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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WHAT The process of regional integration may move slower than usual for the next six months, during which Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla will not attend board meetings of the Central American Integration System (SICA in its Spanish initials). The presidents of the region's countries make up the board.

WHY A feminist, Chinchilla will not attend sessions, chaired as of last month by Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, who - according to his step-daughter - had sexually abused her in the 1990s. Ortega, who was never convicted on any charge, will step down as chairman on December 31.

WHAT`S NEXT Chinchilla’s absence may not have a big impact on the organization's efforts to promote an efficient regional market. During the two decades of SICA's existence, Central America has done little to reduce barriers to trade and investment. On the other hand, being mean to Ortega is good politics in Costa Rica, where many people think Nicaragua is interfering with their rights over the San Juan River, which divides the two countries.

For more information, please contact Esteban Alvarez, at [email protected]