Central American leaders respond to Russia invasion of Ukraine with differing views

Photo by Karollyne Hubert

25th February 2022

Although the situation unfolding now in Ukraine may appear far removed from Central America, rising prices of commodities ranging from fuel to food, volatile foreign exchange rates, and looming travel restrictions affecting tourism are already being felt across the region. Accordingly, the leaders of Central America have been making their voices heard. The governments of Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala have all denounced Russia’s actions (albeit to varying degrees), urging a return to “diplomacy and dialogue.” “What happens in a war not only affects those directly involved but affects everyone,” President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica said in an early-morning press conference yesterday. “This [conflict in Ukraine] will affect Costa Rica. It will affect fuel prices. This will affect transportation logistics and may affect activities of various kinds. Hence our call for peace,” he continued. Although President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua has yet to issue a statement since the invasion began on Thursday, he said in a televised address on Monday: “If Ukraine gets into NATO, they will be saying to Russia ‘let’s go to war,’ and that explains why Russia is acting like this. Russia is simply defending itself.” On Thursday morning, concurrent to the launch of the invasion, Vyacheslav Volodin, the President of the Russian State Duma, arrived in Nicaragua from Cuba to meet with his counterpart, Gustavo Porras, the President of the Nicaraguan National Assembly, to reaffirm the “friendship” of their two nations. Meanwhile, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador is the only Central American leader that has yet to weigh in, besides expressing his scepticism about the “credibility” of US intelligence assessments and the sincerity of Canada’s “stances about democracy” earlier in the week. 

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