It’s déjà vu all over again for hero Juan Santamaría

Juan Snatamaría's statue was featured on several stamps in 1900 and 1901.

Juan Santamaría is again being declared a national hero. If there was any doubt, the Asamblea Legislativa approved on first reading by unanimous vote Tuesday a declaration to that effect.

Santamaría is the drummer boy who successfully ignited an enemy stronghold to turn the tide of the Battle of Rivas, according to the traditional story.

Consequently the Alajuela international airport bears his name and there are several statues of him in action around the country. And he is on a stamp.

The battle took place in 1856, and it is what Costa Ricans call the national campaign. The foe was U.S. filibuster William Walker, who sought to take over Central America and join it to the existing United States as a slave state.

April 11 is celebrated as Juan Santamaría Day, and there was little doubt he is being commemorated as a hero, although historians disagree on the actual event. The day is a legal holiday, and that means the coming weekend is a three-day one.

The measure most likely will be approved for the second and final time Thursday. The legislative measure orders that an oil painting of Santamaría be done, although what he actually looked like is left to conjecture.

The measure also orders the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud to take responsibility for the statues of Juan Santamaría and museums dedicated to him, which the ministry already does. The Ministerio de Educación Pública also is ordered to expand on the history of Santamaría as presented to public school students.

Most students are off Monday, but those in Alajuela, the province where Santamaría was born, will participate in a traditional parade.

The Ministerio de Trabajo notes that Monday is a day of obligatory pay. If employees work that day they are entitled to double pay.

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