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"The army as a permanent institution is prohibited"

FRED / With the possible further escalation of war and the mentality of the time for military rearmament, it is important to know alternative peace policies. Costa Rica is a role model here, a country that uses its resources on education, health and the environment – rather than on weapons

Costa Rica is the peace movement's favorite example of a country that uses its resources to meet people's needs and interests instead of building military strength. The country has simply closed down its military, and is one of the very few countries that can rightly call itself a nation of peace.

Positive role models and examples of good practice are very important sources of inspiration, not least today when so many decisions go against the peace movement's hope for a world based on the premises of a culture of peace.

Anti-militaristic stance

The documentary A Bold Peace (En brave peace, 2016) by Matthew Eddy and Michael Dreiling is therefore very useful. The film shows Costa Rica's path to demilitarization, the country's fight against US interference in the area, the fight against multilateral corporations and against growing inequality.

President José Figureres converted the military to civilian use.

The film shows how the people in Costa Rica through various trials have strengthened their anti-militarist attitude and how proud they are of being a country that uses its resources on education, health and the environment – rather than on weapons. People in Costa Rica express that they are happy to have managed to keep away the fear that they, a tiny country, would be swallowed up by someone bigger. But who wants to attack a friendly country with no military forces and who doesn't want to fight anyone? A country that believes more in international law than military force, as they were also proven when Nicaragua invaded and . . .

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Ingeborg Breines
Breines is an adviser, former President of the International PEACE Bureau and former UNESCO Director.

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