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On Tuesday, September 12th 2023, the Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica, H.E.Mrs.Rita María Hernández Bolaños, the Ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador, H.E. Mr. Milton Eduardo Umaña Acevedo, the Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala, H.E.Mrs. Ava Atzum Arévalo de Moscoso, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Honduras, H.E. Mr. Roberto Augusto Martínez Castañeda held an historic celebration in honor of the bicentennial of Central American independence-marking 202 years since the act of independence of Central America in 1821.

The celebration took place at Daniel hotel in Herzliya with nearly 200 guests. While walking up to the hall where the event took place, and before being greeted by the four Ambassadors at the entrance, the guests had explored an art exhibtion by the Tel-Aviv based Gina gallery. The exhibition presented the work of central- American artists  known for their Naive style of art, which is characterised by childlike simplicity of execution and vision.

Entering the hall, Hors d'oeuvres were served on tables decorated with flowers and small flags, and  promotion videos of the four countries were displayed in the background of the beautiful coastline of Herzliya.

The ceremonial part of the evening began with playing the five national anthems including Israel’s Hatikvah, followed by remarks given Minister Ofir Akunis, Minister of Science and Technology, who spoke on behalf of the government of Israel

 In his remarks, Mr. Akunis mentioned that this year marks 75 years of diplomatic relations between the four countries and Israel, which were established immediately after Israel's declaration of independence.

Akunis also expressed the deep friendship between the countries of Central America and the Jewish people, which goes back many years to the dark days of Second World War,  when Arturo Castellanos, the General Consul of El Salvador in Geneva helped save 40,000 Jews by issuing them Salvadorian identity cards.

Another key person was Jorge Garcia Granados, the Guatemalan Ambassador to the U.N. who was a member of the UNSCOP delegation that supported the Partition Plan. Akunis mentioned his visit to Guatemala in 2020 in the honor of president Giammattei presidency ceremony, where he thanked him for the warm relations Israel and Guatemala have.

Akunis talked about Padre Nunez of Costa Rica, who  also played an important role in lobbying support for the Partition Plan, and later, as Ambassador to the U.N. and to Israel, fought tirelessly against anti-Israel resolutions. Last, Akunis offered thanks to Honduras for its part in permitting the ship Exodus in 1947 to sail, carrying thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors from Europe to Israel.

Then Akunis thanked Guatemala and Honduras for having their embassies in Jerusalem, while hoping that El Salvador and Costa Rica would return their embassies to Jerusalem in the near future.
Akunis also expressed his hope that In order to continue to deepen the relations with the countries of Central America, Israel will be accepted into SICA as an observer.
Akunis concluded by wishing the governments and the people of Central America a future of peace, security and prosperity, and that you enjoy your celebrations for your independence.

Akunis was followed by the Ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador, H.E. Mr. Milton Eduardo Umaña Acevedo who gave remarks on behalf of the four countries. The ambassador started by saying that Central America is rewriting its history, basing its construction of true independence on a freedom that promotes benefits and developments for their people.  He suggested that now the focus should be on goals that position Central America before the world as modern nations at the forefront of opportunities. 

The Ambassador committed to keep promoting the culture of these countries through common historical ties, and to promote trade, investment, and tourism, which will benefit the people as well as foreign investors through the SICA programming, in an environment of trust and security.

The ambassador mentioned that the 202 years of independence followed a very intense process of events for the countries but that overall, all Central American nations have aimed at seeking better development and progress for their citizens based on respect for the sovereign power that resides within its own people.

According to him, the integration that the Central American countries enjoy today has been possible, to a large extent, due to the accompaniment and support that we have been receiving from the international community and from friendly countries, such as Israel.

He elaborated the Israeli efforts during the 50s and 60s, when Israel offered joint programs to share knowledge  and skills in areas such as agriculture, medicine, cooperative organizations, and rural development both regional and communal. He mentioned the thousands of students who have since participated in study programs in Israel with Mashav cooperation projects, which guides the participants on the construction of a modern state through knowledge and innovation.

The Ambassador concluded by thanking, on behalf of the four countries, "Keren Kayemet Le Israel" (JNF) for the support provided to carry out the ceremony, and the guests who attended. He wished Israel Shana Tova U’metuka, Happy new Jewish year. The speech was followed by raising a toast for independence and solidarity.

Mr. Eitan Ginzburg, representing Keren Kakement L’Israel (JNF), spoke about the partnership between the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Central American countries, which represents a valuable collaboration aimed at promoting environmental sustainability and community development. 

Among the distinguished guests also were  Ambassador Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Jonathan Peled – Deputy Director General for Latin America of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Leo Vinovezky Director of the Economic Division Department for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean; David Cohen former Ambassador of Israel to El Salvador; Honorary Consul of Costa-Rica in Haifa Mr. Nathan Allalouf and his wife Limor, Honorary Consul of Guatemala Mr. Hernan Felman; First Vice-President of Edmond De Rothschild bank Mr. Nicolas Levy ,Gabriel Hayon – President of the Diplomatic Institute;  Mauricio Diamond; Int’l Spokesperson of the Intl’ Christian Embassy in Jerusalem Mr. Miguel Munoz Valeriano; and President of Israel-America Latina Chamber Mr. Roberto Spindel;  Ariel Stuczynski - Desk Manager Sud America at the KKL ( Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael ); Ambassadors, others diplomatics, military, business leaders and members of the Latin American community in Israel;

Diplomacy.co.il offers congratulations to the 4 Governments, Embassies and people on its 202 National Day, and wish best wishes for success and strong bilateral relations between the nations
 Photos by Silvia G. Golan
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