Central American Integration System (Spanish: Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana; SICA) is the economic, cultural and political organization of Central American states since February 1st, 1993. It was in December 13, 1991, however, when all the countries of the ODECA (Spanish: Organización de Estados Centroamericanos; ODECA) signed the Protocol of Tegucigalpa which extended the earlier cooperation in search for regional peace, political freedom, democracy and economic development. The headquarters of the General Secretariat of SICA is in the Republic of El Salvador.
In 1991, the institutional framework of SICA included the States of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Belize joined in 2000 as full member, while the Dominican Republic became associated state in 2004. More recently, Mexico, Chile and Brazil became part of the organization as regional observers; while Taiwan, Spain, Germany and Japan became extrarregional observers. The SICA has a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions of the United Nations General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at UN Headquarters.
Four countries, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, are going through a process of political, cultural, and migratory integration and have formed a group called The Central America Four or CA-4, which has introduced common internal borders. Costa Rica joins the CA-4 only in matters of economic integration and regional friendship.
Central American Court of Justice
Between November 14, and December 20, 1907, following a proposal made by Mexico and the United States, five Central American nations – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – took part in the Central American Peace Conference in Washington, D.C, sponsored by United States President Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of State, Nobel Prize winner Elihu Root. The five nations, which had all previously been Spanish colonies had sought on numerous prior occasions, with great difficulty, to form a political alliance. The earliest attempt was the Federal Republic of Central America, and the most recent such effort had taken place 11 years earlier, with the founding of the Republic of Central America.
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