Central American presidents will meet on Thursday, but are unlikely to elect new SICA secretary

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By LatAm Reports Staff Writers

The meeting will host Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and experts see unlikely that the election of the official proposed Ortega will be addressed.

It was seven months since it was to be seen whether or not the impasse in the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA) is resolved in the coming days. The heads of State in the regional agency are scheduled to meet in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on Thursday, 27 June.

The president of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), Silvia García Polanco of Honduras, reported in a press release that after the efforts made by Honduran President Xiomara Castro to reactivate and strengthen the institutionality of the SICA, the presidents and heads of state of the isthmus will hold a meeting in Honduras.

Read also: Will the election of the Secretary General of the SICA be moved forward? These are the possible scenarios

“We augured all kinds of successes at that meeting,” Garcia said. Honduras currently holds the SICA Pro-Tempore Presidency and will have to transfer it to Nicaragua for the second half of 2024.

Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship threatened countries with not assuming the temporary presidency of the agency in the absence of the election of one of its officials to the General Secretariat, but days later it retracted.

They’re unlikely to address the election

The General Secretariat of the SICA has been vacant since mid-November 2023, when Nicaraguan official Werner Vargas resigned from the post for which he was elected on a proposal from Nicaragua during the period 2022-2026.

Vargas came to fill the vacancy of the General Secretariat of the SICA 13 months after the first impasse, after the departure of Vinicio Cerezo, former secretary general of the organization, who failed to be re-elected in that position, as proposed at that time by the Ortega dictatorship.

Reading experts on regional integration issues, the impasse in SICA is unlikely to be resolved, because there is little interest from countries in the subject.

Read more: Xiomara Castro will intercede with his counterparts to elect new secretary general of SICA

THE PRESS asked Arnoldo André Tinoco, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, if this meeting will address the election of the secretary general of the SICA, to which he merely replied that it is a developing issue, (but) nothing has yet been agreed as far as I am aware.

Carlos Murillo Zamora, expert in international law, integration issues and professor at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), mentioned that at this time within the SICA – nothing happens – and added that in his opinion – the government is not interested, the SICA is not known unfortunately here in Costa Rica.

Honduran President Castro visited Rodrigo Chaves, in Costa Rica and Bernardo Arévalo, in Guatemala, where according to reports from the Ministry of the Ministry of Honduras, the presidents pledged to reactivate SICA and in turn participate in a Central American presidential summit, although they did not define a date.

However, in reading Murillo Zamora there is no greater interest in the SICA, I think it was a commitment of Xiomara Castro that forced Chaves to say yes.

On what to wait for the meeting he said that honestly only speeches and offers. Unless they have already coordinated something and agreed on something concrete, but I see it difficult, remember that it is by consensus. But it doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

Problem lies in the official who wants to impose Ortega

Euclid Tapia, professor of International Relations at the University of Panama, said that the problem of the election of the secretary general lies in the official that Ortega wants to impose in the General Secretariat of the SICA.

The official they had elected, he resigned, that had no problem, was accepted, although it was proposed by the Nicaraguan government, now it turns out to resign, that is weird, the problem is that they want to put another. To whom is that new official, Nicaragua or the regional agency going to respond to, he said.

Two days after Vargas’ resignation, on 17 November 2023, in a letter sent by Ortega Chancellor Denis Moncada to the members of the SICA, the dictatorship proposed Valdrack Jaentschke Whitaker, Minister of Adviser for Policy and International Affairs; Violeta Irías Nelson, delegate of the Office of the Procurator for the Defense of Human Rights in Bilwi; and to Congresswoman Iris Marina Montenegro Blandón to represent the country during its period as the General Secretariat of the regional body.

From left to right: Valdrack Jaentschke Whitaker, Minister Advisory Minister for Policy and International Affairs; Violeta Irías Nelson, delegate of the Office of the Procurator for the Defense of Human Rights in Bilwi; and Iris Marina Montenegro Blandón. THE PRENSA

To date, however, none have been approved by the member countries of the SICA and therefore have not been elected to the post of Secretary General.

Tapia believes that Nicaragua does not have the guarantee for one of these three officials to be elected. Nicaragua has the vote of Honduras, apparently that of Guatemala, because it is not ideological but is interested in it not being paralyzed… of Belize, while Costa Rica may not agree. “In the case of Panama and the Dominican Republic we don’t know, and El Salvador that Mr. Nayib Bukele is unpredictable,” he said.

For this reason, he pointed out that if it is by consensus and if any of the countries do not approve of it, there is no way out of the crisis, with one that opposes there is no consensus anymore. This is not progressing because the official responds to Ortega and not to the regional agency.