President Oscar Arias this week criticized Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for claiming that this country has an army.
On Saturday, Ortega, explaining why Nicaragua should not destroy its remaining SAM-7 missiles, said that “we have armies throughout Central America, including Costa Rica, which has a very powerful force they call the National Police, for which reason Nicaragua won’t keep disarming itself while neighboring countries have more powerful air forces,” according to wire service AFP.
Arias called this suggestion “completely false.” Costa Rica officially abolished its army in 1948.
“It makes no sense to confuse a civil police force for the protection of our citizens, with a military army,” Arias told the daily La Nación. The President, who received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 during his first presidency, said Central America should aim to become the world’s first demilitarized region.
Ortega made his statement after Nicaraguan legislators from the opposition Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) and Liberal Nicaraguan Alliance (ALN) introduced a bill that calls for the destruction of the weapons – something the United States has long requested as part of its war against terrorism. Ortega indicated that as long as other Central American countries continue expanding their armed forces, “the Sandinista government will buy new rockets,” AFP reported.