Costa Rica Celebrated 72 years Without an Army, Valuing the Meaning of that Legacy

Costa Rica celebrated 72 years of the abolition of its Army this week with a call from President Carlos Alvarado to value the legacy that this decision has meant for the history and democratic development of the country.

“The Costa Rican path, which was conceived on that historic December 1st (1948), has taught us that differences are resolved through dialogue, that there is no room for violence, imposition and force; and that we protect our democratic institutions that ensure our coexistence”, Alvarado declared in an official act at the National Museum, a building that housed the last military barracks in the country.

The President stated that: “we must value what we have, which is not a small thing, it is something extraordinary, but sometimes it becomes ordinary, we get used to it as if it were a gift that fell and that cost no one”.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this year the celebration consisted of a brief formal ceremony by government authorities, which was broadcast on state television and social networks and followed virtually by a group of former civil war combatants of 1948, the last armed conflict that the country lived.

Historical events

On December 1st, 1948, after the war ended, the caudillo José Figueres Ferrer, then three times president of the country, abolished the Army and since then Costa Rica has allocated more resources to social areas, education and health. At present, the security of the country is in charge of a police force called the Public Force.

In the formal ceremony, President Alvarado presented the medal for merit in peace and democracy to workers representing the first emergency response teams, for their work in responding to the Pandemic and the indirect impact of Hurricane Eta in the country.

“On behalf of the people of Costa Rica, we appreciate your hard, mystical, and constant work. Thank you for taking care of us and always being at the service of your country,” said the President.

A virtual reality presentation

The virtual reality exhibition “El 48: an experience to relive history” was also inaugurated on this day, developed and donated to the National Museum by the companies UXR Tech and Spark Media. This initiative reconstructs the act in which Figueres Ferrer demolishes one of the battlements of the Bellavista Barracks, in a symbolic act of the effective dissolution of the National Army.

Although this 2020 there was not a large public celebration event, it was the first year that this event is a holiday in the country, after the approval in the National Legislative Assembly of a law that constituted it. The holiday was held on Monday to create a “long weekend” for encouraging tourism, which yielded positive results, according to hotel data.

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