Costa Rica suffers from 2 things:
1) It's people are accustomed to not have to work very hard to get to a passable living. Thus, good is the enemy of great.
2) Our national pride is actually more anchored on soccer games than in improving our country. There are very, very few persons who actually want to elevate Costa Rica in terms of its virtues. There are economic and tourism elevating entities, but not value, honor or virtue.
We have not suffered many wars, and that is probably a good thing; the one we did suffer, at least with a neighboring country, was decided thanks in part to Juan Santamaría.
One thing my father in law jokes about is that the poor kid was the object of a prank, where after shouting the question "who will burn the enemy's fortress" everyone else took a step back and left him on the front. It could be.
Thing is, he still is remembered for having balls and getting the job done, and lots of times, that's how we recognize the great men.