Esquipulas II

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Esquipulas II

Esquipulas II, the 1987 accord based on a peace plan of Oscar Arias Sánchez, president of Costa Rica, and a proposal for a Central American parliament by Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, president of Guatemala. It was signed by the five Central American presidents on 7 August 1987. The provisions were designed to promote national reconciliation, cessation of hostilities, democratization, free elections, cessations of assistance to irregular forces, nonuse of national territory by irregular forces attacking other states, and international and national verification. Five mechanisms were created to implement the plan: a national commission of reconciliation in each country, an executive commission of the five foreign ministers, a Central American parliament, an International Commission of Verification and Follow-up, and yearly presidential summit commissions.

The plan was met with worldwide acclaim and earned Oscar Arias the Nobel Peace Prize, but U.S. president Ronald Reagan strongly resisted and criticized it. The U.S. government even took a variety of steps that appeared designed to undermine the peace process. Esquipulas II was supported by the United Nations specifically through the creation of the United Nations Organization in Central America (ONUCA), with the support of Canada, Spain, and West Germany. The role of the United States, Cuba, and the Soviet Union in the region was reduced.

In the months immediately after the signing of the agreement, some initial advances were made. A meeting between the Guatemalan government and the URNG (a guerrilla group) was held, a meeting between Salvadoran president José Napoleón Duarte and the FMLN-FDR (an opposition party and guerrilla group coalition) took place, and contacts between the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and the Contras were made.

Esquipulas II contributed to the holding of democratic elections in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua and to ending the armed hostilities in Nicaragua (1990) and El Salvador (1992).

See alsoContadora; Esquipulas.


Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, "Esquipulas II, tres años después," in Panorama centroamericano (Pensamiento y acción) no. 19 (1990): 3-11.

Francisco Rojas Aravena, Ponencia presentada a seminario Esquipulas: El camino de la paz (Guatemala, 1990).

John A. Booth and Thomas W. Walker, Understanding Central America, 2nd ed. (1993).

Howard H. Lentner, State Formation in Central America: The Struggle for Autonomy, Development, and Democracy (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Murillo Zamora, Carlos. Paz en Centroamérica de Nassau a Esquipulas. San José, Costa Rica: Fundación Arias para la Paz y el Progreso Humano: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 2006.

Zamora R., Augusto. La paz burlada: Los procesos de paz de Contadora y Esquipulas. Madrid: SEPHA, 2006.

                                        David Carey Jr.