Mexican President Felipe Calderon in San Pedro

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 17, No. 26            July 5, 2007

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The 30th SICA Summit and the Tuxtla Mechanism were the two big issues tackled on Friday at the Victoria House’s dining room. Under heavy spectator and security observation, four helicopters in perfect formation arrived at San Pedro’s airport. The four helicopters carrying precious cargo in the form of President Felipe Calderon. After having been whisked away to the luxurious resort, President Calderon joined Prime Minister of Belize and Outgoing SICA President Said Musa for the meeting. Sitting beside SICA successor, Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, Prime Minister Musa commented, “Well looking at it strictly politically, if I may for a moment, I would say a major achievement is the fact that I am sitting next to the President of Guatemala and the fact that we are able to do this in a spirit of mutual respect. And in other words we are putting aside differences that may still exist between us in order to forge development for our respective peoples in Belize and Guatemala. I believe Belize benefited in the sense that the entire region of Central America has a much clearer understanding of the aspirations, the sovereign rights of Belize, and the respect that has been shown to us, I think has enhanced us in terms of our development as a young emerging nation.”

    However during this very important and official visit, the six presidents from Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador along with Honorable Musa discussed not only their vision for the future but also the accomplishments by Outgoing SICA President. Lisa Shoman, Minister of Foreign Affairs commented, “We’ve managed to have the second encounter between CARICOM heads of government and Presidents of the Central American Integration System right here in Belize. So we very much feel that we’ve been able to accomplish quite a bit by bringing the two regions together. We feel that we’ve added value to both processes, CARICOM and to SICA.”

    Many things were accomplished on La Isla Bonita including as Shoman stated, “One of the things that we’ve just finished discussing and which I think will pay off big in the lives of people is a Central American system to coordinate security issues, particularly in intelligence sharing. As you know, we are right in the path of some very difficult situations having to do with transnational organized crime, having to do with arms smuggling, drug trafficking, the trafficking of persons. Central America does not get to opt out of difficulties and the way that we confront them best, obviously is by working together and the only way to do that is for us to sit down and agree on mechanisms to carry this forward. We’ve also had an imitative today on climate change which is very interesting and important because as you know Belize holds the portfolio for climate change in the Caribbean and climate change isn’t one of these esoteric things. A couple feet in the rise of the sea level as you know will inundate us, we will be drowned and therefore these issues are of bread and butter importance to people. When there is no barrier reef or it is bleached, tourists will not come in the numbers that they do and our people will have much less employment. These are the reasons why it is critical to meet on these issues and to agree that alone none of us has the resources or the manpower to be able to address them. But together, we can fight them.”

    The Central American Presidents in attendance were Antonio Saca of El Salvador, Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Martin Torrijos of Panama, and Oscar Berger of Guatemala.
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