"Costa Rica is a relatively politically stable and economically developed nation with a long tradition of civilian democracy. Former president (1986-1990) and Nobel-laureate Oscar Arias of the National Liberation Party was elected President in 2006. Throughout his term, Arias has focused on expanding the country's social safety net and increasing free trade. He faced strong opposition to the country's inclusion in the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), but eventually secured its ratification and implementation. Arias has also been active in foreign affairs, establishing diplomatic relations with China and Cuba after decades without formal ties. […]. The United States and Costa Rica have long enjoyed close relations as a result of the countries' shared commitments to strengthening democracy, improving human rights, and advancing free trade. The countries have also maintained strong commercial ties, which are likely to become even more extensive as a result of the implementation of CAFTA-DR. Costa Rica and the United States have worked together on a number of other issues as well, such as conserving Costa Rica's tropical forests and combating narcotics trafficking."
CRS Report for Congress, R40593