Photo: Costa Rica Celebrates 192nd Year of Independence
Today, all of Costa Rica is celebrating and rejoicing its 192-year old independence from Spain. The Spanish arrived in the 1500’s and stayed for nearly 300 years as it colonized the region, enslaved native populations and decimated the country with smallpox.
On September 15, 1821 after the Spaniards were defeated in Mexico’s War of Independence, Guatemala declared independence for all of Central America including Costa Rica. At 6pm this evening Costa Ricans will light homemade lanterns and sing the National Anthem throughout the country.
Costa Rica was the first Central American country to begin exporting coffee helping to develop the first middle class in the region. Another first for the country is the election of its first female President Laura Chinchilla. The country also has bragging rights as having the highest life satisfaction anywhere in the world and being one of the greenest countries in the world.
The country has lived in relative peace since its declaration of independence abolishing its army in 1949 and living in the words of Jose Maria Zeledon Brenes: “Vivian siempre el trabajo y la paz.”
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry sent congratulatory remarks to the people of Costa Rica:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Costa Rica on the 192nd anniversary of your independence. This day is a well-deserved opportunity for the people of Costa Rica to commemorate their heritage as a nation rooted in democracy and peace.
President Obama’s May visit to San Jose reaffirmed the longstanding bonds of friendship and partnership between the United States and Costa Rica. Together, we have worked on important issues, including democracy and human rights, economic growth, education, clean energy, and security. We look forward to deepening the partnership between our peoples in the year to come.
On this special day, we celebrate our close collaboration and honor the spirit of Costa Rica and its people. Pura vida, and happy Independence Day!