Nicaragua Invades Costa Rica Because of Google Maps
Christopher Pillitz / Getty
So what's the worst your GPS or Google Maps instructions has ever steered you wrong? Maybe you missed an exit, or wound up in the wrong side of town and got stabbed a bunch of times? Whatever it was, at least you didn't accidentally go to war with a neighboring country.
"In 500 feet, annex Belgium."
Because that happened in November of 2010, when a Nicaraguan Military commander, Eden Pastora, led his men across the border into Costa Rica, which, in no uncertain terms, is pretty much a declaration of war. He claimed the whole thing was a mistake due to being led astray by Google Maps.
To be clear, it wasn't as though Pastora and his guys just stumbled across the border, set up some tents and then hurriedly cleared out in embarrassment once their error was discovered. They leveled a protected forest, dredged the San Juan river (the ownership of which is the sorest point of contention between the two nations), and dumped all the bullshit they scooped out of it into Costa Rican territory (that is, the portion of the land they decided to agree was Costa Rica's, since they were actually several miles inside the country's borders at this point).
Hector Retamal / Getty
"Son of a ... didn't anyone bring a Garmin?"
It's not clear why he decided to consult an Internet atlas instead of official military charts (which clearly depict the borders that both countries recognize). It's also not clear why it took him so long to figure out where he was. At one point, they took down a Costa Rican flag and replaced it with a Nicaraguan one, presumably because the flag wasn't represented by Google Maps so they assumed it had been erected by mistake. That's like walking into someone's house, throwing out all of their family photos to put up pictures of you and your grandparents, and then trying to tell the police that Mapquest is to blame for giving you shitty directions back to your apartment.