During the 1980s, the countries of the Central American isthmus (like many other areas of the world) experienced a crisis, not only in economic terms, but in social and political terms as well. In 1987, the International Commission for Central American Recovery and Development was established to analyze the crisis and provide some recommendations. Of the many proposals offered by the commission to attain sustained development in the region, one in particular attracted our attention and has inspired us to undertake the preparation and publication of this volume. The recommendation was that the five countries of Central America should "aggressively diversify and expand exports to earn foreign exchange and generate employment. A revitalized and restructured Central American Common Market can increase the region's capacity to export competitively."1 + ̲/
My research in the Caribbean Basin area has been supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. INT-8512276), the Mellon Foundation (through a Mellon Faculty Research Grant from the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University), the North-South Center of the University of Miami, and Faculty Development Grants from the College of Arts and Sciences, Florida International University, for which I am indebted.
Most of the chapters contained in this volume were presented at a conference held in March 1993 at Florida International University, under the joint auspices of the North-South Center at the University of Miami along with the Department of Economics and the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University.____________________