By Verónica Trigueros Conejo - International Relations Student
Costa Rica is ranked as the 15th strongest democracy in the world and the second in Latin America only after Uruguay (Universität Würzburg, 2020). This is, for me, one of the main reasons our country is an example for Central America on protecting human rights, even though the system is still failing for so many people but, at least leaving by the principles of democracy is what have helped Costa Rica to be where it is right now. Having political and social stability is key to ensure human rights in any country and achieving this characteristic in a system sometimes is not an easy path. Latin America is a living example of that. In this article is going to be mentioned how Costa Rica is democratic hence strong on human rights, how there are still room for improvement and lastly, how the country is better in the promotion of human rights than other countries in Central America.
Costa Rica is about to turn 200 years of independent life, and throughout all those years, just had one attempt of a coup d’état, fortunately it was unsuccessful. One of the most important events in Costa Rica’s timeline of existence is what happened in the late 40’s. The Social Guarantees of the Republic were created in this time period, and that is a clear example of how concerned governors were of human rights. It’s exceptional to mention the social revolution of 1948, it started because of a suspicion of fraud, and one of the remarkable statements for the negotiation at the end of the civil war was to ensure that these Social Guarantees were going to stay no matter what. (Cruz, 2018, parr. 4)
Those kinds of actions are the ones that give a perfect example of Costa Rica’s society and how people value the stability in the country. But, as every State, we have a lot of things to get better at, and the road to accomplish human rights entirely is still very long. One example of that could be how until last year same-sex marriage was illegal, and the discussion about that topic totally polarized the country in election time, and it is still a topic of discussion between politicians and people in general.
Also it is important to mention the existent economic inequity that we have in our society, which lead to poverty and hungry. The fight for the compliance of human rights is also a topic in society, there are many fields in which human rights are being violated, not necessarily by the government and the state, but from people who do not respect others, and that is why the antiracist fight, the feminist movement and such causes are still fighting (O’neal, 2015).
Now, if we compare Costa Rica with the rest of Central America in terms of compliance of human rights, the results are outstanding. For example, Nicaragua’s situation is alarming, the way poverty has affected the life of so many people is a reflection of the crises they have lived. Sociopolitical situations in that country have been critical for almost 15 years now. The regime is constantly violating basic human rights and the level of oppression is extremely high, people cannot even say something bad about the government. “There is a tense calm enforced by a heavy armed police display of power and the harassment of and threats against opponents, all against a backdrop of fear and uncertainty typical of police states.” (Cruz, 2018a, p. 9).
To conclude and finish this opinion article, I would like to mention two main ideas. It is clear that democracy has affected in a positive way Costa Rica’s lifestyle and compliance of at least the basic human rights, as well as it has provided stability to the country, which brings several benefits. And in second place, the region is working to improve human rights’ compliance and trying to work together to respect human dignity and fight those who are not respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (www.ulacit.ac.cr), producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente Delfino.cr, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas. Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.
Cruz, A. (2018a). How to Understand the Nicaragua Crisis THE VENEZUELA NUMBERS. https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/publication/nicaragua_crisis-arturo_cruz_final.pdf
Cruz, V. (2018b). El Decreto No. 105. La República. https://www.larepublica.net/noticia/el-decreto-no-105
O’neal, K. (December 21, 2015). “La situación de los derechos humanos de las mujeres en Costa Rica es muy preocupante.”
Universidad de Costa Rica. https://www.ucr.ac.cr/noticias/2015/12/21/la-situacion-de-los-derechos-humanos-de-las-mujeres-en-costa-rica-es-muy-preocupante.html
Universität Würzburg. (2020, July 9). Home | Democracy Matrix. Democracymatrix.com. https://www.democracymatrix.com/