On May 19th, 2020, at the National Museum, former Bellavista Barracks, the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado, and the Minister of Labor and Social Security, Geannina Dinarte, signed the law “National Celebration of December 1st  as Day of the Army Abolition Day and Non-Compulsory Payment Holiday” (Law No. 9803).

Legislation modifies article 148 of the Labor Code in order for that date to be considered a non-mandatory pay holiday, instead of October 12th, and instructs the Executive Power to organize events throughout the country in celebration of this historic commemoration .

The act took place in the National Museum, the former Bellavista Barracks, where on December 1st, 1948, the then president of the Founding Board of the Second Republic, José Figueres Ferrer, declared the Army abolished, knocking down the barracks’ walls.

wall, persons standing, monument
National Museum: one of the many past conmemorations of the Army Abolition Day in Costa Rica

Thanks to the transmission of the National Radio and Television System (SINART), the former first lady, Karen Olsen, 23 ex-combatants of the 1948 Civil War, relatives of ex-president Figueres Ferrer and representatives of the diplomatic corps were linked.

The initiative of law -presented before Congress by legislators of the National Liberation Party- was approved in the second debate by 40 deputies, last December 5th, 2019. It consists of 3 articles:

Article 1. It declares December 1st of each year as the Army Abolition Day.

Article 2. It establishes, through a reform to the Labor Code, that it be a non-obligatory paid holiday and eliminates this condition for October 12.

Article 3. It instructs the Executive Power to organize official events to celebrate said anniversary throughout the country.

Precisely, within the framework of the abolition of the army as a national holiday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Rodolfo Solano, announced the government’s commitment to promoting a global strategy that seeks to divert resources invested in military spending towards innovation, the health and the fight against climate change.

The signing act was accompanied by the song to the Abolition of the Army by the Costa Rican composer Carlos Guzmán, made official by executive decree of 2018 to be sung at each commemoration of this historic milestone.