Declaration of San Jose
We, the Presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, the United States of America,
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and the Prime Minister of
Belize, meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica on May 8, 1997, hereby reaffirm the
remarkable democratic transformation in Central America. Central America is now a
region of peace, liberty and democracy, profoundly committed to a process of
integration, in which a spirit of harmony, cooperation, pluralism and respect for human
rights prevails. This spirit marks an unprecedented era of stability in Central America's
We hold the conviction that the resources and potential of Central America and the
Dominican Republic can now be focussed so as to ensure that our peoples are able to
develop to their full potential within the framework of just and democratic societies.
We are determined to march toward the future in a partnership based on friendship,
understanding and ever stronger cooperation. This meeting marks the inauguration of
a new stage in our relations, based on mutual respect and reciprocity which will give
our nations greater advantages with which to successfully meet the challenges of the
We recognize that there are great challenges that we must jointly assume and that
there are many opportunities which favor the creation of a great region of shared
prosperity among Central America, the Dominican Republic and the United States, as
well as the creation of a visionary and creative association among our nations.
Inspired by the principles and goals of the Summit of the Americas and guided by the
Central American Alliance for Sustainable Development, we recognize as the
cornerstones of this renewed relationship the promotion of prosperity through the
strengthening of democracy and good governance; dialogue on immigration and illegal
migrant trafficking; economic integration and free trade; the continued development of
just and equitable societies that provide opportunities for all people; and the
development of responsible environmental policies as an integral element of
sustainable development; all of which must be undertaken within a framework of mutual
Strengthening of Democracy and Good Governance
We reaffirm our profound conviction that only democratically elected governments can
guarantee the full existence of the rule of law, an indispensable prerequisite for the
preservation of peace and harmony.
We reaffirm our belief in the dignity of our people and our commitment to the rule of
law. We maintain that crime is one of the principal threats to the democracy, public
security and social stability of our countries. For this reason, we will redouble our
efforts to combat crime and improve security for our people. Consistent with our
constitutional provisions and recognizing the independence of our legislative and
judicial branches, we are committed to the modernization of extradition treaties and
their vigorous application to help ensure that criminals are brought to justice where the
effect of their crime is felt most severely.
We resolve to intensify our national efforts and to increase bilateral, multilateral and
regional cooperation to combat drug consumption, drug trafficking, money laundering
and illegal drug activity in all its manifestations. We,reaffirm our commitment to fight
corruption through mutual cooperation and the strengthening of oversight institutions
and we agree to seek ratification of the Organization of American States' Interamerican
Convention Against Corruption. We instruct our Ministers responsible for public
security and law enforcement, and other appropriate authorities, to work together to
develop a plan of action this year to combat these threats to the welfare of our people.
The Presidents of the United States and the Dominican Republic, and the Prime
Minister of Belize express their support for the progress achieved by the Central
American Presidents in redefining regional security within a framework of the rule of
law, the enhancement of democratic institutions by strengthening civilian authority, the
limiting of the role of the armed forces and public security forces to their constitutional
mandates, and the fostering of a culture of peace, dialogue, understanding and
tolerance based on common democratic values. The strong commitment to these
principles serves as an important example to other parts of the world seeking
transparency and mutual confidence in their relations.
Dialogue on Immigration and Illegal Migrant Trafficking
We are aware of the serious impact of new immigration provisions on groups that come
from the region and who live and have roots in the United States. We therefore
undertake to maintain an open, ongoing dialogue at the highest levels to find humane
and adequate solutions to address the complexities of the immigration situation, and to
ensure that each person's case is evaluated individually and fairly, taking into account
his or her valuable contribution to the host country.
Having expressed their concerns to the President of the United States, the Presidents
of Central America, the Dominican Republic and the Prime Minister of Belize welcome
the United States Government's initiation of consultations with its Congress on the
scope, implementation and consequences of the recent immigration legislation
approved by the United States, and are confident that the dignity and human rights of
the individuals it may affect will be fully respected.
We believe trafficking in migrants is an affront to human dignity and we are committed
to increase cooperation to combat this degrading practice.
Promotion of Prosperity through
At the Summit of the Americas, we decided to move toward a hemisphere united
through free trade by the year 2005. We reiterate our resolve to take all necessary
actions to make this "spirit of Miami" a reality. With this in mind, we call for the
commencement of negotiations at the Santiago Summit of the Americas that will lead to
the establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). We reiterate our
intention to work cooperatively throughout these negotiations.
Economic Integration, Free Trade and Investment
The Presidents of Central America, the Dominican Republic and the Prime Minister of
Belize welcome the decision of the Government of the United States to support the
expeditious passage of a bill which enhances the benefits granted under the Caribbean
Basin Initiative. We recognize that unilateral concessions have been of great
importance in the initial phases of the process of economic liberalization. We now
believe that it is necessary to move toward a commercial relationship which offers.all
parties mutually beneficial conditions.
We are convinced that to promote and maintain democratic stability and to contribute to
our joint prosperity it is necessary to have sound and dynamic economies. With this in
mind and recognizing the advances that Central America has made in economic
liberalization, we have resolved to deepen our economic and commercial relations. We
will work jointly and expeditiously, consistent with the World Trade Organization (\NTO)
agreements and the FTAA process, to identify specific steps, including bilateral,
multilateral and regional reciprocal trade agreements, that will intensify the economic
relationships among our nations. To achieve these common trade objectives, we
instruct our Ministers of Trade to constitute themselves as a Trade and Investment
Council with a mandate to make specific recommendations. In support of these goals,
our governments will continue efforts to conclude bilateral investment treaties and
intellectual property rights agreements. In addition, under the aegis of the \IVTO, we
will seek to liberalize our telecommunications, information technology and financial
The signing of Open Skies Agreements between the United States and Costa Rica, El
Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua during our meeting in San Jose is a
significant manifestation of this commitment and these agreements will serve to
enhance our commercial relations and tourism among our people and productive
sectors. In this regard, it is necessary to undertake additional actions that will
strengthen and broaden technical cooperation in aviation matters.
We underscore the importance of free market economies and private sector initiatives
as a source of prosperity for our people and we reaffirm our goal of promoting business
events and other complementary activities that expand trade and investment relations
between the private sectors of our countries.
We recognize that there are important challenges in this process that we must face to
maintain suitable conditions for our economic and social growth, taking into account the
particular circumstances of each country. Among these challenges are the need to
maintain open markets for trade and investment, to ensure the participation of all our
people in the benefits of economic growth, and to maintain a stable macroeconomy and
financial system. Within the framework of a market economy, the use of debt can
supplement scarce domestic savings and support high rates of investment and growth.
With this in mind, we declare our intention to utilize more fully modalities that allow for
better management of debt burdens and the cost of external debt.
Continued Development of Just and Equitable Societies
We express our determination to continue making necessary social investments in
order to improve the quality of life in our countries. We are convinced that the training
of our labor forces, combined with access to health, education and basic housing
services improves the well-being of our societies, while at the same time increasing the
productivity and competitiveness of our economies. We are committed to share ideas,
human resources and programs within mutually agreed guidelines to promote
development and democracy.
that Provide Opportunities for All People
We underscore the importance of placing greater emphasis on the full participation of
women in all political, social and economic spheres of development, especially in areas
such as access to credit, community organization, and in the commercial sector an
We reaffirm our commitment to human rights as stipulated in the Universal Declaration
and to international and interamerican human rights instruments, to which we are
parties, respectively. In particular, we recognize the importance of economic, social
and cultural rights, and within these we underscore the rights of workers, and reaffirm
our commitment to ensure compliance with the Constitution and Conventions of the
International Labor Organization, as respectively ratified by our governments. We
welcome the input of the labor sector in the hemispheric economic integration process.
We recognize the efforts by interested parties such as employers and workers
organizations to work together to promote respect for workers rights and enhance
working conditions. We have asked our Labor Ministers to meet to exchange ideas
with interested parties on this issue.
The Presidents of Central America and the Dominican Republic and the Prime Minister
of Belize note with interest the recent announcement by the President of the United
States of the Apparel Industry Partnership.
We agree that micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses are important for the social
development of our countries. These entrepreneurial undertakings make it possible for
a wide range of social sectors to expand productively and make a decisive contribution
to the democratization of capital and the equitable distribution of wealth. We will
broaden our efforts to promote such businesses and to increase their capabilities. We
also request that the Interamerican Development Bank, the World Bank and other
institutions and donors continue and strengthen their support of these activities.
The Development of Responsible Environmental Policies as an
We renew our commitment to the promotion of the environmental principles and
objectives of the Alliance for Sustainable Development, which inspired the signing of
the Joint Central American-United States Declaration (CONCAUSA) and influence the
Conference on Sustainable Development in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Within this
framework, we recognize the goals we have reached, the support we have received
and are in agreement on the need to expand cooperation to new areas of action.
Integral Element of Sustainable Development
We recognize the leadership of Central America in the protection of the environment
and the preservation of biodiversity, in particular, the recovery and beneficial use of
ancestral knowledge from our indigenous cultures, as well as innovative use of public-
private sector joint ventures. In this context, we will renew our efforts to protect
endangered species and make sustainable use of flora and fauna.
We note actions already underway in Central America in the area of climate change,
especially those which include the participation of our private sectors and will grant
credit for Joint Implementation projects and other initiatives to limit and reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. in this regard, we urge the parties to the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change to make a determined effort to address these issues
during the Third Conference.
In this spirit, we resolve to support the promotion of investment in environmental
projects such as ecotourism, the development of renewable energy sources, recycling,
the transfer of clean technologies on terms mutually agreed by all parties, and trade in
organic products, among others. In particular, we highlight the importance of our joint
efforts in the sustainable generation and use of energy in projects which, by combining
our efforts with those of other nations, allow for taking greater advantage of our
resources while at the same time fostering regional integration.
In order to strengthen our relations as friends, neighbors and partners and to ensure an
increasing and effective level of communication, coordination and follow-up among our
governments, we have resolved to establish a consultative mechanism which will
include periodic meetings at the highest level; an annual meeting of our Foreign
Ministers, who will meet next during the October 1997 regular session of the United
Nations General Assembly; a ministerial-level Trade and Investment Council, which will
hold its inaugural session in Washington, D.C.; and an ongoing dialogue on
immigration issues at the highest level.
In addition, our Ministers responsible for public security and law enforcement and our
Ministers of Labor will convene meetings in their respective areas this year.
Jose María Figueres Olsen
Republic of Costa Rica
|Armando Calderón Sol
Republic of El Salvador
William J. Clinton
The United States of America
Alvaro Arzú Irigoyen
Repúblic of Guatemala
Carlos Roberto Reina ldiáquez
Republic of Honduras
|Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo
Republic of Nicaragua
Leonel Fernández Reyna
President Clinton's Trip to Mexico, Costa
Rica, and Barbados