Central American Integration System

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Central American Integration System
  • Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana  (Spanish)
  • (SICA)
FlagLogo
Motto: "God, Union and Liberty"
Anthem: La Granadera
The Song of the Grenadier
States in the Central American Integration System.
States in the Central American Integration System.
Official languagesSpanish
TypeSupranational union
Membership
Leaders
 - President pro tempore
 - General SecretaryJuan Daniel Alemán Gurdián
Establishment
 - Court of Cartago20 December 1907 
 - ODECA14 October 1951 
 - CACM13 December 1960 
 - SICA13 December 1991 
Area
 - Total572,510 km2
221,047 sq mi
Population
 - 2009 estimate51,152,936
 - Density89.34/km2
231.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2010 estimate
 - Total$ 318.141 billion
 - Per capita$6219.40
GDP (nominal)2010 estimate
 - Total$ 172.634 billion
 - Per capita$3374.86
Website
sica.int
 
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Central American Integration System
  • Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana  (Spanish)
  • (SICA)
FlagLogo
Motto: "God, Union and Liberty"
Anthem: La Granadera
The Song of the Grenadier
States in the Central American Integration System.
States in the Central American Integration System.
Official languagesSpanish
TypeSupranational union
Membership
Leaders
 - President pro tempore
 - General SecretaryJuan Daniel Alemán Gurdián
Establishment
 - Court of Cartago20 December 1907 
 - ODECA14 October 1951 
 - CACM13 December 1960 
 - SICA13 December 1991 
Area
 - Total572,510 km2
221,047 sq mi
Population
 - 2009 estimate51,152,936
 - Density89.34/km2
231.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2010 estimate
 - Total$ 318.141 billion
 - Per capita$6219.40
GDP (nominal)2010 estimate
 - Total$ 172.634 billion
 - Per capita$3374.86
Website
sica.int

The Central American Integration System (Spanish: Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana; SICA) is the economic and political organization of Central American states since February 1, 1993. It was on December 13, 1991, however, when all the countries of the ODECA (Spanish: Organización de Estados Centroamericanos; ODECA) signed the Protocol of Tegucigalpa which extended the earlier cooperation in search for regional peace, political freedom, democracy and economic development. The headquarters of the General Secretariat of SICA are located in the Republic of El Salvador.

In 1991, the institutional framework of SICA included the States of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Belize joined in 2000 as a full member, while the Dominican Republic became an associated state in 2004 and a full member in 2013. Recently, Mexico, Chile and Brazil became part of the organization as regional observers; while the Republic of China, Spain, Germany and Japan became extra-regional observers. The SICA has a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions of the United Nations General Assembly[1] and maintains permanent offices at UN Headquarters.[2]

Four countries, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, are going through a process of political, cultural, and migratory integration and have formed a group called The Central America Four or CA-4, which has introduced common internal borders and same type of passport. Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and Dominican Republic join the CA-4 only in matters of economic integration and regional friendship.

Headquarters[edit]

San Salvador, El Salvador

SICA was backed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, in resolution A/48 L of December 10, 1993 Within the jurisdiction of the Tegucigalpa Protocol. This allows SICA institutions to be invoked internationally by the United Nations.

History[edit]

Central American Court of Justice[edit]

Between November 14, and December 20, 1907, following a proposal made by Mexico and the United States, five Central American nations – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – took part in the Central American Peace Conference in Washington, D.C, sponsored by United States President Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of State, Nobel Prize winner Elihu Root. The five nations, which had all previously been Spanish colonies had sought on numerous prior occasions, with great difficulty, to form a political alliance. The earliest attempt was the Federal Republic of Central America, and the most recent such effort had taken place 11 years earlier, with the founding of the Republic of Central America.

Nations ended the Conference by signing a peace treaty, one aspect of which created the Central American Court of Justice (Corte de Justicia Centroamericana). The signatories agreed that the convention creating the Court would remain in effect for ten years, beginning at the time of the last ratification. All communications between the signatories were made through the government of Costa Rica. The Court was composed of five judges, one each from each member state. For the period of its functioning the Court heard ten cases, five of which were brought by private individuals and declared inadmissible, and three of which were started by the Court's own initiative. The court operated for 10 years, until April 1918, from its headquarters in Costa Rica, at which point it dissolved. Its members had sought without success from March 1917, when Nicaragua gave a notice of termination from the agreement, to continue the arrangement.

Several explanations for the treaty's failure exist:

Organization of Central American States[edit]

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At the end of World War II, a new interest in integrating the Central American governments began. On October 14, 1951, 33 years after the dissolution of the CACJ, the governments of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua signed a new treaty creating the Organization of Central American States (Organización de Estados Centroamericanos, or ODECA) to promote regional cooperation, integrity and unity in Central America. The following year, December 12, 1952, ODECA's charter was altered to create a new Central American Court of Justice (this time called the Corte Centroamericana de Justicia, or CCJ), without the time limitation of its previous incarnation.

The Charter of San Salvador was ratified by all the governments of Central America, and on August 18, 1955 the foreign ministers held their first meeting in Antigua Guatemala. There ensued the Declaration of Antigua Guatemala, which decreed that subordinate organizations should be formed under ODECA, to help establish systems of organization and procedure so there would be no restrictions to free intercourse, to economic cooperation, to better sanitary conditions for member nations, and to continued progress in the “integral union” of the Central American nations.[3]

The Central American Common Market, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, and the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) were established between five nations of Central America on December 13, 1960 in a conference in Managua.[4] These nations ratified the treaties of membership the following year. Costa Rica joined the CACM in 1963. Panama is conspicuous by absence. Then organization froze in 1969 with the war between Honduras and El Salvador. In 1973, ODECA was suspended and progress in regional integration came to a standstill.

Revival[edit]

Not until 1991 that the integration agenda was completed with the creation of the SICA, which provided a clear legal base to avoid discrepancies between the member states. The SICA membership includes the 7 nations of Central America plus the Dominican Republic, a state that is part of the Caribbean. Central America already has several supranational institutions such as the Central American Parliament, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and the Central American Common Market. The current Central America trade block is organized by the General Treaty for Economical Integration signed October 29, 1993 (Guatemala Protocol). The CACM has succeeded in removing duties on most products moving among the member countries, and has largely unified external tariffs and increased trade within the member nations. The bank has 5 non-regional members: Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Republic of China and Spain.

All of the members of SICA are also part of the Mesoamerica Project, which also includes Mexico and Colombia.

In 2013, Haiti will join the SICA as an associate member.[citation needed]

Since 27 June 2013 the Dominican Republic became a full member.[5]

Economic Integration[edit]

Prospects for a Central American Currency Union[edit]

While there is a regional bank, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, it is still early in the integration process to have enough prospects for a common currency. At the current stage a new currency for the region is not being considered, while dollarization could also be a possibility.

Central America is in the process of expansion in economic development as a region, and changing its prospect of a more accelerated process for further and more united social, political and economic integration. The region as a whole enjoys a high degree of factor mobility, diversified composition of output, price and wage flexibility. In contrast there is still a lack of business cycle synchronization, dissimilar levels of public sector debt, diverging inflation rates, and the lack of high levels of intra-regional trade are some deficiencies.[6]

Policy Integration[edit]

In the parliamentary body currently there are proposals that would make flying on plane on the region as domestic local travel. There are also proposals to eliminate roaming fees on telephone calls, and the creation of a common regional penitentiary that would integrate with the Central American Court of Justice, prisons that would serve against regional trafficking and multi-national crimes.[7]

Institutions[edit]

Central American Parliament[edit]

PARLACEN was born as the parliamentary body of a modern renewal model after the historic Federal Republic of Central America. Costa Rica currently serves as an observer. It has its more recent origins in the Contadora Group, a project launched in the 1980s to help deal with civil wars in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Although the Contadora was dissolved in 1986, the idea for Central American Integration remained, and has always been at a heart in some Central American countries - some which make implicit references on their constitutions. The most recent thrives were taken by the Esquipulas Peace Agreement, which, among other acts, agreed to the creation of the Central American Parliament. Members return 20-22 directly elected deputies to the Parliament. In spite of its efforts to promote the Esquipulas Agreement, Costa Rica has not yet ratified and is consequently not represented in the Parlacen. Parlacen has been seen by some, including former President of Honduras, Ricardo Maduro as a white elephant.[8]

Central American Court of Justice[edit]

The current mission of the CCJ is to promote peace in the region and unity between its member-states. Today's Court[9] has jurisdiction to hear cases:

The Court may also offer consultation to the Supreme Courts of the region. In 2005, the Court ruled that Nicaraguan congressional reforms, which took control of water, energy and telecommunications services away from President Enrique Bolaños were "legally inapplicable", possibly further inciting the Nicaraguan political crisis. As of July 2005, the CCJ has made 70 resolutions since hearing its first case in 1994.

System bodies[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]