• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Costa Rica celebrates 72nd anniversary of army abolition by inaugurating museum

December 2, 2020

Costa Rica on Tuesday inaugurated a museum in the middle of the mountains south of the capital to remember former President José Figueres, seven decades after he abolished the army and turned the country into an “unarmed democracy.”

The museum occupies the house in which Figueres — remembered as Don Pepe — lived on a farm where he developed many of the ideas that he would put into practice in the country that he ruled on three different occasions.

The José Figueres Ferrer Museum, in the mountainous community of San Cristóbal, was inaugurated on the date that commemorates the 72nd anniversary of the abolition of the Costa Rican army, December 1, 1948.

That day, Figueres used a sledgehammer to knock down a wall of San José’s Bellavista Barracks, then the army headquarters, as a symbol of the elimination of the military force.

“Don Pepe commented: ‘What a waste of money the armies are, especially in Latin America,'” the daughter of the former president, Cristiana Figueres, a diplomat who negotiated the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, told AFP.

Cristiana Figueres, who participated in the inauguration, recalled that for her father, “if no country in Latin America had an army, there would be more resources to invest in education, environmental protection, technological innovation, and it would remove the temptation to use the army against citizens.”

The new museum is full of Don Pepe memorabilia, including the mallet that symbolizes the abolition of the army and pieces of the demolished wall.

The old Bellavista Barracks currently houses the National Museum. Since the elimination of the army, Costa Rica has based its defense on its police forces and adherence to international agreements, such as the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) of 1947.

The director of the museum, Verónica Fernández, commented that the project is both a historical and emotional one which seeks to reconnect the population with a time that marked the identity of Costa Ricans.

“We seek to rescue some of the many facets of Don Pepe: the warrior, the farmer involved in politics, the ingenious inventor, the statesman and the tireless worker,” Fernández told AFP.

Figueres ruled Costa Rica for the first time between 1948 and 1949 at the head of a government junta, after a civil war that he himself promoted after denouncing fraud in the 1948 elections.

He returned to power by electoral means from 1953-58 and 1970-74.

He died in 1990 at the age of 83.

You may be interested

Tourism companies fear new blow as Costa Rica high season ends
Costa Rica
1 views
Costa Rica
1 views

Tourism companies fear new blow as Costa Rica high season ends

Alejandro Zúñiga - June 24, 2021

Costa Rican tourism companies face new uncertainty with the end of the high season for visitation paired with the ongoing…

Drugs flown from Costa Rica to US for destruction
Costa Rica
1690 views
Costa Rica
1690 views

Drugs flown from Costa Rica to US for destruction

Alejandro Zúñiga - June 24, 2021

A United States military aircraft last week transported 39.2 metric tons of drugs seized in Costa Rica to North America…

MOPT leader investigated for corruption in Costa Rica
Costa Rica
48 views
Costa Rica
48 views

MOPT leader investigated for corruption in Costa Rica

AFP and The Tico Times - June 24, 2021

The Minister of Public Works and Transportation of Costa Rica, Rodolfo Méndez, became one of those investigated in relation to…

The Tico Times | Top Costa Rica News, Travel, Culture and Sports