Public Force of Costa Rica

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Public Force of Costa Rica
Fuerza Pública de Costa Rica
Agency overview
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCosta Rica
General nature
Specialist jurisdictions
  • National border patrol, security, and integrity.
  • Paramilitary law enforcement, counter insurgency, and riot control.
Operational structure
Parent agencyMinistry of Public Security
Child agency
  • 1 December (Army Abolition Day)
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The Public Force of Costa Rica (Spanish: Fuerza Pública de Costa Rica) is the Costa Rican national law enforcement force, which performs policing and border patrol functions.[1]


Cuartel Bellavista, today Museo Nacional de Costa Rica.

On 1 December 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the military of Costa Rica after achieving victory in the Costa Rican Civil War that year.[2][3] In a ceremony in the Cuartel Bellavista, in the capital San José, Figueres broke a wall with a mallet symbolizing an end to Costa Rica's military services.[4]

In 1949, the abolition of the military was introduced in Article 12 of the Constitution of Costa Rica.[5] 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)[edit]

In 1996, the Ministry of Public Security established the Fuerza Pública or Public Force, a gendarmerie which reorganised 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. The Costa Rica Coast Guard also operates directly under the Ministry but is not a part of the Public Force proper.[6]

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-member strong, it is organized along military lines, although officially it is a civilian police unit.

The motto of the Public Force is "God, Fatherland, and Honour." Commissioner of Police Juan José Andrade Morales serves as its current Commissioner General.


  • Comisario de Policía/ Director general de la Fuerza Pública
  • Comisionado de Policía
  • Comandante de Policía
  • Capitán de Policía
  • Intendente
  • Sub Intendente
  • Sargento de Policía
  • Inspector
  • Agente 2
  • Agente 1


Small arms[edit]

Name Image Caliber Type Origin Notes
IWI Jericho 941[7] 9×19mm Semi-automatic pistol  Israel
Beretta 92 9×19mm Semi-automatic pistol  Italy
Beretta M9 9×19mm Semi-automatic pistol  United States
SIG Sauer P226 9×19mm Semi-automatic pistol   Switzerland
M1911[8][9] .45 ACP Semi-automatic pistol  United States
Smith & Wesson Model 10[10] .38 Special Revolver  United States
Sub-machine guns
Heckler & Koch MP5 9×19mm Submachine gun  West Germany
Uzi[11] 9×19mm Submachine gun  Israel
MAB-38[12] 9×19mm Submachine gun  Kingdom of Italy
Beretta M12[13] 9×19mm Submachine gun  Italy
M14[13] 7.62×51mm Battle rifle  United States
FN FAL[13] 7.62×51mm Battle rifle  Belgium
SIG SG 556 5.56×45mm Assault rifle   Switzerland
IMI Galil[13] 5.56×45mm Assault rifle  Israel
IWI Tavor 5.56×45mm Bullpup
Assault rifle
Steyr AUG 5.56×45mm Bullpup
Assault rifle
T65[14] 5.56×45mm Assault rifle  Taiwan
M16[14] 5.56×45mm Assault rifle  United States
M4 5.56×45mm Carbine
Assault rifle
 United States
Sniper rifles
Remington M700[12] .308 Winchester Sniper rifle  United States
M24 SWS 7.62×51mm Sniper rifle  United States
SVD 7.62×54mmR Designated marksman rifle
Sniper rifle
 Soviet Union
Machine guns
Browning M1918[15] .303 British Light machine gun  United States
Browning M1919[12] 7.62×51mm Medium machine gun  United States
M60[12] 7.62×51mm General-purpose machine gun  United States
IWI Negev[16] 7.62×51mm Light machine gun  Israel
Grenade launchers
M79[12] 40×46mm Grenade launcher  United States

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Costa Rica 1949 (rev. 2011)". Constitute. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  2. ^ El Espíritu del 48. "Abolición del Ejército". Retrieved 2008-03-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link) (Spanish)
  3. ^ Booth, John A. (2021-02-23). "Costa Rica: Demilitarization and Democratization". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.1888. ISBN 9780190228637. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  4. ^ "Historia militar de Costa Rica revive con los 100 años del Cuartel Bellavista". La Nación, Grupo Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  5. ^ "Air Advisors conduct first-ever BPC mission in Costa Rica". U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  6. ^ "Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas". Ministerio de Seguridad Pública Costa Rica (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  7. ^ Central America Report. Vol. 24. Inforpress Centroamericana. 1997. p. 33.
  8. ^ Hogg, Ian (1989). Jane's Infantry Weapons 1989–90, 15th Edition. Jane's Information Group. pp. 826–836. ISBN 978-0-7106-0889-5.
  9. ^ "Latin American Light Weapons National Inventories". Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2012. Citing Gander, Terry J.; Hogg, Ian V., eds. (1995). Jane's Infantry Weapons, 1995–1996 (21st ed.). Jane's Information Group. ISBN 9780710612410. OCLC 32569399.
  10. ^ Supica, Jim; Nahas, Richard (2007). Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media, Inc. pp. 141–143, 174, 210–211. ISBN 978-0-89689-293-4.
  11. ^ Bonn International Center for Conversion; Bundeswehr Verification Center. "MP UZI". SALW Guide: Global distribution and visual identification. Archived from the original on 31 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e Jones, Richard (2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009-2010. Jane's Information Group. pp. 894–905. ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  13. ^ a b c d Gander, Jerry (2002). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2002–2003. Jane's Information Group. pp. 214, 899–906. ISBN 0-7106-2434-4.
  14. ^ a b "Customers / Weapon users". Colt Defense Weapon Systems. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011.
  15. ^ Gander, Terry J.; Hogg, Ian V. Jane's Infantry Weapons 1995/1996. Jane's Information Group; 21 edition (May 1995). ISBN 978-0-7106-1241-0.
  16. ^ Kemp, Ian (March 2007). "Lightweight Firepower" (PDF). - Asian Military Review. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2010.

External links[edit]