Text and photos: Juan David Latorre.
The embassies of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica celebrated the bicentenary of the independence of the five Central American republics yesterday at the Casa de Vacas in Madrid’s Jardines del Buen Retiro.
The Ambassador of Guatemala, Mónica Bolaños, spoke on behalf of the five ambassadors and stressed that “this commemoration symbolises the freedom that our peoples obtained in 1821, the year in which they began the processes of democratic transformation that have allowed us to consolidate ourselves as modern States, actors in our own history and builders of our own destinies, inscribed in the concert of nations.”
“The future of Central America,” he continued, “despite the adversities experienced, is promising. It has an enviable geographical position, bathed by two oceans, a young and talented population, abundant natural resources, plenty of lessons learned and ample space to obtain degrees of human and material development, capable of overcoming the great needs of the past and present”.
The Guatemalan ambassador concluded by highlighting that “the provision of public services in education, health and social cohesion play a central role in this effort, as well as the capacity of our leaders to promote policies for the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the attention to extreme events and the promotion of decent employment, an essential element for the reduction of inequality and poverty, particularly when it benefits the economic empowerment of women. All this within a framework of representative democracy and respect for the rule of law, accompanied by transparent and accountable political systems. Central America is living a historic moment in its existence and we are proud to commemorate it in Spain, a sister country with which we are united by strong ties of friendship, admiration, solidarity and respect, as a result of the values, desires and aspirations that we share. With which we share a dominant language and with which we exchange traditions and customs”.
José Luis Martínez-Almeida, Mayor of Madrid, took the floor to congratulate the convening countries and was proud to be surrounded by “the best ambassadors of Madrid in their countries”, referring to the Central American ambassadors present. He also declared that “Madrid feels like the capital in Europe of each of the Central American republics because we are brotherly peoples”. The Mayor of Madrid highlighted the “exemplary and peaceful” way in which these countries declared their independence, which “did not represent a breaking point in their fraternal relations with Spain, but rather a point and a continuation”, which is why, two centuries later, “we continue to maintain such close cultural, emotional and social ties that allow us to continue to say that we are brotherly peoples.”
Finally, Pilar Cancela, Secretary of State for International Cooperation (SECI), addressed the audience, saying: “This anniversary reminds us of the strong ties that exist between our countries and the opportunities that this present and future that we share and will share offers us”.
Referring to the current Covid pandemic we are experiencing, the Secretary of State said: “One thing it has taught us, and that is that we cannot solve things alone. We cannot get out of these great challenges and these situations of economic, social and health crises alone. These global challenges show us that either we come out of them together or we will not. Therefore, the Ibero-American cultural space is a reality that constitutes a very strong element of union between the brotherly countries that we are”.
Finally, Pilar Cancela highlighted the values of all the Central American republics and of Spain in shaping stable, coexistent and inclusive societies. The ideals of the Enlightenment, which have not gone out of fashion, which are more valid than ever, such as freedom, democracy, tolerance, respect for human rights, gender equality, the separation of powers, the fight against gender violence, solidarity, justice and social cohesion, are that shared legacy that constitutes the bond on which our twinning is based”.