cover with a military censor

Cover with a military censor… in a country with no army!

How come there is a cover with a military censor in a country without an army?

Cover with a military censor…The other day I was watching an interesting presentation by Francisco Pérez on Youtube about covers with military censors in Costa Rica. At the end of the presentation, there was a question that dragged my attention: Why are there covers from post-army abolition with military censor? Well, That’s a very valid question. At that very moment, Mr. Pérez did not have the answer and at that very same moment, I decided to find it out.

Costa Rica’s army is gone!

On December 1st, 1948, after its last civil war that involved parties led by Rafael Angel Calderón Guardia and José Figueres Ferrer (victorious and then president), Costa Rica proclaimed to the world that from now then, there was no army.

So, yes. That question has sense, with no army there can’t be any military censor… or can be?

So, let’s go back again to 1948. In the act were Costa Rica abolished its army, there is a 5-line paragraph clears this question. It establishes that only by continental agreement or for national defense, the government could create military forces.

cover with a military censor
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Question answered…not yet!

Now we now that there are some exceptions (yes, there still are) in Costa Rica’s constitution that authorize the creation of military forces. Now there’s another question: What happened in January 1955 that led to the creation of an entity in charge to examine correspondence? Here’s when Mr. Rodrigo Carreras helped me with his politics and Costa Rican history knowledge.

Attack from the north…

On January 1955, President Jose Figuerres Ferrer, anounces that the government has information on a coming invasion attempt.

First, the information provided includes Nicaragua and Venezuela as the sponsors of an invasion that pretends to put back in power former President Calderón. Later more information see the light of day, other countries that figure are Dominican Republic, Honduras and Guatemala (destination of this cover).

The invasion takes Costa Rica media attention everywhere.

cover with a military censor
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The invaders were gathered in Coyotepe (being said that trained for more than 12 months for this invasion). And started attacking Guanacaste and San Carlos, as you might think, the Costa Rican forces won both battles and was able to repel the attack. On January 29th, 1955 the attack is declared contained by Costa Rica and therefore over.

About this cover with military censor

The cover was sent from Quepos on January 22nd to Guatemala. It has a San José cancel on January 24th. Since the cover was sent to Guatemala (one of the countries involved in the invasion), it was opened by the censor in San José. It arrived at Guatemala on January 25th). According to Mr. Pérez’s presentation the censor mark on this cover is from the third period. It matches Mr. Pérez’s description that was used on both sides of the cover.

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Click to enlarge

By the time the presentation was delivered, there were only 2 covers known, both franked with just one stamp. This cover is the third one reported with the difference from the previous one that has mixed franking.

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