On December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the military of Costa Rica after victory in the civil war in that year. In a ceremony in the Cuartel Bellavista, Figueres broke a wall with a mallet symbolizing the end of Costa Rica's military spirit. In 1949, the abolition of the military was introduced in Article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution.
The budget previously dedicated to the military now is dedicated to security, education and culture; the country maintains Police Guard forces. The museum Museo Nacional de Costa Rica was placed in the Cuartel Bellavista as a symbol of commitment to culture.
In 1986, President Oscar Arias Sánchez declared December 1 as the Día de la Abolición del Ejército (Military abolition day) with Law #8115.
Unlike its neighbours, Costa Rica has not endured a civil war since 1948.
Costa Rica maintains small forces capable of law enforcement and foreign peacekeeping, but has no permanent standing army.
Ministry of Public Security's Public Force
During 1996, the Ministry of Public Security established the Fuerza Pública or Public Force which reorganized and eliminated the Civil Guard, Rural Assistance Guard, and Frontier Guards as separate entities; they are now under the Ministry and operate on a geographic command basis performing ground security, law enforcement, counter-narcotics, and border patrol functions.
Outside the Fuerza Pública, there is a small Special Forces Unit, the Unidad Especial de Intervencion (UEI) or Special Intervention Unit, which trains with special forces of Israel, and its namesake in Spain and other democratic nations, but is not part of the main police forces, instead it is part of the Intelligence and Security Directorate (DIS) which reports directly to the Minister of the Presidency.
Weapons and equipment
Weapons include M16s, M4A1s, UZIs, MP5s and other weapons such as the M1911 .45ACP and Beretta M9 semiautomatic pistols.
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