Costa Rica celebrates an important annual holiday each December 1 to commemorate the historic disarmament and dissolving of its military army as a national institution. On December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer 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 hammer symbolizing the end of Costa Rica’s military organization and a commitment to peace. In 1949, the abolition of the military was introduced in Article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution. The budget previously dedicated to the military is now invested in health care, education and culture. The museum, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, was placed in the Cuartel Bellavista as a symbol of commitment to culture. Educational opportunities continue to expand and thrive. Preventative health care guides medicine, and literacy rates, including cyber literacy, are high. Creative and progressive solutions and inspiring negotiations create successful conflict resolution strategies.
Costa Rica is known as the most stable, modern country in Central America- the country with no army that proves that quality of life and a culture of happiness and progress is more likely when a country chooses to not have an armed force in place. Peace and disarmament leads to changes in focus for funding, systems development, and quality of life for everyone. Costa Rica maintains small, distinct forces for law enforcement and foreign peacekeeping, but has no permanent standing army. Law enforcement is solidly in place and no armed forces have been necessary to maintain peace and cultural progress. These changes allowed Costa Rica to prioritize health care, education and cultural celebration as the most vital and robust services for increased happiness and quality of life. With the financial gains of demilitarization, Costa Rica has not only invested in the people, but has also begun to transform the local ecosystem into a flourishing and more healing habitat. Approximately 25% of our landscape in ecological reserves and national parks is protected.