15th of September 2016 felt different.

Costa Rica and Central America got their independence from Spain on the 15th of September 1821. Although Costa Rica did not have to fight to achieve ours. We used to have a very patriotic feeling around the date.

And more than celebrating past glories. We’ve focused on celebrating our identity, and current successes and talking about how important is to preserve both.

In 2015 Costa Rica broke its bipartisan tradition. Held for more than 60 years. Although there was a new party in power, the feeling was the same as if nothing had changed.

Sadly since then, the country experienced the highest debt in recent history. And several other problems and turmoils.

In the next election the new party PAC (Partido Acción Ciudadana) won again. This time not exactly a result of the popular choice of the people. But mostly because of a deep rejection of the other candidate a Christian fundamentalist.

Since the last two governments. The spirit of the people and their confidence in the near future has dropped to deep lows.

In addition to that. The restrictions during the pandemic. Made impossible for Costa Rica to celebrate its 200 years of independence in 2021.

Patriotism and civic nationalism are extremely important for a nation. Especially when social media is weaponized to influence the youth and the general public. In ways, they don’t even realize.

It is difficult to know if the fervor of the 15th of September and the history of Costa Rica would be re-ignited by this new government. Especially since the economic situation is still dire. And the Geopolitical context is still not great, to say the least…

I really do wish for those celebrations and spirits of belonging could come back soon. And not in an ultra-nationalistic fashion. But one focuses on owe, love and care for the land, its people, and our identity.

Luis Guillermo Solis President of Costa Rica 2015-2019

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