Saturday 9 December 2023

Central America is back in the news for the wrong reasons, Costa Rica is once again the exception

Costa Rica in the world. The country's role as convener, moderator and facilitator of dialogue is inherent to our democratic identity and tradition.

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QCOSTARICA – Osta Rica has been the epicenter of regional diplomacy in recent days. The successive visits of the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, and the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, as well as the announcement that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany will be coming, reveal that the country retains its attractiveness as a diplomatic platform and trade of the region to the world.

Costa Rica’s role as convener, moderator and facilitator of dialogue is inherent to our democratic identity and tradition.

“It’s not by chance,” writes Víctor Umaña, an economist, in his column in La Nacion.

“Regional geopolitics places us in the eye of the hurricane. Central America is back in the news for the wrong reasons. The governance crisis, violence, insecurity, and zero economic opportunities for a huge fraction of Central Americans — especially from the northern triangle — have exacerbated migration to the United States,” says Umaña.

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The columnist refers to the tense political landscape that prevails in El Salvador and Honduras, countries immersed in popular discontent, accusations of corruption, drug trafficking and institutional weakness.

The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, challenges the independence of powers with intimidation actions against the Legislative Assembly, the removal of the attorney general and the election of judges.

In Nicaragua, journalists are imprisoned, along with many others, such as presidential candidates and hopefuls, for having to run for the next elections, the Ortega Murillo regime’s new assault on the values ​​of freedom, human rights, free expression and democracy.

However, Costa Rica continues to stand out in the field of international trade relations. Proof of that is the recent appointments of two illustrious Costa Ricans to the head of the most notable institutions of global trade: Anabel González, deputy director of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Rebeca Grynspan, to the position of secretary general of the Conference of Nations. United Nations on Trade and Development.

Likewise, the decision of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to move the headquarters of the Department of Central American Countries, Haiti, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic to Costa Rica.

Of course, it should not be overlooked that the visits of the Spanish dignitary and the US Secretary of State, that take place a few days after the official accession of Costa Rica as the 38th member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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This fact places the country within a select group of 38 nations that are committed to maintaining an open economy, exercising a pluralistic democracy, guaranteeing respect for human rights and promoting economic convergence.

Relations with the United States and Europe. The revitalization of bilateral relations between the US and Costa Rica stems from the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

The United States is the main destination for our exports and is the source of most of the foreign direct investment that the country receives. It is estimated that at least 120,000 U.S. citizens reside in Costa Rica; Before the pandemic, up to 1.4 million American tourists arrived; and the country is the preferred Latin American place to study abroad.

“The concerns of the United States are centered around our misfortune to be a natural route for drug trafficking and our recent proximity to China. Above all, both governments have shared values ​​of freedom and democracy for 200 years.

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“With the European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, apart from the strategic commercial relations and the membership in the OECD, we have an absolute coincidence in the promotion of sustainable development, the fight against climate change, in particular, and of course a shared vision. of the well-being of the citizen,” writes Umaña.

For Europeans, it is crucial that Costa Rica serves as a platform for projection towards the rest of the region, in the political and economic spheres.

The immediate future

Umaña believes it is clear that the next administration (to take office in May 2022) must build a strategy of international political and commercial relations that takes advantage of the sudden interest that Central America has aroused in our main partners and allies, as well as being a member of the OECD and a prominent role in economic development organizations, like UNCTAD and the WTO.

The purpose of this strategy should be to cement our role as a diplomatic column, meeting point and facilitator of dialogue, but also as a promoter of social progress, economic development and trade opening at the regional and multilateral level.

“Costa Rica’s role as convener, moderator and facilitator of dialogue is inherent to our democratic identity and tradition. It is a responsibility that the country assumes naturally and that places it in a preponderant way within the concert of nations.

“However, the situation in the region, and specifically in Nicaragua, requires a firm stance that demands, firstly, the release of political prisoners and, secondly, anticipating and anticipating the possible risks for Costa Rica as a result of the Nicaraguan conflict. It must be avoided at all costs that the problem is trivialized in the next electoral contest,” says the columnist

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