Tico Candidate to be Elected OAS Leader

June 4, 2004

THE Presidents of Costa Rica, ElSalvador, Guatemala, Honduras,Nicaragua and Panama on Tuesdaysigned an agreement pledging to supportformer Costa Rican President MiguelÁngel Rodríguez (1998-2002) in his bidto become Secretary General of theOrganization of American States (OAS).New Salvadoran President ElíasAntonio Saca made the announcementshortly after being sworn in on Tuesday(see separate article).Representatives of the OAS’ 34 membercountries will meet in Quito, Ecuador,early next week to elect the organization’snext leader.Before this week, Rodríguez, whoannounced his candidacy last year and isrunning unopposed, had secured the supportof every OAS member countryexcept El Salvador and Nicaragua.Outgoing Salvadoran PresidentFrancisco Flores had not endorsedRodríguez because he himself was interestedin the position. However, incomingPresident Saca, during a visit toCosta Rica last April, said he wouldsupport a “hemispheric consensus” (TT,April 23).In April, Nicaragua President EnriqueBolaños conditioned his country’sendorsement on Costa Rica taking measuresto distribute land among the mostlyNicaraguan residents of the western SanJosé shantytown of La Carpio. Costa Ricarefused and a war of words ensuedbetween Bolaños and Costa RicanPresident Abel Pacheco.Land titles were just one of a series ofcomplaints voiced by inhabitants of LaCarpio this week during a violent clashwith police (see separate story).

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