It was 65 years ago, on December 1, 1948, that Costa Rica abolished its army. At the time, it was unusual in the world, but even more in Central America where armed forces have played an important role in its history.
In 1948, Costa Rica was governed by José María Hipólito Figueres Ferrer (who is referred to affectionately as “Don Pepe”) who had recently emerged victorious form a civil war that ravaged the country for three months.
According to historian Héctor Pérez- Brignoli , that Figuered decision became a vaccine againg military agreements of time that the United States signed with the other Central American countries.
Since then, Costa Rica has used the money it would have spent on maintaining a military regime to strengthen education and social security.
Despite that most Costa Ricans missed the celebrations – the Saprissa game filled the Sunday activities- Presidenta Laura Chinchilla led the government celebrations, focusing on the award to the National Olympic Committee (NOC).
In a press release from Casa Presidencial, the government credits the NOC for “the development and construction of peace through programs and training processes, in coordination with over 35 national sports federations, to promote to our children and youth”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Costa Rican embassies around the world, in Italy, Germany and El Salvador, for example, joined in the celebration with various activities.