San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Guatemala's president meets with Chinchilla to discuss security

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom met with his Costa Rican counterpart Laura Chinchilla on Sunday morning for several hours. The meeting focused on security in the region. Details of the discussion have not yet been released.

Battling crime and increasing security also will top the agenda as the Organization of American States (OAS) gathered for their annual meeting Sunday in El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador.

The theme of the annual meeting is “Security for Citizens of the Americas,” but diplomats will also focus on Argentina’s longstanding claim for the Falkland Islands — known in Latin America as the Malvinas — and access to the ocean for Bolivia, which lost its seaside territory in an 1879 war with Chile.

Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez said that participants will first look at the scope of the crime problem, then focus on a plan of action.

“Our main objective is to obtain the broadest cooperation possible in the continent to face the common threat of… organized crime,” Martinez told AFP.

While crime affects all regions, it is especially prominent in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, three Central American countries that have a homicide rate of more than 70 cases per 100,000 residents, eight times higher than the global median.

OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza said that organizers expect to have concrete results by the end of the meeting, “because with declarations alone we are not going to be able to face organized transnational crime in our region.”

Those crimes include money laundering and trafficking in drugs, people and weapons.

The meeting, which ends Tuesday, will also be first for Honduras since it was kicked out following a June 2009 coup that ousted then-president Manuel Zelaya. The former leader was allowed to return home on May 28 following a 16-month foreign exile, and the OAS re-admitted Honduras on Wednesday.

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