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Sarah Dickson

Ambassador to Guatemala (June 2012 - June 2015)

Part of UK in Guatemala

13th September 2012

Celebrating the independence of Central America

This week on 15 September all of the countries of Central America celebrate independence day. There are flags everywhere and it seems to me to be a moment when people express national pride, celebrate success and remember how important it is to be able to control your own destiny as a nation. This week will see independence parties, concerts and official acts across the region. In Guatemala I attended the event hosted by the Central American countries as they marked their shared history with participation from school children, musicians and bands.  I am also looking forward to working in Honduras in this patriotic month of September.

I know London has been enjoying a similar patriotic moment this week as part of the Team GB Olympic celebrations, when the buses with the medal winners passed through the streets greeted by thousands of cheering people. In some ways I feel sad to have missed that event but, I was able to see one here as Guatemala celebrated its own victory parade recently, after the historic medal win in London. 

This idea of pride in nationality and controlling your destiny also has resonance for those of us in the Embassy who met the visiting Falkland Islanders last week. In their one day visit to Guatemala, the two members of the Legislative Assembly, talked about the realities of living in the islands and what it meant to them to be able to decide their own futures. They talked about their desire for better dialogue and relationships with all of Latin America. I think it was surprising for some of the people they met to also hear how happy they are with their connection with the UK and how independence is not their current ambition.  They just want their wishes respected.

So in this month of flags and patriotism, all of us in the Embassy wish the people of Guatemala, Honduras and the rest of Central America all the very best for their independence day celebrations.  Or in the words of the Foreign Secretary “The histories of Britain and the great Latin American region are interwoven. And our destinies are linked far more than has been appreciated in recent years, and will grow only more so over time. We cannot find answers to global problems without each other. And our closer cooperation can only be to the benefit of all our people.”

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