Ortega regime closer to the General Secretariat of SICA

Ortega’s diplomacy is closer to achieving the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA), announced Costa Rican Foreign Minister Arnoldo André Tinoco. The senior official revealed last Wednesday, before deputies from his country, that the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo made a proposal that “apparently” has the support of the rest of the Central American countries.

“In the SICA, they had been living a impasse because it was up to Nicaragua to propose the list of names to appoint the secretary general. He proposed an unacceptable list of three for all Central American countries”, assured André Tinoco before the Committee on International Relations and Foreign Trade of the Parliament of Costa Rica, where he addressed what the relationship will be of this country with the Ortega regime.

Among the various aspects of this issue, the one referring to the appointment of the new secretary general of SICA was touched on, which according to the rotation agreed upon by the Central American countries, corresponds to Nicaragua for the period 2021-2025. However, there was no progress proposals made for the position for Ortega.

“Since I took office on (last) May 8, I reactivated the issue with my Central American colleagues. We agreed to send the Foreign Minister of Guatemala to Managua on a special mission. The management bore fruit and three days ago we received a new proposal for the SICA general secretary and one of those names in that list apparently finds acceptance in the rest of the Central American countries”, revealed the Costa Rican foreign minister.

The arrival of the Guatemalan foreign minister, Mario Adolfo Búcaro Flores, in Managua in the special mission revealed by the Costa Rican foreign minister, was officially reported by the Government of Nicaragua, as a representative of the presidency pro tempore of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS)

This coming June 29, SICA will celebrate one year without a general secretary due to the impasse caused by Ortega, an unprecedented event in the 30-year history of this regional organization.

“Soon it is possible that the Gordian knot that we have had with the SICA will be resolved and finally an appointment of a secretary general will be achieved and thus that regional organization can be reactivated. And with that, progress would be made in SICA with the issue of regional cooperation, and the Central American institutions could finally count on this forum”, André stressed.

Who is the consensus candidate?

The President’s Foreign Minister Rodrigo Chaves He did not specify before the legislators about the formation of the new list proposed by Ortega, and who would be the candidate that has the consensus of the rest of the countries in the region.

Last May 3, CONFIDENTIAL revealed that the new bet of the Ortega regime to occupy the position of general secretary of SICA was Orlando Solorzano Delgadillo, former head of the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce (Mific). The regime never made a formal statement on this proposal.

Solorzano was removed from his post at the head of the Mific on March 1, 2022, allegedly due to health problems, after 15 years at the head of this state portfolio.

Solórzano’s candidacy was the third attempt by the Ortega regime to place someone loyal to the post, after the two previous proposals were rejected by most of the countries in the region.

The first failed bet of the regime

First, the regime proposed that the last Secretary General, former Guatemalan President Vinicio Cerezo, who was said to sympathize with Ortega, remain in office, but the proposal was rejected by Belize.

The newspaper La Nación of Costa Rica published that the Foreign Ministry of Belize sent a diplomatic communication to San José on June 22, 2021, where it recalls that the Tegucigalpa Protocol —founding document of SICA— “does not contemplate the extension of the mandate” of the secretary general.

“(Belize) adds that the spirit of that agreement (of 2017) was that the secretary general must be of the nationality of the member state that is responsible for proposing candidates,” according to the publication.

The list rejected by Central America

Subsequently, the regime proposed a terna headed by former Sandinista guerrilla Orlando José Tardencilla, who had a fleeting step as representative of Nicaragua before the OAS; the architect Luz Marina López Escobar and María Amelia Coronel Kinloch, who since 2017 has served as head of the Ministry of the Interior (Migob).

However, this shortlist was rejected because it was made up of “people without much knowledge” in the foreign service, and “very close to the regime.”

Due to the rejection of Nicaragua’s proposals, Guatemala occupies the presidency pro tempore of SICA. On December 16, 2021, a meeting of heads of state of the region was scheduled to address the situation of the regional organization, but it was canceled because only Daniel Ortega and the then president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, confirmed their attendance.

Costa Rica as regional leader

During his appearance, the chancellor expressed to the legislators the intentions of Costa Rica to take possession as a regional leader who promotes the expansion of democratic policies, at a time when Central America is besieged by the authoritarianism that exists in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

“We believe that in this Administration and given the current constellation in Latin America, if you see what is happening in Nicaragua, in El Salvador, in Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica may once again position itself as a central democratic hemispheric leader. We believe that Costa Rica can relaunch its leadership in democratic politics in the hemisphere, given the current constellation in the hemisphere”, concluded the head of Costa Rican diplomacy.

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