Costa Rica has a history filled with strife, civil wars, and Juntas.
The beginning of the 1950's saw the rise to power of Jose Maria (Don Pepe) Figueres Ferrer. His Junta made vast political reforms that changed the course of history in Costa Rica. Women and blacks received the vote, banks were nationalized, and presidential term limits were established.
In 1987, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to break the cycle of civil war in the area and foment relative stability that continues. Currently Costa Rica enjoys a reputation as one of the most peaceful, prosperous, and least corrupt countries in Latin America. Costa Rica is an active participant in the current Central American Free Trade Agreement, and imports consumer goods, capital equipment, and petroleum. Exports are coffee, sugar, fruit, electronic components and medical equipment. Major trading partners are United States, The Netherlands, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil.
A well-established tourism industry makes a significant contribution to the economy.