Costa Rica Military has been gone for nearly 70 years, since 1948. They have existed in peace despite civil wars and other conflicts experienced by most of its neighbors. Costa Rica’s army ceased to exist when disbanded Dec. 1, 1948, by President Figueres Ferrer after Costa Rica won its civil war. And Costa Rica has remained peaceful, despite its more bellicose neighbors.
On Dec. 1, 1948, much of the rest of the world was engaged in World War II. President José Figueres Ferrer dissolved the army of Costa Rica after winning a civil war. The civil war was the bloodiest event in Costa Rican history lasting just 44 horrific days. The war instigated by the rebel party led by Figueres who claimed that the standing Presidente Otilio Ulate won by fraudulent means. After Figueres had taken over the presidency, he abolished the army. Some believe he might have done this to avoid the potential of a military coup against him. However, whatever the initial impetus, the government of Costa Rica remains democratic. With free elections to this day and the country is proud to have had one of the first female presidents in the region.
In 1996, the Police Force was created to patrol the border. Controlling anti-drug operations, and to provide general law enforcement. Additionally, there exists an Intelligence and Security Directorate. Additionally, the United States Coastguard is extremely active in the waters of Costa Rica. Also, actively involved in intercepting drug shipments.
Ticos are extremely proud of the fact that they have no army. Costa Ricans take pride in differentiating themselves from many of their more troubled and violent neighbors and on their social, political, cultural, and environmental progressive policies. Civil war has not erupted in Costa Rica since 1948. In this same period, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador have all had civil wars and poured a lot of money into their militaries to the detriment of their people. Similarly, Panama has had significant problems and had a military coup in the 1980s, and only disbanded their army in 1996. Now, they are becoming more stable.
After the abolishment of the army, the money saved, they put towards developing a police force, education, environmental protection, public health and cultural preservation. Additionally, the absence of an army makes it possible each year to fund all of the country’s public universities, as well as several public hospitals.