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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

¡Viva siempre la paz! Costa Rica celebrates army abolition with holiday weekend

Costa Ricans will enjoy a long weekend to end November as the country celebrates a national holiday in commemoration of Army Abolition Day.

While the official holiday is December 1, it will be observed with a day off on Monday, November 30 as part of a move to stimulate the economy. Costa Rican authorities encouraged the public to travel while respecting health protocols.

Authorities expect high visitation at national parks and reminded the public that tickets for Manuel Antonio National Park, Poás Volcano National Park and Irazú Volcano National Park can be purchased online.

On December 1, 1948, then-President José Figueres Ferrer abolished the armed forces following the end of the civil war that brought him to power. The law establishing that date as a holiday was enacted earlier this year.

Government ceremonies commemorating Army Abolition Day are typically held at the National Museum. That building was once the Bellavista Fortress, where military recruits trained and weapons were stored. Upon abolishing the army, President Figueres offered the fortress to the University of Costa Rica, and by 1950 it had become the permanent venue for the museum.

“The resources that the government of the republic would have historically had to invest in a defense system based on weapons were wisely diverted to direct expenses for the well-being of Costa Ricans,” President Carlos Alvarado said earlier this year about the abolition of the military institution.

Costa Rica this year will celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the abolition of its army.

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

“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.”

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