osta Rica has enjoyed a peaceful existence in the midst of the turmoil in Central America during the past few decades. Its military was abolished in 1949, and Costa Rica is the region's most stable democracy, boasting a literacy rate of 93 percent. The Costa Rican people, known as "Ticos," are warm, friendly and caring. They demonstrated that compassion last fall during Hurricane Mitch, when they responded generously to frequent calls for donations of food, clothing and money for hurricane-devastated Nicaragua and Honduras. Employees at the U.S. Embassy in San José became involved in these efforts, too, working at the airport to load planes with necessities.
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