Importing the ‘West German model’: Transnationalizing counterinsurgency policing in Cold War Costa Rica

Fabian Bennewitz, Markus-Michael Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In analyzing West German police assistance for Costa Rica,we uncover the transnational dynamics of Cold War counterinsurgency policing during the Central American conflicts of the 1980s. We scrutinize West Germany’s engagements with Costa Rica, demonstrating how technical police-assistance by the self-fashioned West German ‘civilian power’ fed into a wider counterinsurgency turn in Costa Rican policing. Highlighting the role of local agency and transnational context conditions, we point towards the interest of the Costa Rican government in reaching out to West Germany to demonstrate its neutrality within the ongoing conflicts while simultaneously bolstering the counterinsurgency capacities of its police forces.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Wars and Insurgencies
Issue number4-5
Pages (from-to)581-606
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Small Wars and Insurgencies on 31 Aug 2021, available online:”


  • Central America
  • Cold War
  • Costa Rica
  • Counterinsurgency
  • Latin America
  • West Germany
  • police assistance

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