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Costa Rica celebrates 71 years without an army

December 1, 2019

Costa Rica on Sunday is celebrating the 71st anniversary of the abolition of its army.

Former President José Figueres Ferrer abolished the armed forces in Costa Rica on Dec. 1, 1948 following the end of the civil war that brought him to power.

Vice President Epsy Campbell commemorated the anniversary during an event at the Plaza de la Democracia in San José on Sunday afternoon.

“Seventy-one years ago, Costa Rica ended the last confrontation in history in which Costa Ricans used weapons to resolve our differences,” Campbell said. “President Figueres not only abolished the army via decree, but handed over the keys of the barracks to the newly founded University of Costa Rica, so that it would later become in the National Museum.”

President Carlos Alvarado, who is in Madrid for a climate conference, gave a short address via video conference.

Last year, as part of the 70th anniversary events, Alvarado said the commemoration “unites us with our history and throughout generations.”

 

“It is with enormous honor and pride as a Costa Rican that I partake in this commemoration — one that is unique throughout the world,” Alvarado said in his 2018 speech. “My heart fills with joy and patriotic love for this country of ours.”

Watch Alvarado’s full address from last year below:

“Our grandparents were the first generation in the world to know what it was like to live in a country without an army,” Alvarado added in a Facebook post.

“We carry a responsibility that calls us to build a better Costa Rica, for that fourth generation, for our daughters and sons — the great grandchildren of the abolition.”

Read more in The Tico Times from previous celebrations of the anniversary:

The day has served as a Veterans’ Day for a country that has few veterans:


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