Costa Rica: Latin America is important voice in the international community

Video transcript of an interview between Dr Joseph S. Tulchin and Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, President of Costa Rica, on the seventh Summit of the Americas

Dr Tulchin:

We are talking today to His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, the President of Costa Rica. Luis Guillermo, in his earlier life, had many roles. He was an ambassador, he was a member of the foreign ministry, and when he was a very young man he was a student in a seminar that I taught - so we know he is well prepared for the presidency. Your Excellency good morning it is a pleasure talking with you. How are you?

Guillermo Solis:

Hello, thank you very much Dr Tulchin I am very happy to see you again. It is always great to partake with you in these issues.

Dr Tulchin:

Thank you. I want to talk with you today about your experience at the recent Summit of the Americas. You have just returned from that. What is your impression, particularly at least of the United States, the news where the visit between Mr Raul Castro and President Obama? What is your impression of the summit and its effects?

Guillermo Solis:

Well as you know Joe for several years now I have been talking about something called new regionalism in the Americas.

This means not only dealing with the traditional historical spaces that were framed within the logic of inter-American relations that had its most important organisation in the OAS (the Organisation of American States), but also new spaces for multi-lateral relations to develop.

This includes not only the sub-regional structures in Central America, the Caribbean, the Indian region, the Southern Cone, but also new structures such as CELAC the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which in recent months was presided over by Costa Rica.

And therefore, I would like to frame the Summit of the Americas as one of those so called new regionalism spaces, in which Latin American, Caribbean, North American policies and politicians meet to build up confidence and to try to cooperate in new ways.

And clearly the Panama meeting was momentous and also historical because of the fact that it was there that the United States and Cuba made visible the first, for the first time in more than half a century, their willingness to normalise their relations. That would be my balance. It is a very positive balance. I think there is no contradiction what so ever between the OAS, the Summit of the Americas, the CELAC and sub-regional spaces and in what refers to Costa Rica we will continue to participate in all these initiatives and we will continue to promote all of them.

Dr Tulchin:

Very good. So you see these as positive sort of associates in the new movement of regionionalism in Latin America rather than as a conflict between Latin America and the United States?

Guillermo Solis:

Yes, I do think that they are complimentary. They are very important because they join the different kinds of actors. They turn Latin America into an important interlocutor to the international community who can speak - with not one voice - but in an articulated way.

And this will happen in the next few months as we meet in the CELAC forum, with the European Union in the OAS forum, through the agenda - which the secretary general has - so there are no contradictions, complementary policies and actions and a harmonised voice vis-a-vis the global world.

Dr Tulchin:

Excellent. You know our friend Heraldo Munoz who is the foreign minister in Chile referred to it as ‘an effort to create convergence within diversity’. I thought that was an excellent phrase. It looks as if you are as enthusiastic as our friend Munoz. Thank you for your time.

Guillermo Solis:

Thank you so much Dr Tulchin.

(Photo credit: dpa)

  • The Summit of the Americas took place on April 10-11, 2015, in Panama City, Panama.
  • The seventh Summit's central theme was: Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas.
  • The Summit is a meeting of heads of state and representatives from the 35 countries that make up the Americas.
  • US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro met on the fringes of the Summit and held the first formal talks between the two countries' leaders in half a century.
  • The previous Summit was held in Colombia in April 2012.

President Solis

  • Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera has been President of Costa Rica since 2014.
  • He is a member of the centre-left Citizens' Action Party (PAC).
  • Mr Solis was the first President of Costa Rica to be a member of the PAC.