Young men play flag
football in the shadow of the new stadium
brief history of Costa Rica IV:
By Clifford Fain Dukes, Jr. Special to Retire NOW in Costa Rica
The Spanish viceroy of Mexico City and later the viceroy of Guatemala
City ruled Costa Rica until independence in 1821. But because Costa
Rica was at the end of the communication line and transportation line,
the country was neglected. This resulted in Costa Rica becoming known
as the most God forsaken place on earth. The seaports in Puerto
Limón and Caldera had not been well established yet.
In the late 1940s Costa Rica dissolved its army and wrote a new
constitution. Since then it has slowly drifted left of center
politically, applying constitutional right status to all sorts of feel
good social programs. Due to universal health care for workers and/or
their dependents, it’s easier for women to be single mothers. Since the
year 2000 the illegitimate birth rate has been 50 percent with half of
those not knowing who the father was. The then-president of Costa
Rica’s Corte Suprema de Justica, Luis Paulino Mora Mora, requested help
from the United Nations Children’s Fund in determining the cause for
the high levels of juvenile crime in the country. The out-of-wedlock
birthrate should offer fertile territory for analysis.
The country enjoys a literacy rate of 90 percent. It is blanketed with
small community, public schools. The system offers 13 levels, i.e.,
kindergarten, preparatory, then grades one through eleven, and the
school year runs from February through December. It is long on arts and
crafts that encourages entrepreneurship in the sector of souvenirs for
tourism. To receive a high school diploma requires passing a
government-sponsored exam called the Ministerio.
Since a diploma is required to enter the government university system,
many feel that the Ministerio is made sufficiently difficult each year
in order to control the pool of applicants to the universities. Many
students pass the eleventh grade but never pass the Ministerio or
government exam leaving them without a diploma.
There’s a tendency in all of Latin America including Costa Rica to view
the developed world with an eye toward “what have you done for me
lately?” China donated and built the new national soccer stadium in San
Jose’s Sabana Park. This park replaced the original international
airport in Costa Rica and is full of beautiful Rainbow Bark Eucalyptus
trees donated by Japan. As a result of the Chinese gift of the stadium,
some fear that they will pressure Costa Rica for rights to drill
offshore for oil. Heretofore Costa Rica has refused drilling on its
Compared to other countries in Latin America, Costa Rica had a small
native population and was settled mostly by European immigrants. As a
result the appearance of the population is more European than mestizo.
NEXT: A brief
history of Costa Rica V: Economic considerations HERE!
Text: Copyrighted 2010 Clifford Fain
Dukes, Jr. Used with permission.
has four main branches
By the Retire NOW in Costa Rica staff
Costa Rica has four branches of national government.
The executive branch includes
the president, two vice presidents and a number of appointed ministers
and administrators of independent institutes..
The udicial branch includes
the courts and even the criminal investigators.
The legislative branch is the
unicameral Asamblea Legislative with its 57 elected legislative
The Tribunal Supreme de Elecciones
is an independent body charged with making sure the elections are fair.
It supervises enrollment of political parties, their candidates and
even supervises printing the ballots.
Presidents are elected by popular vote. There usually are many
candidates. If no one receives 40 percent, there is runoff
between the top two finishers.
Legislative candidates are not selected by popular vote but by
political party members. They are listed in order on a separate ballot
and the seats are distributed among parties by province based on the
percent of votes each party received. Consequently there usually
are lawmakers from different parties elected from each province. Some
say this created legislative logjams where the official party has
trouble getting its measure passed. Alliances are the rule.
Political parties are obligated to make sure women hare nominated for a
percentage of the ballot spots. The country elected its first female
president, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, in February 2010.
history of Costa Rica:
I. The land and
II: Exploration HERE!
III: Development of the Latin culture HERE!
V: Economic considerations HERE!
VI: Some problem areas HERE!