Costa Rica

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Republic of Costa Rica

The Republic of Costa Rica (República de Costa Rica) forms part of the region claimed as Spanish territory during the 16th century, formerly called the General Captaincy of Guatemala. During this period it was considered one of the poorest colonies in the Americas by its Spanish governor. Along with the rest of Central America, the nation was granted independence from Spain in 1821. It joined the four other nations of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador) in forming the United Provinces of Central America, which lasted from 1838 to 1841. When this union fell apart, Costa Rica withdrew and proclaimed itself a soveriegn nation.

Costa Rica has only suffered two major periods of violence since becoming an independent nation. In 1919, General Federico Tinoco Granados who had ruled as a dictator was overthrown and the size and influence of the Costa Rican military was significantly reduced as a result. In 1948 a Costa Rican Civil War raged from March 12 to April 24 when a military junta under José Figueres Ferrer siezed power from the government following a dispute over election results. The leader of the junta ruled for approximately a year before handing over power to the legitimately elected candidate.

While he was president of Costa Rica, José Figueres Ferrer abolished the Costa Rican armed forces. In its place he established the Fuerza Publica (Public Force) which consisted of the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard), the Rural Assistance Guard, and the Frontier Guards (border patrol units). At the time of its existence, the Guardia Civil was a gendarmerie-type force combining the functions of an army, air force, navy, national police and coast guard, with a strength of no more than 2000 and extremely limited military capacity. The primary duty of the Civil Guard was internal security, but during the Nicaraguan Civil War they did participate in border patrols to prevent guerillas from using Costa Rican territory.

The Fuerza Publica was completely reorganized in 1996, and the old units including the Guardia Civil were eliminated. The present Force functions primarily as a national police agency with ground security, law enforcement, counter-narcotics, and border patrol as its primary duties. Costa Rica also maintains a small special operations unit, the Unidad Especial de Intervencion (UEI) or Special Intervention Unit.

Camouflage Patterns of Costa Rica

  • During its existence, most of the Guardia Civil wore surplus US olive green uniforms, but some units did wear the m81 woodland camouflage BDU.

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  • The Public Force's Policia Judicial SPII intervention unit wear two "urban" types of woodland camouflage uniforms incorporating black, dark grey/dark blue-grey & medium grey woodland shapes on light grey background.

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  • The Public Force's Policia Judicial SPII intervention unit also wear a pixelated camouflage design having black, dark grey & medium grey woodland shapes on light grey background.

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  • In 2012, the Police SF Team taking part in Fuerzas Comando wore a copy of the USMC MARPAT temperate design.

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  • In 2014, the Police SF Team taking part in Fuerzas Comando wore a copy of UCP.

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