Cilnton in Central America for Regional Security Meeting

The five presidents of Central America along with the presidents of Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet in Guatemala June 21-23 to discuss regional cooperation against organized crime. With Honduras allowed to rejoin the Central American Integration System (SICA), this will be the first meeting including all the presidents of Central America since the coup in Honduras almost two years ago. This will also be the first international meeting attended by both Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla since Costa Rica took Nicaragua to the World Court over its dredging of the Rio San Juan. Costa Rican Minister of Communication Roberto Gallardo told the press that there was no possibility that there would be a bilateral meeting between Chinchilla and Ortega during the summit.

During the Organization of American States meeting earlier this month in El Salvador, the Central American countries said that they will be asking the United States for US$900 million in aid to combat organized crime. Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez said last week that the summit will not only discuss financial needs to combat crime, but also cooperation among the countries in the region. El Salvador currently holds the rotating presidency of SICA. Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America and has the best record of preventing drug traffickers from establishing a foothold on its territory. Its methods will be among the topics discussed at the summit. (El Nuevo Diario, June 18; La Prensa, June 18)

Nicaragua Network, New Service