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Generally speaking, countries have a military to protect their soil and freedoms from being overrun by other countries. However, Costa Rica has a different philosophy and they have abolished their military. In fact Oscar Arias Sanchez declared December 1st as Military Abolition Day. The police force, small security forces and the Coast Guard help to maintain internal piece. Also, this allows for nearly 20% of the National Budget to be allocated to educatation, which helps stability in the long run.

After the civil war ended in 1948, President Jose Figueres aka Don Pepe abolished the military by breaking the wall of the Cuartel Bellavista; thereby, symbolizing the end of Costa Rica's military spirit. Then in 1949, article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution was introduced banning the military.

In 1986, President Oscar Arias declared December 1st as Military Abolition Day with Law #8115. Therefore, Costa Rica has no regular military forces.

In 1996 the Ministry of Public Security established the Public Force which reorganized the Civil Guard, Rural Assistance Guard, and Frontier Guards as separate entities. Their main responsibilities are ground security, law enforcement, counter-narcotics, and border patrol functions.

Manpower available for military service between the ages 16 to 49 currently are around 1,134,205 males and 1,095,763 females. Numbers of those fit for military service are a bit lower at males 971,224 and females 936,978.

Today, Costa Rican maintains their Police Guard forces with around 8,000 active duty personnel that accounts for 0.4% of the country's GNP.  Due to the lack of military spending, Costa Rica has been able to redirect that funding into more positive, constructive ventures for the country including education, security, and culture which has made it unique in Central America.

Costa Rica is in general a peaceful country that has not endured a civil war since 1948, unlike its neighboring Central American countries.

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