Central America: New Hopes for Integration

Nov 1, 2010

Crime and political rifts continue to block progress towards unity in Central America. Strides towards forging critical mass have been made, but full integration is lagging.

by Sean Mattson

While parts of LatAm commemorate two centuries of freedom from Spanish colonial rule this year, the region’s forgotten corner is quietly realizing that old-fashioned independence does not work so well in a globalized market. In Central America, 2010 is still shy of a bicentennial but marks the 50-year anniversary of a five-country club created to bring economic integration.

It is hardly a reason to crack open champagne. The milestone serves more of a reminder that the region has little to show for two generations of mostly talk about unification.

That may finally be changing. Skepticism still reigns at the prospect of Central America becoming an open-border market of 40 million people under a single currency. Two recent events, however, suggest it is slowly moving in that direction.

The first is near-completion of an electrical interconnection grid that promises to attract hundreds of millions of dollars...

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