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La Educación
Número: (123-125) I,III
Año: 1996


In contrast to the usual path followed by the other Central American countries, the governing groups in Costa Rica have historically been able to confront radical political threats without the use of violence or repression. With the ingenious use of ideology, the political force gained by popular sectors during specific conjunctures has been significantly minimized.

The political life of Costa Rica is in reality the history of governing groups that have contained internal competition within certain rules enshrined in the ideological system. In contrast to the other Central American countries, political competition in Costa Rica has not led to civil wars or revolutionary movements because the socio-political structure of the country has precluded it. That is not to say that Liberal ideas, nor the Reformist precepts or the neo-liberal postulates in fashion today have been any different in Costa Rica, only that they have been implemented in a society in which certain nexus, particularly those between the governing groups and the subordinate groups, have been softened under the notions of “consensus,” and have thus eased frictions and antagonisms.

However, this reality, that makes us Costa Ricans so proud, is now under threat. In the context of economic limitations, and in front of increased crime, particularly drug trafficking, the Costa Rican government has increasingly neglected the education sector.

The dramatic decrease in the education budget verified during the last decade, together with the lack of political support, reveal that education no longer holds a preferential position.

The lack of clear and concrete guidelines for social and political development has allowed a slow and almost imperceptible deterioration of one cornerstone of the consensual reality, a real political “myopia” that indicates the dangerous underestimation that unfortunately prevails today toward the secular social role played by education.

Economic revitalization is crucial, but education must be restored to the privileged position it occupied in previous decades. We Costa Ricans must feel obliged to our forefathers who ingeniously converted education into the best weapon for social control and ideology into the best mechanism for the exercise of political power, crucial steps for safeguarding the consensual vocation that has characterized the Costa Rican regime ever since the late nineteenth century.