Central America: 200 years of independence

Village with a church surrounded by a hilly landscape

Antigua de Guatemala, © Zoonar.com/Loes Kieboom

08.09.2021 - Article

Two hundred years ago, five Central American countries declared their independence. How has Central America evolved over the last two centuries? What lessons can be drawn from Central American history? A two‑day hybrid conference at the Federal Foreign Office will address these questions.

On 15 September 1821, the five countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua broke away from Spain and declared their independence. Over the next two hundred years, each of these Central American countries would follow its own path of development. Nevertheless, they do face a number of shared challenges. These include high levels of violent crime, corruption and impunity, poverty and social inequality, and the need to adapt to climate change. Today, these and the other Central American states engage in various forms of cooperation, including through the Central American Integration System (Spanish acronym: SICA). Although SICA is still far from being an integrated association of nations, it is the Federal Republic of Germany’s partner for regional cooperation that focuses on climate and environmental protection, renewable energies, the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, fighting youth violence, and programmes to assist migrants.

On the 200th anniversary of the independence of Central America, the Federal Foreign Office has joined with partners from the sphere of academia to host a hybrid conference on “200 years: Central America’s role in the world”. More than 200 governmental representatives and participants from academia and civil society from Central America, Europe and the United States will discuss the development of the region and Central America’s present-day identity: what lessons can be drawn from Central American history? To what extent are developments in Central America emblematic for the Global South? Where does Central America stand today? The conference aims to promote networking between researchers on both sides of the Atlantic and to raise awareness of the challenges the region faces.

Cooperation with Central America

Germany is working to enhance cooperation between Europe and the countries of Latin and Central America. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas launched the Latin America Initiative in 2019 for this purpose. The Federal Foreign Office also provides humanitarian assistance in Central America: to improve food security in Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and Guatemala, it has supported the World Food Programme to the tune of 13 million euro since 2018. The Federal Foreign Office made available an additional four million euro in emergency assistance to help people in Haiti affected by a severe earthquake in August 2021.


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