The 58th anniversary of the abolition of Costa Rica’s military was celebrated Dec. 1 with a ceremony at the NationalMuseum in San José, formerly the Bellavista Fort, where in 1948 then-President José “Pepe” Figueres Ferrer called for an end to the army.
During the ceremony, Culture Minister María Elena Carballo called Figueres’ act “one of the most important contributions Costa Rica has made to the world.”
When Figueres abolished the army, he “decided to bet on peace, knowing that peace and social investment go hand in hand,” Carballo said.
Also in attendance were legislators, including Legislative Assembly president Francisco Pacheco, diplomats, students and former soldiers who fought in the 1948 Civil War.
Roberto Güell, a representative of the National Ex-Combatants’ Association and veteran of Figueres’ National Liberation Army, addressed the audience, urging Costa Ricans to “do away with the shadow of militarism” and continue investing in social projects.
Pacheco called for young people to hold true to Costa Rica’s non-military culture, even though they are hardened by the wars they see on TV.
Japanese Ambassador Yoshihiko Sumi presented a new book “Educar por la paz,” (“Educating for Peace”) to Vice-Minister of Education Alejandrina Mata. Copies of the book – published by President Oscar Arias’ Foundation for Peace and Human Progress with funds from the embassy – will be distributed to 120 high schools around Central America to educate students on peace.