Costa Rica And Defense

July 21st, 2014   Submitted by Anthony Caprio

CostaRicaIf you have never visited the tropical, Central American paradise that is Costa Rica than I highly recommend that you make it your next vacation stop. I have been twice, once with my wife, and again with my wife and infant child. I felt completely safe the entire time I was in the country, and was treated with kindness by the locals. The landscape is beautiful, the people are peaceful, and there has been no standing army since 1948.

After fighting a bloody civil war in 1948 that killed 2000 people, Costa Rica decided to abolish the army in December of that year. Despite all the conflicts that have occurred in Central America then, Costa Rica has managed to remain virtually untouched compared with its neighbors. Not having a standing military has contributed heavily to that peace.

As anyone with even a cursory knowledge of 20th century history knows, the United States has been a strong supporter of anti-communist governments in Latin America. Whether it was supporting Batista in Cuba, the Contras in Nicaragua, Pinochet in Chile, Noriega in Panama, or providing the backing for Operation Condor, the United States has used the military dictators of Latin America to support their cronies in big business. Let’s see, what do you call it when the government and business work together to force their will on other people? Oh yeah, fascism. It’s called fascism.

So, while the US was funneling money to Latin American dictators to keep their populations in check, Costa Rica outlawed its military and established a democracy which proceeded, uninterrupted by coups, to the present day. It’s not that Costa Rica’s leaders didn’t work with the CIA, or take money from them. I am sure they did. But Costa Rica’s leadership didn’t have the luxury of having obedient thugs at their disposal to arrest people in the middle of the night and take them away to torture chambers. Neighboring countries did have that option, and they used it rather frequently. Not having a standing army also meant Costa Rica had to show a bit of humility in dealing with its neighbors. Instead of imposing sanctions, or engaging in saber rattling, Costa Rica has had to dialogue with its neighbors.

When you compare the history of Costa Rica from 1948 to the present day with its neighbors Nicaragua and Panama, you can’t help but notice how much more peaceful Costa Rica has been. Nicaragua is Costa Rica’s northern neighbor. The region of Guancaste actually broke away from Nicaragua in 1824 when the people of the area voted to become part of Costa Rica. In 1948, while Costa Rica was dissolving its army, Nicaragua was ruled by the Samoza family with backing from the United States. The Samoza family ran a classic banana republic dictatorship. During WWII they declared war against Germany, not so they could send troops to liberate Europe, but so that they could confiscate land from Germans living in their country. The dictatorship was a family affair, with the Samoza family making money from granting concessions to American firms, taking bribes from gambling and prostitution rings, and of course getting direct aid from the United States. All this corruption eventually led to a war within Nicaragua that lasted roughly two decades.

In Panama, Costa Rica’s southern neighbor, a military led coup ousted the elected leader in 1968. Shortly after that the military government instituted price controls, disregarded property rights by legalizing squatting, and began a policy of repression against any dissidents who were labeled “communist” by the government. The US supported the military dictatorship until General Manuel Noriega got uppity and forgot he was supposed to be a puppet. Then he was deposed by the US President George Bush in 1989. The US led invasion of Panama displaced some 5,000 people within the nation of Panama. This final act of military force convinced the nation of Panama that their neighbors to the north were onto something, and they abolished their military in 1990. The last 24 years without a standing military have been the most peaceful and prosperous in Panama’s history as well.

Compare the turmoil of Nicaragua and Panama from 1948 to the present with Costa Rica’s history over the same period. Costa Rica has had 14 presidential elections, and no coups, revolutions, or uprisings. Now it is true that Costa Rica did have a border war with Nicaragua from 1954 to 1955. It seems that Costa Rica’s President at the time was supporting the opposition party in Nicaragua, and this angered the country’s dictator, so they bombed Costa Rica’s border towns with American made P-47s. This caused Costa Rica to plead with the Organization of American States for support, and they agreed to sell Costa Rica four P-51 fighters for $1 each. However, the planes were never needed because the US placed pressure on Nicaragua to back down.

Imagine if Costa Rica had not involved itself in Nicaragua’s politics. Most likely, the problem would have been alleviated, and Nicaragua would never have bombed their country. But in spite of the fact that politicians in general have a hard time keeping their mouths shut, Costa Rica was spared further violence because the United States asked their Nicaraguan puppets to stop. You see it looks bad when one country invades a neighbor that has no army. States in general like to think they operate under some perception of benevolent authority. This gives even the worst States an incentive not to attack a defenseless neighbor. We see this demonstrated in WWII when the Nazis chose not to invade Lichtenstein, in part because they had no military and Hitler didn’t want to be seen as a bully. Mussolini also chose not to invade the Vatican City for similar reasons. I am sure the United States was upset at Costa Rica’s criticism of their neighbors, and their willingness to dialogue with openly communist States like Cuba, but because they had no military the US chose not to harm its reputation by allowing the Samoza government to continue its attack, similar to the way that Hitler and Mussolini did not want to risk damage to their reputation by attacking the army-less States on their borders.

This phenomenon has important implications. In the United States the ruling political parties are continuously arguing that even though they already have the world’s largest military, even greater sums of money must be spent on defense in order to protect US citizens. The argument goes that any decrease in spending will weaken the US position in the world and make the country susceptible to attack. But as we have seen, having the world’s largest military has only made politicians bolder. The aura of invincibility that comes from having a strong military has led them to make more alliances with foreign countries which has led to a greater number of conflicts with countries which posed no real threat to US Citizens. From Korea to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military has been used to attack not defend. The result has been an erosion of civil liberties at home, and increasing threats to the lives of American citizens from terrorists angry about US Intervention. Often times these violent terrorist have been trained and armed by the United States government as part of defense spending.

It would appear that having a standing army has the opposite effect than the one promised by the politicians who advocate for it, a decrease in the safety of its citizens and an increase in violence and war.

Some might argue that countries like Costa Rica, Lichtenstein, and Panama are weak insignificant countries, and so maybe they can get away with not having a military because they are ignored by the greater powers. But as an Anarchist what could be better than being ignored and left alone by the State? Isn’t that the ultimate goal of all liberty-minded people, to be left alone to pursue our own interest without interference from the State? While Costa Rica is far from being a Stateless AnCap society it is closer to that goal than a lot of places. In addition to having no military, Costa Rican citizens and residents are allowed to own arms to defend themselves. This is a fact I can personally attest to because one evening while having dinner with a local he showed me the concealed glock that he carried for personal protection in the middle of the restaurant! Costa Rica also allows freedom of speech, and boasts a small police force of only 7,500 for its 3 million citizens. All of these things contribute to the peace and prosperity of this remarkable nation. As liberty loving people we can only hope that more countries will follow Costa Rica’s example by abolishing their military and allowing their citizens to protect themselves.

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18 Responses to “Costa Rica And Defense”

  1. AlanNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for sharing this article!

    • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

      Barring some degree of tyranny there are no such things as citizens. Citizen implies “voice through political representation either direct or indirect,” which requires the existence of a governing entity. Citizen implies Social Contract, implies institutionalized fraud.

      When anyone can live anywhere they want on or off the planet without seeking permission from anyone else, there are no citizens. The goal stated within the thesis of this article is not precisely “no standing armies” but rather “no citizens that could ever be presumed to be either subjects or objects of legal fictions known as standing armies.”

      That’s putting words into mouths, of course…

  2. VanmindNo Gravatar says:

    Great stuff, Mr. Caprio, thanks.

    “Let’s see, what do you call it when the government and business work together to force their will on other people? Oh yeah, fascism. It’s called fascism.”

    No, it’s not. That’s what the NWO wants to trick everyone into believing. Fascism is neither an economic strategy nor a political movement. Fascism is a plain ol’ skull-cracking tactic for forced compliance, one that communist-collectivists (in general: the “too small to be enfranchised” crowd) use every bit as often as corporatist-collectivists (in general: the “too big to fail” crowd).

    Most people misuse the term in the same way they misuse “liberal” or “progressive” or “inflation.” It’s not stupidity, it’s a deliberate NWO agenda to trick people into making unclear arguments. It’s why so many end up not knowing any better than to cheer scumbags like Guevara and Chavez (each of whom was a literal murderer). It’s why so many pretend to be voicing their ballot-box opinion regarding “left” versus “right.”

    Standing armies, though, that’s the heart which pumps fascism through the body of the populace. Doesn’t matter what any government actually represents behind its “for the people” pretense of representation, whenever it realizes that most people reject becoming mindless servants to the State, fascist tactics are guaranteed to cross its “collective” mind.

    That’s because collectivism suggests that no one individual need ever worry about the accountability surrounding thousands or even millions of murders (to keep with this Central America theme: think of the movie “Salvador”). It’s one more thing about which the NWO tries to trick people into a false sense of understanding: that collectivism could ever possibly become a directed, all-in-one “systems theory” substitution for the non-system combination of free enterprise, division of labor and charity (i.e. a substitution for each individual embracing Nature by way of The Way).

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      Ayn Rand defined fascism as one of the two versions of socialism, communism being the other. Communism is public ownership, no private property allowed. Fascism is the semblance of private property with govt. control. Both result in economic collapse, but fascism is less honest because it perpetuates the sham that public regulation is not a property right denial. Those businesses that work with govt. are really public. Those that don’t are partly private to the extent they resist control. This is called a mixed system, some fascism, some capitalism. The mixture is unstable, favoring degradation to the public.

      “… whenever it (govt.) realizes that most people reject becoming mindless servants …” Maybe in your dreams the populace woke, but it has never happened anywhere. The closest was in America, last half of the eighteenth century. A counter-American revolution in 1787-1790 reversed the trend.

      • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

        Many people misdefined the term fascism, including John T. Flynn and, for a while, Mussolini himself (later he encouraged people to use the appropriate term “corporatism”). Rand is hardly someone to venerate, her use of the term fascism to describe a zwangswirtschaft system merely puts an exclamation point on her dearth of legitimate insights (i.e. she jumped with enthusiasm onto that particular misguided bandwagon). Hell, even Russians and Ukrainians reacted to the Great Terror by asking why “egalitarian” bolshevists were acting like fascists — and Rand supposedly escaped from such a fascist nightmare (this avatar isn’t exactly sold on that backstory).

        Dreaming is not necessary to comprehend the common knowledge that NWO programming and trauma-based mind control in no way destroy an individual’s innate senses, which include the instinct to resist enslavement. Sure, most individuals act upon the programming and trauma in ways that suggest they accept the idea of mindless servitude — yet reject it they do, at least in the recesses of their consciousness. Perhaps fascism-fueled intimidation pushes such instinctive rejection toward a person’s unconscious mind — it is, in any case, just as impossible for someone to embrace “Social Contract” servitude as it is to enslave oneself to another by way of explicit contract. The NWO understands as much, and that’s why fascist tactics exist.

        The mind can be traumatized, but it can never be literally enslaved (traumatize a mind enough and it simply becomes lost). The mind represents a spirit that is embodied (for lack of knowing a better term) within a brain, and despite centuries of refined torture techniques, a spirit cannot be anything but free (think Mel Gibson getting the Longshanks treatment — a character based on a real person who wouldn’t allow fascist intimidation to trick him into pretending that acquiescence is natural).

        The reason why so many people become desperate to locate some “leader” who will “lead” them toward freedom is that they retain the innate sense, despite the programming and torture and intimidation and fascism, that Nature is all about freedom. Most, though, have discarded the idea of explicit rejection of their mind control victimization, probably because they fear additional torture (“…but if someone else is doing all the leading then only they risk additional torture”). Such fear does not suggest volition, does not demonstrate volunteering for enslavement. What fear does: it tends to make people do things that are unreasonable to the self-concealed recesses of their consciousness (which is the same as saying that fear makes the fronted mind leap toward all kinds of self-defeating rationalizations).

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        Fascism has the facade of private ownership. In a fascist system one can hold title to property but the state dictates how they will use the property or business. In practice it is Communism.

        • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

          No, a system that “allows” a facade of private ownership is known as a zwangswirtschaft system, while a system of public-private-partnership is known as corporatism or, in earlier centuries, mercantilism (this is a transient system that exists only until people wise up and embrace markets or until government seizes absolute control by way of either command-structure communism or the relegation of private property “ownership” to a zwangswirtschaft facade).

          Neither of those systems is analogous with fascism, because fascism is neither an economic theory nor a political ideology. Fascism is a martial or paramilitary tactic that any conceivable government might use to force compliance from a population. Bundled rods and an axe comprise fascism’s symbol, representing n-o-t-h-i-n-g about commerce or finance or capital (at least not directly) and e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g about a willingness to crack skulls regardless of whether the Roman Senate at any given moment is dominated by “help the disenfranchised” types or “help established bloodlines” types. Government is government and little pukes will obey or else. The rods are disparate political factions and territories working together to threaten critics of “official imperial policy” with life-threatening retaliation.

          There is a reason why the rods-and-axe are on display in US Congress and at various memorials around DC, and it has nothing to do with America’s government being “in bed” with banking & industry (although fraudsters like Hamilton certainly were mercantilists). America was, supposedly, founded as a free enterprise chunk of soil with two “official” political parties to handle whatever the markets couldn’t (as if there is ever such a thing). The fascist symbol is a reminder to Americans that they can be as entrepreneurial as they want so long as they remember that they’d better obey whichever party happens to be dominating the political theater. Or else.

          Americans wonder why so many pet dogs are being destroyed by recent displays of fascist tactics. Is it because profit? Hardly. Socialists will try everything they can to conceal the slow creep toward fascist tactics they inevitably must use to force compliance with increasingly preposterous dictates. Dogs, being less cerebral than their owners, never did stop to listen to the propaganda that was designed to hide the encroaching socialism, and therefore they got wise to it a lot sooner. Terminators hate dogs because dogs remain wise to them no matter what kind of advanced-alloy facade they don.

          Mussolini’s so-called fascist State (recall that toward the end of his life he urged people to stop calling it fascist in favor of calling it corporatist) was a patchwork, a little bit of communism here, a little bit of zwangswirtschaft-style nominal ownership there. The blood and the terror became, simultaneously, a raison d’etre and aftermath of the patchwork’s fascist tactics, as they had been in 1920’s Russia/Ukraine and as they unfolded in Gestapoland and as they are emerging today in every corner of the inhabited world — and that is the forced “order” element of the New World Order.

  3. Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks everyone for the comments! I enjoy reading the thoughts and discussion you all are posting.

  4. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, Costa Rica is a great place. I’ve been there twice as well, once 23 years ago, and then, 13 years ago. I think more people have moved there, in part due to the low cost of living, and the tropical climate. It used to be that Costa Rica did not run a national debt – is that still true?

  5. Pancho PericoNo Gravatar says:

    From a purely economic point of view fascism is the system where corporations control the state (Mussolini called it “lo stato corporativo,” the corporate state), while communism is the state controlling the corporations. The New World Order seems to be a mixture of both, so it would be properly called communo-fascism. The bottom line is that corporations are the true source of evil.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      What is the source of corporations? How did they originate? They are a product of the state. They exist at the pleasure of the state, by state power, for the state. Without the state, the corporation cannot exist. Therefore, do not focus on the corp when looking to place blame for social injustice. Look to its parent, the state. And then ask, how does the state exist? Isn’t it by popular support? I mean the idea of the state, governance, rulers. Individual rulers come and go, but the state remains, and nothing changes except the faces. Real social change will not come until the myth of the state as protector is exposed as the great lie.

  6. Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

    I am a believer in the premise that one can be free wherever (s)he is. Right here, right now.

    Too many “anarchists” focus so heavily upon existing monopolistic systems (commonly referred to as “The State” — a mindless abstraction) to understand that those psychopaths who make up that entity are relatively stupid, chronically egocentric, and incapable of causing major scourges to those who refuse to volunteer, submit, “file”, register, etc etc.

    There are ways to fly under the authoritarian radar if one spends a modicum of mental energy to dedicate himself or herself to that end. If you say you can, you are correct. If you say you can’t, you are also correct.

    Costa Rica is a good place with a pleasant climate. But so is Nicaragua — and Panama. They are full of enjoyable people — possibly even a few anarchists lurking in the cracks and crevices. Standing armies, of course, can present a real danger to anybody. But so can one dangerously armed individual in state costume with a “badge”.

    So can one rattlesnake.

    To live free, I must develop the lifestyle of steering clear of all their bailiwicks. Sam

  7. Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

    Dave it looks like Costa Rica’s debt is increasing, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Costa_Rica. Many expats have moved there for the great climate friendly people, low property taxes, and good health care. Unfortunately the country does have high tariffs on imports making the cost of living higher than it should be and the government has an appetite for social programs which keep it in debt.

  8. It’s very comfortable for us to ignore the fact that this is well within the US’s sphere of influence, and the implicit understanding is that the US military will enforce Costa Rica’s borders.

    • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

      I expected someone would make this argument. To my knowledge though Costa Rica was only attacked once since 1949 and it was by puppets of the US government (The Samoza family in Nicaragua). When you look at the violence which has plagued Costa Rica’s neighbors (which are also within the US sphere of influence) one has to ask why this is the case. Costa Rica has no US bases on its soil and there was an out cry in the country a few years ago when US Navy ships wanted to make a port call. The implict understanding you are speaking of may exist, but I think it is what Americans tell themselves to explain away why Costa Rica has been so peaceful for 65 years. Instead of considering that maybe it has something to with the fact that a lack of millitary power has made Costa Rica far less belligerent than states with a standing millitary.

      • Would be interesting to develop the comparison between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

        From what I understand, the opinion that the US military provides stability to Costa Rica’s borders is pretty common. I first heard it expressed by my tour guide when I visited the country.

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