The Organisation of American States (O.A.S.) ended its First Annual General Assembly Conference on Saturday?
SV Airport sign "Costa Rica Welcomes You"
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Initials OS/1627 TA/OS/1713
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Background: The Organisation of American States (O.A.S.) ended its First Annual General Assembly Conference on Saturday (24 April) in San Jose. 19 foreign ministers from the American continent discussed problems ranging from fishing rights to a better trade deal with the United States. Probably the most concrete achievement of the 10-day conference was the virtual reconciliation of El Salvador and Honduras, the two Central American states that fought a bitter border war two years ago.
Costa Rica, one of the smallest of the Latin American countries, was the host for this conference. Discovered by Christopher Columbus on his fourth and last voyage to the area, Costa Rica has been independent since 1821. The economy is based primarily on exports of bananas and coffee. Coffee was introduced from Cuba and the growing of the crop was encouraged by giving free land to immigrants. As a consequence, coffee growing led to a rapid increase in the birth rate during the mid-19th century. Even today, Costa Rica has an annual increase in population of 4.1%, one of the highest in the world. President Jose Figueres has played - key role in the nation's history. He is currently serving his second non-consecutive term in office. Since coming to power in 1948, he helped to draw up a new constitution providing for universal suffrage. President Figueres abolished the Army after the 1948 civil war, thereby removing a dominant element in the constant political upheaval elsewhere in Latin America. In his message to the OAS Conference, President Figueres said that his country would not resume diplomatic relations with Cuba until the regime of Fidel Castro freed its political prisoners and stopped aiding subversive movements on the continent.