Demand the Flag

Demand the Flag

Costa Rica finds itself in a strange situation.  The country has been invaded on its Caribbean border with Nicaragua by troops backed by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, but has no army with which to retaliate.  Ticos consider peace a part of their national identity; Live forever in work and peace being the final line of the national anthem, however, peaceful methods, such as appeal to the Organization of American States have failed to remove the armed forces from the Costa Rican Isla Calero.

Costa Ricans are finding their national pride in their flag.  Ticos all over the country are wearing red, blue and white striped ribbons to demonstrate their patriotism and flags are being flown all over the country.  National law prohibits the use of the flag outside of official holidays and while that law may not be strictly enforced, there are certainly many more flags than would be usually seen outside of September, the month of the motherland.  This is the Costa Rican compromise – peaceful patience with the aggression of Nicaragua while maintaining a strong feeling of national pride!  Television commercials and television presenters urge Costa Ricans to ‘Demand the Flag’ and are proud to show their ribbons.  This comes on the heels of the tragic consequences of Hurricane Tomas, where the ‘I was born in this country’ campaign also appealed to the patriotism of Ticos in the fundraising efforts to help those made homeless by flooding.

The Costa Rican flag was designed in 1848 by the then First Lady, Pacifica Fernandez Oreamuno.  She used the same red, white and blue colors of the French flag in admiration for the French Revolution and the ideas behind it.  The colors are considered to represent many ideals of this nation, although generally white is of peace, blue is the sky and oceans and red is symbolic of the bloodshed to form the nation.  The flag has the Costa Rican shield as its center – a picture of volcanoes, mountains and the two oceans that compose the country.  The stars on the shield represent the provinces.  For Ticos though, the flag is a clear symbol of their pride in their small and peaceful nation!

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