Back in 1948, 68 years ago, Costa Rica decided: No more armed forces in the country. And, that changed the history, of the country and the region!
In 1948, Costa Rica had a civil war, the leader of the revolutionary army came to power in April 1948. Six months after the war ends, Figueres, the revolutionary leader decided to abolish the army.
President Figueres, in the dissolution of the nation army, declared that he contemplated that the police force was sufficient for the countries security. He then expressed hope for the future health of Costa Rica, and the fact that the country, without an army, will be better and stronger than before. There was now the foundation of a consciousness of peace in the absence of the military force.
Figueres made a symbolic expression by marking the end of Costa Rica arm forces by demolishing part of a wall, with a mallet, in a ceremony at the headquarters of Bellavista, which are now the National Museum, in a ceremony witnessed by the diplomatic corps, students and other locals. This served as a symbol of the beginning of a new era, where areas such as education would be the new priority of the government.
This served as a symbol of the beginning of a new era, where areas such as education would be the new priority of the government.
The army abolition was added to the Constitution in 1949, and the military no longer formed part of the national budget. The money and resources previously set for this entity were therefore now put towards for education, culture, and health.
The centre for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the University of Peace for the United Nations are based in Costa Rica because there is the absence of an army.
Even if Costa Rica has no standing army, still has entrusted bodies to help maintain law, internal security, and foreign peacekeeping. It has subscribed to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR for its Spanish acronym), a defence agreement which covers America and 300 miles (483 kilometers) from its coast.
Per the agreement, “any armed attack by any state against an American state will be considered as an attack against all the American states, and therefore, all the engaged parties promise to help to face the attack in exercising the imminent right of individual or collective legitimate defence“.
Costa Rica signed the agreement in 1947, and this was one of the reasons for disbanding its army in 1948 after taking into account the foresight of the treaty as sufficient guarantee to ensure its national defence. The country had put its trust in this international institution and its mechanisms of defence.
On December 1, every year, Costa Ricans celebrate this historic event which was a milestone for Costa Ricans in the search for peace and democracy. We feel an enormous amount of pride that Costa Rica no longer has an army as a permanent institution of the state and so honour this in tradition.
The most honourable ex-president of The Republic of Costa Rica, which also has a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work towards the signing of the “Esquipulas Peace Agreement”, Oscar Arias Sánchez, in 1985 declared December 1 as Army Abolition Day (Día de la Abolición del Ejército). Many other countries also applaud Costa Rica for this commendable feat.
Source: The Jamaica Observer