Wednesday 22 September 2021

Costa Rica Withdraws From SICA

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In El Salvador, President Luis Guillermo Solis exchanges words with Panama's vice-president, Isabel De Saint Malo, while Nicaragua's deputy foreign minister, Dennis Moncado, looks on.
In El Salvador on Friday, President Luis Guillermo Solis (right) exchanges words with Panama’s vice-president, Isabel De Saint Malo, while Nicaragua’s deputy foreign minister, Dennis Moncado, (left) looks on.

QCOSTARICA – Citing a lack of support and failure to include the Cuban migrant crisis on the agenda for discussion, Costa Rica on Friday withdrew from the summit of the Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA) – Central American Integration System – meetings in El Salvador.

The foreign minister of Honduras, Arturo Corrales, confirmed to the SICA body that Costa Rica’s President Luis Guillermo Solis and Foreign Minister, Manuel Gonzalez, “withdrew” from the meetings and warned that they would “not return” tot he table unless the Cuban migrant issue is not addressed with solidarity.

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Salvadoran Foreign Minister, Hugo Martinez, told EFE that Costa Rica’s withdrawl from the forum was not directly related to the migrant issue.

“At some point the Government of Costa Rica felt frustrated because it could not find full cooperation,” Martinez told the EFE news agency.

For its part, the Honduran foreign minister said on HRN radio that Honduras will not judge Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize for their refusal to allow the Cuban migrants through their territory. “Honduras will not value judgments regarding the position of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize, but emits a profound value judgment regarding the SICA that must prevail and be an important source of development,” he said.

According to Corrales, this is “a huge challenge facing SICA”, whose rotating presidency was assumed on Friday by Honduras’ president, Juan Orlando Hernandez.

In the past weeks Costa Rica has been calling for the creation for a humanitarian corridor for the Cubans through the region.
Today, almost 6,000 Cuban migrants are stranded in Costa Rica, not able to travel over land through Nicaragua, Guatemala or Belize to Mexico to the U.S. border.

Following the SICA withdrawl, at Casa Presidencial Friday afternoon, President Solis and Foreign Minister Gonzalez announced the closing of borders to new Cuban migrants and threatening deportation to any that sneak in. See story here – Costa Rica Closes Doors To More Cuban Migrants.

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