Costa Rica is one of only a few countries without an army. The Costa Rican military was abolished in the country’s constitution in 1949. However, the country has a fascinating military history. But did you know how beneficial abolishing their army was?
Costa Rica’s government abolished its army in 1949, stating that an army of teachers would replace it. The country has free universal public education and a literacy rate of 97%.
Allocating the Military Funding for Education
Costa Rica underwent a significant transformation nearly 70 years ago, and things have never been the same since. In 1948, there was a 40-day revolution in which the National Liberation Army, led by Jose Figueres, also known as Don Pepe, fought against the illegitimate government led by Teodoro Picado, who directed the Costa Rican Army. Picado eventually surrendered to Figueres on April 19, 1948, by signing The Pact of the Mexican Embassy, officially ending the war. More than 2,000 people were killed in Costa Rica’s bloodiest civil war since the country’s independence.
On December 1, 1948, Costa Rica’s then-President, José Figueres Ferrer, declared the end of the military spirit in his country. This decision was made following a violent civil war caused by politics. This military abolition was incorporated into the Costa Rican Constitution in 1949 Article 12.
Following demilitarization, Costa Rica focused on developing political stability, establishing a police force, promoting education, and fighting for environmental protection, public health, and national and cultural preservation. Furthermore, the lack of an army allows the country to fund its public universities and several public hospitals yearly. The Costa Rican government is now making significant changes in human rights, climate change, and animal rights. (Source: Costa Rica)
If No Military, What is The Country’s Defense?
You may be wondering who protects the country in the event of a conflict without a standing army. The Armed Police Force was established in 1996 as the nation’s security forces to patrol the Nicaraguan and Panamanian borders, control drug trafficking operations, and provide general law enforcement. There is also an Intelligence and Security Directorate, and the US Coast Guard is active in Costa Rican waters. They actively participate in the interception of drug shipments and other illegal trades in this area.
Costa Rica maintains its military-free status and does not command or house any military units or weapons. However, the country maintains alliances with other countries, such as the United States, to help in the event of war within Costa Rica.
Costa Rica does have special forces that help to enforce the law, patrol borders, and reduce drug trafficking. Most of these forces are part of the Public Force, established in 1996 by the Ministry of Public Security. This new unit merged all existing entities and placed them under one command.
The Civilian Guard is in place to help maintain general public order and safety, so visitors to Costa Rica should not feel threatened while visiting the country. Travelers should always be extra cautious and alert when visiting a foreign country, but Costa Rica is peaceful, with local officers who enforce law and order. (Source: Costa Rica)
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