Juan Rafael Mora Porras

Juan Rafael Mora Porras (8 February 1814, San José, Costa Rica – 30 September 1860) was President of Costa Rica from 1849 to 1859.[1]

Juanito Mora
President of Costa Rica
In office
November 26, 1849 – August 14, 1859
Vice PresidentFrancisco María Oreamuno Bonilla
Vicente Aguilar Cubero
Rafael García-Escalante Nava
Preceded byMiguel Mora Porras
Succeeded byJosé María Montealegre
Personal details
BornFebruary 8, 1814
San José
DiedSeptember 30, 1860(1860-09-30) (aged 46)

Life and career edit

Mora first assumed the presidency upon the resignation of his younger brother, Miguel Mora Porras. He was subsequently elected in his own right in 1853, and he was reelected in 1859.

He (along with the rest of his administration) focused on modifying the Costa Rican constitution, with one of his modifications being an increase in the requirements to hold Costa Rican citizenship—including a high yearly income. He therefore left the majority of the population without the rights to vote and run for office (Conversely, the previous electoral system required citizens to be male, born in the country, and of age to have electoral rights).

As Mora’s dramatic change to Costa Rica’s constitution coincided with the privatization of the country’s commons, its landless peasants were now left helpless. As Mora altogether deprived the commons-dependent peasants, they no longer possessed constitutional rights to political representation or constitutional means of achieving it.

The Filibuster War edit

In 1856, Mora led his country's forces in Central America's Filibuster War against William Walker and his filibuster regime in Nicaragua.[2]

(For Costa Rican historiography, the war is divided into three parts: The First Campaign (March and April 1856), The Second (or Transit) Campaign (October 1856–May 1857), and The Third Campaign (August–December 1857)).

Mora, along with Bishop Anselmo Llorente, gave a series of speeches to arouse the people and prepare them for the upcoming war. In his speeches, he emphasized the threat posed by the Protestant filibusters to the country's Catholic identity.

He then moved to his brother José Joaquín Mora Porras the supreme command of the army, and his brother led three battles during the First Campaign. Specifically, he charged José Joaquin to lead the Battles of Santa Rosa, Sardinal, and Rivas (a series of battles which managed to stop Walker's invasion to Guanacaste—at the time known as "Moracia" in the president's honour).

The Resulting 1856 Cholera Epidemic edit

During the Rivas Battle, both the filibuster forces and Costa Rican forces contracted cholera. Costa Ricans subsequently found themselves under the impression that cholera was acquired on "ill-aired" locations, and they therefore fled from Rivas. As a result of taking the water-borne disease with them, they inadvertently caused a tenth of Costariqueños to lose their lives in the 1856 cholera epidemic in Costa Rica.

For Costariqueños, the war was then postponed until October 1856, the starting point for The Second Campaign.

The Resumption of the War, And the War’s Aftermath edit

Mora and his brother placed the emphasis of the Second Campaign on the Costa Rican armed forces cutting off Walker's supply route which used the San Juan River and the steamboats taken by the filibusters from the Accessory Transit Company.

There is, by contrast, no knowledge of what they did or what else happened during the Third Campaign.

There is still discussion on the intellectual authorship of the capture of the Rio San Juan. Some Costa Ricans, like historian Rafael Obregón Loría, claim it was Mora who planned the capture. However, Mora met on November 1856 with Silvanius Spencer, Cornelius Vanderbilt's agent, who offered his help on the capture of the San Juan river.

In spite of earning acclaim as a national hero for his efforts in that endeavor, he was overthrown in a coup d'état orchestrated by his opponent Jose Maria Montealegre in August 1859. He fled to El Salvador, where his supporters convinced him to launch an attack on Costa Rica and recoup the presidency. After initial victories, in which he succeeded in seizing the port of Puntarenas, he was defeated, captured, and, on 30 September 1860, brought before a firing squad.

Notable relatives edit

His nephew, who he helped to raise, was the writer Manuel Argüello Mora. His great-great-grandniece is the actress Madeleine Stowe, whom is also of a member Montealegre family.

Legacy edit

Juan Rafael Mora Porras statue in Ankara Türkiye

His statue is erected in Ankara, Türkiye.

References edit

  1. ^ El Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones: Presidentes de la República de Costa Rica
  2. ^ Álvarez Ruiz, Katherine. "Juan Rafael Mora Porras y la guerra contra los filibusteros" (PDF) (in Spanish). Colegio Nacional de Educación a Distancia. Retrieved 1 May 2018 – via Google Docs.
Political offices
Preceded by President of Costa Rica
Succeeded by