By Jose Miguel Blanco
Tegucigalpa, Aug 26 (EFE).- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pledged Friday in Honduras to assist that Central American nation’s efforts to achieve orderly migration flows and continue cooperation aid initiatives that date back more than four decades.
Sanchez’s visit to Tegucigalpa to meet with President Xiomara Castro in the presidential palace wrapped up a three-nation tour that also included stops in the Colombian and Ecuadorian capitals.
He became the first Spanish prime minister to visit Honduras since Jose Maria Aznar in 1999.
Both Sanchez and Castro agreed that education and employment are key to ensuring orderly migration and stressed the importance of an accord signed last year that Spain’s head of government called a milestone in the countries’ diplomatic relations.
That pact facilitated the launch of a pilot project on circular migration, under which an initial contingent of 250 Honduran workers will travel this year to Spain to work on specific agriculture campaigns and return home at their conclusion.
Spain had promised at this summer’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles to double that number of temporary workers in future campaigns and Sanchez reiterated that pledge on Friday.
Castro, for her part, thanked Spain for the help it has offered her country in the past and its commitment to offering future assistance, saying Sanchez’s visit provides a further boost to bilateral ties.
The president also expressed appreciation for the 280,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses that Spain donated to Honduras.
But Castro also took some shots at the political opposition in her remarks, saying she inherited an “impoverished people” when she took office and hailed the work she has done during the first seven months of her presidency.
She also expressed thanks to a former Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, for the political support he provided her husband, Manuel Zelaya, when he was ousted in a 2009 coup.
Zelaya was part of the Honduran delegation that met with members of the Sanchez-led Spanish contingent at the presidential palace.
During Sanchez’s visit, the two countries signed an agreement aimed at strengthening Honduras’ health care system through technical cooperation and the exchange of best practices.
Before his talks with the Honduran president, Sanchez met with a group of Spanish business leaders with interests in the country to learn about their situation and day-to-day problems.
He also met with representatives of Spanish cooperation agencies, which have a presence in Honduras dating back many years and fund different types of projects.
Sanchez will visit one of them – a school/workshop set up in the western city of Comayagua to combat forced migration – on the final stop of his four-day Latin American tour. EFE