Oscar Arias

(Óscar Arias Sánchez)

Quote Topics Cited
Constant, patient reform—the only kind of reform compatible with Democratic stability—is unsatisfying. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Costa Rica was the first country in history to abolish its army and declare peace with the world. It’s children have never known military service. They have never seen the shadow of an armored helicopter or the tracks of a tank. And since the abolition of its armed forces 62 years ago, Costa Rica has never suffered a Coup. Military & Veterans
History was not written by men who predicted failure… History
In a democracy, a leader must be the head teacher, someone eager to respond to doubts and questions and explain the need for and the benefits of a new course. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Leaders & Leadership
Latin American countries have lavished money on its armies when they should have been lavishing it on their children. Military & Veterans
Latin American legislatures have probably passed more laws over the past 175 years than their counterparts anywhere on the planet. Yet never have so many laws been ignored by so many for so long Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Latin Americans do not trust legal institutions and actors … whether government courts or private lawyers. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Latin Americans hold on tight even to pain and suffering preferring a certain present to an uncertain future/ Human Nature
The Civil Service rewards those who do no more than sit at their desks and say no. Bureaucracy
The litmus test of democracy is the subordination of military power to civilian authority … Democracies & Republics
The more freedom we enjoy, the greater the responsibility we bear, toward others as well as ourselves. The more talents we possess, the bigger the responsibility we have to develop them to their fullest capacity. Freedom & Liberty
This relationship between freedom and responsibility has not always been clearly understood. Some ideologies have placed greater importance on the concept of individual freedom, while others on the unquestioning commitment to the social group. Without a proper balance, unrestricted freedom is as dangerous as imposed social responsibility. Great social injustices have resulted from extreme economic freedom and capitalist greed, while at the same time cruel oppression of people's basic liberties has been justified in the name of communist ideals and society's interests. Either extreme is undesirable. Freedom & Liberty
What we need in our countries is a good police force with a civilian mentality and some cheap light arms, not an army that needs to maintain its power with sophisticated weapons Military & Veterans
When Harvard University opened its doors in 1636, there were already well-established Universities in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
A nation that mistreats its own citizens is more likely to mistreat its neighbours.
Although fostering a peaceful, prosperous and equitable hemisphere is clearly in the best interest of the United States, Washington has not always supported Central America's struggle for economic survival.
An overall trend of political moderation in Latin America makes for far less interesting headlines, but it also makes for far better lives for our people.
At one time in the history of the Americas, weapons and armies were associated with liberty and independence, and with new opportunities for our peoples. At one time in the history of the Americas, there were liberating armies. Time ;History
Costa Rica believes in building bridges, in looking for solutions to problems, and not clinging to positions.
During my administration, our desire has been to strengthen the civilian spirit of our people. Thus, we have eliminated military ranks and salutes from our civil guard.
During the 41 years that have elapsed since Costa Rica abolished its army, our fundamental freedoms have never been threatened, nor do we know a shameful history of repression. History
Free trade will go a long way toward alleviating poverty in Central America. Yet trade alone is not enough.
I do not believe that the hungry man should be treated as subversive for expressing his suffering.
I often say that poverty needs no passport to travel. Travel
I saw no reason why other nations should tell Central Americans how to solve their problems.
I shall never accept that the law can be used to justify tragedy, to keep things as they are, to make us abandon our ideas of a different world. Law is the path of liberty, and must as such open the way to progress for everyone.
I think it's in the hands of each head of state: the future of peace in his own country. Future ;War & Peace
If there is no peace in Central America, it will not be because Costa Rica, and myself as president, have not done what is necessary to obtain peace. War & Peace
In 1995, world military spending totaled nearly $800 billion. If we redirected just $40 billion of those resources over the next 10 years to fighting poverty, all of the world's population would enjoy basic social services, such as education, health care, nutrition, reproductive health, clean water and sanitation. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Health, Healthcare & Medicine
In the United States, resources exist to retrain displaced workers and promote the development of technologies that create new job opportunities for American workers.
Indeed, it is quite sad to see the United States becoming the main exporter of arms. It is quite sad to look at the U.S. government subsidizing arms exports. Government
India, Pakistan, China, Singapore and South Korea are heavily investing in nuclear arms. Since 21st century is the century of Asia, Asian countries should be the first ones to drop this arms race.
It is in the U.S. interest to have a more prosperous neighbor to the south. Because if we cannot export goods, we will keep exporting people. And that's not what the U.S. wants.
It often seems... the human race has twittered away its existence singing an endless song - a song of waste and hatred, where there should be progress and love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
It's not fair for the U.S. to spend, on arms and weapons, so much money and then not spend on health care the money that is needed. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Money, Coins & Minting
Latin America has not achieved the development that it deserves... I'm not optimistic for all of Latin America, not only for Central America.
Latin Americans glorify their past so ceaselessly that they make it almost impossible to advocate change.
Latin Americans hold on tight even to pain and suffering, preferring a certain present to an uncertain future. Some of this is only natural, entirely human. But for us, the fear is paralyzing; it generates not only anxiety but also paralysis. Future
Many developing countries continue to be burdened by high percentages of their population living in poverty. Yet, instead of addressing this root cause of conflict, many states, ironically, increase their military might in order to control increasingly desperate populations.
Mine is an unarmed people, whose children have never seen a fighter or a tank or a warship.
More combat planes, missiles and soldiers won't provide additional bread for our families, desks for our schools, or medicine for our clinics.
Nuclear arms kill many people all at once, but other weapons kill many people, little by little, every day, everywhere in the world.
On Dec. 1, 1948, after the triumph of the revolution, which insured the final victory of the will of the people expressed through elections, President Jose Figueres abolished the army in my country.
Our experience shows that security does not lie in weapons or fences or armies.
Our world is certainly dangerous, but it is made more dangerous, not less, by those who value profits over peace. War & Peace
Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions by many people in many countries. It is an attitude, a way of life, a way of solving problems and resolving conflicts. Life ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Peace is not a matter of prizes or trophies. It is not the product of a victory or command. It has no finishing line, no final deadline, no fixed definition of achievement. War & Peace
Poverty and lack of education are ruining our planet. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The 20th century has been marked by cynicism, selfishness, greed, and the desire to please, all without changing the status quo. In the 21st century, we must resurrect solidarity and compassion.
The absence of significant development aid has only increased the importance of trade for Central America's future. Future
The best way to perpetuate poverty is by spending on arms and military, and the best way to fight terrorism is by fighting the basic needs of humanity, because hunger and poverty perpetuate crime.
The Central American isthmus is a region of great contrasts, but also of heartening unison. Millions of men and women share dreams of freedom and progress. Women ;Freedom & Liberty
The children of the world, what they want and what they need are health clinics and schools, not tanks or armed helicopters or fighter jets. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
The plight of the terrified Central American children who have flooded across the U.S. border to escape violence and poverty in their homelands has launched a passionate and often bitter debate in Washington.
The world does not lack the financial resources to feed, educate and clothe its inhabitants. Rather, it lacks leaders committed to addressing the problems of the impoverished.
There are too many war museums. War & Peace
There is a difference between the typical politician and the statesman. A typical politician is that person who tells people what people want to hear, while the statesman tells people what people need to know.
To demilitarize the country means to make a profound decision. It is not enough to change the name of the armed forces. It is necessary to change the minds of those people who only yesterday wore a military uniform.
We had the courage to face the superpowers that wanted a military triumph for each side they supported in Central America. We told them, 'No,' and presented a peace plan. War & Peace
We may believe in the state's responsibility to alleviate the crushing poverty that afflicts 40 percent of Latin America's population, but most of us also affirm that there is no better cure for that poverty than a stronger, more globally integrated economy.
We need a force that recognizes that only through development and liberty, through education and health care, through better priorities and wiser investments, can we achieve the stability we seek. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Health, Healthcare & Medicine
We seek in Central America not peace alone, not peace to be followed someday by political progress, but peace and democracy, together, indivisible, an end to the shedding of human blood, which is inseparable from an end to the suppression of human rights. War & Peace
When Harvard University opened its doors in 1636, there were already well-established universities in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru.