Geopolitical Position

Branded as the "Switzerland of Central America", the republic dissolved its military forces in 1949. Since that time Costa Rica has enjoyed a relative peace against the backdrop of a troubled region. Helping to hold its peace is the Rio Treaty of which Costa Rica is a member nation. The treaty calls for regional countries including the United States to come to Costa Rica's defense in the event of an attack.

In current times, president Chinchilla is forced to contend with neighboring leader Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua who once again holds power. With Ortega at the helm, tensions have increased dramatically around the disputed San Juan River boarder area, where both Nicaraguan and U.S. troops trod. The friendship of notables Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega and the strengthening alliance of Nicaragua, Ecuador, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela bring uneasiness to the region. Talks between Ortega and Iran's Ahmadinejad of jointly building a rival canal to Panama's near the Nicaraguan/Costa Rican boarder have further raised eyebrows.

Equally pressing for Chinchilla in safeguarding "pura vida" is the task of combating the drug trade between Columbian and Mexican cartels. Logistically, Costa Rica finds itself as the mid-way go-to warehouser and money laundering center in the trafficking route. With all of the money brought to the area by the drug trade, corruption must be fought as well. Helping to intercept the drug runners is the US-Costa Rica Maritime Cooperation Agreement. This agreement was initiated to fight drug smuggling along the 800 miles of otherwise unguarded Costa Rican coastline. Recent years of the agreement has seen the participation of large, fully equipped, U.S. warships; capable of handling most any threat.

Competing for headlines in Costa Rican is China. In 2007, showing favor to China, Costa Rica cut ties with political rival Taiwan under then President Oscar Arias. The strengthening relationship has brought about China's investment of $300 million in Costa Rican bonds and an additional $300 million+ in aid in recent years. In 2011 construction was completed at San José's new state of the art stadium, Estadio Nacional, China's $90 million dollar gift to the country. The two republics are now enjoying a growing trade partnership under their 2011 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that makes China its second largest trading partner after the United States.