Sunday, December 02, 2007

Costa Rica celebrates 59 years without an army

In 1948, Jose Figueres abolished the army of Costa Rica. This picture depicts Figueres in the symbolic action of destroying a portion of the military barracks. (Photo courtesy of the Arias Foundation)(Inside Costa Rica) - Costa Rica yesterday celebrated its 59th year without an army. The celebration was full of cultural events, tributes and a message from Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez, Nobel Prize winner and president of Costa Rica.

"Today we come to celebrate the abolition of the army in Costa Rica, and though it is motive to be happy, it is not motive to be satisfied", said president Arias in a speech given at the Museo Nacional (national museum), former barracks of the national army.

"How can we be satisfied, while our children walk to school, others children in the Sudan flee their villages where their parents have been killed? How can we be satisfied, while our young find work, while the job of other young is to go fight in Iraq?", Arias expressed in his speech.

Costa Rica was the first country in the world to eliminate its army, investing rather in social programs, health and education.

Jose Figueres Ferrer or “Don Pepe” as he known affectionately is responsible for the abolition of the military on December 1, 1948, weeks following the conflict of civil war that had gripped the country.

"War is the worst form of violence", said Arias.

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