin America were noted as white. An estimated 130 Chinese were listed for the district, (15% women).

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Migrants from other parts of Costa Rica were “white.” Save for Panamanians and Chinese, census takers saw the port and province of Puntarenas in bleached and absolute terms. Inconsistencies lay in the labeling of Guanacastecans as predominantly mestizo while labeling Nicaraguans (the brothers of Guanacastecans) and the large segment of the Guanacastecan porteño population as white. Discrepancies existed between the published 1927 Census and the original tally sheets, reflecting political attitudes about marriage and concubine practices. As pointed out by Lara Putnam, Census interviewers created the label S.S.L., soltera sin ligamen (“single female without ties”), as “an on-the-ground compromise that allowed interviewers to record coresidential consensual union as a conjugal status for women.”109 The published statistics re-tabulated all those labeled soltera sin ligamen as “single” thereby altering the civil status of over a quarter of the single women in the port. (Of the 5% total population categorized as “SSL,” roughly 40 were men and 360 women.) The combined numbers of single men and women (42%) and those categorized “SSL” (5%), according to the sample, constituted a full 47% of the population of the port district, truly a force to be reckoned with. 14.6% of the total population were categorized “married,” 32% were children ages 0–8, 4.5% widowed, and 1.8% separated or divorced. Given these figures alone, it was apparent that the institution of marriage held a marginal place in the reality of porteños and that a fair share of children were born out of wedlock. What we may conclude from this discrepancy in civil status between the published and computerized data of the 1927 Census is that those responsible for the published version, which came out in 1928 during the administration of President Ricardo Jiménez, attempted to mitigate what was perceived to be a challenge to desirable marriage practices, by snuffing out a category that, in a sense, legitimized concubinage. Tables 7–3 and 7–4, charting the rates of legitimate births throughout the country from 1911 to 1927, show that the fears of liberal elites of unconventional lifestyles in the periphery were well founded. Rail service to each coast had failed to transfer the liberal ideal of legal Catholic Church marriages to populations of the peripheries. The average legitimacy rate for the four provinces of the Central Valley in 1927 (Table 7–4) was 86%. The average for the three coastal provinces for that year was 47%. The port of Puntarenas (Table 7–3) in 1927 showed a 42.2% legitimacy rate indicating that 57.8% of women having children in the port that year did so out of wedlock. In the same year, 74.8% of births in the capital of San Joséwere legitimate. The average legitimacy rate for the 1911–1927 period was 38.2% for the port of Puntarenas, 70.1% for the city of San José. From the time of the completion of the Pacific Railroad to the 1927

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Rates of Legitimate byCities, Major 1911–1927. Cities, 1911-1927 Table 7-3.Table Rates7-3: of Legitimate Births byBirths Major Coastal Provincial Capitals

Highland Provincial Capitals

Year

Puntarenas

Liberia

Limón

San José Alajuela Cartago Heredia

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927

40.3% 36.9% 30.3% 37.4% 35.7% 26.7% 31.8% –– 41.7% 41.3% 39.6% 40.3% 39.6% 39.8% 43.7% 42.0% 42.2%

38.2% 33.8% 35.1% 24.0% 48.4% 33.3% 41.0% –– 32.4% 31.6% 35.9% 31.1% 35.5% 26.7% 387.% 35.5%. 39.6%

41.8% 37.9% 41.1% 40.6% 33.6% 33.0% 36.8% –– 39.2% 44.6% 45.9% 42.3% 44.3% 39.9% 48.9% 43.9% 48.6%

68.7% 63.9% 65.4% 68.4% 71.1% 70.2% 70.8% –– 67.6%. 67.5% 69.2% 69.8% 71,2% 70.9% 72.8% 75.3% 74.8%

64.3% 60.6% 61.7% 61.8% 60.6% 62.4% 64.5% –– 66.5% 65.3% 60.4% 62.3% 64.8% 61.1 % 68.0% 67.5% 64.5%

77.8% 81.4% 79.4% 88.8% 83.6% 80.0% 80.0% –– 78.5% 77.1% 77.0% 82.3% 74.3% 80.7% 77.3% 78.8% 74.6%

77.9% 77.0% 76.5% 76.3% 78.8% 77.0% 78.7% –– 82.3% 82.1% 78.4% 78.9% 83.0% 83.8% 85.1% 82.3% 83.9%

Average

38.2%

34.8%

41.5%

70.1%

63.6%

79.2%

80.0%

Source: República de Costa Rica, DGEC, Anuario Estadístico, años 1911–1927, vols. Source: República de Costa Rica, DGEC, Anuario Estadístico, años 1911-1927, vols. 15–31. 15-31.

Census, the legitimacy rate for childbirth in the port rose by less than 2%. While we have already established that great numbers of visitors from San José made the trip to Puntarenas by train and while census figures indicate that 25% of the native population of the port was born in provinces of the Central Valley, there is no evidence that liberal ideology had heavy impact on the social mores of the port.110 Indicators point to a life style in the port that was more reinforced than changed with the prosperity that the Pacific Railroad brought. Not all regions of the periphery, however, adopted the relaxed mores of Puerto Puntarenas. Take, for example, Esparta, 14 miles inland and three train stops away from the port. Before and after the completion of the Pacific Railroad, legitimacy rates for child bearing in Esparta fell in between those of the highlands and those of the port. In 1911, 75% of births in Esparta were classified legitimate; in 1921, 64% were legitimate; by 1928, 78% were legitimate. This helps account for Puntarenas Province’s greater showing of legitimate births (and legal marriages) for the 1911–1927 period—averaging just over 50%—than that of the port—averaging under

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Table 7-4. Rates of Legitimate by Provinces, 1911-1927. Table 7- 4: Rates ofBirths Legitimate Births by Provinces, 1911-1927 Coastal Provinces Year

Puntarenas Guanacaste

1911 1912 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927

51.8% 51.8% 54.2% 52.7% 55.6% 53.0% 57.1% 55.7% 51.8% 49.7% 53.7% 35.7% 48.8% 53.1% 55.0% 53.3%

40.1% 42.0% 43.6%

Average

52.3%

41.9%

44.1%

41.7% 43.4% 42.6% 46.1% 41.6% 41.8% 40.8% 32.3% 39.2% 41.2% 43.9% 42.6%

Highland Provinces Limón

San José

Alajuela

Cartago

Heredia

40.3% 40.7%

40.3% 46.95 43.7% 43.7%

81.9% 80.8% 81.1% 82.0% 81.5% 81.5% 80.9% 81.0% 79.5% 80.8% 79.4% 81.5% 81.8% 82.3% 82.7% 84.0%

85.7% 84.1% 86.2% 84.2% 85.4% 85.8% 83.6% 85.0% 83.4% 84.1% 83.1% 83.7% 84.3% 85.1% 85.2% 85.2%

86.6% 85.0% 86.6% 84.2% 85.4% 85.6% 84.7% 84.1% 88.7% 84.3% 83.6% 79.0% 84.8% 85.4% 86.0% 86.5%

88.2% 85.8% 86.8% 87.6% 86.5% 88.6% 87.1% 86.5% 85.6% 86.6% 86.5% 76.7% 88.1% 90.0% 88.5% 89.0%

40.9%

81.4%

84.8%

85.6%

86.7%

40.5%

36.0% 36.3% 37.5% 41.3% 39.1% 42.2% 39.3% 43.9% 44.5%

Source: República de Costa Rica, DGEC, Anuario estadístico, años 1911–1927, vols. 15–31. Source: República de Costa Rica, DGEC, Anuario estadístico, años 1911-1927, vols. 15-

31.

40%. Pockets of conservativism in the province account for the higher figures, but also tell us that, even in the coastal provinces, civil society was differentiated in terms of economic, social and cultural development. The city of Esparta, founded in 1574, pre-dated the cities of the Meseta Central and, located on the Camino Real that stretched the length of the Audiencia of Guatemala to Panama, had more immediate ties to Catholic Church authorities and Spanish administrators in Guatemala during the colonial era.111 At that time Esparta was closer to León where the seat of the diocese of Nicaragua was located, which included the province of Costa Rica. Like the colonial capital of Cartago (with close to 80% average legitimacy rates for the 1911–1927 period), a pattern appears to favor higher rates of Church marriages in those regions with strong colonial histories. Even with the boost to the economy that the Pacific Railroad had brought to both Esparta and Puntarenas, as well as the opening up of communications with the society of the highlands, the advent of greater prosperity to those towns appears to have reinforced the culture that was already there. Both had well formed histories of entrenched cultural values prior to 1910 that were difficult to change. Esparta was a post in the colonial overland trade route from Guatemala to Panama and more incorporated into traditional

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society, while Puntarenas was the child of the tobacco monopoly during the Bourbon era and evolved under the standards of free trade.

Eugenics and the State It is not surprising then, that González Víquez’s history of Puntarenas veiled the actual history of the people and culture of the port in favor of a story which focused on technology. Census takers were sanitizing and whitening the population of Puntarenas at a time when González Víquez was formulating eugenicist strategies to keep the population native, healthy and white, and to expedite population growth through natural increase. Costa Rica had high levels of infant mortality, in part, due to amoebic dysentery and other parasitic diseases. Despite diminished rates of economic growth by 1930, laborers remained scarce, partially because the desired influx of Europeans never materialized, and those who did arrive—West Indians, Chinese, East Indians, Nicaraguans and Panamanians—were regarded as “inappropriate” aliens who threatened the purity and health of the Costa Rican “race.” In a Presidential address of 1929, President González Víques advanced a solution called “autoimmigration”—more Costa Ricans through a lowering of infant mortality and a healthy infancy and childhood.112 The offshoot of this concept was the creation of the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI) in 1930 to tackle, in the words of its first director Luis Felipe González Flores (brother of the deposed reformist President Alfredo González Flores), “two transcendental problems that present themselves to the perspicacious pupils of the statesmen and to the scrutinizing mind of the sociologist: the problem of the quantity of our population  .  .  .  and that of its quality, or the improvement of our race.” Many of the objectives of the PANI had a eugenicist orientation: “the control of natality among families immersed in the poor classes; the fight against mestizaje to improve racial selection, and the restriction of undesirable immigration for the same reason, and finally, the promotion of any and all measures of social hygiene to protect childhood and motherhood.”113 Palmer’s research uncovered a veritable army of female social workers in the Central Valley who, by 1933, had accumulated files on 4,000 families in San José and surrounding areas. Estimating conservatively, this would mean that they had collected data on the most intimate aspects of the lives of some 15,000 of the canton’s 65,000 people  .  .  .  part and parcel of a positivist and racist design intended to guide procedures of state intervention in, and manipulation of, the lives of the laboring poor and to accumulate a body of knowledge

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about them that would expedite and make more effective the action of expert functionaries.114

The intervention of “expert functionaries” of the state was largely absent in Puntarenas. “Charity” had long been the domain of private individuals, not the central government. Besides the rather passive activities of the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea in the port, the closest thing to state intervention into the reproductive lives of women in Puntarenas was the modest stipend granted by the PANI to Hogar Cristiano, the orphanage for girls founded in 1919 by the energetic pastor, Father Daniel Carmona, and operated first by local women and eventually by the nuns of the Costa Rican order, Mission of the Assumption. Located at a privately donated site (now the Supreme Court) midway between los baños and la colmena, the orphanage by 1927 housed 18 girls from ages 6 to 17.115 Local newspaper reports occasionally alluded to girls of the centrally located orphanage “escaping to the streets.”116 In the months after its opening, Padre Carmona resisted local police pressure to take in more female minors “from mothers who set bad examples.” Carmona responded that it was impossible to take in any more girls because of lack of money.117 Padre Carmon’s characterization of his charges—“mis negritas” (“my little dark ones”) probably would not have set well with Cleto González Víquez (whose own father was Nicaraguan).118 Unlike the practices of the more sophisticated maternity wards emerging under the tutelage of the Junta de Caridad in the highlands, birthing itself in the port was a more grassroots affair. The memoirs of Dr. Pedro José Alvarez Valle refers to three midwives (“parteras”) of the 1920s—“matronas” América Molina, María Jiménez, and Chalía Palacios—who delivered 80% of the babies of the port, “helping with the demographic increase of our city.” Doña Chalía acted as the initial guardian of abandoned babies.119 The more privatized and individualized approach to the birthing and mothering of children in the port stood in contrast to the growing hygienicist discourse in the highlands of liberals such as González Víquez, as well as the programs in place designed to monitor women’s reproductive activities.120 By 1932, a report from the PANI cited Hogar Cristiano as remiss in its count of orphans. Apparently, the orphanage, in an attempt to get a larger stipend from the PANI, reported the care of 30 instead of 6 young women.121 For the only institution of its kind in the port at this time to have the limited numbers it did, from 18 in 1927 to 6 in 1932, meant that the women of the port, who had children out of wedlock, apparently chose to keep their children, taking on the responsibility of motherhood more willingly and in a freer environment than that of the highlands.

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The idea that a concubine or prostitute might be a good mother posed a dangerous challenge to González Víquez’s plans for “autoimmigration.” That an “ordinary woman” in Puntarenas could, at various intervals, be a sirviente, a barmaid, a prostitute, a seamstress, a mother, and the head of her household was not the ideal profile of womanhood conceived of by liberal ideologues interested in fostering patriarchal family values. At a time when the state was gearing up for a campaign to purify the Costa Rican race, sanctify motherhood, and unleash an unprecedented surveillance apparatus on family life in the highlands, mores in the port remained relatively the same—free of the constraints of liberal morality. In conclusion, the Pacific Railroad brought to the port a revitalized economy and the opening of the flood gates of cabotaje with its thousands of visitors from the Pacific littoral who made their mark on the port economically, culturally, socially and genetically. Church and state in the highlands were in denial of the “untraditional” lifestyles of the port and chose, instead, as they always had done, to skirt issues they were uncomfortable with or helpless to change. In the case of Father Valenciano’s complaints of an “artistically corrupt aristocracy,” Church authorities in San José replaced him with an economically savvy, more worldly priest. One liberal president simply omitted the people of Puntarenas from the historical record, while census takers bent the data on race and civil status to erase non-whites and concubines. Armies of social workers confined their attacks on a “social problem” to populations of the Central Valley. The nationalism that celebrated whiteness, motherhood and family sustained a “strategic withdrawal” to the highlands and anchored its message among the chosen.

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Chapter Eight

Conclusion: Prostitution in Puntarenas and the State

Issues of gender, regionalism and liberal historiography are set out separately in the preceding chapters. In each case the same basic questions underlie the analysis. How do the lives of prostitutes in this time and place inform or offer a portal for our understanding of broader themes of gender, differential regional development and traditional Costa Rican historiography? In this concluding chapter the methodological focus shifts to the structural influences of the state in shaping both the attitudes towards prostitution and the way it developed in the port and hence its impact. We have established that different standards of morality existed in Puntarenas (and generally throughout the periphery) than existed in the Central Valley and that the state could not and/or would not intervene to change this, even after the railroad facilitated communication between the highlands and the port. The present chapter helps explain the state’s generally laissez-faire attitude towards prostitution in Puntarenas in terms of peripheral geography, the economic demands of an export economy, labor policy, and the economics of the state’s liquor monopoly. The liquor monopoly, its history and importance in revenue for the state, receives special attention due to its capacity to influence the state’s ambivalent attitude about prostitution, alcoholism and vagrancy. The second part of this chapter contextualizes findings about the region of Puntarenas within the historiography of other peripheral regions of Costa Rica and attempts a synthesis of the more recent regional literature from the point of view of these studies’ shared divergence from Costa Rica’s traditional historiography, as well as from the point of view of what they reveal about labor relations in Costa Rica. 151

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It should be noted that the state’s generally passive attitude towards prostitution in Puntarenas did not reflect a disinterest with the region. The state’s presence in the port was selective and made itself felt in those areas related to the health and wealth of the nation—infrastructure, the collection of customs duties, the monitoring of diseases, and guidelines for transport workers. The nation’s first police force extending into the peripheries was formed to protect the operations of oxcart drivers and the state liquor monopoly. As the case of Dr. Spencer Franklin showed us, the state delegated greater power to “first tier” doctors protecting the port from foreign epidemics than to “third tier” doctors overseeing the regulation of prostitutes—an indication of the central government’s conscious discrimination with respect to the allocation of resources to the port. The construction of a European style prison in Puntarenas after completion of the Pacific Railroad attests to the state’s reach into the port, albeit largely for processing drunks. Finally, the very sources that have facilitated this study reflect the obsession of the Costa Rican state, particularly during the Liberal Reform period, to extend its hand into its peripheries through the correspondence of ministries and the collection of statistical data. If the central government had fixed its grip on Puntarenas to such an extent, its relative dismissal of prostitution in the port can be seen as a meaningful omission or admission that it posed no threat to the nation—may even have helped it. The introduction to this study offered explanations as to why the national state was relatively inactive in responding to prostitution in the port. The general acceptance of prostitution in the port and the relative absence of stigma (or “degradation ceremony”) in Puntarenas was attributed to (1) the longevity of the practice of prostitution in the port, emerging with the early rise of coffee in the 1840s, (2) the value the state placed on maintaining a stable port in a period of export-led growth, (3) the port’s dense and peripheral geography, (4) the state’s somewhat indifferent policies toward Puntarenas, motivated by the port’s early autonomy as a free port and a national ideology which marginalized the periphery, (5) the desire for foreign exchange generated in a stable port by prostitution, (6) encouraging profits for the state liquor monopoly, (7) Costa Rica’s early free labor system, a relative anomaly in Central America, and (8) Costa Rica’s relatively lenient laws on prostitution, which were lightly enforced in the periphery. Chapter Two, which traced the political background of the port in the context of the emerging nation, addressed the first four of the above factors dealing with geography and exclusionary nationalism and showed how the port developed in somewhat of a cultural and political vacuum,

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apart from the Central Valley during the late colonial and early national period, save for contact with the stream of coffee laden oxcarts that made their way to the port on a regular basis after 1840. When the liberal state was formally consolidated (Chapter Three) during the Liberal Reform period of the 1880s, the nationalism created to rally support for the liberal project privileged those regions in the highlands that produced coffee and tended to ignore those regions whose populations did not meet the standards of la buena sociedad cafetalera. Hence, the peripheral coastal provinces were somewhat spared from the pressures to rationalize property relations, to legally marry, to be white, to grow coffee, and to pick coffee with family labor. The time series of the previous chapter of legal to natural child bearing in the cities and provinces of center and periphery from 1911 to 1927 further bear out the coastal provinces’ isolation from the ideologies of the center by showing higher concubinage rates outside of the Central Valley. The foreign exchange issue—the desire for foreign exchange earned through prostitution and related activities–poses greater problems, but deserves consideration. Data on the activities of bank branches in Puntarenas and usury activities of commercial establishments in the period under study were hard to come by, making it difficult to trace cash transactions in the port. Therefore, there is no hard evidence to support the claim that the state tolerated prostitution in the port because prostitutes brought in considerable foreign exchange. Nevertheless, this needs to be mentioned because no evidence exists that this was not the case. Particularly during periods of downturn in world coffee prices, the dollars and pounds entering the country and spent in the bars, hotels, and brothels of the port had to have been welcomed by the state. As prostitutes traded their silver and gold for pesos and colones, they, in effect, helped to balance budgets. This was not an experience shared by prostitutes in San José, suggesting differences in the state’s view of prostitution in each region.1 The last three elements of the discussion on state attitudes towards prostitution in Puntarenas—(6) the importance of the state monopoly on liquor, (7) Costa Rica’s free labor system, and (8) the legal status of prostitution within that system—warrant more attention. The liquor monopoly is important as it relates to the findings in Chapters Five and Seven on drinking habits and rates of drunkenness in the port. Prostitution as free labor is significant as it relates to the thesis that prostitutes in the port were considered more as workers than deviants (“regular women”), separated from their counterparts in the highlands by their isolation from liberal ideology and state intervention, as well as separated from their Central American counterparts by a freer labor environment.

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The Visible Hand of the State: The Liquor Monopoly The previous chapter outlined the significance of the national liquor monopoly for the municipality of Puntarenas with e mphasis on municipal tax revenues from taquillas and vinaterías. In fact, the central government shared with the municipality a reliance on revenues from the sale of foreign and domestic liquor. The profitability of the state liquor monopoly helps to explain the state’s relative lack of interest in a moralizing project for the port. Because the central government depended on the significant revenues generated by alcohol consumption in Puntarenas, those activities associated with the culture of drinking, such as prostitution, were also tolerated under a double standard by which the state promoted and tolerated what it considered a social problem.2 In reality, the state was too financially dependent on the liquor monopoly to go beyond minimal regulation. The early, as well as later, importance of the liquor monopoly to the national treasury explains in good measure the reluctance of González Víquez and his colleagues to include excessive alcohol consumption on their lists of liberal taboos. The state liquor monopoly, in the plentiful, affordable and potent liquor it distilled and made available to (particularly urban) populations encouraged the drinking habits that influenced the culture of Puntarenas. As many of the court cases of Chapter Five suggest, excessive alcohol consumption resulted in codes of etiquette in the port that judged habitual drunkenness a greater taboo than paid sex. Women such as María Zuñiga, the porteño prostitute from Guanacaste, in and out of the court system in Puntarenas for criminal activity associated with drink, was part of the port’s social problems, not for what she did in the bedroom, but for what she did in the cantina. She was one of a myriad of names associated with the statistics on alcohol-related crimes and misdemeanors in the port. We have seen in the preceding chapter that the municipality made plans to purchase an ambulance to pick up drunks off the streets and that the penal system, despite the lofty intentions of liberals from the highlands, was geared to processing drunks. The structure of the state liquor monopoly, making greater amounts of alcohol available in dense urban areas such as Puntarenas, affected María Zuñiga’s access to alcohol. The mores of drinking in the port were rooted in the economics and structure of the monopoly.3 The historical role the liquor monopoly played in revenue generation speaks to the issue of the central government’s rather passive role in regulating drinking and its cohorts—prostitution and vagrancy—particularly in the port of Puntarenas, where these activities were so marketable and safely out of sight of the liberal gaze.

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Table 8-1. Income in Pesos Liquor Tobacco, 1838–1859. Table 8-1: Incomefrom in Pesos fromand Liquor and Tobacco, 1838-1859

Sources: Frida Kierszenson, “El monopolio de licores en Costa Rica, 1821–1859” Sources: Frida Kierszenson, “El monopolio de licores en Costa Rica, 1821-1859”(Tesis de Grado: Universidad de Costa Rica, 1983), 94. (Tesis de Grado: Universidad de Costa Rica, 1983), 94.

As outlined in Chapter One, the opening decades of the national period were marked by a state fiscal policy that gave the state liquor monopoly a “primordial” place in the economy of Costa Rica.4 Carried over from the colonial era, it existed in de-centralized form in the early years of the federation after 1821, then in centralized form in the 1850s under President Juan Rafael Mora. The revenues from the liquor monopoly after centralization in the 1850s were impressive. Added to this were the considerable revenues from liquor patents auctioned off by the central government. One must consider that revenues did not mean profits. The relative profits from customs duties (which, however, included duties from imported liquor) were greater than those from the liquor monopoly because the costs of manufacturing the liquor were greater than the costs of collecting import and export duties.5 Nevertheless, the figures are revealing of the state’s stake in its foreign and domestic liquor operations. As shown in Table 8–1, the percent of revenue from the liquor monopoly surpassed

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Table 8-2: National Income from Liquor Monopoly, Selected Years, 1879-1929*

Table 8-2. National Income from Liquor Monopoly, Selected Years: 1879–1929*



*In pesos before 1900, in colones after 1900 *In pesos before 1900, in colones after 1900 Sources: República Costa Rica, Memoria de Hacienda y Comercio (1880,1884, 1883, Sources: República dedeCosta Rica, Memoria de Hacienda y Comercio (1880, 1883, 1884,1910, 1897,1911); 1910,Joaquín 1911); Bernardo Joaquín Bernardo Calvo TheofRepublic of (Chicago Costa Rica 1897, Calvo Mora, TheMora, Republic Costa Rica (Chicago and New Rand and175; Co.,International 1890), 175;Bureau International Bureau of and New York: RandYork: McNally andMcNally Co., 1890), of American Republics, Costa Rica:Costa General Description D.C.: Government American Republics, Rica: General (Washington Description (Washington D.C.:Printing Government Office, 108; Tomás108; Soley Güell,Soley Historia económica hacendaria de Costa Rica,de Printing1909), Office, 1909), Tomás Güell, Historiay económica y hacendaria vol. 2 (San Universitaria, 124; Costa Rica,124; Ministerio Hacienda Costa Rica,José: vol.Editorial 2 (San José: Editorial1949), Universitaria, 1949), Costa de Rica, Ministeyrio Comercio, El comercio internacional de la República de Costa Rica: Estudio analítico de Hacienda y Comercio, El comercio internacional de la República de Costa Rica: de la estadística comercial por el Dr. Carlos Merz (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1929), Estudio analítico de la estadística comercial por el Dr. Carlos Merz (San José: Imprenta 19. Nacional, 1929), 19.

revenue from the tobacco monopoly for the first time by 1851. In 1841, revenues from liquor represented 14% of the total national income. This rose to 19% in 1845, to 44% in 1851 and down to 17% in 1859 (after the National Campaign in Nicaragua and a cholera epidemic that, together, killed thousands of people). The period after 1880 (Table 8–2) shows an equal reliance of the state on revenues from liquor, particularly during the crisis times for coffee exports when world demand dropped. The liquor monopoly served as a safety valve for coffee monoculture during periods of downturn in the price of coffee. Consider the period of

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the First World War. As shown in Table 8–2, in 1917, revenues from the liquor monopoly nearly equaled those from customs duties. In 1918, after the U.S. had entered the war, revenues from liquor surpassed revenues from customs for the first time. We have already seen in the previous chapter the fate of the reformist presidency of Alfredo González Flores who proposed to reform the liquor monopoly and impose direct taxation. The coup that removed González Flores, with the blessing of liberals, is more understandable, given that the liquor monopoly was a cash cow for the national treasury and that González Flores was disdainful of it. Much of the historiography of Costa Rica has concentrated on the role of export capitalism in financing and fortifying the state after nationhood in 1838. It was coffee, the arguments go, early liberalism, and the agro-export model that generated foreign exchange, that paid for imports, that customs officials taxed in Puntarenas and Limón and sent straight to the central government to “run the show.” In fact, it was the state monopolies on tobacco and, more so after 1850—liquor—that “ran the show” in nearly equal measure. This may explain the state’s ambivalence towards alcohol consumption and the vices associated with it in the port of Puntarenas, whose geography and demography, in compliance with the articles of the Ley de Licores, fostered a culture of drinking by making cheap and potent alcohol available on a wide scale. If prostitution was a “necessary evil,” so was alcohol.

Vagrants and Workers The state’s attitude toward vagrants and prostitutes mirrored its ambivalence about alcohol consumption. Had aguardiente production been privatized in Costa Rica, one surmises that the state might have been more willing to enforce its vagrancy laws. The state liquor monopoly put the state in a bind with regard to the “social problem” of vagrancy because the aguardiente consumed that contributed towards vagrancy profited the state.6 Unlike vagrancy laws in other parts of Latin American of the time, in Costa Rica the Vagrancy Law of 1887 was passed to strengthen the social hygiene movement of the capital, rather than to proletarianize resistant frontier populations, as was the case in countries such as Argentina and Mexico.7 The Vagrancy Law was passed on the heels of the formation of a new police corps in San José, created to monitor the activities of the lower classes. It intended that all those of any age who could not demonstrate a capacity for permanent work or were notorious loiterers or frequenters of bars and gambling establishments were to be arrested and put to work or jailed.8 A product of the “moral entrepreneurism” of el Olimpio, the law

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was not enforced fully owing to the free labor tradition of the country and, arguably, the law’s conflict with a prime source of revenue for the national treasury—the liquor monopoly. When the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea was passed seven years later in 1894, in the words of Costa Rican labor historian Carlos Luis Fallas Monge, it “constituted the complement of the Vagrancy Law of 1887” by legalizing prostitution and exempting prostitutes from the Vagrancy Law. Liberal law turned female vagrants into officially recognized workers, turning alleged pathology into normalcy. This was such a good deal, that some women out of work pretended to be prostitutes, to ensure their immunity from the vagrancy law.9 Not only did official social policy conflict with fiscal policy, which relied on alcohol consumption, it backfired by making prostitution an “ordinary” profession. Yet the perceived benefits of controlling venereal disease in a society obsessed with natality kept prostitution legal and regulated long after many other Latin American countries succumbed to pressures from international reformers to abolish regulation.10 This does not give the impression of a state project intent or successful in stigmatizing public women. That was the job of liberal ideology and, according to the research of Juan José Marín, Eugenia Rodríguez Sáenz, and Steven Palmer, quite successful in the highlands. The therapy prescribed by state and society in the highlands was marriage—a therapy applied successfully, it would appear, as seen in the high legitimacy rates of children born in the Central Valley. In contrast, Lara Putnam describes quite another relationship between state and public women in Limón in which prostitutes aggressively used the agencies of state to defend their public standing. The fundamental dynamic between state and people in these particular cases was not one of hegemonic project and popular resistance.  .  .  .  in the early decades of the century, with the exception of the occasional halfhearted attempt to register prostitutes, neither the local nor the national government showed much interest in moralizing Limón.  .  .  .  State agents did not become involved in the personal disputes recorded in insults accusations as part of a program of social control. They became involved because the participants demanded it.  .  .  .  The government did not break down the doors to get into these people’s private lives. Rather, these were people who dropped everything to run for the nearest policemen, or dressed up in their Sunday best to go down to the alcalde’s office and lodge a complaint.11

The situation described by Putnam was similar to that of Puntarenas. The meticulously hand-written transcriptions of testimonies by court notaries

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involving matters of honor and personal standing among prostitutes, barkeeps, and fonda owners, as well as the evidence of cross-class supportive networks of witnesses, demonstrate the eagerness of working women in the port to exploit the legal system. This, added to the evidence of high concubinage rates in the peripheries, bolster a conclusion that mores in the peripheral provinces were different. Prostitutes in the peripheries were freer to think of themselves in the way that the law prescribed—as workers. The ambivalence in the highlands in regard to the nexus of alcoholism, vagrancy, and prostitution was less confused as in the coastal provinces where the absence of coffee cultivation precluded the need to promote the patriarchal family of “la buena sociedad cafetalera.” Hence, women’s work and gender relations in general in center and periphery of Costa Rica had differentiated connections to the means of production. The varying pressures and liberties of women in coffee and non-coffee producing regions—in the Central Valley and coastal regions—offer evidence of the power of a commodity such as coffee to impact the cultures of working women. The success of the campaign to maintain the primacy of the bourgeois nuclear family, the antithesis of the public woman, through legal Catholic Church marriages, in contrast to the relative reluctance of women of all marginal and peripheral areas of Costa Rica to legally marry and bear legitimate offspring, speaks to the issue of how successful liberal ideology was in the highlands, as well as to how unsuccessful it was in the lowlands. The preference for legal marriages in the Central Valley implied a certain intolerance for unions that were not legal, as well as promoted taboos against the “gray” areas surrounding “ordinary women” in concubinage. These gray areas, when viewed within the context of the literature on prostitution in Latin America, are important keys to understanding how prostitutes have functioned as workers, free spirits, victims or transgressors. As yet, this literature is too young and overly reliant on reformist discourse to uncover a pattern of how prostitutes have lived and worked in Latin America. Moreover, it is only recently that scholars have even begun to challenge the tendency of national histories to exclude sensitive subjects such as prostitution. A salient example of this tendency is the case of Mexico: Some scholars estimate that during the Mexican Revolution of 1910–20 more than half of the women in Mexico turned to prostitution for survival. While scholars have repeatedly discussed the upheavals of the war, seldom have women of any sort appeared.12 One half of Mexican women? One fourth of the total adult population? What happened to them? One wonders what the patchwork quilt of Mexico during this period would look like if examined through the lens of prostitution. The sheer numbers of women engaged in sexual commerce throughout Costa Rica and other

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regions of Latin America speak for themselves in marking prostitutes as important subjects of historical inquiry.

Region, Historiography, and Costa Rican Exceptionalism On the importance of regional studies, historian Magnus Mörner has written, “National averages in statistical terms  .  .  .  sorely need regional data as correctives, as they may often appear fictional in relation to the various, often contrasting, regional realities.”13 As outlined in the introductory chapter, one of the major tasks of this study is to complement and illuminate the questions posed and theories expounded in recent regional historical literature such as Marc Edelman’s study of the cattle industry of Guanacaste and Aviva Chomsky’s monograph on banana plantation agriculture in Limón under the United Fruit Company. In Mörner’s terms, these studies have acted as “correctives” to the larger picture by undermining the liberal historiography that explains Costa Rican democracy. The histories of Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón all lay bare the weaknesses of the explanation of Costa Rican democracy through the existence of a society of racially homogeneous, patriarchal, family oriented small farmers of the Central Valley and, in the process, promote a more pluralistic view of the nation’s past. On the other hand, a further aspect of these regional histories connects them to the Central Valley in the state’s comparatively lenient policies towards labor, which spilled over to varying degrees into the peripheries. A measure of the success of this study should be its ability not only to unify the very different historical trajectories of monographs such as the above through (first) an emphasis on how they diverge from the traditional historical literature of Costa Rica, but (second) also show what these histories share and how the present study fits into this revisionist literature. In this way (third) the exceptional manner in which the nation as a whole developed should become apparent. 1. The First Challenges to Traditional Historiography The preceding chapters have utilized Steven Palmer’s research locating official liberal nationalism exclusively in the region of the Central Valley and placing much of the origin of the white yeoman farmer myth in the Liberal Reform period. In essence, Palmer is revising another revision. The myth that has explained Costa Rican “exceptionalism”—its evolution into a “classless society”—has often been associated with the historiographical tradition of the 1940s, which explained Costa Rica’s democratic institutions as traceable to the colonial era of unusual poverty when a uniquely

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Costa Rican pattern of landholding emerged in which many owned a plot of land. More recently, political scientist Samuel Stone demonstrated that privileged groups existed during the colonial era and that, with the rise of coffee cultivation and the agro-export economy, they utilized their position to become the predominant coffee-growers and merchants, took control of the government, and maintained hegemony through inter-marriage.14 Lowell Gudmundson furthered this revision by showing that wealth was unequally distributed before coffee and that coffee itself, not colonial conditions, helped create equality of land ownership through the expansion of the frontier. Gudmundson ascribes the invention of the “rural democracy” myth primarily to Rodrigo Facio, an intellectual precursor of the social democratic movement, which culminated in the 1948 civil war and the creation of the National Liberation Party (PLN) that since has often dominated politics in Costa Rica. The myth ideologically supported the PLN strategy of countering leftist revolutionary tactics by formulating a more conservative rhetoric, one which framed reform as a restoration of national traditions, rooted deeply in the colonial past.15 Palmer, while not refuting Gudmundson’s interpretation, places the origin of the myth earlier in the Liberal Reform period. Historian Mario Samper agrees that the idea of Costa Rican exceptionalism, “part mythical, part real,” is not a vestige of a colonial golden age, but came out of the coffee age. However, he places it later in the nineteenth century than Gudmundson, arguing that small commercial properties dominated coffee production on the frontier (Alajuela) because laborers were both scarce and free, and land was abundant.16 All of the above revisions support the consensual nature of the relationship between small landholder and large landholder/processor/creditor at some point after 1840 and lasting until late in the nineteenth century. All confine their analysis to the Central Valley. In other words, they do not refute the consensus thesis, but move its starting point forward to the national period for a limited time and place. The question remains: Is it reasonable to explain the country’s relatively democratic heritage with the success of the coffee experiment for a limited time in a limited geography? 2. Revisions from the Peripheries Adding to the slew of revisions is the body of recent works—many alluded to in the preceding chapters—of areas outside of the Central Valley which have shown variations in demography, agrarian structures, and land holding patterns.17 For Limón, Aviva Chomsky (like Philippe Bourgois, Trevor Purcell, Ronald Harpelle, Quince Duncan, and Charles Koch before her) traces the development of the majority Afro-Costa Rican community, imported from Jamaica to work the banana plantations of the United Fruit Company in the

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late nineteenth century and who eventually served as a vanguard in mobilizing the labor movement.18 Lara Putnam’s study of gender and migration in Limón weaves together the Hispanic and Caribbean elements of a culture in formation whose patterns of work, racial composition and sex ratios are far different from those of the Central Valley (and Puntarenas).19 For Guanacaste, Carlos Meléndez Chaverri and Marc Edelman show that, for the colonial and national eras respectively, land tenure and race patterns were quite different from those of the Central Valley and similar to those of other Central American countries. The northwest region of the colony and nation was marked by large-scale cattle farms and a predominantly mulatto and mestizo population.20 The case study of prostitutes in Puntarenas further challenges the idea of racial homogeneity and conservative family values by showing roughly the same mix of darker races as populated Guanacaste coupled with the prevalence of lifestyles that reflected less adherence to the convention of legal marriage and less influence of patriarchal values. Given the complexity that these studies suggest in the development of the nation as a whole, the consensual view of national development as embodied in the ideology of “la buena sociedad cafetalera” appears more and more simplistic. It is more logical to look at what was going on throughout the country. Some have suggested that Costa Rica’s early compulsory educational and later socialized health care systems explain its success,21 that its leaders and institutions have been more enlightened than most,22 that crippling ideological conflicts between liberals and conservatives were absent, or that Costa Rica had escaped the degree of foreign intervention that befell Nicaragua and Panama. None of these explanations necessarily precludes another. However, it seems that the role of free labor—separated out from the broader category of institutional history—is an important component in this mix and should be included. The present study, with its emphasis on the economic activities of single women in a periphery of Costa Rica, looks at a question posed by historian Elizabeth Dore: Why, when faced with labor scarcity, were the coffee elites of nineteenth century Costa Rica unable or unwilling to implement coerced labor systems, as was done in other countries of Central America?23 Chapter One suggested the approach of “path dependistas” who look to Costa Rica’s lack of Spanish institutions in the colonial era to explain the absence of the institutional structures necessary to implement more coercive labor policies in the national era. The republic of Costa Rica was born without the means to control labor at a time when coffee production for export escalated and the existent family labor system fit labor needs. No wide-scale system of coerced labor was either possible or necessary. This may help explain why prostitutes of Costa Rica’s highlands and lowlands

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escaped the degree of persecution suffered by their counterparts in Guatemala during the same period. In both the center and periphery of Costa Rica the labor of prostitutes came to be recognized by law and protected by the judicial system following a tradition of respect for free labor. The state was only able to control labor through ideology, and this was confined to the regions which produced coffee. Examining some of the aforementioned literature of the periphery through the lens of labor relations—a view seldom thematically emphasized in each case—the thread of exceptionalism becomes apparent. Not only do these studies challenge myths of race and land tenure, they show the degree to which the peripheries reaped the benefits of a free labor system. Edelman’s study of Guanacaste not only underscores the region’s different land tenure pattern, anything but democratic, but shows how labor relations differed from those of other Central American countries due, in part, to a shortage of workers and a “weakness of state.” As described in Chapter Two, what emerged amongst the variety of labor arrangements described by Edelman for the period was the allegedly independent sabanero (“cowboy”) of mestizo and mulatto descent, enjoying a “colored culture of work” well into the twentieth century. “This in turn complicated the imposition of unfettered landlord hegemony in ways basically unknown to hacendados elsewhere in Central America.”24 The message here is that the land tenure pattern of Guanacaste was undemocratic, but labor relations were less so. Costa Rica’s “weakness of state” in the Guanacastecan case, reflected recognition on the part of the central government of the limits of the state’s ability to control far flung provinces and fund government operations. Rural workers in Guanacaste Province, in a trend parallel to the working women in Puntarenas, enjoyed choices, as well as physical and occupational mobility, that were unavailable in neighboring countries. For Limón Province, Chomsky’s study challenges the idea that Costa Rica was a white society without social conflict. The very presence of West Indian workers in Limón and their participation in an early, organized militant labor force, undermine traditional historiography. Her analysis of the 1910 strike against the United Fruit Company underscores the early militancy of West Indian workers in the Atlantic zone. But more to the point, labor relations in Limón met the criteria of “exceptional” even in the context of the region’s status as a foreign enclave. The United Fruit Company did not find similar labor systems in the Central American countries where plantation systems were installed. Recruitment for the company’s operations in Costa Rica differed from those of Guatemala and Honduras in the difficulty of attracting native laborers, attesting to the Costa Rican state’s policy of respecting the free labor of its native population. She writes:

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Female Prostitution in Costa Rica While in Guatemala and Honduras the American contractors could rely partially on coercive political and economic conditions in the highlands to induce workers to migrate to their coastal plantations, this was not the case in lightly populated Costa Rica. And the local Indian population was tiny and had no incentive, through either government coercion or integration in a cash economy, to work for the fruit companies.25

In addition, the Jamaicans recruited to work the plantations often evaded the Company’s designs to proletarianize its work force. Chomsky shows that, in spite of the United Fruit Company’s attempts to control its labor force in Costa Rica through such mechanisms as company stores, high wages and allowing most workers to become sharecroppers or semi-independent peasants producing for the company, it did not happen. West Indian former slaves migrated to avoid permanent proletarianization on sugar plantations at home: What led Jamaicans and other West Indians to emigrate to Costa Rica, then, was not necessarily the attractiveness of labor conditions on the fruit plantations. Rather, it was the chance to take advantage of the high wages—for in this respect American corporations did offer much more than the West Indian sugar plantations—in order to earn enough to return to peasant life, that is, to buy a plot of land in Jamaica or to become an independent banana planter in Costa Rica. The availability of small plots or squatting in Costa Rica increased the attractiveness of wage labor as a temporary measure.26

This description of options for migrant workers, even in the context of the anomaly of the United Fruit Company’s operations on Costa Rica’s Atlantic coast, shows the concessions that the United Fruit Company had to make to West Indian migrants when confronted with the refusal (before the 1920s) of Costa Rican workers to work the banana plantations. When added to Lara Putnam’s analysis of the aggressive work culture of migrants in Limón Province, the stereotype of foreign imperialists in concert with hegemonic state suffers a further blow. Taken together, the quite distinctive histories of Guanacaste and Limón Provinces not only lay bare the weaknesses of liberal historiography, but suggest basic similarities in the more equitable labor relations that all regions of Costa Rica shared to varying degrees. The case study of prostitutes in Puntarenas again offers a portal— this time for understanding labor relations in the western periphery of the nation. Women who lived or migrated to the port were free to enter

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prostitution with minimal regulation, be single, be “public,” be upwardly mobile, use the courts, and move around freely. The preceding chapters should make clear that the Costa Rican state made concessions to its western periphery—particularly labor—that many liberal regimes of other Latin American countries did not make. The carters’ threatened revolution rerouted work on the construction of the government owned Pacific Railroad; the Costa Rican workers who constructed the railroad were an independent lot who retreated to their small farms if badly treated by North American contractors; the crews of the trains of the Pacific Railroad were a coddled and patronized group; the first group of laborers to win concessions in the nationwide General Strike of 1920 were those employed by the state, many in the western periphery. In the port of Puntarenas, the business community profited as well from the sales of state manufactured liquor, which flowed from the distilleries of San José and Tempisque, Guanacaste. When times were tough in 1916, the taquilleros of the port were granted special privileges by the central government. State intervention in the economies of the western periphery in the region of Puntarenas and concessions to labor and businesses were pervasive. Textbooks of Latin American history have traditionally used the term “neo-colonialism” to characterize the 1880–1930 period of export capitalism and rapid modernization, making the case that U.S. and European interests prevailed at the expense of those Latin American nations that exported primary products. While the development of Costa Rica’s Atlantic coast provides some justification for the neo-colonial paradigm, events in the Pacific littoral do the opposite, that is provide an example of an exporting region more enriched by export capitalism and open to social reform by virtue of a limited and enlightened state intervention into the economy and concessions to labor. Yet despite the varying degree of foreign influence in each coast, all regions of Costa Rica benefited from the reluctance of the state to impose the harsh labor policies characteristic of other countries of the isthmus. 3. Free Labor and Costa Rican Exceptionalism When viewed in the context of labor relations in some of the neighboring countries of Central America at the time, the concessions to labor described above, particularly in the western periphery of Costa Rica, appear as “exceptional.” One of the few attempts at a cross regional perspective of labor relations in Central America comes from States and Social Evolution: Coffee and the Rise of National Governments in Central America by Robert G. Williams. Williams goes beyond land tenure patterns to emphasize the social relations of labor systems in each of the nations of

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Central America, concluding that the elites of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua subordinated, sometimes ruthlessly, peasants and rural workers during the period under study. In Guatemala and Nicaragua, the state played a direct role in ensuring a labor supply for coffee production by the end of the nineteenth century by enforcing debt contracts, issuing libreto cards (work passes), passing vagrancy laws, and drafting workers into the road gang, the military, or for service on the plantations.27 In El Salvador, peasants lacked the safety valve of an abundant agricultural frontier after a radical land reform forcibly removed them from communal lands after 1880. Social unrest prompted the state to intervene coercively not only to supply labor to large coffee plantations, but to prevent land invasions, to curb violence and to police towns where squatter settlements formed.28 In Costa Rica, the state was significantly less intrusive in its labor policy than the above cases, suggesting another perspective for the analysis of how the nation developed. If differential land tenure patterns in Costa Rica, as seen in Guanacaste and Limón, nullify the rural democracy thesis in explaining Costa Rica’s more progressive institutions and development, then perhaps what was exceptional lay in what the state did not do: It did not subordinate its workers in the way described by Williams for three of the other Central American countries. The labor relations we have seen in the port of Puntarenas lack evidence of state coercion. Registered prostitutes “worked the system” by cluttering the offices of alcaldes with long winded injuria suits, challenging rogue police officials, hiring lawyers, and enlisting the support of parades of witnesses who attested to their good characters and temperate drinking habits. By accumulating enough capital to be upwardly mobile, registered prostitutes profited from the system either by using the law or circumventing it. Clandestine prostitutes manipulated the letter of the law in other ways–by persuading a male friend to lie in court about intentions to marry or by making claims of “monogamous” concubinage—that area of gray that skirted legal retribution. This microcosm of labor is significant when placed into the big picture of labor in the hemisphere—within the context of what Charles Bergquist refers to as “the binary opposites” of free versus coerced labor that structure traditional labor history. “It is the legacy of coerced versus free labor that seems best to explain the divergent development of the European colonies of this hemisphere.”29 In macro terms, the free choices of workers including public “ordinary” women in Puntarenas appear to have enabled Costa Rica to develop a more participatory and, hence, more democratic society than elsewhere in Latin America, as well as place prostitution in the port in the methodological camp of “work.”

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Notes

Notes to Chapter One 1. The most notable study locating the “White Legend” in the Liberal Reform era of the 1880s is Steven Palmer’s dissertation “A Liberal Discipline: Inventing Nations in Guatemala and Costa Rica, 1870–1900” (Ph. D. diss., Columbia University, 1990). 2. For a comprehensive study of this theme for Porfirian Mexico, see Charles A. Hale, The Transformation of Liberalism in Late-Nineteenth Century Mexico (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989). 3. Lara Putnam, The Company They Kept: Migrants and the Politics of Gender in Caribbean Costa Rica, 1870–1960 (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Aviva Chomsky, West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996); Ronny José Viales Hurtado, Despues del enclavo: Un estudio de la región atlántica costarricense, 1927–1950 (San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 1998); Ronald N. Harpelle, The West Indians of Costa Rica: Race, Class, and the Integration of an Ethnic Minority (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001); idem, “Ethnicity, Religion and Repression: The Denial of African Heritage in Costa Rica” in Canadian Journal of History 2 (1994): 95–112; idem, “The Social and Political Integration of West Indians in Costa Rica: 1930–50,” Journal of Latin American Studies 25 (1993); Philippe Bourgois, Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989); Trevor W. Purcell, Banana Fallout: Class, Color and Culture Among West Indians in Costa Rica (Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies Publications, University of California, 1993); Roy Simon Bryce-Laporte and Trevor Purcell, “A Lesser-Known Chapter of the African Diaspora: West Indians in Costa Rica, Central America,” in Global Dimensions of the African Diaspora, ed. Joseph E. Harris (Washington D.C.: Howard University Press, 1993); Elisavinda Echeverri-Gent, “Forgotten Workers: British West Indians and the Early Days of the Banana Industry in Costa Rica and

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Honduras,” Journal of Latin American Studies 24, no. 2 (1992): 275–308; Carlos Meléndez Chaverri and Quince Duncan, El negro en Costa Rica, 8th ed. (San José: Editorial Costa Rica, 1981); Charles Koch, “Jamaican Blacks and their Descendants in Costa Rica,” Social and Economic Studies 26, no. 3 (1977): 339–61. 4. Marc Edelman, The Logic of the Latifundio: The Larger Estates of Northwestern Costa Rica Since the Late Nineteenth Century(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992); Lowell Gudmundson, Hacendados, políticos y precarista: la ganadería y el latifundismo guanacasteco, 1800–1950 (San José: Editorial Costa Rica, 1983); idem, “Peasant Movements and the Transition to Agrarian Capitalism: Freeholding versus Hacienda Peasantries and Agrarian Reform in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 1880–1935,” Peasant Studies 10, no. 3 (1983): 145–62; Carlos Meléndez Chaverri, “Liberia en sus orígenes” in Informe Semestral (Instituto Geofráfico Nacional), (July-December, 1967): 41–68; Wilder Gerardo Sequiera Ruiz, La hacienda ganadera en Guanacaste: Aspectos económicos y sociales, 1850–1900 (San José: Editorial Universidad Estadal a Distancia, 1985). For the colonial trading post and early center of the cattle industry, Esparza, located thirteen miles inland from Puntarenas, see Claudia Quirós Vargas, “Aspectos socio-económicos de la Ciudad del Espíritu Santo de Esparza,” in Puntarenas: Tres estudios sobre su historia, ed. Marielos Murillo and Rodolfo Fernández Carballo (Colegio Universitario de Puntarenas: Biblioteca Puntarenas no.1, September 1983), 1–39.While regional studies of the Atlantic coast have tended towards a focus on Afro-Caribbean culture, some studies of the Pacific littoral have concentrated on ecological issues of de-forestation in Guanacaste and banana diseases in southern Puntarenas Province. Examples for Guanacaste include: Marc Edelman, “From Central American Pasture to North American Hamburger,” in Food and Evolution: Toward a Theory of Human Food Habits, ed. Marvin Harris and Eric B. Ross (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987), 541–61; R. Daubenmire, “Some Ecological Consequences of Converting Forest to Savanna in Northwestern Costa Rica,” Tropical Ecology 13, no. 1 (1972): 31–51. For southern Puntarenas Province see Steve Marquardt, “Pesticides, Parakeets, and Unions in the Costa Rican Banana Industry, 1938–1962,” Latin American Research Review 37, no. 2 (2002): 3–36 and idem, “‘Green Havoc’: Panama Disease, Environmental Change, and Labor Process in the Central American Banana Industry,” American Historical Review 106, no. 1 (2001): 49–80. For race relations in southern Puntarenas Province, see Ronald Harpelle, “Racism and Nationalism in the Creation of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast Banana Enclave,” The Americas 56, no. 3 (2000): 29–51. 5. For this study, “liberalism,” “the liberal state,” and “liberals” are not capitalized due to the fact that in Costa Rica no Liberal Party existed as it did in other Latin American countries. I have capitalized the Liberal Reform movement of the 1880s. 6. The terms “center” and “periphery” here refer respectively to Costa Rica’s administrative center located in and around the capital and the frontier provinces of the coasts. The center-periphery dichotomy has been used in

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7.

8. 9. 10.

11.

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studies of Latin America by dependistas—Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System (N.Y., Academy Press, 1974–1980); F.H. Cardoso and Enzo Faletto, Dependency and Development, trans. Margory Mattingly Urquidi (Berkeley: University of Ca. Press, 1979); by colonialists—Stanley J. Stein and Barbara H. Stein, The Colonial Heritage of Latin America: Essays on Economic Dependence in Perspective (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1970); by analysts of revolutions—Margaret E. Crahan and Peter H. Smith, “The State of Revolution” in Americas: New Interpretive Essays, ed. Alfred Stepan (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1992); by regionalists— Friedrich Katz, ed., Riot, Rebellion, and Revolution: Rural Social Conflict in Mexico(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988); and in the literature on nation-building—S.N. Eisenstadt and Stein Rokkan, eds., Building States and Nations: Models and Data Resources, vol. 1 (London: Sage Publications, 1973). My orientation draws from the literature on centerregional differentiation and the inherent problem of inclusion of the periphery in the nation and nation building projects. Juan José Marín Hernández, “Prostitución y pecado en la bella y próspera ciudad de San José (1850–1930),” in El Paso del cometa: Estado política social y culturas populares en Costa Rica, ed. Iván Molina Jiménez and Steven Palmer (San José: Editorial Porvenir, 1994), 47–80. Marion Goldman, Gold Diggers and Silver Miners: Prostitution and Social Life on the Comstoke Lode (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1981), 157. Marín, “Prostitución”; see also idem, “Entre la disciplina y la respectabilidad. La prostitución en la ciudad de San José: 1939–1949” (Tesis de Licenciatura en Historia, Universidad de Costa Rica, 1993). Steven Paul Palmer, “Confinement, Policing, and the Emergence of Social Policy in Costa Rica, 1880–1935” in The Birth of the Penitentiary in Latin America: Essays on Criminology, Prison Reform, and Social Control, 1830–1940,ed. Ricardo D. Salvatore and Carlos Aguirre (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996), 224–53; idem, “Hacía la auto-immigración: El nacionalismo oficial en Costa Rica (1870–1930),” in Identidades nacionales y estado moderno en Centroaméricano, ed. Arturo Taracena and Jean Piel (San José: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica, 1995), 75–85; idem, “Pánico en San José: El consumo de heroína, la cultura plebeya y la política social en 1929,” in El paso del cometa, ed. Molina Jiménez and Palmer; Steven Palmer, From Popular Medicine to Medical Populism: Doctors, Healers, and Public Power in Costa Rica, 1800–1949(Durham: Duke University Press, 2003). The most comprehensive treatment of liberalism is included in Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline.” Eugenia Rodríquez Sáenz, “From Brides to Wives: Changes and Continuities in the Ideals of and Attitudes Towards Marriage, Conjugal Relationships, and Gender Roles in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, 1750–1850” (Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1995); idem, “Civilizing Domestic Life in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, 1750–1850,” in Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America, ed. Elizabeth Dore and Maxine Molyneaux (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 85–107; idem, “Historia

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12.

13.

14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

20.

21.

22. 23.

Notes to Chapter One de la familia en América Latina: Balance de las principales tendencias,” Revista de Historia 26 (Heredia: 1993): 145–83. Putnam, Company; See also idem, “Public Women and One-Pant Men: Labor Migration and the Politics of Gender in Caribbean Costa Rica, 1870–1960” (Ph.D. diss., The University of Michigan, 2000); idem, “Ideología racial, practica social y estado liberal en Costa Rica,” Revista de Historia 39 (1999): 139–86. The study by Arabela Valverde Espinoza, “La ciudad de Puntarenas: Una aproximación a su historia económica y social, 1858–1930” (Tesis de Licenciatura en Historia, Universidad de Costa Rica, 1997) is useful for sources and general history; the history by Cleto González Víquez, El puerto de Puntarenas (algo de su historia)(Santiago: Imprenta Gutenberg, 1933) traces the infrastructural development of the port to 1910; the research of Javier Desanti Henderson, “Aspectos socio-legales del la prostitución en Puntarenas” (Tesis de Licenciatura, School of Law, Universidad de Costa Rica, 1985) includes data about prostitutes in Puntarenas in the 1980s. Valverde Espinoza, “La ciudad,” 6–7. The CIHAC data base may be downloaded from the web site of the Programa Centroamericano de Población: http://ccp.ucr.ac.cr/. For the analysis of such discrepancies and impact on the province of Limón, see Putnam, Company, 71–75. After 1910, a law was enacted changing the status of injurias from delitos (crimes) to faltas (misdemeanors), precluding the existence of court records for injurias after 1910. Dr. Pedro José Alvarez Valle, Historias de Antaño: Remembranzos de un porteño (Puntarenas, privately printed, 1989). Charles Gibson, The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519–1810 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1964). Some of the regionalists following his lead include: Peter Bakewell, David Brading, William Taylor, John Tutino, Eric Van Young, and James Lockhart. See Eric R. Wolf, Europe and the People Without History (Berkeley: University of California Press,1982) and idem, Sons of the Shaking Earth (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959); Sidney W. Mintz, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York: Viking Penguin, 1985). Stein Rokkan, “Cities, States, and Nations: A dimensional Model for the Study of Contrasts in Development,” in Building States and Nations: Models and Data Resources, vol. 1, ed. S. N. Eisenstadt and Stein Rokkan (London: Sage Publications, 1973), 74. See also Rafni Kothari, “The Confrontation of Theories With National Realities: Report on an International Conference” in Eisenstadt and Rokkan, Building States, 99–116. Ciro F.S. Cardoso, “The Formation of the Coffee Estate in Nineteenth-Century Costa Rica,” in Land and Labour in Latin America, ed. K. Duncan and I. Rutledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 189. Daniel Lerner, “‘Some Comments on Center-Periphery Relations,” in Richard L. Merritt and Stein Rokkan, Comparing Nations: The Use of

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24. 25. 26.

27. 28. 29.

30.

31. 32. 33.

171

Quantitative Data in Cross-National Research (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), 259–65. Ibid., 265. Charles Bergquist, Labor and the Course of American Democracy: U.S. History in Latin American Perspective (London and New York: Verso, 1996), 14. Paul A. David, “Clio and the Economics of QUERTY,” American Economic Review 75, no. 2 (1985); 332; Stanley L. Engerman and Kenneth L. Sokoloff, “Factor Endowments, Institutions, and Differential Paths of Growth Among New World Economies: A View from Economic Historians of the United States,” in How Latin America Fell Behind: Essays on the Economic Histories of Brazil and Mexico, 1800–1914, ed. Stephen Haber (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997); James Mahoney, “Long-Run Development and the Legacy of Colonialism in Spanish America,” American Journal of Sociology 109, no. 1 (July, 2003): 50–106; idem, The Legacies of Liberalism: Path Dependency and Political Regimes in Central America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001). Mahoney, The Legacies of Liberalism, 3. Timothy Gilfoyle, “Prostitution in History: From Parables of Poverty to Metaphors of Modernity,” American Historical Review 104 (Feb., 1999): 140. Anthropologist William E. Wormsley laments the “disturbing fact that anthropology has forfeited to historians much which should be the subject of our (anthropologists’) own inquiry. Along with other social constants such as murder, alcohol and drugs, crime, war, hunger, and a host of other social “pathologies,” prostitution has long stared anthropologists in the eye only to be put in the anthropological closet in the hectic rush to write about almost anything else. . . .” William E. Wormsley, review of The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Nairobi, by Luise White, Anthropological Quarterly 65, no. 4 (October, 1992): 207–08. Luise White, The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Nairobi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 1990; Donna J. Guy, Sex and Danger in Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family, and Nation in Argentina (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1991); Gail Hershatter, Dangerous Pleasures: Prostitution and Modernity in Twentieth Century Shanghai (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). Gail Hershatter, “The Hierarchy of Shanghai Prostitution, 1870–1949,” Modern China 15 (October, 1989), 463; quoted in Gilfoyle, “Parables,” 140. Gilfoyle, “Parables,” 120. Noah D. Zatz, “Sex Work/Sex Act: Law, Labor, and Desire in Constructions of Prostitution,” Signs 22 (Winter, 1997): 285–86; Lars Ericsson, “The Charges against Prostitution: An Attempt at a Philosophical Assessment,” Ethics 90 (April, 1980): 334–66; Alison Jaggar, “Prostitution,” in The Phiosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, ed. Alan Soble, 2d ed. (Savage, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1991).

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34. Marín, “Prostitución,” 51. 35. Luise White, “Prostitutes, Reformers, and Historians,” Criminal Justice History 5 (1985): 201. 36. Goldman, Gold Diggers, 57. 37. Ibid., 152, 156–57. 38. White, “Prostitutes, Reformers, and Historians,” 205. 39. See Mary Gibson, Prostitution and the State in Italy, 1860–1915 (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1986), 13. 40. Zatz, “Sex Work,” 291. Criminalization has in many cases generated a dependency on pimps and perpetuated a different kind of stigma. Historian Judith Walkowitz, describing the period after passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 in Great Britain, writes, “the 1885 act helped to drive a wedge between prostitutes and the poor working-class community. Prostitutes were uprooted from their neighborhoods and had to find lodgings in other areas of the city and in the periphery . . . . Cut off from other sustaining relationships, increasingly they were forced to rely on pimps for emotional security and for protection from legal authorities.” Judith R. Walkowitz, “The Politics of Prostitution,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 6, no.11 (1980): 128. Here, the criminalization of prostitution created the stigma of separation in conjunction with the prostitute’s own loss of autonomy. Luise White concludes, “men and male control enter prostitution only after the state does.” White, Comforts,1, 4–6, 11, 40. 41. See Guy, Sex and Danger; Eileen J. Suárez Findlay, Imposing Decency: The Politics of Sexuality and Race in Puerto Rico, 1870–1920 ( Durham: Duke University Press, 1999); William French, “Prostitutes and Guardian Angels: Women, Work, and the Family in Porfirian Mexico,” Hispanic American Historical Review 72, no. 4 (1992): 529–53; Katherine Elaine Bliss, Compromised Positions: Prostitution, Public Health and Gender Politics in Revolutionary Mexico City (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State Press, 2001); David McCreery, ‘“This Life of Misery and Shame’: Female Prostitution in Guatemala City, 1880–1920,” Journal of Latin American Studies 18 (1986): 333–53. 42. See Guy, Sex and Danger,12–14. For a discussion of the difference between the three primary state policies towards prostitution—prohibition, regulation, and decriminalization (or abolition)—see Gibson, Italy, 4–6. Abolition, sometimes confused with prohibition, refers to the abolition of state regulation of prostitution. 43. Quotation from Alain Corbin, Women for Hire: Prostitution and Sexuality in France after 1850, trans. Alan Sheridan (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), 372 n 11. 44. Guy, Sex and Danger, 13; Vern L. Bullough and James A. Brundage, eds., Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1982), 36. 45. See Gibson, Italy, 5.

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46. Mary Elizabeth Perry, “Deviant Insiders: Legalized Prostitutes and a Consciousness of Women in Early Modern Seville,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 27 (1985): 144–45. 47. Corbin, Women for Hire, 4–7. 48. Gilfoyle, “Parables,” 120–21. 49. It should be noted that the modern anti-venereal disease program of licensed houses of prostitution, however, began as early as 1684 in Paris when prostitutes were incarcerated in a hospital (the Salpetriere) if obligatory medical examinations determined them to be ill. 50. Donna Guy, “Medical Imperialism Gone Awry: The Campaign Against Legalized Prostitution in Latin America,” in Science, Medicine, and Cultural Imperialism, ed. Theresa Meads and Mark Walker (N.Y.: St. Martin’s Press, 1991), 76–77. 51. Ibid., 77–78. For the debate on the origins of syphilis, see Alfred Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1972), 122–164. For a feminist overview of venereal disease and prostitution in the nineteenth century, see Mary Spongeberg, Feminizing Venereal Disease: The Body of the Prostitute in Nineteenth Century Medical Discourse (London: Macmillan, 1997). 52. Marín, “Prostitución,” 51–52. 53. For the terms of the vagrancy laws, see Carlos Luis Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero en Costa Rica, 1830–1902 (San José: EUNED, 1983), 103– 113. 54. White, “Prostitutes, Reformers, and Historians,” 209.

Notes to Chapter Two 1. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 7. 2. Carols Meléndez Chaverri, Costa Rica: Tierra y poblamiento en la colonia (San José: Editorial Costa Rica, 1978), 175–177. 3. Ricardo Fernández Guardia ed., Costa Rica en el siglo XIX: Antología de viajeros (San José: Editorial Universitaria Centroamericana, 1982), 136. 4. See González Víquez, Puntarenas, 23 for the health threat to Caldera caused principally by malaria. Travel writer John Lloyd Stephens, disembarking at Caldera in the 1830s wrote, “All the ports of Central America on the Pacific are unhealthy, but this was considered deadly. I had entered without apprehension cities where the plague was raging, but here, as I looked ashore, there was a death-like stillness that was startling.” John Lloyd Stevens, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1949), 340. Ironically, Caldera finally won out as principal Pacific port in the mid-1970s due to its ability to accommodate heavier traffic. 5. E.G. Squire, The States of Central America (N.Y.: Harpers and Brothers, 1958), 458.

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6. Rapport de Capitan M.T. de Lapelin, de la Marine Francais (n.d.), 62; quoted in Ibid. 7. Meléndez Chaverri, Costa Rica, 179–80. 8. Until recently, retired Staten Island ferries could be seen traversing the Gulf of Nicoya. 9. By 1927, Puntarenas Province (population 28,739) included the four cantones of Puntarenas, Esparta, Osa and Montes de Oro; the Cantón de Puntarenas (population 14,746) contained the eight districts whose principal towns were Puntarenas, Pitahya, Chomes, Lepanto, Paquero, Manzanillo, Barranca and Corozal; the district of Puntarenas (population 7,790) included the city of Puntarenas (population 6,676), San Lucas and Agujas. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1927 (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1928), 174–76. 10. Costa Rica, Dirección General de Estdadística y Censos (DGEC), Censo de población de 1927 (San José: Ministerio de Economía y Hacienda, 1960), 94. 11. Ibid., my calculations. 12. Iván Molina Jiménez and Steven Palmer, The History of Costa Rica (San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 1998), 19. For an analysis of this collective amnesia, see Karen Stocker, “No Somos Nada: Ethnicity and Three Dominant and Contradictory Indigenous Discourses in Costa Rica,” Research Paper Series, University of New Mexico, Latin American Institute, no. 35 Albuquerque. N.M.: Latin American Institute, University of New Mexico (2000). 13. Caroline Hall, “Some Effects of the Spread of Coffee Cultivation Upon the Landscape of Costa Rica in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Ph.D. diss., St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, 1975), 5. 14. Ibid., 91–93. 15. Ibid., 20, 23. 16. Molina and Palmer, Costa Rica, 22. 17. For an analysis of the role of cacao in the economy and rituals of indigenous communities of Costa Rica’s Pacific littoral of the sixteenth century, see María E. Bozzolli de Willie, “Continuidad del simbolismo del cacao, del siglo XVI al siglo XX,” Comisión Nacional Organizadora (Nicoya) (1980): 229–240. 18. Hall, “Some Effects,” 59–60. 19. The encomienda was an assignment by the Spanish Crown of compulsory Indian labor to a Spanish conqueror, or encomendero. After 1542 the Crown enacted the New Laws curtailing the perpetuation of encomiendas through inheritance and abolishing Indian forced labor, while retaining the right of the encomendero to collect tribute from the Indians. 20. Lowell Gudmundson, Estratificación socio-racial y económica de Costa Rica: 1700–1850 (San José: Editorial Universidad Estatal a Distancia, 1978), 46–59 and 30 et passim; cited in Putnam, “Public Women,” 14–15. Molina and Palmer mention at least 430 slaves as purchasing their freedom or manumitted between 1648 and 1824. Molina and Palmer, Costa Rica, 37. 21. Meléndez Chaverri, “Liberia en sus origenes,” 41–68.

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22. Molina and Palmer, Costa Rica, 39–41. 23. Héctor Pérez Brignoli, “Deux siècles d’ illégimtimité au Costa Rica, 1770– 1774,” in Marriage and Remarriage in Populations of the Past, ed. J. Dupaquier, E. Hélin, P. Laslett, M. Livi-Bacci and S. Songer (London: Academic Press-Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981), 482. For an analysis of marriage practices in Bourbon Spanish America, see Putnam, Company, 26. 24. Lowell Gudmundson, “Black into White in Nineteenth Century Spanish America: Afro-American Assimilation in Argentina and Costa Rica,” Slavery and Abolition 5, no. 1 (1984): 36. 25. See Edelberto Torres Rivas, History and Society in Central America, trans. Douglas Sullivan-González (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993), 9–10; Lowell Gudmundson and Héctor Lindo-Fuentes, Central America, 1921–1871: Liberalism Before Liberal Reform (Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press, 1995), passim. The economy of indigo, with its history of a coerced labor force of indigenous campesinos, helps explain today’s patterns of seasonal labor migration, the peonage of the hacienda, tenant farming and some semi-servile relationships of the work force. 26. Iván Molina, Costa Rica (1800–1850): El legado colonial y la génesis del capitalismo (San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 1991), 162. 27. Molina and Palmer, Costa Rica, 44; Ciro F.S. Cardoso and Héctor Pérez Brignoli, Centroamérica y la economía occidental (1520–1930) (San José: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica, 1977), 122. 28. Molina and Palmer, Costa Rica, 44; Lowell Gudmundson, Costa Rica Before Coffee: Society and Economy on the Eve of the Export Boom (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986), 43. 29. Marco Antonio Fallas, La factoría de tabacos de Costa Rica (San José: Editorial Costa Rica, 1972), 57–62 and 152–154; Quirós Vargos, “La Ciudad de Espíritu Santo de Esparza,” 36. 30. There is evidence that contracts existed for the shipment of tobacco from Puntarenas to Realejo in 1804, 1809, 1815, 1816 and 1817. Boat owners included the Costa Ricans Pedro Antonio de Solares, José Santos Lombardo, Mora, Gallegos y Co., Antonio Figeroa, Gregorio Ulloa and Juan Antonio Castro. Víctor Hugo Acuña Ortega, “Historia económica del tobacco: Epoca colonial,” Anuario de Estudios Centroamericanos 4 (1978): 326. 31. Gudmundson, Costa Rica Before Coffee, 43. According to Molina, commerce in Costa Rica between 1750 and 1821 was led by merchants from Panama and Nicaragua. Iván Molina Jiménez, Comercio y comerciantes en Costa Rica: 1750–1840 (San José: Editorial Universidad Estadal a Distancia, 1991), 14. 32. Valverde Espinoza, “La ciudad de Puntarenas,” 29. 33. Robert Naylor, “British Commercial Relations with Central America, 1821–1851” (Ph.D. diss., Tulane University, 1959), 121. 34. Cardoso, “The Formation of the Coffee Estate,” 201 n48. 35. Carolyn Hall, El cafe y el desarrollo histórico-geográfico de Costa Rica (San José: Editorial Costa Rica, 1976), 32; Naylor indicates that for the

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36. 37.

38.

39. 40.

41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Notes to Chapter Two first fifteen years after independence Costa Rican merchants exchanged gold for merchandise supplied in Jamaica. By 1840, $80,000 per year in gold was traded. Nayor, “British Commercial Relations,” 175. Naylor, “British Commercial Relations,” 220. Carlos Araya Pochet, “La mineria y sus relaciones con la acumulación de capital y la clase dirigente de Costa Rica, 1821–1841,” Estudios Sociales Centroamericanos, año II, no. 5. San José: Ciudad Universitaria (mayo/ agosto, 1973): 32–56. Throughout this period the British feverishly sought a more direct route from the mining area to San Juan del Norte across Costa Rica’s northern border with Nicaragua on the Caribbean, but to no avail due to the jungle terrain and fast rapids of the Serapiquí River. Squire refers to a custom-house in Serapiquí by 1856 where import duties amounted to about 10% while 90% came from Pacific traffic. Squire, The States of Central America, 470. For a survey of Anglo-American settlement in nineteenth century Costa Rica see Anita Gregorio Murchie, Imported Spices: A Study of Anglo-American Settlers in Costa Rica, 1821–1900 (San José: Imprenta Nacional), 1981. Lindo-Fuentes writes that Puntarenas, closer to the British merchants of Callao and Valparaiso, was the leading port of the Central American Pacific coast by 1833 when “its activity was unprecedented.” Héctor Lindo Fuentes, “The Economy of Central America: From Bourbon Reforms to Liberal Reforms,” in Gudmundson and Lindo-Fuentes, Liberalism Before Liberal Reform, 37. La Gaceta Oficial 56, 24 May 1934, 973–74; quoted in Gudmundson, Costa Rica Before Coffee, 185. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 84–87. In 1839, of the four leading export merchants of Puntarenas, two had European names, two Hispanic names and all lived in the highlands, three in San José, one in Cartago. The 19 leading importers, 15 with Hispanic names, four with European names, also lived in highland cities. Gudmundson, Costa Rica Before Coffee, 163–64. Clotidlde María Obregón, “Inicio del comercio británico en Costa Rica,” Ciencias Sociales 24, (1982): 62. 1 peso=1 dollar. ANCR, Gobernación, No. 144030, (1838); cited in Gudmundson, Estatificación socio-racial, 140. William Roseberry, Lowell Gudmundson and Mario Samper Kutschbach, eds., Coffee, Society and Power in Latin America (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1995), 10. Hall, “Some Effects,” 34. Gregorio Murchi, Imported Spices, 100. Hall, “Some Effects,” 35; Robert Glasgow Dunlop, Travels in Central America, vol. 2. (London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1847), 313–14. Hall, “Some Effects,” 62. Ibid., 63. Dunlop, Travels, 44. Hall. “Some Effects,” 61–63.

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177

52. Richard J. Houk, “The Development of Foreign Trade and Communication in Costa Rica to the Construction of the First Railway,” The Americas 10, no. 2 (1953): 202–03. 53. Hall, “Some Effects,” iii, 61–62. 54. Tomás Soley Güell, Historia monetaria de Costa Rica (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1926), 283. 55. Fernández Guardia, Siglo XX, 136. 56. Thomas Meagher, “Vacaciones en Costa Rica,” in ibid., 342. 57. Squire, The States of Central America, 458. 58. Ibid. 59. Jorge León Sáenz, Evolución del comercio exterior y del transporte marítimo de Costa Rica (San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 1997), 160. 60. Squire, The States of Central America, 459. 61. Cardoso, “The Formation of the Coffee Estate,” 188. 62. Ibid., 189. 63. Christie to Palmerston, San José, 20 October 1848, F.O. 53 (11) nf.; as cited in Naylor, “British Commercial Relations,” 66. 64. Molina to Palmerston, London, 23 December 1848, F.O. 21 (1) nf., as cited in Naylor, “British Commercial Relations,” 66. 65. Héctor Lindo-Fuentes considers that the gold rush “stimulated more navigation than any government decree could achieve and its impact was felt unambiguously in the Pacific ports.” Gudmundson and Lindo-Fuentes, Central America, 37. 66. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the railroad tycoon, secured an exclusive concession from the Nicaraguan authorities. His initiatives resulted in the formation of the Accessory Transit Company, which operated specially designed steamers across the San Juan River and transported more than one hundred thousand people by 1860. Ibid., 38. For an excellent overview of British-U.S. rivalries in Central America prior to 1850, see Naylor, “British Commercial Relations.” 67. Felipe Molina, A Brief Sketch of the Republic of Costa Rica (London, Printed for the author by P. P. Thomas, 1849), 7–8. 68. Chapters Seven and Eight discuss rates of arrests for drunkenness in Puntarenas, as well as the social consequences of the state liquor monopoly. 69. See Frida Kierszenzon, “El monopolio de licores en Costa Rica, 1821– 1859” (Tesis de licenciatura, Universidad de Costa Rica, 1983), 30. 70. Victor M. Cabrera, Guanacaste: libro conmemorativo del centenario de la incorporación del Partido de Nicoya a Costa Rica (San José: Imprenta María v. de Lines, 1924), 123, cited in Edelman, Logic, 288–89. 71. Hall, “Some Effects,” 17–18. In 1812, there was an insurrection at Alajuelita, to the south of San José, where the population protested the estanco on aguardiente. There was also widespread discontent in Cartago and Heredia because farmers wanted the freedom to manufacture aguardiente from locally grown cane. Their demands were ignored. 72. Kierszenzon, “El monopolio,” 30–71; Edward Dennis Hernández, “Modernization and Dependency in Costa Rica During the Decade of the 1880s,” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1975), 226–28.

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73. Costa Rica, Memoria de Hacienda y Comercio de 1861, 28; Kierszenzon, “El monopolio,” 94. There are no total liquor revenue figures for 1860 so a Lepanto percentage is not possible. 74. Costa Rica, Memoria de Hacienda y Comercio de 1897 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1897), 160–61. In 1897, the Tempisque distillery produced roughly one sixth the liquor of the San José central fábrica. Marc Edelman writes that Spanish immigrant, Federico Sobrado, acquired the operation at the turn of the century and inherited a government contract to be the exclusive producer of alcohol for the Pacific provinces, provided he upgrade it to an ingenio, a provision not fulfilled by the previous owner. A second site in the region ultimately supplying sugar to the liquor monopoly was the child of exiled Cuban independence fighter Antonio Maceo. In the 1890s, Cuban colonists in the Nicoyan Peninsula, led by Maceo, installed the first ingenio of the Pacific lowlands in the northern part of the Nicoyan Peninsula in Guanacaste at La Mansión. After 1899, when the Maceo group returned to Cuba, the enterprise reverted to the state, then into the hands of Spanish immigrant Federico Apéstegui, who later sold it. Edelman, Logic, 289, 418 n6. 75. Kierszenzon, “El monopolio,” 65–71, 100–01. 76. See Steven Palmer, “Getting to Know the Unknown Soldier: Official Nationalism in Liberal Costa Rica, 1880–1900,” Journal of Latin American Studies 25, no. 1 (1993): 45–72. 77. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 41. 78. Squier, The States of Central America, 457. 79. Molina, A Brief Sketch, 11. Squire breaks down the revenues of 1856 from the three customs houses of Serapiquí, Puntarenas and Garita del Rio Grande respectively at $9,471, $2,072 and $102,564. Squire, The States of Central America, 470. Interestingly, the figure for Serapiquí indicates that trade to the Atlantic was not negligible. 80. In 1861, several pages of porteño signatures appeared in a petition to Congress to extend the franquicia, obviously a boon to the local economy. ANCR, Serie Congreso 5821. 81. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 47. 82. León Sáenz, Evolución del comercio, 186. 83. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 54. 84. Hall, “Some Effects,” 35. 85. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 467. 86. Ibid., 54. 87. Delmer Ross, “The Construction of the Railraods of Central America” (Ph.D. diss., University of Califormia, Santa Barbara, 1970), 11–12; 22– 23. Costa Rica just missed the distinction of building the world’s first steam railway. Although the first steam railroad in Costa Rica from San José to Limón was not started until 1871, such a railroad had been proposed by Richard Trevithick fifty years earlier. Trevithick, who disputed with George Stephenson the honor of having invented the locomotive, engaged in mining operations in Costa Rica from 1822 to 1827, during which time he proposed the construction of a railroad to open up the north-western interior

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88. 89. 90.

91. 92. 93. 94. 95.

96. 97. 98. 99.

179

and to facilitate transport to the Caribbean. His mining company collapsed and the railway was never constructed. Wilhelm Marr, “Viajes a Centroamérica,” in Fernández Guardia, Siglo XIX, 134. Thomas Meagher, “Vacaciones en Costa Rica,” 346. Squire, The States of Central America, 449; Marr claimed 1,200 in 1859, a decrease from 1851, due to the cholera epidemic that soldiers in the Walker campaign brought back from Nicaragua, killing over 10,000 Costa Ricans. Marr, “Viajes,” 125. Marr, “Viajes,” 137. Ibid., 143–44. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 65, 109–10. Joaquín Bernardo Calvo, The Republic of Costa Rica (Chicago: Rand, McNally and Company, 1890), 158. A poignant example of the effect that modernization was having on traditional sectors of Costa Rican society may be seen in an example of clerical complicity with progreso. Bishop Lorente found it necessary to decree excommunication to anyone caught damaging the new line. Apparently some of the rural population thought that the telegraph was the work of the devil. Hernández, “Modernization and Dependency,” 131. The Constitution of 1871 remained in effect until 1949. Hernández, “Modernization and Dependency,” 233. Costa Rica, DGEC, Censo General de la República de Costa Rica levantado bajo la administración del Licenciado don José J. Rodríguez el 18 de febrero de 1892. San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1893. Ibid.

Notes to Chapter Three 1. My calculations from the censuses of 1844, 1864, 1883, 1892 and 1927. Gudmundson, Costa Rica Before Coffee, 126–27, warns of under counting of early nineteenth century census takers (1824 and 1838). Taking this into account, the growth is still quite high when compared to Cuba’s overall 293% increase from 1841–1931 or Jamaica’s 128% increase from 1844 to 1921. Brian B. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics: The Americas, 1750–1988, 2d ed. (N.Y.: Stockton Press, 1993), 2–3. 2. Carolyn Hall, Costa Rica: A Geographical Interpretation in Historical Perspective (Boulder and London: Westview Press, 1985), 99. 3. Gudmundson, “Black into White,” 41–42. 4. Squier, The States of Central America, 465. 5. Cardoso, “The Formation of the Coffee Estate,” 190. 6. My calculations from the censuses of 1864, 1892, and 1927. 7. Gudmundson and Lindo-Fuentes, Central America, Introduction, 1–12. 8. In fact, attesting to the shared interests of liberals and conservatives in the liberal ideal of modernization through an educated citizenry, the educational

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9.

10. 11. 12.

13.

14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Notes to Chapter Three policies of both Liberal and Conservative regimes in the early national period were similar. Both pursued programs that expanded the country’s educational infrastructure. In the 1820s as part of the Central American Federation (1824–1838) the province declared education mandatory. In the 1840s President Castro Madrid (1847–1849 and 1866–1869) promoted public education by establishing normal schools for women. Again education was emphasized under the Conservative administration of Juan Rafael Mora (1849–1859). During the twelve year liberal dictatorship of Tomás Guardia (1870–1882), national teaching colleges were established and, in concert with the liberal doctrine of secularization and material progress, technical schools were promoted. Literacy rates grew from 11% in 1864 to 31% in 1892. Ralph Lee Woodward, Central America: A Nation Divided (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 173. The Church, typical of its talent for survival, responded to its marginalization by organizing politically. Bishop Thiel, returning from exile, formed the Partido Union Católica, based on the concept of a just family salary. A form of Catholic populism established itself as a legitimate element within the Costa Rican Church, for the first time articulating the “social question.” Palmer argues that because the object of the Church’s opposition was the liberal Costa Rican state, and because it sought an organized role in Costa Rican politics, the very process undertaken by Thiel resulted in the Church defining itself in “national” terms. When Thiel died, he was not only buried with full official honors, but with a band playing the “Duelo de la Patria,” originally written for the funeral of Guardia in 1882. Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 206–07. See also Eugene D. Miller, A Holy Alliance? The Church and the Left in Costa Rica, 1932–1948 (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1996), 18. See Fabrice Lehoucq and Iván Molina, Stuffing the Ballot Box: Fraud, Electoral Reform, and Democratization in Costa Rica (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press), 2002. Hernández, “Modernization and Dependency,” 46. See Edelman and Kenen, 51–56 and Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 79– 116. Palmer (p. 86) notes that Ricardo Jiménez and Cleto González Víquez received their schooling at the Colegio de San Luis in Cartago, and the Colegio de Abogados, where they graduated in 1882. They were drafted into the ranks of the state to participate in the reforms of the 1880s. Palmer, “Confinement,” 224, 238. González Víquez is of particular relevance to this study for writing the only “liberal” history of Puntarenas in 1933. (The significance and timing of this, after Puntarenas’ resurrection, particularly during the 1920s, is the subject of Chapter Six). Hernández, “Modernization and Dependency,” 58. Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 218. Ibid. See Marín, “Prostitución,” 64. La buena sociedad cafetalera parallels Thomas Jefferson’s “agrarian myth.” In both, the hard work of the small farmer is alleged to exemplify the core values of democracy. Héctor Pérez-Brignoli, A Brief History of Central America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 101.

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19. Margarita Rojas, “La luz paradisiaca del pasado,” in Rojas et al., “Escritura y nación en Costa Rica,” Universidad Nacional (Heredia), 1989 (Mimeographed), p. 87; as quoted in Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 224. 20. Palmer, “A Liberal Discipine,” 224. 21. Ibid., 227. 22. Ibid., 212. 23. Ibid., 210–16. Examples include Francisco Montero Barrantes, Elementos de historia de Costa Rica, I:18, 1892, used as the official school text from 1892–1909 and Ricardo Fernández Guardia, Cartilla histórico de Costa Rica, used after 1909. 24. “El porvenir de Costa Rica,” Diario de Costa Rica (1 Feb. 1886), p. 1; as quoted in Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 216. 25. Pérez Brignoli, “Deux Siècles,” 483–88. See Alfonso González, “Mujer y familia en la vida cotiana de la segunda mitad de siglo XIX “ (Licenciatura thesis, Universidad de Costa Rica, 1993) for evidence that, in the second part of the nineteenth century, differences existed between the illegitimacy rates in the Central Valley and peripheral regions. For illegitimacy rates in Costa Rica during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see: María Adelia Zúñiga, “Historia demográfica de la Parroquia de Cartago (1830–1900), Licenciatura thesis, Universidad de Costa Rica, 1986), 114– 19; María de los Angeles Acuña and Dorium Chavarría, “El mestizaje: La sociedad multiracial en la ciudad de Cargago (1738–1821),” (Licenciatura thesis, Universidad de Costa Rica, 1991), 109–143; Iván Molina Jiménez, Costa Rica, 1800–1850: El legado colonial y la génesis del capitalismo (San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 1991), 63; Héctor Pérez Brignoli, “La fecundidad legítima en San Pedro del Mojón, 1871–1936,” Avances de Investigaciones Históricos (Universidad de Costa Rica) 11 (1985): 4. 26. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación, Policía, y Fomento (1902–1903) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1903), 172. 27. In Petorca, Chile, illegitimacy rates fluctuated between 29% and 39% during the nineteenth century. In Mexico City, illegitimacy rates fluctuated between 18% and 33% between 1724 and 1842. In São Paulo, Bahia and Minas Gerais in Brazil, illegitimacy rates fluctuated from 20% to 60% during the nineteenth century. Rodríguez Sáenz, “Brides,” 30. 28. Pérez Brignoli, “Deux Siècles,” 493. 29. See Mario Samper Kutschbach, Generations of Settlers: Rural Households and Markets on the Costa Rican Frontier, 1850–1935 (Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 1990), 81; Putnam, Company, 42; Rodríguez Sáenz, “Brides,” 43–44. 30. Early Costa Rican laws protected women and allowed them to defend themselves. Husbands were required by law to administer their wives’ property prudently; to provide for the material needs of legitimate children and to refrain from using excessive force. In 1841, a man’s citizenship could be suspended if he abandoned his wife and children or failed to live up to his responsibilities toward them. In 1869, however, it became a crime if a male was ungrateful to his parents, but not if he deserted his wife and children.

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31. 32.

33.

34.

35. 36.

37.

Notes to Chapter Three By 1871, in addition to explicitly limiting women’s political rights, sanctions were lifted against husbands’ and fathers’ irresponsible behavior, thus stripping women of power to redress grievances. Sara Sharrat, “The Suffragist Movement in Costa Rica, 1889–1949: Centennial of Democracy?” in The Costa Rican Women’s Movement: A Reader, ed. Ilse Abshagen Leitinger (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), 64. At the same time, divorce restrictions were relaxed as the state took over the Catholic Church’s administration of marriage law during the Liberal Reform era. Changes in the divorce laws on the grounds of unhappiness, cruelty, adultery of both partners, and the absolute dissolution of the link were made in the 1888 Costa Rican Civil Code. Costa Rica, Código Civil 1888, 2d. ed. (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1910) 28–32. Costa Rica appears to be the first Latin American country to “modernize” divorce. Rodríguez Sáenz, “Brides,” 14. Clotilde Obregón Quesada, “Contradictory Aspects of Costa Rican Women’s History During the Nineteenth Century,” in Women’s Movement, ed. Leitinger, 52–60. Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Capital (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1975), 239; quoted in Verena Stolck, “Women’s Labours: The Naturalization of Social Inequality and Women’s Subordination,” in Marriage and the Market: Women’s Subordination Internationally and its Lessons, ed. Kate Young, Carol Walkowitz and Roslyn McCullagh (London and New York: Routledge, 1988), 164–65. Michele Barret and Mary McIntosh argue that there has been an “underemphasis of the extent of the cultural hegemony of familial ideology. . . . ‘the family’ . . . is not only an economic unit, nor merely a kinship structure, it is also an ideological configuration with resonance far beyond these narrow definitions.” Michele Barret and Mary McIntosh, The Anti-Social Family (London: Verso Editions, 1982), 129–30. Pérez Brignoli, “Deux siècles,” 486. Geographer Carolyn Hall writes that with the consolidation of the coffee exporting economy in the late nineteenth century “in a country where agricultural workers were scarce, the importance of children’s labor put a premium on large families.” Hall, A Geographical Interpretation, 99. Verena Stolcke and Michael M. Hall, “The Introduction of Free Labour on São Paulo Coffee Plantations,” Journal of Peasant Studies 10, no. 2 and 3 (Jan./Apr., 1983): 171. Boletin do Departamento do Trabaldo Agrícola, (São Paulo) ano 11, no. 72 (1932): #11; quoted in Verena Stolcke, “The Exploitation of Family Morality: Labor Systems and Family Structure on São Paulo Coffee Plantations, 1850–1979” in Kinship, Ideology and Practice in Latin America, ed. Raymond T. Smith (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1984), 264. Robert G. Williams, States and Social Evolution: Coffee and the Rise of National Governments in Central America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), 148.

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38. Costa Rica, Código General de la República de Costa Rica (1841) (New York: Imprenta de Wynkoop Hallenbeck y Thomas, 1858), Libro III, Arts. 521–25. 39. See Víctor Hugo Acuña Ortega and Iván Molina Jiménez, Historia económica y social de Costa Rica (1750–1950) (San José: Editorial Porvenir, 1991), 69–108; Gudmundson, Costa Rica Before Coffee, 100–103. 40. Putnam, Company, 33. 41. Rodríguez Sáenz, “Civilizing Domestic Life,” 87–91. 42. In the early censuses, this distinction was reflected in the data for familias del comun and familias principales. 43. Rodríguez Sáenz, “Brides,” 12, 34. From the evidence of 300 preserved cased from 1727 to 1850, Rodríguez Sáenz found that between 1727 and 1821, 21.3 percent of accusations were tried mostly in the ecclesiastical tribunal, while between 1822 and 1850, 78.7 percent of the accusations were tried mostly in the civil tribunals (8 percent). Not only was there a greater involvement of civil authorities in the latter period, but cases increased by four times in the latter period. 44. Rodríguez Sáenz, “Brides,” 36–38. 45. Idid., 135. 46. Ibid., 16. 47. Joaquín García Monge, Obras escogidas, (San José: EDUCA, 1981); quoted in Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 245. As part of the movement of Realism, Las hijas del campo was the literary counterpart of Sister Carrie, written by Theodore Dreiser and published in the same year, which followed a young girl from the country into a life of sin in Chicago and New York City. 48. Gudmundson, Costa Rica Before Coffee, 111. In Western cities of the nineteenth century, male-female ratios that favored women were the norm. See Adna Ferrin Weber, The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Macmillan Company, 1899). To date, no cross cultural studies of this trend have been attempted. 49. Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 208. 50. Eugenia Rodríguez Sáenz, “La redefinición de los discursos sobre la familia y el género en Costa Rica (1890–1930),” População e Familia (São Paulo, no. 2, 1999): 148. For Mexico of the same period, Mary Kay Vaughan stresses that the working class family offered, in theory, a means of stabilizing a society wracked by class conflict. The idealized family, inspired by the proper values, would provide an alternative to worker immorality, lack of discipline, and nascent political consciousness. Mary Kay Vaughan, The State, Education, and Social Class in Mexico, 1880–1928 (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1982), 22–38; also idem, “Women, Class, and Education in Mexico, 1880–1928,” Latin American Perspectives 12, no. 13 (1977): 150–68. 51. Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 103. 52. In 1885, for example, an editorial in El Otro Diario called for increased police round-ups of “child vagrants,” and the establishment of a correctional

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school for their rehabilitation through work. El Otro Diario, 17 Nov. 1885, 1; quoted in Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 103. 53. Palmer, “Confinement,” 235–36. 54. Rehabilitating prostitutes was part of the mission of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, who operated throughout Latin America and the world. For their ministry in Chile after 1860 see, María Soledad Zárate Campos, “Vicious Women, Virtuous Women: The Female Delinquent and the Santiago de Chile Correctional House, 1860–1900,” in Salvatore and Aguirre, The Birth of the Penitenciary, 78–100.

Notes to Chapter Four 1. Roberta Hayes de Macaya, Such is Life in the Tropics: 25 Years in Costa Rica—40 Anecdotes (San José: by the author, 2004), 1-2. 2. Hernández, “Modernization and Dependency,” 233. 3. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1898 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1898), 82. 4. Ibid. 5. My calculations using data from Valverde Espinoza, “La ciudad de Puntarenas,” 87, 93. 6. Costa Rica, Censo de 1892. 7. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 5. 8. My calculations, based on Valverde Espinoza, “La ciudad de Puntarenas,” 87, 93. 9. In Limón, the literacy rate reached a high of 77%, in large part because many West Indians could read and write English. 10. Costa Rica, Censo de 1927, 53, 82. 11. Marc Edelman, “Land and Labor in an Expanding Economy: Agrarian Capitalism and the Hacienda System in Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1985), 115-17. 12. David R. Radell, “Historical Geography of Western Nicaragua: The Spheres of Interest of Leon, Granada, and Managua, 1519-1965,” Report on Field Work Carried Out Under ONR Contract Nonr-3656 (03), Project NR 388 067 (Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 1969), 5, 12. This area of Nicaragua, which comprises about one tenth of the national territory, reported a population of more than 1.5 million in the 1963 census. 13. Bureau of the American Republics, Handbook of Nicaragua (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892), 8. 14. It is interesting to note that after almost a quarter century of constant civil war and a serious cholera epidemic in the 1830s, the 1846 census revealed that women outnumbered men three to two, suggesting the impacts of warfare and disease on gender ratios. Radell, “Historical Geography,” 234. It is safe to assume that the war with William Walker in the 1850s continued to affect male-female ratios in the same way. 15. Ibid., 235. An indication of this dynamic population shift is the proportion of houses to population. Rivas had 1,510 houses to 3,800 inhabitants. In

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16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22. 23.

24. 25. 26.

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contrast, Managua had a total of 3,030 houses to shelter a population of 26,000, indicating a trend of out-migration from Rivas. Considered the counterpart of the Argentine gaucho or American cowboy, the sabanero of Guanacaste was mythologized for his endurance and skill with lassos, horses, and cattle. Edelman, Logic, 106–07. See Jaime Wheelock Román, Las raíces indígenas de la lucha anticolonial en Nicaragua (Mexico: Siglo XXI, 1974), 109-18. Jeffrey Gould, To Lead as Equals: Rural Protest and Political Consciousness in Chinandega, Nicaragua, 1912–1929 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), 24. Initially, under the Conservatives, the jueces de mesta were designated and paid by local residents, but after 1893 they rapidly became economically and politically dependent on the cantonal authorities. They formed the nucleus of a growing system of informers and enforcers, which reached its height under the Somoza regime of 1937–79. They were only abolished when the Sandinistas came to power in 1979. (Edelman, Logic, 109). Andrea W. Meditz and Dennis M. Hanratty, eds., Panama: A Country Study (Washington: Federal Research Division, 1987), 20–23. See Pérez-Brignoli, Central America, 22–26. For the role of Chiricanos in the transport economy of the Gold Rush era, see Aims McGuinness, “In the Path of Empire: Labor, Land, and Liberty in Panamá During the California Gold Rush, 1848–1860” (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2001), 49-50. Chiricanos provided services as cargadores during the construction of the Panama Railroad: “The lowest form of male labor in the transit zone (cargadores), it was closely identified with indigenous men from Veraguas and Chiriquí. These men lashed burdens of up to one hundred pounds to themselves (including the occasional human being), bearing the weight on their forehead and shoulders by means of scraps.  .  .  .  With the flood of foreign travelers, men and women migrated to work for cash in different occupations along the strip of land between Chagres and Panamá. Men generally found work as muleteers (arrieros), boatmen, cargadores, and aguadores, or water-carriers, who supplied towns with water drawn from springs. Women sold food and drink to travelers and male workers, washed clothes, and provided sexual services.” Ibid., 51. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación, Policía y Fomento de 1886 (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1886). Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación, Policía y Fomento (1902–1903), 28. The best source for the demography of Panama is Omar Jaén Suárez, La población del istmo de Panamá del siglo XVI al siglo XX: Estudio sobre la población y los modos de organización del las economías, las sociedades y los espacios geográficos (Panamá: n.p. 1979). By the end of the colonial period, the population of Panama City (to the south of Chiriquí on the Pacific) consisted of 7,803 whites, 2,793 slaves, 19,702 free colored, and 5,470 Indians. At the height of the French canal project from 1879 to 1895,

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27. 28.

29. 30. 31. 32. 33.

34. 35. 36. 37.

Notes to Chapter Four workers from Central America, Europe, the Lesser Antilles, the rest of Latin America and China filled the Hospital de la Caridad de la Ciudad de Panama. In 1879, the largest representation of patients came form Panama (48.6%); in 1884, the largest, 22.8% of patients, were Chinese; in 1893, Panamanians again represented the largest category at 62.8%, with the Lesser Antillian group coming in second at 13.6% patients in 1893. During the American canal project, no Chinese workers were recorded. From 1904 through 1913, the largest group of workers on the Panama Canal came from Barbados (44.1%), followed by Spain (18.4%) and Martinique (12.3%). By 1913, the total labor force was 78% black, 22% white. Ibid., 394, 415, 459- 60. Although Limón Province was most affected by this last migration, one guesses that some degree of fallout affected Puntarenas. Guy, “Medical Imperialism Gone Awry,” 87. In 1855, 32 Chinese arrived from Panamá. General José María Cañas contracted these indentured servants for his hacienda, El Lepanto, located on the southeastern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Seven months later, Baron von Bullow, a German colonist, contracted 45 Chinese in Panama to work on his lands in Angostura, adjoining the peninsula of Puntarenas They arrived in Puntarenas in December aboard the New Granadian steamship Josef. Not much else is known about them, but it is possible that there was local resistance as an 1862 Costa Rican law on immigration specifically prohibited Chinese and African immigration. However, a clause in the law stated that “in case it (was) considered necessary,” their entry would be allowed in limited numbers. James L. Huesmann, “The Chinese in Costa Rica, 1855-1897,” Historian 53, no. 4 (Summer, 1991): 714-15. Costa Rica, Censo de 1892. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación, Policía y Fomento (1902-1903), 31. Costa Rica, DGEC, Censo Comercial, el 31 de diciembre de 1907 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1908); my calculations. Valverde Espinoza, “La ciudad de Puntarenas,” 87-88. Costa Rica, DGEC, Censo de la República de Costa Rica (1883). San José: Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio, 1975. It was not uncommon in the 1880-1930 period for male-female ratios in Latin American cities not experiencing a great degree of immigration to favor women. The reasons have not been extensively researched. It is all the more curious that Puntarenas, with a substantial degree of immigration, still favored women—an anomaly attributable to labor demands. In Puerto Limón by 1892, men outnumbered women almost 3 to 1, a more typical pattern for cities in Latin America with large immigrant populations. Costa Rica, Censo de 1892. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación, Policía y Fomento (1905-1906) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1906). Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1911) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1911), 41. Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero, 103-09.

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38. Marín, “Prostitución,” 53. This figure includes an estimate for unregistered prostitutes. 39. The basic meaning of “de oficio domestico” is “no known trade.” Marín, in his study of prostitution in San José, ties it to the servants and makes a connection between prostitution and “domestic work.” Women from the countryside, according to Marín, came to the city to work as maids, then fell into prostitution for such reasons as economic necessity, being violated by the men or sons of the house, or being introduced to it by other maids. Marín, “Prostitución,” 57-58. 40. It can be assumed that most of this number practiced their professions in the port. The registries were established in the provincial capitals of each province. If we assume that all 117 practiced in the port by 1897, that would come to roughly 9% of the total (1892) female port population of 1,350 women. Using the same demographic criteria for San José, 849 out of 1,001 or 8% of women signed the registry. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1898, 202; idem, Censo de 1892. 41. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Poilcía de 1897 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1897), 173. 42. Changes in jurisdiction of registered prostitutes for the 1894-97 period for other provinces include: 23 in Cartago, 25 in Heredia, 28 in Alajuela, and 21 in Limón. 43. For a review of failed British mining operations in Costa Rica’s western region of the 1880s and 1890s, see Hernández, “Modernization and Dependency,” 216-17. The passionate relationship between “Trinidad” Morales and José Lamont (1893), as outlined in one of the court cases of prostitutes reviewed later in the next chapter, may well have begun at the La Trinidad Mining Company where Lamont worked as a boss and where “Trinidad” may have picked up her name. In 1887, the British sponsored a mining operation, the Costa Rica Mining Company Ltd. (a British syndicate owned primarily by Minor Keith and John G. Meiggs of the Atlantic Railway fame), purchased the prosperous mine, La Trinidad, but the company ran at a loss and folded in less than a decade. In 1896 the company secretary informed the Public Registrar in London that the mines had not been worked in years.

Notes to Chapter Five 1. Costa Rica, Colección de leyes y decretos, vol. 2 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1894), 60–66. 2. See Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero, 113; El Pacífico, 7 July 1899. 3. Marín, “Prostitución,” 47–54, 69–74; Putnam, Company, 86–92. 4. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1895 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1895), 21–22. 5. Ibid., 71. 6. “Informe de la gobernación de la comarca de Puntarenas,” 15 de abril de 1895,” in Ibid., 66.

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7. Palmer, Popular Medicine, 96–101. Costa Rica had no medical school until the 1950s, a situation which invited diverse levels of training of medical practitioners, the most dubious practicing in the peripheries. 8. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1897 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1897), 18. Appointments of doctors to the periphery was not unlike the appointment of sub-standard priests in the periphery by Catholic Church officials from the Curia in San José (discussed in Chapter Seven). 9. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1896 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1896), 181. 10. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1895, 66. Well before the Ley de Profilaxis Venérea, reports to the central government decried the condition of the jail, constructed of wood and ripe for escapes. Idem, Memoria de Gobernación, Policía y Fomento de 1885 (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1885). One has to spend only one night in Puntarenas during the rainy season to imagine what the pounding rain, which begins around 6 PM, would do to a wooden building. Cement appeared as a building material only after the turn of the century. 11. El Pacífico, 7 January 1897. 12. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1898, 203. 13. Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero, 107. 14. El Pacífico, 21 February 1897. 15. In fact, most of the newspapers of Puntarenas of the period emulated the liberal “party line” of the Central Valley in a way that obscured the true goings on of the port. 16. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1906–1907), (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1907), 229. 17. Palmer, “Confinement,” 238. Palmer attributes to González Víquez the role of architect of plans to combat “the social problem” perceived to be developing in the capital. “(González Víquez achieved) personal and political self-aggrandizement, as well as the imposition of an ideological plan, through the promotion of an alleged mortal public danger.” Ibid. 18. El Pacífico, 22 May 1898. 19. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1898, 81. 20. El Pacífico, 22 May 1898. 21. El Pacífico, 3 June 1898. 22. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1899 (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1899). 23. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1907–1908) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1908), 45. La Algodonera was apparently a former cotton factory, eventually used as an asylum for infected prostitutes. 24. Valverde Espinoza, “La ciudad de Puntarenas,” 198. 25. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1899. Two years earlier Minister of the Departamento de Profilaxis Venérea, Dr. Zequeira, wrote of the need for “radical measures for clandestine prostitution” such as trade schools for young women. Idem, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1898, 193–94. 26. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1895, 22.

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Notes to Chapter Five 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48.

49. 50. 51. 52. 53.

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Guy, Sex and Danger, 85–86, 104; Palmer, Popular Medicine, 145–48. Marín, “Prostitución,” 65–69. Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero, 113. Putnam, Company, 96. Desanti Henderson, “Aspectos socio-legales de la prostitución en Puntarenas,” 59. Valverde Espinoza, “La ciudad de Puntarenas,” 174. ANCR, PJCyC 1988, (lesiones, 1910). ANCR, PJCyC 1079, (lesiones, 1920). Alvarez Valle, Remembranzos, 25–26. Later names (after World War II) included El Yo-Yo, El Taikane, Pensión El Faro, el Nido del Amor, Pensión Caribe, la Orotinense, Pensión de Popo, el Lukis Star, el Jessie, el Hamburgo, el Punta Loma, el Lillis, el Portón Verde, el Copacabana, and el San Diego Bar. Desanti Henderson, “Aspectos socio-legales de la prostitución en Puntarenas,” 57, 59. Desanti Henderson’s research in Puntarenas in the early 1980s shows that prostitution remained strong in the port, surviving the mid-1970s migrations to the renovated port of Caldera. Costa Rica, Censo Comercial (1907); idem, DGEC, Censo Comercial: Año 1915 (San Jose: Imprenta Nacional, 1917). ANCR, PJCyC 1995 (lesiones, 1910); Costa Rica, Censo Comercial (1907). ANCR, PJCyC 1995 (lesiones , 1910). Bureau de Publicidad de la América Latina, El “libro azul” de Costa Rica (San José: Casa Editorial, 1916), 386. ANCR, PJCyC 356 (hurto, 1908). ANCR, PJCyC 1988 (lesiones, 1910). My calculations using data from Costa Rica, Censo Comercial (1907). ANCR, PJCyC 1988 (lesiones,1910). ANCR, PJCyC 1079 (lesiones,1920). ANCR, PAU 2103 (injurias, 1904). El Puntarenense, 23 July 1915. Marín, “Prostitución,” 67. From 1868–1923, out of 55 locations referred to in cases involving prostitutes in San José, 19 were hoteles de chinos. Zaida M. Fonseca, “Los chinos en Costa Rica en el siglo XIX” (Licenciatura thesis, Universidad de Costa Rica, 1979); quoted in Moisés Guillermo León Azofeifa, “Chinese Immigrants on the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica” (Ph.D. diss., Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, 1987), 76– 77. Bienvenido Ortíz Cartín, Copilación de leyes, decretos y circulares referentes a medicina e higene del año 1821 hasta 1920 (San José: Tipografía Nacional,1924), 99; quoted in Palmer, Popular Medicine, 146. León Azofeifa, “Chinese Immigrants,” 158–59. Putnam, Company, 152. Costa Rica, Censo Comercial (1907). The names of all except the more prominent businessmen and women (in most cases profiled in contemporary news stories) have been changed in this section and elsewhere.

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54. ANCR, Policía 3687 (1895). Thanks go to Lara Putnam for giving this to me. 55. ANCR, PAU 1390 (lesiones, 1902). 56. ANCR, PJCyC 1059 (hurto, 1893); local appeal juries were part of a legal structure that does not appear in the post-1900 period of cases I reviewed. 57. Marín, “Prostitución,” 65–69. 58. ANCR, PAU 1390 (lesiones, 1902). 59. Among West Indian immigrants arriving in Limón between 1900 and 1906, the sex ratio was 191:100. Putnam, Company, 241 n101. 60. Ibid., 185, 221. 61. ANCR, PJCyC 83 (lesiones, 1896). 62. ANCR, PAU 1915 (estafa y prevaricato, 1899). 63. David McCreery, “This Life of Misery and Shame,” 341. 64. See Yuki Tanaka, Japan’s Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II and the U.S. Occupation (London and New York: Routledge), 2002; Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II, ed. Margaret Stetz and Bonnie b.c.Oh (Armonk, New York and London: M.E. Sharpe), 2001. 65. ANCR, PJCyC 1995 (lesiones, 1910). 66. Title 8, Chapter 3, Article 7 of the Penal Code of 1880 specified that acting under “very powerful stimuli” constituted an extenuating circumstance of criminal responsibility. Costa Rica, Código Penal de la República de Costa Rica (1880) (San José: Imprenta Nacional, n.d.). 67. For examples of cases involving prostitutes where habitual drinking was cited as a measure of bad character, see ANCR, PAU 1390 (lesiones, 1902); PJCyC 1995 (lesiones, 1910); PJCyC 1988 (lesiones, 1910). 68. ANCR, PAU 1915 (estafa y precaricato, 1899). 69. For an insightful discussion of this tradition see Putnam, Company, Chapter Five. 70. Costa Rica, Censo Comercial (1907, 1915). 71. Marín lists complaints to the police in San José about prostitution in fondas along with hoteles de chinos, hoteles, casas, mercado and calle. Marín, “Prostitución,” 67. 72. ANCR, PAU 1951 (injurias, 1897). 73. Putnam, Company, 151. 74. ANCR, PAU 3809 (injurias, 1908). 75. ANCR, PAU 2103 (injurias, 1904). 76. ANCR, PAU 590 (injurias, 1904). 77. Writes Stam, “The carnivalesque principle .  .  . abolishes hierarchies, levels social classes, and creates another life free from conventional rules and restrictions.” Robert Stam, Subversive Pleasures: Bakhtin, Cultural Criticism, and Film (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), 86. 78. Putnam, Company, 220. For Limón, Putnam finds that upper class men predominated as plaintiffs in insults cases. My time in the National

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Archives did not permit such an examination, although I suspect the same pattern—lower class women/upper class men—held true for Puntarenas. In Limón from 1897 to 1910, total plaintiffs in insults suits in the records of the ANCR included 129 women, 95 men (21 Hispanic women, 107 West Indian women—85 from Jamaica—and 46 Hispanic men, 44 West Indian men—32 from Jamaica) In Puntarenas from 1880 to 1910, of the 394 injury suits files by predominantly Hispanic men and women contained in the card catalog of the ANCR, 139 were filed by women while 255 were filed by men. Of these, 102 were women against women; 204 were men vs. men; 37 were women vs. men; 51 were men vs. women. 79. An explanation of the “honor/shame complex’” that developed in medieval Spain and later influenced concepts of honor that developed in Spanish America, is the subject of the classical essay by Julian Pitt-Rivers, “Honour and Social Status,” in Honour and Shame: The Values of Mediterranean Society, ed. J.G. Peristiany (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), 19–77. Much of the terminology related to honor in southern Spain, as outlined by Pitt-Rivers, appears in parodic form in the injuria suits of Puntarenas, the most common being “los sin vergüenza” or “the shameless ones.” Ibid., 40. 80. Putnam, Company, 140. 81. Steve J. Stern, The Secret History of Gender: Women, Men, and Power in Late Colonial Mexico (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 16.

Notes to Chapter Six 1. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1991). 2. Palmer “A Liberal Discipline,” 117–139. 3. Ibid., 120. 4. Carlos Meléndez Chaverri, comp., Mensajes presidenciales, 1928–1940 (San José: Academia de Geografía e Historia, 1981), 89; quoted in ibid., 124. 5. Tomás Guardia, “Discurso,” La Gaceta, 19 March 1882, p. 2; quoted in Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 124. 6. Eusebio Figueroa, Informe, in Antología del liberalismo costarricense, ed. Eugenio Vega (San José: Biblioteca Patria, 1981), 111–120; quoted in Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 128. 7. Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 129. 8. Edelman and Kenen, The Costa Rican Reader, 60. 9. Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 117–132. 10. Máximo Soto Hall, El problema (Guatemala: Tipografía “La Unión,” 1903; 5a reproduction), 94, 96; cited in Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 126. 11. Delmer Gerard Ross, “The Construction of the Railroads of Central America” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1971), 87. 12. William Elroy Curtis, “The Smallest of the American Republics,” Harpers Magazine 75 (October, 1887), 674. See also, Ricardo Fernández Guardia,

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13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

28. 29.

30. 31.

32.

Notes to Chapter Six Cuentos Ticos: Short Stories of Costa Rica, trans. Gray Casement (Cleveland: The Burrow Brothers Company Publishers, 1925), 29–30. Ross, “Railroads,” 88. See Chomsky, West Indian Workers; Bourgeois, Ethnicity at Work. Curtis, “The Smallest of the American Republics,” 676–77. Charles Bergquist, Labor in Latin America: Comparative Essays on Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and Colombia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1986), 11–12. Chomsky, West Indian Workers, 210. For a discussion of the role of cartmen doubling as peasant farmers in the highands, see Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero, 114–15. Joaquín Bernardo Calvo Mora documented 1,924 cartmen listed in a government census of 1888. Calvo Mora, The Republic of Costa Rica, 53. Fernández Guardia, Cuentos Ticos, 43–44. See also James C. Carey, “Casements and the Costa Rican Pacific Road,” Kansas Quarterly 2 (Summer, 1970): 97–101. Joaquín Fernández Montúfar, Historia ferrovial de Costa Rica (San José: Galería de Progreso Nacional, 1934), 95. Ibid., 33–34; González Víquez, Puntarenas, 74–75. Curtis, “The Smallest of the American Republics,” 676. Fernández Montúfar, Historia ferrovial, 43. Earlier, Casement had successfully completed the portion of the United States transcontinental railroad built by the Union Pacific Railroad. Carey, “Casements,” 99; Ross, “Railroads,” 100. Ross, “Railroads,” 101. Herberth Ulloa Hidalgo, El ferrocarril costarricense al Pacífico: contrucción e incidencias (1897–1932) (San José: Editorial Costa Rica, 1997), 146–47. Later in 1914, a report from the Ministerio de Fomento admitted that the bathhouse was conceived as part of an advertising campaign to win the railroad terminus battle. Costa Rica, Ministerio de Fomento, Memoria de Fomento (1914). El Pacífico, 17 January 1906. In Atlantic City and Brighton, prostitution was prevalent and accepted. For prostitution in Atlantic city see Martin Paulsson, The Social Anxieties of Progressive Reform: Atlantic City, 1854–1920 (New York: New York University Press, 1996). As early as 1776, the sixth edition of the The New Brighton Guide advertised the British seaside town as a place where “the sinews of morality are so happily relaxed, that a bawd and a baroness may snore in the same tenement.” Graham Davis, “Entertainments in Georgian Bath: Gambling and Vice,” Bath History 1 (UK) (1886): 17. Ross, “Railroads,” 103. Ibid., 107. By 1930, for example, the rate on the Pacific Railway was $.07, as compared to $.13 on the other lines, in part a result of the delicate nature of banana transport. The Pacific line offered stiff competition to the foreign operated Atlantic line and helped keep those rates in check. Lehoucq and Molina, Stuffing the Ballot Box, 37.

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33. M.A. Castro Carazo, Breve reseña del Ferrocarril al Pacífico desde sus comienzos hasta nuestros días (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1933), 34. This figure for total profits does not take into account the depreciation of the colon by 1932; thus the total profit would be higher. By 1945, revenue from the Pacific Railway made up 11% of the national budget. Stacy May, Costa Rica: A Study in Economic Development (New York: The Twentieth Century Fund, 1952), 171. The administration of the railway after 1910 suggested government coddling of the work force of the Pacific Railroad as described by Curtis in 1887. There is an indication in later years that the government managed Pacific Railway, which controlled dockworkers in Puntarenas as well as railroad workers, traded monetary for political profit via conciliatory labor relations. Take, for example, a 1959 dispatch to Washington from the U.S. ambassador in Costa Rica disparaging the Pacific Railway: “The wharf at the Pacific coast port of Puntarenas is operated by the autonomous, Government-owned Pacific Railway. The longshoremen loading and unloading cargo have long been a privileged group, infiltrated by communists and coddled by succeeding administrations. Featherbedding has been rife. . . .” U.S. National Archives, U.S. State Department, “Ambassador San José to Department of State, Washington D.C.” Record Group #59, Foreign Service Dispatch #272, 818.06/12–459, December 4, 1959. 34. Costa Rica, Censo de 1927; idem, Censo de 1893; idem, Resúmenes Estadísticos, 1883–1910 (my calculations). According to González Víquez, the engineer Reitz calculated in 1895 that the port’s maximum population should be 6,000 people without spilling over to La Angostura to the east or the point of the peninsula “la Punta” to the west, which was state owned, contained fruit trees, and was not developed until after 1930. (González Víquez, Puntarenas, 78). 35. Costa Rica, Memoria de Fomento (1913, 1915). 36. Ulloa Hidalgo, El ferrocarril, 161–62. The 1929 anomaly may be explained by the “cloud burst” that flooded out the Atlantic railroad in November of 1928 and left the line paralyzed. F.N. Cox, Economic Conditions in the Republic of Costa Rica, 1929–1933 (London: H.M. Stationary Office, Department of Overseas Trade publication, 1934), 19. 37. Ulloa Hidalgo, El ferrocarril, 167–68. 38. Costa Rica, DGEC, Anuario Estadístico (1914, 1917, 1920). 39. Ulloa Hidalgo, El ferrocarril, 173, 175. 40. Costa Rica, Memoria de Fomento (1915). 41. Ulloa Hidalgo, El ferrocarril, 182–83. 42. Costa Rica, Censo de 1927, 90. 43. See Harpelle, “Racism and Nationalism,” 29–51. 44. González Víquez, Puntarenas, 5.

Notes to Chapter Seven 1. Archivo de la Curia Metropolitana, Fondos Antigos, caja 450, folio 114. This “artistically corrupt aristocracy” could refer to the same Bohemian

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2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

Notes to Chapter Seven lifestyle of turn-of-the-century Paris that combined art with brothel life (an example being the poster art of Toulouse Latrec). In fact, during the late 1890s in Puntarenas, a notable number of artistas appeared as witnesses in court cases involving prostitutes, suggesting another manifestation of Costa Rica’s affinity with things French through association with the “Bohemian Revolution” of Paris. See ANCR, PAU 1778 (injurias, 1894) and PJCyC 83 (lesiones, 1896) for references to artists as witnesses. El Puntarensense, 23 July 1915. Ibid., 22 September 1915. ANCR, SJJCr 1614 (amenazas, 1912). Bureau de Publicidad de la América Latina, El libro azul, 383. El Correo del Pacífico, 22 July 1909. Costa Rica, DGEC, Censo Commercial (1907, 1915). ANCR, PAU 3967 (allanamiento, 1912). Costa Rica, Censo Comercial (1907, 1915). ANCR, PJCyC 1988 (lesiones, 1910). ANCR, PJCyC 209 (lesiones, 1913). Costa Rica, Censo de 1927, 86. According to a 10% computerized sample (explained on pp. 144, 199 n108), 14% of those counted in households fell under the category of “alojado” (lodger or consensual partner), with another 12% labeled “huésped” (guest). The total of 26% of household members were categorized as transients of sort which is a good indication of the fluidity of household arrangements of the port. ANCR, SJJ2Crim 4785 (estafa, 1932); as quoted in Putnam, Company, 93–94. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1914) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1915), 197–98; Bureau de Publicidad de América Latina, El libro azul, 383. Archivo de la Curia Metropolitana, Fondos Antigos, caja 460, folio 358 (June 8, 1913). Ibid., caja 460, folio 493 (April 14, 1914), folio 560 (August 10, 1914). Monsignor Echeverría of Nicoya, originally from El Salvador, was removed from his post in Nicoya and moved to las Cañas in 1897 for his participation in political intrigues in Nicoya. Ibid., caja 428, folio 22–23 (1896); caja 430, folio 77 (1897). Another priest from Nicoya, José María Velazco, was moved to Santa Cruz, Guanacaste in the same year due to complaints of his scandalous conduct of dancing and drunkenness. Ibid., caja 430, folio 30 (1897). Before the completion of the mini-Cathedral and parish house in Puntarenas in 1901, priests often commuted back and forth from Esparta to the port. One such priest, José Guillén, apparently a Panamanian national, was removed by the Vicar General of San José from his posts in Puntarenas and Esparta due to reports of womanizing and stealing from the poor box. After 1901, he showed up in Nicoya and, after 1902, letters from Nicoya to the bishop in San José complained that he had a family with a woman in Nicoya who at the time was pregnant. Ibid., caja 431, folio 189 (1896); caja 406, folios 339–40 (1896); caja 450, folios 16–19 (ca. 1902). A general pattern emerges of priests of the periphery, often from

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18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

32.

33. 34. 35.

195

other countries in Central America, who, not unlike doctors from foreign countries, were viewed as second class migrants and confined to the peripheral provinces. Ibid., caja 460, folio 612 (October, 1914). El Heraldo, July 30, 1920. El Heraldo, 6 June 1922; 4 July 1922; idem, 8 August 1922. Bureau de Publicidad de América Latina, El libro azul, 380. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1914), 96, 277. La Biblioteca Nacional in San José has holdings for the following newspapers for Puntarenas for varying intervals during the decade of the 1910s: El Pacífico, El Correo de la Costa, El Eco del Pacífico, El Puntarenense, El Heraldo, and El Viajero. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía: Año de 1916 (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1917), 162. El Puntarenense, 23 July 1915. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1914), 272. In 1914, the Central District of Puntarenas took in 240,879 colones and spent 237,970. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía: Año de 1916, 349. See Jorge Mario Salazar, “The Reformism of Alfredo González Flores,” in The Costa Rican Reader, ed. Edelman and Kenen, 62–65. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía: Año de 1916, 447. Bureau de Publicidad de la América Latina, El libro azul, 270. In the United States, the Sixteenth Amendment (Income Taxes) of 1913 and the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition of Alcohol) of 1919 were enacted before and after World War I (1914–1918). The Progressive Movement came to a standstill during the war years, even in the years from 1914–17, before the United States entered the war. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1914), 276–77. In 1914, 3,357 colones were collected for fines from faltas de Policía in the port, the greatest number (597 out of 1,405 misdemeanors) for drunkenness. These proceeds went to the Junta de Educación of the Central District of Puntarenas. See John Parke Young, Central American Currency and Finance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1925), 202. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1914), 276–77. According to the liquor law of 1866, patents or licenses for liquor establishments could only be located in communities having a police agent and a minimal number of residents. By 1875, private individuals were allowed to purchase or bid for liquor licenses and set up establishments to sell national and foreign liquors. Competition for liquor rights was strong, as licenses went to the highest bidder at auctions held periodically (in Limón every two years from 1900–1910). In 1910, control of the liquor business became stricter. The central government wanted to restrict the number of liquor-dispensing establishments, particularly in the banana plantations of the Atlantic coast and in the mining districts of the western frontier where drinking problems among laborers were severe. Liquor establishments in places without a police agent were canceled, and the presence of the necessary minimal population was more stringently determined on the basis of

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36. 37.

38.

39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53.

Notes to Chapter Seven census information. Leon Azofeifa, “Chinese Immigrants,” 108–122. This may account for the fact that the numbers of taquillas and vinaterías in Puntarenas decreased from 1907 to 1915 as reported in the commercial censuses of those years. The 1907 commercial census reported 23 taquillas and 20 vinaterías, while the 1915 commercial census reported 13 tequillas and 12 vinaterías. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1916), 164–65. Ibid. Those signing the petition included: Alberto Echandi, S. Saravia, Teodoro Roiz, José Chen Apuy, Alejandro Molina, Jacobo Sánchez, Gil Con, José Bardez, Napoleón Soto J., F. L. Enríques, Manuel Burgos, F. Magri Sarkis, M. Brais, José L. López, M. Roldán, Nicolas Lizano, S. Aráuz, Francisco L. Hueso, Steinvorth and Hno., Emanuel Moiso, Pedro Quirós, Nicolás Sánchez, Pío Chan, Francisco Wong, Estela de Guido, Hop Hing and Co., Julio Roqhyett, Manual Nicolás, and Pedro Ortuño. For the role of contraband liquor in the Abangares gold mines of highland Guanacaste and Alajuela provinces, see Aviva Chomsky, “Laborers and Small holders in Costa Rica’s Mining Communities, 1900–1940” in Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the National-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean, ed. Aviva Chomsky and Aldo Lauria-Santiago ( Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1998), 169–95. Leon Azofeifa, “Chinese Immigrants,” 116. El Heraldo, 8 April 1919. Ibid., 9 April 1919. Numbers of convictions for infractions of the Ley de Licores in the port were: 1907: 2; 1908: 0; 1909: 1; 1913: 0; 1924: 0; 1926: 0; 1928: 9. Valverde Espinoza. “La ciudad de Puntarenas, 198. El Tribuna 21 August 1929, p. 5; quoted in Steven Palmer, “Pánico en San José: El consumo de heroína, la cultura plebeya y la política social en 1929,” in El paso del cometa, ed. Molina and Palmer, 195. Leon Azofeifa, “Chinese Immigrants,” 71. Palmer , “Pánico,” 194–95. Costa Rica, “Censo Comercial de la República de Costa Rica: Año de 1905,” in Memoria de Gobernación, Policía y Fomento (1905–1906) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1906). Bureau de Publicidad de América Latina, El libro azul, 389. Alvarez Valle, Remebranzos, 25–26. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1912) (Costa Rica: Tipografía Nacional, 1912), 420. La Nueva Prensa, 1 July 1899; quoted by Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero, 112. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía: Año de 1916, 450–51. Idem, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía de 1897, 173. There is one allusion in a 1908 report of two prostitutes convicted of vagrancy and determined infected with venereal disease, then sent to La Algodonera. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía: 1907–1908.

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197

54. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al Año 1923 (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1924), 284; idem, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1920) (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1920), 217; idem, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al Año 1920 (Imprenta Nacional, 1921), 263; idem, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al año 1922 (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1923), 247. 55. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía: Año de 1916, 451. 56. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1912), 644. Other categories grouped by “international classification” included circulatory, nervous, respiratory, digestive and urinary disorders from which there were many more deaths. Technically, syphilis could have been included in the broader category of “general illnesses,” although this is unlikely as it finally appeared in 1917 with other specific illnesses. 57. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía: Año de 1916, 451. Surveys of patients at one of Mexico City’s anti-venereal disease dispensaries had demonstrated that the vast majority of the 3,700 syphilitics examined between 1921 and 1925 were in the first or second stages of infection. Other information came out that between 1916 and 1920 syphilis was the leading cause of miscarriage and stillbirth in Mexico City. Bliss, “The Science of Redemption,” 5. 58. Costa Rica, DGEC, Anuario Estadístico, (1918, 1919). 59. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al Año 1920, 22. 60. Charles Clayton Dennie, A History of Syphilis (Springfield, Ill.: Charles Thompson Publishers, 1962), 103–26; cited in Bliss, “Science of Redemption,” 8. 61. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1913) (San José: Tiporafía Nacional, 1913), 171. 62. Palmer, “Confinement,” 235. 63. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al Año 1921, 279–82. 64. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al Año de 1925 (San José: Imprenta Nacional, 1926), 581. 65. Palmer, “Confinement,” 245. For the partnership of Nuñéz and Shapiro, see idem, “Central American Encounters with Rockefeller Public Health, 1914–1921,” in Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations, ed. Gilbert M. Joseph, Catherine C. LeGrand, and Ricardo D. Salvatore (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998), 311–332. During the 1910s Rockefeller campaign to eradicate hookworm in Central America, Shapiro and Nuñez were more successful in Costa Rica than their counterparts in the rest of Central America because they were able to utilize Costa Rica’s primary school system as the medium for the organization of the hygiene program. In an irony of the politics of hygiene in Costa Rica, the U.S. State Department investigated both Shapiro and Nuñéz in 1931 for smuggling heroin into Costa Rica (U.S. National Archives, State Department, Record Group #59, Foreign Service Dispatch 818.114, Narcotics/48; June 25, 1931). These suspicions implied that the

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66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71.

72. 73.

74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82.

83. 84.

Notes to Chapter Seven two patriarchs of the nation’s health care system, not unlike the state manufacturers of liquor, were also contributors to the social pathologies ascribed to the working classes. Palmer, “Rockefeller,” 324. Costa Rica, Censo de 1927. George Palmer Putnam, The Southland of North America: Rambles and Observations in Central America During the Year 1912 (New York: G.P. Putnam and Sons, 1914), 18. Palmer, Popular Medicine, 115–17. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1910) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1910). Costa Rica, Resúmenes Estadísticos: Años 1883–1910, 9, 143. The population reported for the Cantón Central de San José for 1910 was 51,105; for the Cantón Central de Puntarenas, it was 14,754 (about 3 to 4 times greater than the port itself). By 1927, the Cantón Central de Puntarenas had a reported population of 14,746, remarkably unchanged from 1910. The port in 1927 reported a population of 6,676, an indication that the cantón population was more concentrated in the port by that time. Costa Rica, Anuario Estadístico (1913). Costa Rica, Memoria de Hacienda y Comercio (1912) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1912). In 1911 San José received 550,341 liters of aguardiente and liquors at 679,500 colones. Puerto Puntarenas received 148,645 liters at 178,374 colones in 1911. Costa Rica, Anuario Estadístico (1914). Costa Rica, Colección de las Leyes y Decretos (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1906), 841–52. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al Año de 1925, 581. Mercedes Muñoz G., El estado y la abolición del ejército, 1914–1949 (San José: Editorial Porvenir, 1990), 103–04, quoted in Palmer, “Confinement,” 239. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al Año 1921, 280. El Viajero, 19 February 1920. Putnam, Company, 221. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía (1914) (San José: Tipografía Nacional, 1914), 489. Patricia Badilla G., “Ideología y derecho: El espíritu mesiánico de la Reforma Jurídica costarricense (1882–1888), Revista de Historia (Universidad de Costa Rica/Universidad Nacional) 18 (July-December 1988): 187–202; cited in Palmer, “Confinement,” 225. Cleto González Víquez, “La irresponsabilidad criminal.” in Casos prácticos del código penal (San José: Imprenta Alsina, 1910), 118–119, quoted in Palmer, “Confinement,” 224. Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno, “Disertación leída por el Sr. don Ricardo Jiménez, en el acto de dar principio a su examen público para recibir el título de abogado,” in Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno: su pensamiento, ed. Eugenio

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85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95.

96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107.

108.

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Rodríguez Vega (San José: Editorial Costa Rica, 1980), 11–12; quoted in Palmer “Confinement,” 224. Palmer, “Confinement,” 235. Costa Rica, Memoria de Gobernación y Policía correspondiente al Año 1921, 173–74. El Heraldo, 29 December 1922. Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero, 124–30. See Marc Edelman, “The Early History of Costa Rica’s Labor Movement” (Latin American Perspectives 15, no. 2, 1988), 84. See Guillermo García Murillo, Las minas de Abangares: Historia de una doble explotación (San José: Editorial Costa Rica, 1984); Chomsky, “Mining Communities.” See Vladimir de la Cruz, Las luchas sociales en Costa Rica, 1870–1930 (San José: Coedición Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica, 1980). Manuel Rojas Bolaños, “El desarrollo del movimiento obrero en Costa Rica: Un intento de periodización,” Revista de Ciencia Sociales 15–16 (1978): 15. Ricardo Jinesta, La evolución penitenciaría en Costa Rica (San José: Imprenta Falco Hermanos, 1940), 247. El Heraldo, 17 April 1922. U.S. State Department files contained in the National Archives in Maryland show an obsession with labor movements in Latin America throughout the twentieth century. For Costa Rica, numerous reports were filed in reference to labor activities in Limón and the Central Valley, but very few exist for the port of Puntarenas. El Heraldo, 6 September 1918. Ibid., 3 January 1922. Ibid., 25 February 1927. Ibid., 7 April 1927. Ibid., 1 April 1927; 25 January 1927; 27 May 1927. Ibid., 11 November 1927. Ibid., 16 December 1927. Ibid., 4 January 1927. Costa Rica, Anuario Estadístico (1927). Costa Rica, Censo de 1927, 91. Putnam, “Public Women,” 129–30. Costa Rica, Censo de 1927, 91, 94. In 1930, Census Office director José Guerrero published an influential article, “Cómo se quiere que sea Costa Rica, blanca o negra? El problema racial del negro y las actuales contrataciones bananeras” (“What Do We Want Costa Rica To Be–Black or White? The Racial Problem of the Negro and the Current Banana Negotiations”), La Tribuna, August 13, 1930; reprinted in the San José literary review Repertorio Americano 21, no. 10 (1930): 149; cited in Putnam, “Public Women,” 29–30. The original tally sheets employed in this project were presumed destroyed after they disappeared in 1927, but were discovered in 1985 in the Archivo Nacional amidst unfiled material. Putnam, “Public Women,” 82 n68; 129

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109.

110.

111. 112.

113. 114. 115.

116. 117. 118. 119. 120.

Notes to Chapter Seven n164. The entire sample represents 23% of the total population; the sample for Puntarenas Province includes 10.4% of the provincial population. The sample of 802 used here for the port of Puntarenas represents 10% of an estimated district population of 8,020, a somewhat larger number than the 6,676 reported population of the city of Puntarenas. I have transferred this sample to an SPSS program and multiplied calculated data by ten to approximate the actual district numbers. Putnam, “Public Women,” 128. Putnam’s study found that, for Limón, the most salient discrepancies between the published 1927 Census and data from the original tally sheets were those surrounding citizenship data. According to the computerized 10% sample of original tally sheets, 44% of Costa Rican residents in Limón had been born there but the published, official summary recorded only 28% of Costa Ricans in Limón having been born in that province. She writes: “The simplest way to reconcile the citizenship figures is to assume that national census tabulators re-coded as “foreign nationals” around 3,000 Limón-born Blacks who declared themselves or been declared by their parents as natural or naturalized Costa Rican citizens.” Ibid. Costa Rica, Censo de 1927, 94. The breakdown of percentages of those born in highland provinces in the population of the port in 1927 was: 10.2% from San José, 11% from Alajuela, 1.6% from Cartago, and 2.2% from Heredia. 51.8% were born in Puntarenas Province, 21.5% from Guanacaste, 3% from Limón. See Quirós Vargas, “Ciudad del Espiritu Santo de Esparza.” “Mensaje del presidente de la república al Congreso Constitucional (1929),” in Mensajes presidenciales, 1928–1940, ed. Carlos Meléndez Chavería (San José: Academia de Geografía e Historia, 1987), 31; quoted in Palmer, “Confinement,” 242. See also idem, “Rockefeller,” 311–332; idem, “Hacia la auto-inmigración: El nacionalismo oficial en Costa Rica (1870– 1930),” in Identidades nacionales y estado moderno en Centroaméricano, ed. Arturo Taracena and Jean Piel (San José: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica, 1995), 75–85. Luis Felipe González Flores, “Conferencia del Profesor Luis Felipe González Flores,” Boletín del Patronato Nacional de la Infancia 1, no. 2 (1930), 34; quoted in Palmer, “Confinement,” 244. Palmer, “Confinement,” 244–45. Costa Rica, Censo de 1927. In recent years Hogar Cristiano moved to a larger site in El Roble. The Director, Sister Alice Aguilar Salazar, informed me in September, 2002 that the facility then cared for 40–50 young girls, one half of whom were refugees from Nicaragua. El Heraldo, 22 April 1919; 10 May 1927. Ibid., 30 May 1919. Ibid., 14 July 1919. Alvarez Valle, Remembranzos, 29. For an analysis of the development of a training school for “scientific midwives” in San José after 1899, see Palmer, Popular Medicine, 139–54. After 1903, the municipality of Puntarenas funded fellowships for local women to attend this school. Students trained at the lying-in hospital of San José,

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Notes to Chapter Eight 201 La Maternidad, which was created to assist “the most indigent mothers” of the highlands. Ibid., 148. 121. Costa Rica, “Informe de 1932,” in Patronato Nacional de la Infancia: 10 años de labor, 1930–1940 (1941): 17.

Notes to Chapter Eight 1. Recent literature has underscored the benefits prostitution brought to states in need of foreign exchange. See Julia O’Connell Davidson, “Sex Tourism in Cuba,” Race and Class 38 (July-September, 1996): 39–48. 2. A further example of the central government’s contradictory approach to vice may be seen in the morality campaign of the Liberal Reform decade of the 1880s which abolished the state monopoly of cockfighting, yet made no attempt to evaluate the damage alcohol might be doing to the population. Cleto González Víquez, as Secretary of the Interior (Ministerio de Gobernación) in 1887, was in the vanguard of this sector of the reform movement. A newspaper report at the time referred to cockfighting as “one of our worst customs.” Another noted that Congress had given a sign of its “love of progreso” by banning cockfights. Gregorio Murchie, Imported Spices, 137–38; Hernández, “Modernization and Dependency,” 58. 3. A similar situation in colonial Mexico is described by William Taylor, Drinking, Homicide and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican Villages (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1979), 36–37: “The liquor trade was actively encouraged by the colonial government and city fathers in the seventeenth century because taxes on alcoholic beverages had become a major source of revenue for public works. . . . Inns and taverns of the sixteenth century with wine and pulque exposed local people to new drinking habits, transient visitors and retail trade. It was revenue producing for the royal treasury.” 4. See Kierszenzon, “El monopolio,” 30. 5. One contemporary account for the 1885–86 fiscal year listed the expenses for “all monopolies” at $166,732, while the combined income from the liquor ($747,961) and tobacco ($474,961) monopolies came to $1,214,935, an impressive profit. Calvo, The Republic of Costa Rica, 174–75. 6. The conflict between the vagrancy laws and enforcers with interests in the liquor industry in early republican Mexico is described by Richard Warren, “Mass Mobilization Versus Social Control: Vagrancy and Political Order in Early Republican Mexico,” in Reconstructing Criminality in Latin America, eds. Carlos Aguirre and Robert Buffington (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 2000), 41–58. 7. For a discussion of vagrancy laws in the cattle producing frontiers of Argentina, southern Chile, Venezuela and northern Mexico, see Silvio R. Duncan Baretta and John Markoff, “Civilization and Barbarism: Cattle Frontiers in Latin America,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 20, no. 4 (1978): 587–620. 8. Palmer, “A Liberal Discipline,” 103.

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9. Fallas Monge, El movimiento obrero, 103–04. Marín, “Prostitución,” 65– 69; idem, “Entre la disciplina y la respectabilidad,” 145–163. 10. European fears of the “white slave trade” in Latin American nations with high numbers of European immigrants—such as Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay—led to pressures for these nations to abandon regulation. Many countries were pressured by European reformers to sign international treaties ending legalized prostitution. Licensed brothels were abolished in such countries as Cuba in 1913, Chile in 1925 and Argentina in 1936. Costa Rica’s failure to attract European immigrants, therefore, may have deterred pressures from abroad to criminalize prostitution. Guy, “Medical Imperialism Gone Awry,” 75–94. 11. Putnam, Company, 162–63. 12. See Macías, Against All Odds, 44; Debra A. Castillo, Easy Women: Sex and Gender in Modern Mexican Fiction (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 4–5. 13. Magnus Mörner, Region and State in Latin America’s Past (Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press, 1993), 8. 14. Samuel Stone, “Los cafetaleros,” Revista de Ciencias Jurídicas 13 (Universidad de Costa Rica, 1969): 167–217 and La dinastía de los conquistadores (San José: EDUCA, 1975). 15. Gudmundson, Costa Rica Before Coffee, Introduction and Chapter 2. 16. Samper, Generations of Settlers, passim. 17. For a discussion of the “national-regional interface” in the historical literature of Central America, see David Kaimowitz, “New Perspectives on Central American History, 1838–1945,” Latin American Research Review 31, no.1 (1996): 201–10. 18. Chomsky, West Indian Workers. 19. Putnam, Company. 20. Carlos Meléndez Chaverri, “Land Tenure in Colonial Costa Rica;” Edelman, Logic. 21. A strong body of research has addressed the role of compulsory education in explaining Costa Rica’s progressive development. A good recent example is: Iván Molina and Steven Palmer, Educando a Costa Rica: Alfabetización popular, formación docente y género (1880–1950) (San José: Editorial Porvenir, 2000). In the first chapter, Iván Molina, comparing the educational systems of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, shows that literacy in Nicaragua went down from 40.5 percent from 1920 to 37.4 percent 1950, but in Costa Rica literacy increased from 65.7 percent to 78.8 percent during the same time period. For the antecedents of Costa Rica’s health care system, see Palmer, Popular Medicine. 22. See John A. Booth, Costa Rica: Quest for Democracy (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998); Bruce M. Wilson, Costa Rica: Politics, Econoomics, and Democracy (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998); Fabrice Lehoucq, Instituciones democráticas y conflictos políticos en Costa Rica, trans. Aida Vaca Guzman Garamendi (Heredia: Editorial UNA, 1998); Lehoucq and Molina, Stuffing the Ballot Box.

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Notes to Chapter Eight 203 23. Elizabeth Dore, review of Generations of Settlers: Rural Households and Markets on the Costa Rican Frontier, 1850–1935 by Mario Samper, Journal of Latin American Studies 24 (Feb. 1992): 207–08. 24. Edelman, Logic, 48. 25. Chomsky, West Indian Workers, 35. 26. Ibid., 42. 27. Williams, States and Social Evolution, 105–145, et passim. Williams’ synthesis relies, in part, on the research of Julio Castellanos Cambranes, David McCreery, and Jim Handy for Guatemala; Jeffrey Gould and Jaime Wheelock Román for Nicaragua. 28. Ibid., 123–36; See Héctor Lindo Fuentes, Weak Foundations,The Economy of El Salvador in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), chs. 4, 6 and 7. 29. Charles Bergquist, “Labor History and Its Challenges: Confessions of a Latin Americanist,” American Historical Review (June, 1993), 760- 63.

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Bibliography

Archival Sources Archivo Nacional de Costa Rica (ANCR) Serie Censo Serie Congreso Serie Gobernación Serie Policía Serie Jurídia, Puntarenas Alcaldía Unica (PAU) Puntarenas Juzgado Civil y del Crimen (PJCyC) San José Juzgado del Crimen (SJJCr) Archivo de la Curia Metropolitana de San José (ACM) Serie Fondos Antiguos (1889–1917), Cajas: 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31, 32, 426, 427, 428, 448, 450, 454, 455, 456, 460, 461, 463, 464 U.S. National Archives (College Park, Md.) U.S. State Department, Foreign Service Dispatches, Record Group #59

Newspapers El Correo de la Costa, 1916 El Correo del Pacífico, 1909 Diario de Costa Rica, 1886 La Gaceta Oficial, 1882, 1934 El Heraldo (Puntarenas), 1918–1939 La Nueva Prensa, 1899 El Otro Diario, 1885 El Pacífico, 1897–1917 El Puntarenense, 1915 El Tribuna, 1929 El Viajero, 1918–1936

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Bibliography 221 Weber, Adna Ferrin. The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Macmillan Company, 1899. Wheelock Román, Jaime. Las raíces indígenas de la lucha anticolonial en Nicaragua. Mexico: Siglo XXI, 1974. White, Luise. The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Nairobi. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. ———. “Prostitution, Identity, and Class Consciousness in Nairobi During World War II.” Signs 11, no. 2 (1986): 255–73. ———. “Prostitutes, Reformers, and Historians.” Criminal Justice History 6 (1985): 201–227. Williams, Robert G. States and Social Evolution: Coffee and the Rise of National Governments in Central America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994. Wilson, Bruce M. Costa Rica: Politics, Economics and Democracy. Boulder, Co.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1998. Wolf, Eric. Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982. ———. Sons of the Shaking Earth. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959. Woodward, Ralph Lee, Jr. Central America: A Nation Divided, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. Wortman, Miles. Government and Society in Central America, 1680–1840. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. Young, John Parke, Central American Currency and Finance. London: Oxford University Press, 1925. Zárate Campos, María Soledad. “Vicious Women, Virtuous Women: The Female Delinquent and the Santiago de Chile Correctional House, 1860–1900.” In The Birth of the Penitentiary in Latin America: Essays on Criminology, Prison Reform, and Social Control, 1830–1940, edited by Ricard D. Salvatore and Carlos Aguirre. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996. Zatz, Noah D. “Sex Work/Sex Act: Law, Labor, and Desire in Constructions of Prostitution.” Signs 22 (Winter, 1997): 277–308.

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Index

A Abangares gold mines, 125 Aguacate mines, 41–42, 80 Aguardiente, 48–49, 157, 177 (n. 71) Alajuela, 34, 78, 80, 101, 139, 146, 147 Alcoholism, see Drunkenness Alvarez Valle, Pedro José, 10 Atlantic Railroad, 53, 105–108, 113

B Banana plantations, see United Fruit Company Bergquist, Charles, 14, 34, 39, 101, 166 Birth rates Census of 1927, 145 illegitimacy, 61–62, 67–68, 145–148, 153, 181 (n. 25, n. 27) Bourbon Reforms, 36 British commerce Federation period, 40–41 national period, 53 British protectorate, 46–47 Brothels, 70, 90–93, 189 (n. 35); see also Red Light District

C Cabotaje, 27, 70, 143, 150; see also Nicoya Region; Gulf of Nicoya Caldera, 38, 42 Camino Real, 29, 39 Carters, see Oxcart drivers Carters’ guild, 109–110, 112, 165 Cartago, 34–35, 38, 78, 101, 122, 139, 146, 147 Carcel de Mujeres, 134 Carcel Pública de Puntarenas, 138, 140

Casa de Reclusión, 84, 88–89, 97 Catholic Church, 122 and gender, 66 and marriage, 62, 184 (n. 43) and Liberal Reform, see Liberal Reform Catholic priests in periphery, 122–123, 194 (n. 17) Central Valley, 34–35, 44, 45; see also Meseta Central Census of 1927, 24, 116, 143–146 China, migrants in Puntarenas, 75–77, 142–143, 145, 186 (n. 28) contraband activities, 129–130 elites, 95, 129 role in sex trade, 93–95 Chiriquí, Panama, 68, 71, 75, 185 (n. 23), 186 (n. 33) Chomsky, Aviva, 160, 161, 163–164 Clayton Bulmer Treaty, 47 Código General (1841), 64 Coffee cultivation and ideology, see Liberal Reform impact on culture, 159 national income from, 127 and nationalism, 42 Coffee elites, 59, 127 Coffee exports, 12, 42, 44–45, 114 Colmena, see Red Light District Communist Party in Costa Rica, 141–142 Concubinage, see Consensual union Consensual union in Census of 1927, 145 in Central Valley, 64–65, 159 illegitimacy, see Birth rates Costa Rica pre-Columbian era, 33

223

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224 colonial era, 33–39 national era, 39–47 Costa Rican exceptionalism revised explanations, 4–6, 13–15, 23, 25, 34, 161–166, 202 (n. 21); see also Path dependency theory traditional explanations, 1–4, 56, 59–61, 160–162 Costa Rican state concessions to western periphery, 165 fiscal policy, 45–54, 155, 156 role in Puntarenas, 154–160 Criminality, 138–139

D Demography; see also Birth rates and coffee, 61–62 in colonial era, 36 of highlands during national era 55–57, 65–66, 198 (n. 71), 200 (n. 110) of periphery during national era, 53–54, 57, 198 (n. 33) of prostitution, see Prostitution, demography of sex ratios, 53–54, 66, 71,76–78 Diseases, 148, 152 Domestic liquor establishments, 49, 93, 126–129; see also Liquor Monopoly Drunkenness and Carcel Pública de Puntarenas, 140 convictions, 101, 131, 135–138 and criminal responsibility under the law, 190 (n. 66) of prostitutes, see Prostitutes in Puntarenas, 118, 137, 154

E Edelman, Marc, 74, 160, 163 Education and Costa Rican exceptionalism, 162, 202 (n. 21) history, 179–180 (n. 8) literacy, 72 England, see British commerce; British protectorate Entertainments, see Puntarenas, City of Esparta, 32, 39, 51, 111, 113, 146–148 Esparza, see Esparta Eugenics movement, 148–150

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Index F Fallas Monge, Carlos Luís, 90 Families in Central Valley, 62–65, 104 and nationalism, 61–65 nuclear, 159 as units of labor for coffee production, see Labor Ferrocarril al Atlántico, see Atlantic Railroad Ferrocarril al Pacífico, see Pacific Railroad Fondas, female owners of, 102–103, 199–120, 159 Foreign liquor establishments, 49; see also Liquor Monopoly Franklin, Spencer, 131, 152 Franquicia, 49–52 Free labor, see Labor

G García Monge, Joaquín, 65 Gender, see Women “Generation of ’89, ” see Liberal Reform González Flores, Alfredo, 117, 125–128, 157 González Víquez, Cleto, 31, 58, 87, 105–107, 115, 117–118, 148, 139, 154 Guatemala, 34, 37 Guanacaste; see also Nicoya region annexation to Costa Rica, 40–41 cattle industry, 53, 70, 72, 88, 185 (n. 16) demography, 33, 35, 37 and Liquor Monopoly, 48 migrants in Puntarenas, 71–73 Guardia, Tomás, 53, 57–59, 125; see also Liberal Reform and railroads, 106–108, 110, 114 Gudmundson, Lowell, 56, 65–66 Gulf of Nicoya, 31–32, 70; see also Cabotaje; Nicoya region

H Heredia, 34, 78, 101, 139, 146, 147 Hobsbawm, Eric, 42, 63 Hogar Cristiano, 148, 200 (n. 115) Honor, concepts of, 100, 103–104, 154, 191 (n. 79) Hygiene officials, see Prostitution, regulation of

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Index 225 I Illegitimacy, see Birth rates Immigration in Puntarenas, 32, 71–76 Indigenous groups in Costa Rica, 33–34 Injurias, see Insults suits Insults suits, 94, 102, 190–191 (n. 78)

J Jiménez Oreomuno, Ricardo, 58, 139 Judicial system; see also Insults suits role in marriage practices of the Central Valley, 65 use by prostitutes, see Prostitutes in Puntarenas

L Labor activism, see Atlantic Railroad construction of Pacific Railroad, 109–110; see also Pacific Railroad family labor for coffee cultivation, 55, 63–65, 182 (n. 33), 184 (n. 50) free labor, 59, 68, 136, 155, 162–163 as “social problem,” 56–57 and Costa Rican exceptionalism, 13–15, 23, 25, 34 relations in El Salvador, 175 (n. 25) relations in Nicaragua, 74 unionism in Puntarenas, 142 Le Lacheur, William, 42–43 León Azofeifa, Moisés Guillermo, 94–95 Ley de Licores, see Liquor Monopoly Ley de Profilaxis Venérea, see Prostitution, regulation of Liberal Reform, 53, 57–59, 66, 152, 201 (n. 2) and Catholic Church, 57, 180 (n. 9) ideology, 1–7, 56–61, 67, 150, 158, 159 Liberalism, see Liberal Reform Liberals; see Olimpio; Cleto González Víquez; Ricardo Jiménez Oreomuno Limón; see also Atlantic Railroad Birth rates, 146, 147 and Census of 1927, 144 criminality, 139 development of, 53 drinking patterns, 101, 136 historiography, 161, 163–165 migration patterns, 80, 106, 116

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Liquor monopoly colonial era, 37, 47–48, 153–157 and contraband, 129 national era, 47–48 national income from, 48–49, 154–157, 201 (n. 5) patents, 128–129, 136, 155, 195–196 (n. 35) proposal to terminate, 126–127 and vagrancy, 201 (n. 6)

M Marín Hernández, Juan José, 7, 65, 94 Marr, Wilhelm, 31, 52 Marriage, 62–63; see also Birth rates; Catholic Church; Families and Bourbon Reforms, 36 in Census of 1927, 145 in Central Valley, 64–65 inequality, 181–182 (n. 30) laws, 62–65, 181–182 (n. 30) McCreery, David, 99–100 Meager, Thomas, 52 Medical profession, see Physicians Meseta Central, 34, 44, 55; see also Central Valley demography in colonial era, 35–37 and nationalism, 60–61 position in Central Valley, 34–35 Midwives, 149, 200–101 (n. 120) Molina, Felipe, 46, 47, 49–50 Molina, Iván, 37, 40 Monopolio de Licores, see Liquor Monopoly Monopolio de Tabaco, see Tobacco Monopoly Mora, Juan Rafael, 46, 48–51

N Newspapers, 58, 66, 188 (n. 15) Nicaragua demography, 184 (n. 12, n. 14, n. 15) migrants from, 54, 71–74, 80, 145 overland route during California gold rush, 47, 176 (n. 37) Nicoya region, 30–32; 72; see also Gulf of Nicoya; Cabotaje demography, 32–34 and liquor monopoly, 178 (n. 74) Nuñez, Solón, 134

O Olimpio, 58, 157; see also Liberal Reform

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226 Opium, sale of, 130–131 Oxcart drivers, 141, 142; see also Carters’ guild Oxcart Road, 38, 43–44

P Pacific Railroad, 23–24 El Burrocarril, 51–52 construction, 108–113 impact on Puntarenas, 118 labor for construction, 109–110, 142 and nationalism, 105 revenue from, 193 (n. 33) volume of passengers and cargo, 115 Palmer, Steven, 7, 58, 66, 85, 104, 107–108, 134, 148, 160, 161 Panama demography, 185 (n. 23) migrants in Costa Rica, 38, 54, 71, 74–76, 80, 145 political violence, 74–75 prostitution in, 75 Panama Canal, 73, 114, 124 Panama Railway, 47, 75 PANI (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia), 147–149 Path dependency theory, 13–15, 34, 162 Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, see PANI Penal reform, 58, 138–140 Pérez Brignoli, Héctor, 59, 61–62 Periphery early settlement, 33 historiography of, 4–6 theories of, 11–13 Physicians, 132–133; see also Prostitution, regulation of corruption of, 85–86 in periphery, 131, 152, 188 (n. 7) Pimps, 91, 172 (n. 40) Pharmacies, 130–131 Police; see also Prostitution, regulation of in San José, 66, 152, 157 surveillance, 138 Prostitutes in Guanacaste, 78, 87 Prostitutes in Limón, 78, 98 Prostitutes in Puntarenas alcoholism, 100–102; see also Drunkenness arrests, 86–87, 96, 132 customer base, 70, 95–96 kinship ties, 97–98 male friendships, 97, 98–100, 120–121

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Index municipal revenue from, 93 mutual support among, 90–91, 96–97, 121 physical violence against, 98 social geography, 86, 95–96, 120–121 upward mobility, 121–122 use of courts, 96–104, 120 Prostitutes in San José, 66–67, 78, 89, 126, 187 (n. 39) Prostitution, clandestine, 22, 24, 85, 87–89, 131, 188 (n. 25) Prostitution, demography of, 76–81, 131–132, 187 (n. 40) Prostitution, depiction in Costa Rican fiction, 65, 183 (n. 47) Prostitution in Guatemala, 99–100 Prostitution in Mexico, 159 Prostitution, regulation of; see also Sisters of the Good Shepherd cancellation of registrations, 78 Department of Hygiene, 83–84 Department of Venereal Profilaxis, 89, 126, 131, 135, 137 medical examinations, 86, 131–132; see also syphilis transfer of jurisdictions of registered prostitutes, 80, 131–132 Venereal Profilaxis Law, 21, 78, 83–85, 90, 132, 158 and white slave trade, 202 (n. 10) Prostitution, theories Catholic Church, 19–20 “ordinary women” thesis, 15–17 stigma, 5–6, 18–22, 63, 152, 158 Puntarenas, City of Bourbon era, 37–39 commerce, 40–41; see also franquicia demography, 42, 52, 53–54 early trade with Europe, 40–41 elites, 119, 127–129, 196 (n. 37) entertainments, 125, 140. 142–143 immigration, 32, 71–76 infrastructure, 45, 124–125 maritime traffic, 45, 53,70–71 municipal baths, 113 municipal council, 113, 125, 138 political organization, 32 topography, 28–32 tourism, 123–124 Puntarenas, Ciudad de, see Puntarenas, City of Puntarenas Province

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Index 227 political organization, 174 (n. 9) topography, 32 Putnam, George Palmer, 135 Putnam, Lara, 7, 103, 145, 158, 162, 190– 191 (n. 78), 199–200 (n. 108, n. 109)

T

R

United Fruit Company, 106, 108, 113, 115, 164

Race; see also Demography in Costa Rica during Colonial era, 35–37 Racism, 144–145, 148 Red Light District; see also Brothels in Puntarenas, 5, 17, 86, 91–92, 115, 119, 120, 138–139 in San José, 5, 17, 86 Rodríguez Sáenz, Eugenia, 64–65

S San Lucas Prison, 79, 122, 140 San José, City of birth rates, 146, 147 colonial era, 34, 37–39 drinking patterns, 101, 136 reputation for vice, 65–67 San Rafael Hospital, 51, 123, 132, 134 Sex ratios, see Demography Sisters of the Good Shepherd, 67, 132, 184 (n. 54) Slavery, 35 in Nicaragua and Panama, 73 Squire, E. G., 45, 49–50, 56 Stolke, Verena, 63–64 Syphilis, 87–88 origin, 173 (n. 51) treatment, 132–135

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Taquillas, see Domestic liquor establishments Tobacco Monopoly, 37–38, 47, 155, 175 (n. 30)

U

V Vagrancy Law, 58, 84, 157–158 Virgen de la Mar, Feast of, 123 Vinaterías, see Foreign liquor establishments

W Walker, William, 49, 50, 51 White, Luise, 18, 22 Women; see also Birth rates; Consensual union; Families; Labor; Marriage in Census of 1927 concepts of honor, 103–104 inequality with husbands., 181–182 (n. 30) and liberal ideology, 61–68 as market for print media in Central Valley, 66 rights under civil law, 62–65 rural-urban dichotomy in Central Valley, 65–66 use of judicial system in Puntarenas, 120 World War I, impact on Costa Rica, 123–129

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