In what seems to a video game, a group called “Patrulla 1856” has been created to recruit Costa Ricans who want to defend the country against an invasion by Nicaragua.
“1856” is the name of the road that runs parallel to the San Juan river, a river that belongs to Nicaragua and its south bank is the division between the two countries.
On their website and Facebook page, the group describes itself as a “paramilitary apolitical group”, showing pictures of people in military fatigues and weapons and ask for help of people to bring expert knowledge in military and cartography, as well as help from experienced hunters.
The group says that their initiative is upheld by Article 12 of the country’s Constitution.
Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948 after victory in the civil war in that year and is the only country in the Americas without a military.
Although many would rather not talk about the issue of militarization, the idea of a “national defense” against the attacks by Nicaragua, continues to grow.
The former head of the Fuerza Publica (police), José Fabio Pizarro, says he has received multiple requests for support in the social media over the last several days.
Costa Rica’s constitution has forbidden a standing military since 1949. It does have a public security force, whose role includes law enforcement and internal security. For this reason Costa Rica is the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and also the United Nations‘ University for Peace.
Using the internet and social media, “Patrulla 1856” aims to “serve the country, defending sovereignty against the current invasion by Nicaragua”.
The website explains that only those over 25 years of age AND Costa Rican can be part of the group.
The Ministerio de Seguridad (Ministry of Security) “officially” denies that the government is behind the group and making a call to arms.
“This is our home, our country, no one and I repeat no one has the right to sully our sacred soil”, says the group’s video message.
The group is not asking for money, only canned food.