Central Americans observed the 125th anniversary of independence from Spain by talking about union with each other. They had once—for a brief moment in history—been united before. For 16 years after the fall of the Spanish Captaincy-General, they had lived turbulently together as the United Provinces of Central America. They had broken apart, but the memory still lived.

Initiator of last week's talks: Jose Gustavo Guerrero, president of the International Court of Justice and Central America's leading internationalist. To his home in Santa Ana, El Salvador, he invited the heads of the five Central American countries...

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