Reports on Costa Rica's ability to manage without a military since 1948, despite invasions based in Nicaragua. Addresses the role of private armies serving multinational corporations, and whether the country's civil guard is a military by another name. Places Costa Rica in the context of Central and Latin American populist struggles against US backed regimes in El Salvador, Chile, Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras. Touches on the colonial history and explores whether Costa Rica depends on US military backing, and whether it is able to maintain independence from the US.

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