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In this webinar, Luís Guillermo Solís, former president of Costa Rica (2014-2018), will discuss the short and long-term implications of the abolition of the armed forces as a permanent institution in Costa Rica. Professors Kees Koonings and Dirk Kruijt, specialists on the role of the military in a number of Latin American societies, will reflect on experiences and current challenges in other parts of the region.

Event details of Demilitarization and Independence in Latin America: Lessons from Costa Rica and Beyond
Date 24 September 2021
Time 15:30 -17:30

Costa Rica is one of the most stable democracies of the Western Hemisphere. Located in a region prone to political unrest, where military rule has been a historical constant, Costa Rica has been able to avert the maladies of authoritarianism and human rights violations due to a series of decisions made after reaching independence precisely 200 years ago, in 1821. Two are generally considered central to the country’s progress: an early adherence to public education, and the establishment of a universal, solidarity-driven, social security system. There is however a third, unique and unusual decision that laid the foundation of Costa Rica’s internal stability and international peace: the abolition of the armed forces as a permanent institution in 1948, at the end of the country’s last civil war. During this seminar, Luís Guillermo Solís, former president of Costa Rica (2014-2018), will discuss the short and long-term implications of this extraordinary measure. Professors Kees Koonings and Dirk Kruijt, specialists on the role of the military in a number of Latin American societies, will reflect on experiences and current challenges in other parts of the region. In a roundtable discussion they will discuss the wider effects and possibilities for demilitarization that the Costa Rican example sets for the region at large.

This webinar is co-organized by CEDLA and the Embassy of Costa Rica in the Netherlands.  The event will take place on Zoom.

Keynote speaker: Luís Guillermo Solís (former President of Costa Rica and Interim director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, FIU)
Discussants: Prof. dr. Kees Koonings and Prof. dr. Dirk Kruijt (Utrecht University)
Chair: Prof. dr. Barbara Hogenboom (CEDLA—University of Amsterdam)