In This Review

Desarrollo, integración e igualdad: La respuesta de Centroamérica a la crisis de la globalización (Development, integration, and equality: The response of Central America to the crisis of globalization)
Desarrollo, integración e igualdad: La respuesta de Centroamérica a la crisis de la globalización (Development, integration, and equality: The response of Central America to the crisis of globalization)
By UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, 2018, 180 pp.

This comprehensive, data-rich review traces the social and economic progress of Central America since 1960, with an emphasis on the last five years. The region has enjoyed economic stability and has made significant strides toward integrating commerce, installing modern telecommunications networks, adopting renewable energy, and improving its residents’ quality of life. Local firms now stretch across the region, and foreign direct investment has accelerated. But a demographic explosion has eroded these gains. Central America’s population skyrocketed from 13 million in 1960 to nearly 50 million today. Rural poverty remains shockingly high, especially in Guatemala and Honduras. As a result, much of the region’s foreign currency comes from emigrant workers; remittances totaled $84 billion from 2013 to 2017. The report emphasizes the need for investment in public education, rural irrigation, and basic infrastructure, since lasting increases in real wages will require strong growth in labor productivity. It also warns the United States against deporting millions of immigrants, as sending so many people back would inflame social tensions in their home countries.