Costa Rica does not officially have a military. However, it does have small paramilitary forces which perform policing and border patrol functions.
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 an end to 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. Costa Rica 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 neighbors, Costa Rica has not endured a civil war since 1948. Costa Rica maintains small forces capable of law enforcement, but has no permanent standing army.
Public Force of the Ministry of Public Security (1996)
In 1996, the Ministry of Public Security established the Fuerza Pública or Public Force, a gendarmarie 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, border patrol, and tourism security functions.
Outside the Fuerza Pública, there is a small Special Forces Unit, the Unidad Especial de Intervencion (UEI) or Special Intervention Unit, an elite commando force which trains with special forces from around the world, 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. About 70 members strong, it is organized along military lines, although officially a civilian police unit.
Its motto is "God, Fatherland, and Honor." Commissioner of Police Juan José Andrade Morales serves as its current Commissioner General.
Aircraft inventory in 2016
There are 15 aircraft operated by Air Vigilance Service as government support, law enforcement, and civil duties.
|Aero Commander 695||Utility transport||695||1|
|de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou||Tactical transport||1|
|MD Helicopters MD 500||Utility helicopter||MD 500E||2|
|MD Helicopters MD 600||Utility helicopter||MD 600||2|
|Piper PA-31 Navajo||Utility||3|
|Piper PA-34 Seneca||Utility||PA-34-200T||1|
|Harbin Y-12||Utility||Y-12E||2 (2016)|
- "Costa Rica 1949 (rev. 2011)". https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Costa_Rica_2011?lang=en#38. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- El Espíritu del 48. "Abolición del Ejército". http://www.elespiritudel48.org/docu/h013.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-09. (Spanish)
- "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.
- Fuerza Pública de Costa Rica.
- Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.
- El Espíritu del 48: Abolición del Ejército A brief history of the abolition of the military in Costa Rica.
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