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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica and Honduras Join Forces to Revive Stagnant SICA

Costa Rica and Honduras Join Forces to Revive Stagnant SICA

The President of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, and his Honduran counterpart, Xiomara Castro, agreed in San José to “reactivate” the Central American Integration System (SICA), which they consider has been stagnant for more than a decade.

“We have decided (…) to convene our Central American counterparts to reactivate SICA once again,” Castro said after meeting with Chaves at the Presidential House. The Costa Rican president described SICA as stagnant due to its “excessive period of inaction.”

SICA was created in 1991 by Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Belize joined as a full member in 2000 and the Dominican Republic in 2013. The United States and Taiwan, among others, are observers of the regional organization. Chaves and Castro agreed to convene a meeting of presidents of the member countries soon, at the initiative of Honduras, which holds the pro tempore presidency until the end of June, when it should be handed over to Nicaragua for the following six months.

Additionally, the General Secretariat of SICA, which corresponds to Nicaragua for the 2022-2026 period, has been headless since November 2023 when the Nicaraguan Werner Vargas left office, and countries have not agreed on appointing a replacement.

However, the presidents did not refer to Nicaragua’s intention to remove Taiwan as an observer country and incorporate China and Russia – whose participation is in process. The SICA countries had diplomatic relations with Taiwan until they switched to having them with China. Only Guatemala maintains them.

It is necessary “to reactivate SICA once again as a mechanism that can allow us to unite and face (…) challenges together,” Castro insisted. The Costa Rican president added that although there are discrepancies between the governments that make up the organization, it is time to “start building on the points that unite us.”

“What matters more than our common needs? Are there differences? There are. Are there things we will never agree on? There are. But will we make progress by not talking?” Chaves asked. Castro took the initiative to talk with the leaders in search of agreements, so after Costa Rica, she will travel to Guatemala to meet with President Bernardo Arévalo.

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