In December, Costa Rica and those of us who live here celebrated an important anniversary — the 70th anniversary of the abolition of Costa Rica’s military. “On December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the military of Costa Rica after victory in the civil war that year. In a ceremony in the Cuartel Bellavista, Figueres broke a wall with a mallet symbolizing an end to Costa Rica’s military spirit.” (Source: Wikipedia)
To celebrate, we attended one of the several free showings of the award-winning documentary film, A Bold Peace, which was released in 2016. The film was produced in honor of Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and Noble Peace Laureate who is featured in the film.
You can watch the film’s trailer below:
The film’s website states:
“Over 70 years ago, Costa Rica became one of the only nations in the world to disband their military and to redirect national resources towards education, health, and the environment…A Bold Peace juxtaposes the national policy of demilitarization (since 1948-49) with their investment in education, health, and the environment. Pointed parallels and contrasts are made with recent U.S. debates over the national debt, healthcare, the environment and the escalating cost of U.S. militarism. The film features former presidents, Costa Rican government officials, as well as scholars, journalists and citizens of Costa Rica.”
Watching the film made me proud to live in Costa Rica, especially to live in San Ramon de Alajuela, the birthplace of former President José Figueres Ferrer who abolished the military. Costa Rica has its problems, it isn’t “paradise” as some have described it, but this is one of the many things we think the country is doing right.
- A Bold Peace: Costa Rica’s Path of Demilitarization (website for the film)
- Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949 and thereafter enjoyed the best per-capita GDP growth in the region