This section written around 1940 . . . A Naturalist in Costa Rica, by Alexander Skutch (click link for my book list) - the most influential naturalist to wander the forest and hills of Costa Rica.
Alexander also traveled to the only place a Costa Rican army had marched to in anger in 1856 - Rivas, just north of the Costa Rican border, in Nicaragua.
Alexander Skutch and many ex-pats/gringos etc felt as comfortable as I do with the idea that armies are unnecessary if you can get the circumstances working in the right direction and be at one with the ecology. Once there was an army BTW, but they were abused by the government in an effort to circumvent a democratic election in 1948.
|Don Pepe Figueres, Revolutionary/Idea|
From Wiki: "abolishing the army (as a precaution against the militarism that has perennially thwarted or undercut democracy in Central America) Figueres said he was inspired to disarm Costa Rica by H.G. Wells "Outline of History", which he read in 1920 while at MIT. "The future of mankind cannot include armed forces. Police, yes, because people are imperfect.", he declared.
From a local message board, the question was asked,
"Is Costa Rica ready for a Swiss style Army?"
|At a Costa Rican Tope|
Ticos should go with their strengths, which is to party hearty. What would happen if a Nicaraguan invasion force was met at the border with 100 tico cimarrona bands armed with several thousand cases of Cacique? My guess is that any red-blooded Nicaraguan soldier would lay down his arms and join in the merriment. --Steve, trying to keep his sanity in S. Rafael de Heredia
So I'll continue with my disconnected musings on a Costa Rican Army. For CR to need an army it needs to really upset someone else. There is no right side of THAT equation in Costa Rica. This discussion prompted me to do a first hand survey with 5 Ticos who happened to be standing around having breakfast today. The question was simply, "give me your first reaction to an army in CR?"
|Gringos at a Tico Wedding|
One respondent, obviously new to Costa Rica opined some time back, "I am wrinkling my eyebrows now at the thought that CR has no army. Do you really feel safe there? I mean, there are ideologies that seek to dominate the world and it seems to me that CR has no way to defend herself. Don't you feel terribly vulnerable?"
I pondered, "Um for the life of me I can't see why any country would "take over" Costa Rica today? In a world of city states (lets say circa 1456 a.d.) there was a great need to accumulate more cities and territories in part because a city state was non viable and needed some economies of scale, room to graze more cows, score additional slaves or just vent the frustrations of young men with too much aggression or allow old men to score points. Nobody takes over other countries any more (well ALMOST nobody). Its truly passe, makes a mess of the local landmarks, interrupts the only thing that separates us from cavemen (schooling) and pisses off the neighborhood."
|Nicaraguan Troops getting Wet On The Border|
The idea continues today with our current president Laura Chin -chilla. The country responds to aggression in peculiar and hilarious ways (link to blog posting on the border incident) - Nicaragua stole a bit of land from Costa Rica and Costa Rica thinks of it as a "fire on the border" and sent 14 fire fighters to patrol the fire.
|Costa Rican Firefighters Preparing to deploy to the border|
I can only smile. Skutch's words ring out today 70 years later "But I wished to do more than learn facts about living things that surrounded me here; I wished to dwell in harmony with them"