Central American Regional Integration

Central American Regional Integration

Central American Regional Integration

Central American Regional Integration


For scholars and practitioners alike, regional integration has become a topic of almost obsessive preoccupation. To some it is the way station "in a world not yet ready to become 'one.' " To others it is nationalism magnified in larger, and potentially hostile, groupings. There have been many attempts to achieve regional economic integration, but, with the exception of the European Economic Community, progress has been limited. The second most successful example to date is the Central American Common Market, and therein lies its interest.

The author looks at integration as a general phenomenon and, drawing upon his knowledge of African integration efforts, seeks to identify the critical elements of the process. These are applied to the Latin American Common Market and the matrix within which it functions.

The quadrupling of trade within the region in the first five years after the signing of the General Treaty of Central American Economic Integration is evidence of the Common Market's influence. However, as the author points out, progress itself compounds the problems that have to be overcome, and a political upheaval in one member country could swamp the fragile bark. "It is still too early to judge the total importance of the process in relation to the major social problems" or the likelihood of ultimate political union.

ANNE WINSLOW Editor-in-Chief March 1967

Cover photo courtesy of UNATIONS.

A section of the Inter-American Highway near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

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