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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Costa Rica
Known as the “Switzerland of Central America” thanks to its political stability and the relative prosperity of its economy, Costa Rica has for many years enjoyed good diplomatic and trade relations with the Confederation.
At the United Nations in New York, Switzerland together with Costa Rica (Liechtenstein, Jordan and Singapore) form a group known as the “Small Five” with a shared commitment to certain values and ideas, including reform of the Security Council and its working methods. Before adhering to the United Nations, Switzerland joined with Costa Rica to promote certain initiatives aimed at improving international law such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture as well as an initiative relating to small arms and human security.
There were 1592 Swiss living in Costa Rica at the end of 2011.
Switzerland recognised the Republic of Costa Rica immediately following its independence. An Honorary Consul was appointed in 1912, and in 1957 the two countries initiated diplomatic relations, at which point Switzerland upgraded its representation to the level of Consulate General. An embassy was opened in the capital San José 10 years later. Costa Rica has maintained an embassy in Bern since 1981.
In the 19th century Costa Rica was a destination for Swiss emigrants. Contacts were made by Swiss firms on the lookout for export opportunities. Beginning in 1890 a number of Swiss played a major role in the development of the country’s educational system, notably Henri François Pittier. One district of Costa Rica is called “La Suiza” (i.e. Switzerland). During the Second World War, Switzerland represented the interests of Costa Rica in Germany, Belgium, France and Czechoslovakia.