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   Information Center Costa Rica
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Costa Rica Military

On December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the country's army after victory in the civil war in that year. In a ceremony in the Cuartel Bellavista, Figueres broke a wall with a mallet symbolising the end of Costa Rica's military spirit. In 1949 the abolition of the military was introduced in the 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.


Military branches
no regular military forces; Ministry of Public Security, Government, and Police (2006)

Military service age and obligation
18 years of age (2004)

Manpower available for military service
males age 18-49: 997,690
females age 18-49: 968,290 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
males age 18-49: 829,874
females age 18-49: 809,343 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually
males age 18-49: 41,097
females age 18-49: 39,243

Military expenditures - percent of GDP
0.4% (2006)





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