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Retirees Finding Peace & Safety in CR

Costa Rica Retirement News – According to an article in the local Spanish newspapers, the Index for Global Peace ranks Costa Rica as the third most peaceful country in Latin America. Costa Rica is ranked number 40 in the world and only behind Uruguay at number 24 and Chile at 31. Other highly touted retirement havens south of the border have the following rankings: Nicaragua 66, Panama 56 and Ecuador at 83. Mexico which has about a million retirees from the U.S. Is ranked a poor 133 out of 162.

global peace index costa ricaBy the way, the U.S. is ranked 100 and Canada is number 8 on the list.

The report uses 22 indicators like internal and external conflicts, the level of militarization to evaluate countries.The index also uses qualitative and quantitative data to gauge internal and external levels of peace. The GPI Report provides an analysis of the data, identifying trends in peace over time, as well as the key drivers of peace and an economic calculation of the impact of violence to the global economy.

All of the GPI indicators are given a normalized score on a scale of 1-5, whereby qualitative indicators are also provided estimates.The overall GPI score assigned to each country applies a weight of 60% for internal peace and 40% for external. Internal peace measures how peaceful a country is internally and external peace measures the state of peace beyond a country’s boarders.

The GPI defines peace as: “the absence of violence and the absence of the fear of violence”

If you notice that Uruguay and Chile are both ranked ahead of Costa Rica. However, they shouldn’t be if you consider both countries have armies and Costa Rica doesn’t. Furthermore, in the early 1970s there was a bloody military coups in Chile against the elected civilian government. Many years of repression followed under the cruel military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Thousands of innocent people were butchered by the repressive government, tortured while many others disappeared and were never accounted for.

In Uruguay similar events took place in the 1970s and 1980s under the country’s military. Preventive” repression by the Uruguayan military regime was intense. To the dead and disappeared were added thousands of persons who went to jail because they were accused of politically motivated crimes. Many were tortured. Others were fired from their government jobs for political reasons. The regime restricted freedom of the press and association, as well as party political activity. Amnesty International calculated that in 1976 Uruguay had more political prisoners per capita than any other nation on earth. During these years, approximately 10 percent of Uruguay’s population emigrated for political or economic reasons.

Similar events never occurred in Costa Rica because the country has been the most stable democracy in Latin America since the late 1940s. I think that one has to consider these facts when looking at the recent report. Costa Rica has no blemishes like the two countries ranked ahead of it. Given these information I consider Costa Rica to be the most peaceful country in Latin America and the #1 retirement haven.

By Christopher Howard

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Parts of this article was originally published in Christopher Howard’s blog at

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  1. Tilaran said:

    How the hell did Panama score below CR ? Panama had 20,000 reported crimes, CR had 40,000 and you can bet your asp the numbers were more like 120,000 since everyone knows dealing with CR “law enforcement” is like asking Ray Charles if he likes the color of your car. It’s a complete waste of time.
    Panama needs to up their bribery budget( the tourism propaganda force).

  2. Joe de Tambor said:

    You should stop thinking about my “asp” and more about how to interpret statistics, Tilaran.

    The 2011 population of Panama is 3.571 million; for Costa Rica 4.727 million. So just stating that Costa Rica had more reported crimes does not give you a mangos to mangos comparison. Simple percentage mathematics shows that the percent of total crimes as compared to the total populations of each country is: Panama less than 1% and Costa Rica at less than 1%, also. In other words the reported figures give an equal effect of crimes reported in both countries as compared to the total population in each country. And, as far as your claim about reality being more like 120,000 crimes in Costa Rica, how is your made up figure any more reliable than the reported figures?

    Also, if you had bothered to consider what is reported in the entire article, many other factors were considered in this statistical analysis with algorithms and assumptions to create a statistical validity to the eventual scores. For example, the absence of an army in Costa Rica. In fact, if *your opinion* of the Costa Rican police force were to be accepted as a valid depiction of their effectiveness then most certainly a do-nothing police force is more safe to have walking the streets than federal army troops, armed with M-16s and other military weapons! The most I’ve ever seen a member of the Fuerza Pública carrying looked like a 45 caliber hand gun. And, even a well trained marksman will have trouble hitting anything with a 45 unless you are about 10 feet away from the target.

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