The Independence Day Torch (Antorcha de la Libertad) arrived in Costa Rica this Friday morning, the Minister of Education of Nicaragua, Miriam Soledad Ráudez, handing to her Costa Rican counterpart, Guiselle Cruz, at the Peñas Blancas border, who then passed it on to students, to be carried to Cartago.

The torch will be carried in tandem by a selection of some 20,000 students of the different schools across the 348-kilometer route across land, to arrive Saturday night in the Viejo Metropolis (Cartago) for the formal celebrations of Costa Rica’s 198th year of independence.

This year, unlike last year when the blockades of the national strike by public sector employees impeding the torch’s arrival in Cartago, the decision was made to helicopter it in.

Symbol of freedom

Last year the torch started off on a bad foot at the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border, given the social-political crisis in the neighboring country, all protocols were suspended.

At 9:30 am, government officials from both Costa Rica and Nicaragua, as well as students and the public, attended the traditional ceremony that is a symbol of freedom and cultural exchange.

Minister Cruz, during the event, said: “Let’s continue building our country, let’s continue with passion marking the route, as our torch does every September, to remind us that freedom and respect must always be our way.”

The torch celebrates 54 years of historical tradition, covering some 1,300 kilometers between cities and small towns in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

The initiative arose in 1964, by Costa Rican professor Alfredo Cruz Bolaños.