Costa Rica not ready to free borders with its Central American neighbours

During the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana (SICA) – Central American Integration System – meetings in San José, Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, opened the discussion to eventual “free migration” in the region.

Mexico donated US$5 million towards Sixaola bridge project.
Mexico donated US$5 million towards Sixaola bridge project.

According to the Mexican president, the possibility of an open borders policy should be included in the agenda of regional integration.

“Through discussion we need to find the best from the free trade agreements and cooperation, that can lead to eventual free migration, and also ensure or establish mechanisms to ensure full respect for the human rights of migrants”, said Peña.

Coinciding with Peña is Guatemala’s president, Otto Perez Molina, who feels that the seach for economic cooperation and open borders goes in hand with higher integration.

Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister, Enrique Castillo, was a little wary of the idea.

Castillo said that Costa Rica is not ready for an elimination of visa with the Central American countries, as it is ready to do with Colombia and Peru, the latter which will allow it to enter the Alianza del Pacífico (Pacific Alliance), that includes Mexico and Chile.

The SICA discussions took place Wednesday at the Real Intercontinental hotel in Escazú (San José) and attended, in addition to Mexico and Costa Rica, the presidents of Honduras and Panama, Porfirio Lobo and Ricardo Martinelli, respectively.

Absent from the meeting was Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, El Salvador’s, Muricio Funes, as well as the presidents of the Dominican Republic and Belize. All sent representatives.

Among the achievements of the talks was for the chancellors to set a date (not later than March) to negotiate a trade agreement complimentary that the region already has with Mexico and seek international assistance to combat coffee rust (la Roya, a fungus that has affected 65% of the coffee plantations of the region).

Presidents, Enrique Peña (left) and Laura Chinchilla.
Presidents, Enrique Peña (left) and Laura Chinchilla.

Also, the meeting, allow Costa Rica and Panama to obtain a donation of US$5 million dollars for feasibility studies for a new bridge over the Sixaola river, between Costa Rica and Panama.

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