Public Force of Costa Rica

The Public Force of Costa Rica is the country’s law enforcement force, which performs policing and border patrol functions.[1]


On December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the military of Costa Rica after victory in the civil war that year.[2] In a ceremony in the Cuartel Bellavista, Figueres broke a wall with a mallet symbolizing an end to Costa Rica's military spirit.[3]

In 1949, the abolition of the military was introduced in Article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution.[4] The budget previously dedicated to the military is now dedicated to security, education and culture. Costa Rica maintains Police Guard forces.

The museum Museo Nacional de Costa Rica was placed in the Cuartel Bellavista as a symbol of commitment to culture. In 1986, President Oscar Arias Sánchez declared December 1 as the Día de la Abolición del Ejército (Military abolition day) with Law #8115. Unlike its neighbors, Costa Rica has not endured a civil war since 1948. Costa Rica maintains small forces capable of law enforcement, but has no permanent standing army.

Public Force of the Ministry of Public Security (1996)

In 1996, the Ministry of Public Security established the Fuerza Pública or Public Force, a gendarmerie which reorganized and eliminated the Civil Guard, Rural Assistance Guard, and Frontier Guards as separate entities. They are now under the Ministry and operate on a geographic command basis performing ground security, law enforcement, counter-narcotics, border patrol, and tourism security functions.

Outside the Fuerza Pública, there is a small Special Forces Unit, the Unidad Especial de Intervencion (UEI) or Special Intervention Unit, an elite commando force which trains with special forces from around the world, but is not part of the main police forces. Instead it is part of the Intelligence and Security Directorate (DIS) which reports directly to the Minister of the Presidency. About 70 members strong, it is organized along military lines, although officially a civilian police unit.

Its motto is "God, Fatherland, and Honor." Commissioner of Police Juan José Andrade Morales serves as its current Commissioner General.

Aircraft inventory in 2016

There are 15 aircraft operated by Air Vigilance Service as government support, law enforcement, and civil duties.

Aircraft Type Versions In service[5] Notes
Aero Commander 695Utility transport6951
Cessna 206Utility206G2
Cessna 207Utility1
de Havilland Canada DHC-4 CaribouTactical transport1
MD Helicopters MD 500Utility helicopterMD 500E2
MD Helicopters MD 600Utility helicopterMD 6002
Piper PA-31 NavajoUtility3
Piper PA-34 SenecaUtilityPA-34-200T1
Harbin Y-12UtilityY-12E2 (2016)[6]

See also


  1. "Costa Rica 1949 (rev. 2011)". Constitute. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  2. El Espíritu del 48. "Abolición del Ejército". Retrieved 2008-03-09. (Spanish)
  3. "Historia militar de Costa Rica revive con los 100 años del Cuartel Bellavista". La Nación, Grupo Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  4. "Air Advisors conduct first-ever BPC mission in Costa Rica". U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  5. "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.
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