Ready to learn about the politics of Costa Rica? The country has a beautiful and fascinating history.
I’m leaving the land of Pura Vida in a little over a week and as this is the beginning of the international leg of my travels, I decided to start blogging on the things that really matter to me: POLITICS!
Okay, I’m half-kidding, but the truth is, I have always been heavily involved in politics and part of why I founded The LITMO Life wasn’t just to travel around the world, it was to help other people figure out what makes them happy and how to use that to make the world a better place. The second part of that sentence is critical: when we’re questioning what we’ve been told and designing our own lives, it’s more important than ever to use that stability and happiness to help our fellow humans.
In that vein, instead of just traveling around and enjoying the tourism of all the countries I visit, I’d really like to learn some things about them and help other people learn more about them, too! Costa Rica, as a country I’ve visited before and a place I truly love, is a great place to start! So, let’s do it!
First thing’s first: Costa Rica has no standing army.
The Costa Rican army was abolished in 1948 and has not reappeared at all since then. Because of this, there is a feeling of peacefulness and happiness in the country that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. My airBNB host in Tilaran, an American expat who took up permanent residency in Costa Rica over 30 years ago, says this is one of her favorite things about living here.
The country had a civil war in the 1940s and shortly thereafter decided to end rule by armed forces. A democracy was established and Costa Rica quickly adapted to a stable, army-free government.
Next up: in 2014, the traditional two-party system was beaten.
The president of Costa Rica, since April of 2014, is Luis Guillermo Solis. Solis ran as a member of the Citizen Action Party (PAC), a moderate group that was outside the norm of the two major parties: the National Liberation Party (PLN) and the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC).
The PLN wasn’t in the best shape, as it had faced allegations of corruption and mismanagement. President Solis ran on a platform of transparency and it seems to have gotten him elected to office.
Overall, though, the Costa Rican government has been among the most stable in Latin American since 1949. In 1987, President Arias Sanchez was given the Nobel Peace Prize.
It’s also economically stable.
Although many in Costa Rica still live in poverty, the level of poverty has seen over a 50% reduction over the past few decades. It’s still considered a developing country, but the economy has been largely stable. It grows approximately 2.5% every year and Costa Rican participation in world trade has risen as well.
The country prides itself on being open and free.
The media scene in Costa Rica is huge: with lots of regularly read and watched newspapers and television stations, as well as radio. According to Reporters Without Borders, Costa Rica “is very proud of its reputation as having the best human rights and freedom of expression in Latin America.
And of course, tourism is huge.
The country has a $1.9 billion tourism industry and it grows every year. Many American expats have chosen Costa Rica as their home to settle down in. It’s also one of the most visited countries in Central America.
I knew I loved Costa Rica before I arrived on my second visit to the country, but the fact that it has no army entices me even more to one day make this my home.