Central America

·        Central American Armies Form New Military Alliance In mid-November, armies from four northern countries in Central America--Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua--formed a new military alliance, the Conferencia de las Fuerzas Armadas de Centroamerica (CFAC).  The alliance will promote joint efforts to fight security problems that currently threaten the entire region, such as drug trafficking, while paving the way for cooperative military action in other areas when necessary, such as UN-supervised "peacekeeping operations."

·        Philosophy of Police Systems and Comparative Studies of the Role of Police Systems for the Society of Belize, Central America Report # 7 1998, produced by the Belize Development Trust.  This report argues that the police force must be      obedient to the voters in the community in which they serve. Police                          have discretion. In Belize this discretion comes from an absentee                           colonial power in Belmopan. In the USA, this control comes from the                           local, city, town, or village citizens. 

·        Region: Governments Debate Measures to Confront Rising Crime Central American governments and their critics are debating the causes of the dramatic increase in crime, while legislatures are debating laws to impose heavier prison sentences and to spend more money on police. 

·        Center for International Policy. Security in Latin America Documents.  Since its founding in 1975, the Center for International Policy has earned a reputation for hard-hitting analysis and effective advocacy on a range of issues. Staff members include former senior diplomats and intelligence officers as well as younger academics and activists. This pairing of senior-level insiders with outsiders is key to the Center's success over the years, for it gives staff access to key decision-makers in the executive and legislative branches and credibility with the media, all essential to effective advocacy in Washington. Promoting human rights has been one of the overarching themes of the Center's work. Rather than human rights monitoring, which a number of organizations do so well, the Center has tried to spotlight the causes of abuses and has advocated policies to reduce violations. Another related theme has been promoting peaceful diplomatic rather than military solutions to foreign policy conflicts in the Third World. 

o       Collective security: Central America 

§         The Central American Security Treaty Department of State, Office of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, Bureau of Arms Control.  

o       Counterarcotics: Central America 

§         International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1996: Canada, Mexico and Central America. Canda, Mexico, and Central America International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1996. Released by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State Washington, DC, March 1997. 

o       Military roles: Central America 

§         Centroamérica: Militares Buscan Identificar a sus "Nuevos Enemigos" “Central America: the Military Seeks to Identify its ‘New Enemies’ ”.  By Thelma Mejía, member of Central American Dialogue for Security and De-Militarization.  1 March, 1996. 

o       Peace processes: Central America 

§         Demobilization and Reintegration in Central America by Denise Spencer, February 1997. Denise Spencer is a political scientist currently working on issues of civil-military relations in Mexico.  She conducted the research for this paper while working for the Bonn International Center for Conversion. 

o       U.S. security assistance: Central America 

§         Central America: Current Trends and Recommendations for U.S. Policy Policy Brief.  Inter American Dialogue. By Michael Shifter  Program Director and Senior Fellow                                        Inter-American Dialogue.  (Testimony prepared for Hearing of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, House Committee on International Relations (June 25, 1997). 

§         Altered States: Post-Cold War U.S. security interests in Central America By W. Frick Curry. From Center for International Policy. 12/01/1995. 

o       Other Documents: Security in Latin America. 

§         Belize 

§         Costa Rica 

§         El Salvador 

§         Guatemala 

§         Honduras 

§         Nicaragua 

§         Panama 

·        Corte Centroamericana de Justicia (Central American Court of Justice) Documents. 

o       IX Reunión de CSJ de Centroamérica San Pedro Sula, Cortés,  Honduras 13 - 16 de Agosto de 1998 “Ninth Reunion of the Supreme Courts of Justice of Central America in San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras, 13-16 August 1998”.  Official minutes. 

o        Juridical Norms  

§         Protocolo de Tegucigalpa a la Carta de la Organización de Estados Centroamericanos (ODECA) “Tegucigalpa Protocol of the Chart of ODECA –Organization of Central American States-“. 

§         Estatuto de La Corte Centroamericana de Justicia Estatus of the Central American Court of Justice. 

§         Reglamento General de La Corte Centroamericana de Justicia Regulations of the Central American Court of Justice. 

§         Acuerdo de Sede entre La Corte Centroamericana de Justicia u El Gobierno de La República de Nicaragua Headquarters Agreement between the Central American Court of Justice and the Government of hte Republic of Nicaragua. 

§         Ordenanza de Procedimientos Proceeding norms. 

§         Reglamento de Adquisiciones Acquisition norms. 

o       Publications 

§         La Unión Centroamericana: ¿Confederación, Federación o qué? “Central American Union: Confederation, Federation, or What?”, by Lorenzo Hernández García.  The author addresses the criticisms against the integration organs and provides an assessment of what Central American integration intends to be. 

§         Embestida contra la Integración Centroamericana  “Attack Against Central American Integration”, by Aldo Díaz Lacayo.  Globalization and neoliberal reforms have pushed Central American integration back in time.  Anti-Central American pressures are converging, pushed by the international financial institutions, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and the anti-integrationist, anti-Central American culture of Costa Rica, promoted through extra-subregional paradigms. 

§         Una Cumbre sin Mira ni Sueños “A Summit Without Looks nor Dreams”, by José Salomón Delgado.  The waste of money and lack of economic efficiency of the Central American integration institutions provides a disincentive for real integration. 

§         "Somos Dedos de un Mismo Puño" “We Are Fingers of the Same Fist”, by Walter Lacayo Guerra. The president of the Central American Court of Justice denounces the lack of publicity the Central American Court of Justice has among citizens.  He warns that Central American citizens should be made aware of the fact that they can appeal to the Central American Court when they believe that their individual rights are threatened by the process of integration.  This way, integration would receive a big boost. 

§         El Literal F) del Articulo 22 del Estatuto de La Corte Centroamericana “Literal F) of Article 22 of the Estatute of the Central American Court”, by AdolfoLeón Gómez.  This article contains two attributions of competence: othe first, to know the conflicts among powers, and the second, to correct the violation of judicial sentences. 

§         La Consulta Judicial en La Integración “The Judicial Consult of Integration”, by AdolfoLeón Gómez.  The Central American Court of Justice is: permanent Tribunal (based on its functioning), international Tribunal (because it can address conflicts among states), arbitration Tribunal, Tribunal for constitutional conflicts, and it may intervene in cases of violation of judicial sentences.  It may also propose projects of uniform and integration law, and it is mainly a Tribunal for consultations about the proper application and interpretation of Integration and Communitarian Law. 

§         La Corte de Managua “The Court of Managua”, by AdolfoLeón Gómez.  This article reviews the functions, history and antecedents of the Central American Court of Justice. 

o       Resolutions  

·        CRIES Documents. (Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales – Regional Coordinator of Economic and Social Research).  CRIES is a network of centers that conduct research on Central American and Caribbean topics.  Its main goal is to contribute to a model of equitable and sustainable social development for the countries and territories of the Great Caribbean. 

o       Orden Social y Gobernabilidad en Nicaragua 1990-1996 By Elvira Cuadra Lira, Andrés Pérez Baltodano, and Ángel Saldomando (February 1998).  “Social Order and Governability in Nicaragua 1990-1996” is an analysis of the problem of social order and security from several theoretical, historical, and institutional perspectives.  The authors argue that the problem of security is the problem of its social construction.  It is the problem of the creation and reproduction of life in society.  From this perspective, crisis endangers the viability of national societies.  The main goal of the authers is to contribute to the exploration of Nicaragua’s limitations and opportunities to develop fair and democratic structures of social order. 

o        Transición Política y Reconversión Militar en Nicaragua, 1990-1995 By Roberto J. Cajina (April 1997).  “Political Transition and Military Reform in Nicaragua, 1990-1995” is part of a larger regional project of historian Roberto J. Cajina to analyze the most relevant factors of the political transition of Nicaragua between 1990 and 1995.  The author looks at issues like the transformation of the Popular Sandinista Army (Ejército Popular Sandinista – EPS) into a national and professional army, as well as the episodes and course of the negotiations among several national and international actors, to try to secure advantageous positions in a period of undefined functions. 

o        Violencia social en Centroamérica In September 1997 CRIES organized a project called “Governability and Security” to initiate research in the field of governability, starting with the analysis of situations of domestic violence and insecurity in four Central American countries, as well as the relationship between security and democratic governability in those countries.  To achieve that goal, the project was divided into three stages:  analysis of the violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, to identify regional trends of behavior.  This document, published in January 1999, is the result of the first stage. 

·         Fundación Arias (Arias Foundation) Documents.  The Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress is a non-profit organization devoted to the construction of fairer and peaceful societies in Central America. 

o        Amenazas a la Seguridad en Centroamérica: ¿Se Justifican las Respuestas Militares? “Treats to Security in Central America: Are Military Responses Justifiable?” by Arnoldo Brenes.  The post-Cold War has created a new concept of security.  The main security priority is no longer the protection of state sovereignty and territorial unity, but the protection of individual subjects. 

o        Coalición Mundial para el Control de Armas Livianas Comienza a Tomar Forma “World Coalition for Control of Light Weapons is Gaining Shape”, by Christopher Nee, Greg Puley y Carlos Walker.  This article reviews the efforts undertaken by some individuals, NGOs, and governments to restrict the trade of light weapons. 

o        Códigos de Conducta y el Comercio Legal de Armas Livianas  “Codes of Conduct and Legal Trade of Light Weapons”, by Greg Puley.  The recent adoption by the European Union of a code of conduct regarding the trade of light weapons leads the author to consider the impact that codes of conduct may have in the control of this type of trade. 

o       Diagnosis About the Juridical Framework for Non-Profit Organizations in Central America: 

·        Belize 

·        Costa Rica 

·        El Salvador 

·        Guatemala 

·        Honduras 

·        Nicaragua 

·        Panama 

o        El Comercio de Armas y los Derechos Humanos “The Trade of Weapons and Human Rights”, by Arnoldo Brenes.  Brenes argues that gun trafficking is directly or indirectly responsible for several violations of human rights.  Since it is normally very difficult for the international community to intervene in a state where human rights violations are occurring, the author recommends to fight gun smuggling and contraband as an effective way of prevention against human rights violations. 

o        La Desmilitarización Total Como un Nuevo Paradigma de Seguridad en Centroamerica “Total Demilitarization as a New Security Paradigm in Central America”, by Arnoldo Brenes.  The author reviews contemporary issues of security in Central America and concludes than rather than discussing the need to abolish armies, the debate should be about the process to guarantee the successful abolition of that institution.  He makes some policy recommendations. 

o        Recent juridical resolutions adopted by Central American governments. 

o       Code for Children and Teen-Agers (Honduras) 

o       Elimination of Compulsory Military Service 

o       General Law of the Environment and Natural Resources (Nicaragua) 

o       Design and Negotiation of an Open Agenda for Education and Human Development (Nicaragua) 

o       Review of the Plan of National Reconstruction (El Salvador) 

o       Reforms of the Law of Free Export Zones and Fiscal Areas (El Salvador) 

o       Campaign for a Law Against Home Violence (Costa Rica) 

o       Creation of a Coordinating Committee to Stop the Impact of Uncontrolled Banana Expansion (Costa Rica) 

o       Legislative Experiment to Reform the Law of the Forests (Costa Rica) 

o       Design and Execution of a National Plan for Women and Development (Panama) 

o        Project for Democracy (Belize)  

o       Other Publications 


·        Organization of American States –OAS- Documents.  More than fifty years ago - on April 30, 1948 - 21 countries of the hemisphere met in Bogotá, Colombia, to adopt the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), which affirmed their commitment to common goals and respect for each nation’s sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the nations of the Caribbean, as well as Canada.