Costa Rica Celebrates 68 Years Without an Army

By Wendy Anders

Universal health care was established in Costa Rica after the army was abolished.

Universal health care was established in Costa Rica after the army was abolished.

“Blessed is the Costa Rican mother who knows that her son at birth will never be a soldier,” said the well-known Japanese politician and philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa in one of his visits to Costa Rica, as reported in Costa Rica’s Elperiodicocr.com digital news source today on the anniversary of Costa Rica’s abolition of its army on December 1, 1948.

Costa Rica made one of the most important decisions in its history 68 years ago by abolishing the army.

In a symbolic act, with a blow to the Bellavista Barracks, carried out by the then President of the Founding Governing Board of the Second Republic, José Figueres Ferrer, the Costa Rican army was officially dissolved, reported Elperiodicocr.com.

A series of events during that time, including the Civil War of 1948, and the ensuing formation of a Governing Board, which ruled for 18 months, allowed for important reforms in the country such as the creation of universal health care and education.

At the end of the Civil War and upon assuming power, the Founding Governing Board met with an extremely weakened army, and they jointly decided to eliminate it in order to invest the resources in improving the social and economic situation of the country, said Elperiodicocr.com.

The day the abolition of the Army was announced, the keys to the military barracks were handed over to the newly founded University of Costa Rica so they could establish the National Museum as a center for anthropological studies.

On October 31, 1949, the National Constituent Assembly incorporated the abolition of the army into Article 12 of the Political Constitution, thereby ensuring to the permanent elimination of the Costa Rican army, reported Elperiodicocr.com.

This year, the 68th anniversary of this momentous event for Costa Rica was celebrated with a symbolic act in the Plaza de la Democracia in downtown San José.

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