Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 74 | Agosto 1987


Central America

Central American Peace Accord

Nitlápan-Envío team

As read by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Dr. Oscar Arias Sánchez.
The Presidents of the Republics of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, having met in Guatemala City on August 6 and 7, 1987, inspired by the visionary and permanent will of the Contadora and Support Groups to advance peace, reinforced by the constant support of all the leaders and peoples of the world, the foremost international organizations and especially the European Economic Community and His Holiness John Paul II, inspired in the spirit of Esquipulas I and gathered together in Guatemala to discuss the peace plan presented by the Government of Costa Rica, have agreed:

—to fully take up the historic challenge of forging a destiny of peace for Central America;

—to commit ourselves to struggle for peace and put an end to war;

—to ensure that dialogue prevails over violence and reason over rancor;

—to dedicate this peace effort to the youth of Central America whose legitimate aspirations for peace and social justice, freedom and reconciliation have been frustrated for so many generations;

—to make the Central American Parliament a symbol of freedom, independence and the reconciliation we aspire to in Central America.

We ask for the respect and assistance of the international community in our efforts. There are Central American ways to achieve peace and development, but we need assistance to make them a reality. We ask for international treatment that would guarantee [our] development so the peace we seek will be a lasting one. We firmly reaffirm that peace and development are inseparable.

We thank President Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo and the noble people of Guatemala for having hosted this meeting. The generosity of the President and the people of Guatemala were decisive for the climate in which the peace agreements were adopted.

The following is the text of the Agreement signed by the five leaders:

The governments of the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, determined to achieve the objectives and develop the principles established in the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the Organization of American States, the Document of Objectives, the Caraballeda Message for Peace, Security and Democracy in Central America, the Guatemala Declaration, the Punta del Este Communiqué, the Declaration of Panama, the Esquipulas Declaration and the Contadora Treaty Proposal for Peace and Cooperation in Central America of July 6, 1986, have agreed on the following procedure for establishing a firm and lasting peace in Central America.

1. National Reconciliation

a) Dialogue

To urgently carry out, in those cases where deep divisions have resulted within society, steps for national reconciliation that would allow for popular participation with full guarantees in authentic political processes of a democratic nature based on justice, freedom, and democracy. Towards this end, to create those mechanisms that, in accordance with the law, would allow for dialogue with opposition groups.

For this purpose, the corresponding governments will initiate a dialogue with all unarmed internal political opposition groups and with those who have availed themselves of the amnesty.

b) Amnesty

In each Central American country, except those where the International Verification and Follow Up Commission determines that such a measure is not necessary, an Amnesty decree will be issued containing all the provisions to guarantee the inviolability of life; as well as freedom in all its forms, property and the security of the persons to whom these decrees apply. Simultaneous with the issuing of the Amnesty decree by the government, the irregular forces of the respective country will place in freedom all persons in their power.

c) National Reconciliation Commission

In order to verify the compliance with the commitments that the five Central American governments subscribed to by signing this document concerning amnesty, cease-fire, democratization and free elections, a National Reconciliation Commission will be established whose duties will be to verify the actual carrying out of the national reconciliation process in practice, as well as the full exercise of all civil and political rights of Central American citizens guaranteed in this document.

The National Reconciliation Commission will be made up of a delegate and an alternate delegate from the executive branch; a bishop delegate and an alternate bishop delegate recommended by the Bishops’ Conference and chosen by the government from a list of three candidates that must be presented [by the Episcopal Conference] within a period of fifteen days upon receipt of a formal invitation. This invitation will be issued by the government within five working days from the signing of this document.

The same procedure using a list of three candidates will be used to select a delegate and alternate delegate from the legally registered political opposition parties. Said list of three [candidates] should be presented within the same above-mentioned period.

In addition, each Central American government will choose an outstanding citizen, who does not hold public office or belong to the governing party, and his respective alternate to be part of this Commission.

The agreement or decree that announces the formation of the respective National Commissions shall be communicated immediately to the other Central American governments.

2. Exhortation for the Cessation of Hostilities

The governments make a vehement appeal that a cessation of hostilities be arranged in the States of the area currently suffering from the activity of irregular or insurgent groups. The governments of these States commit themselves to undertake all the necessary steps for achieving an effective cease-fire within the constitutional framework.

3. Democratization

The governments commit themselves to promote an authentic democratic, pluralist and participatory process that includes the promotion of social justice, respect for human rights, [state] sovereignty, the territorial integrity of states and the right of all nations to freely determine its economic, political, and social model without outside interference of any kind, and to carry out in a verifiable manner those measures leading to the establishment, or in their instances, the improvement of representative and pluralist democratic systems that would provide guarantees for the organization of political parties, effective popular participation in the decision-making process, and ensure free access to different currents of opinion to honest electoral processes and newspapers based on the full exercise of citizens' rights.

For the purpose of verifying good faith in the development of this democratization process, it will be understood that:

a) Complete freedom of press, television and radio shall exist. This complete freedom will include the opening and maintaining in operation of communications media for all ideological groups and the operation of this media without prior censorship.

b) Complete political pluralism must be manifest. In this regard, political groupings shall have broad access to communications media, full exercise of the right of association and the right to publicly demonstrate the exercise of their right to free speech, be it oral, written or televised, as well as freedom of movement by members of political parties in order to proselytize.

c) Likewise, those governments of Central America that have a state of exception, siege or emergency in effect shall terminate that state, and reestablish the full exercise of all constitutional guarantees.

4. Free Elections

Once the conditions inherent to every democracy are established, free, pluralist, and honest elections shall be held. As a joint expression of the Central American states to seek reconciliation and lasting peace for its people, elections will be held for a Central American Parliament, whose founding was proposed in the Esquipulas Declaration of May 25, 1986. In pursuit of the above-mentioned objectives, the leaders expressed their will to progress in the formation of this Parliament, and agreed that the Preparatory Commission of the Central American Parliament shall conclude its deliberations and submit the respective Treaty Proposal to the Central American Presidents within 150 days.

These elections will take place simultaneously in all the countries throughout Central America in the first half of 1988, on a date mutually agreed to by the Presidents of the Central American states. These elections will be subject to vigilance by the appropriate electoral bodies. The respective governments commit themselves to extend an invitation to the Organization of American States and the United Nations, as well as the governments of third states, to send observers who shall bear witness that the electoral processes have been held in accordance with the strictest norms of equal access of all political parties to the media, as well as full guarantees for public demonstrations and other kinds of proselytizing propaganda.

The appropriate Founding Treaty shall be submitted for approval or ratification in the five countries so that the elections for the Central American Parliament can be held within the period indicated in this section.

After the elections for the Central American Parliament have been held, equally free and democratic elections shall be held with international observers and the same guarantees in each country to name popular representatives to municipalities, congresses and legislative assemblies, and the presidencies of the Republics. These elections will be held according to the proposed calendars and within the periods established in the current political constitutions.

5. Cessation of Assistance to Irregular Forces or Insurrectionist Movements

The governments of the five Central American states shall request the governments of the region, and the extra-regional governments that openly or covertly provide military, logistical, financial, propagandistic aid in manpower, armaments, munitions and equipment to irregular forces or insurrectionist movements to cease this aid as an indispensable element for achieving a stable and lasting peace in the region.

The above does not include assistance for repatriation, or in lieu thereof, the relocation of and assistance necessary for those persons having belonged to these groups or forces to become reintegrated into normal life. Likewise, striving for a true Latin American spirit, the irregular forces or insurgent groups that operate in Central America will be asked to abstain from receiving such assistance.

These petitions will be made in accordance with the provisions of the Document of Objectives regarding the elimination of arms traffic, whether it be inter-regional or extra-regional, intended for persons, organizations or groups attempting to destabilize the governments of the Central American countries.

6. The Non-Use of Territory to Attack Other States

The five countries that signed this document reaffirm their commitment to prevent the use of their own territory and to neither render nor permit military or logistical support to persons, organizations, or groups attempting to destabilize the governments of the Central American countries.

7. Negotiations on Matters Relating to Security, Verification, Control and Limitation of Armaments

The governments of the five Central American states, with the participation of the Contadora Group in exercise of its role as mediator, will continue negotiations on the points still pending in the Contadora Treaty Proposal for Peace and Cooperation in Central American concerning "Security, Verification and Control."

In addition, these negotiations will entail measures for the disarmament of the irregular forces that willing to accept the amnesty decrees.

8. Refugees and Displaced Persons

The governments of Central America commit themselves to give urgent attention to the flow of refugees and displaced persons brought about by the regional crisis, through protection and assistance, particularly in areas of education, health, work and security and whenever voluntarily and individually expressed, to facilitate in the repatriation, resettlement and relocation [of these persons]. They also commit themselves to request assistance for Central American refugees and displaced persons from the International Community, both directly through bilateral or multilateral agreements, and through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] and other organizations and agencies.

9. Cooperation, Democracy and Freedom for Peace and Development

In the climate of freedom guaranteed by democracy, the Central American countries will adopt agreements permitting the intensification of development in order to achieve more egalitarian and poverty-free societies. Consolidation of democracy presupposes the creation of a system of economic and social justice and well-being. To achieve these objectives the governments will jointly seek special economic support from the international community.

10. International Verification and Follow-up

a) International Verification and Follow-up Commission

An International Verification and Follow-Up Commission will be established, comprising the secretaries general of the Organization of American States and the United Nations or their representatives, as well as the foreign ministers of Central America, the Contadora Group and the Support Group. This Commission will have the duties of verifying and following up on compliance with the commitments undertaken in this document.

b) Support and Facilities Given to the Mechanisms for Reconciliation and Verification and Follow-Up

In order to strengthen the efforts of the International Verification and Follow-Up Commission, the governments of the five Central American states shall issue declarations of support for [the Commission's] work. All nations interested in promoting the cause of freedom, democracy and peace in Central America may adhere to these declarations.

The five governments shall offer all the necessary facilities for full compliance with the verification and follow-up duties of the National Reconciliation Commission of each country and of the International Verification and Follow-Up Commission.

11. Calendar for the Implementation of Agreements

Within a period of 15 days from the signing of this document, the foreign ministers of Central America will meet as the Executive Committee to regulate, promote and make feasible compliance with the agreements contained herein, and to organize the working commissions so that, henceforth, the processes leading to compliance with the contracted commitments may be initiated within the stipulated periods by means of consultations, undertakings and other mechanisms deemed necessary. Ninety days from the signing of this document, the commitments pertaining to amnesty, cease fire, democratization, cessation of assistance to irregular forces or insurrectionist movements and the non-use of territory to attack other states, will enter into force simultaneously and publicly as defined herein.

One hundred and twenty days from the signing of this document, the International Verification and Follow-Up Commission will analyze the progress [made] in compliance with the agreements provided for herein.

After 150 days, the five Central American Presidents will meet and receive a report from the International Verification and Follow-Up Commission and will make the pertinent decisions.

Final Provisions

The points included in this document form part of a harmonious and indivisible whole. The signing of [the document] incurs an obligation accepted in good faith to comply with the agreement simultaneously in the established periods.

We, the Presidents of the five states of Central America, with the political will to respond to our peoples’ longings for peace, sign [this document] in the City of Guatemala, on the seventh day of August of 1987.


Transcribed by the Press Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Managua, August 7, 1987

(unofficial translation)

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