Jun. 14, 2016


Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera

Panama

Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera

President, Costa Rica

BIO

Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera studied history at the University of Costa Rica and completed his master’s in Latin American studies at Tulane University. For 30 years, he has held academic positions, both at the University of Costa Rica and the National University. He was an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1986 and 1990 and worked closely in the formulation and negotiation of the peace process for Central America. He worked for the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, the Ibero-American Secretariat, and the Foundation of External Services for Peace and Democracy (Fundapem). From 1994 to 1998, he was Ambassador of Costa Rica for Central American Affairs and Director of Foreign Policy.

What makes Panama an important diplomatic, economic, and security partner for Costa Rica?

Costa Rica and Panama maintain a strong and deep relationship of friendship and policy alignment. They are countries with solid institutions, which have abolished the military, put in place open economic models, and prioritized investment in society and sustainable human development. In this sense, Panama is a strategic partner for Costa Rica.

Planning is underway for the construction of a new bridge over the Sixaola River. How will the project promote regional integration, and how will it impact trade?

The construction of the new bridge over the Sixaola River will facilitate the development of binational and international tourism in the Caribbean region, particularly in the provinces of Limón and Bocas del Toro. The bridge will help establish a multi-destination tourism hub in that area, which Costa Rica and Panama will be able to promote jointly in international markets. In addition, it will allow for the strengthening of commercial relations between both countries through the establishment of modern infrastructure that will support commercial transportation between the Port of Colón in Panama and the new APM terminal in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica.

How can Costa Rica and Panama leverage each other to promote tourism?

Tourism between both countries is very important, and in this regard Costa Rica and Panama could consider taking practical and concrete measures. Among these possible measures would be the simplification of migration processes at land border crossings, the development of new installations and facilities at the main overland entry and exit points, and increasing the frequency of tourist buses crossing between the two countries.