US urges Central America to reaffirm commitment to democracy, rights

San José, Jun 1 (EFE).- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday during a visit to Costa Rica that he hopes that Central American countries will reaffirm their commitments to democracy and respect for human rights.

In a press conference after a meeting with Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado, Blinken said that as in other parts of the world, Central America has seen “setbacks” in democratic principles and respect for human rights, and it will work with regional partners on these issues.

“All we expect of those governments is what their citizens expect: that elected officials are accountable to their people and respect their rights; that they ensure free and fair elections; that they not use their power to punish their critics; and that all of us continue to work to improve the lives of people in our countries in real, concrete ways,” Blinken said.

The secretary of state discussed with Alvarado issues on the bilateral and multilateral agenda and at the end of the day he would meet with the foreign ministers of the countries of Central America, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, in which migration and democracy will be key issues.

Blinken asserted that he expects in that meeting “all of the countries that signed the Inter-American Charter on Democracy to recommit to its principles,” especially in areas such as respect for institutions, the rule of law, freedom of the press, among other things.

He also said the US is committed to improving the systems of asylum and protection of migrants and that the government of President Joe Biden “proposes to make a very historically significant investment of $4 billion over four years to help countries” address the root causes of migration.

It’s important for regional countries to work “together to deal with the drivers of irregular migration, the root causes that compel people to leave everything they know (…) And what we need to hear from our partners is a shared commitment with us to address those root causes,” Blinken said.

Among the causes of migration of Central Americans to the US are corruption, insecurity, lack of governance, lack of opportunities, and gaps in the rule of law, transparency and justice, he said.

Blinken highlighted Costa Rica’s work in assisting thousands of Venezuelan and Nicaraguan migrants who have left their countries due to social, political and economic crises, and expressed the willingness of the US to support it in that task.

This is Blinken’s first visit to a Latin American country, which the Costa Rican government has celebrated as a sign of a good state of bilateral relations. EFE


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