Economy of Central America

The economy of Central America is the eleventh-largest economy in Latin America, behind Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, According to the World Bank, the nominal GDP of Central America reached 204 billion US dollar in 2010, as recovery from the crisis of 2009, where gross domestic product (GDP) suffered a decline to 3.8%.[1] The major economic income are the agriculture and tourism, although the industrial sector is in strong growth, mainly in Panama.

United States is the main socio-commercial of all Central American countries. Other important socio-commercial countries in Central America are the European Union, Japan, Dominican Republic and Mexico.[2] Currently, the Central American bloc is based on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States known as CAFTA-DR, and another in negotiations with Peru. The Panama Canal is the connection of Central America with the rest of the world, and the main means of communication for trade with Central America, South America, United States, Europe and Asia.

The economic development of Central America is the middle level, although competitiveness is remarkable:

  • Guatemala: Is the largest economy in the isthmus and the tenth in Latin America, has the largest nominal GDP ($118,655 million)[3] and GDP purchasing power parity (PPP) of $81.51 billion (2013 data).[4] Maintains strong commercial relations mainly with the United States, Mexico, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, Germany and Korea. According to the International Monetary Fund, Guatemala has a stable economy.[5]
  • Panama: Besides having the highest Human Development Index (HDI) in the region,[6] Panama has been the highest economic growth in Latin America, with an increase of 6.2% (2014).[7] Panama is recognized as the most industrial country in Central America, and the second in Latin America after Chile. Has strong business relationships and treaties with the United States, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Japan and Singapore.
  • Costa Rica: The economy of Costa Rica is the third-largest in the region, is the Central American country that has more trade relations, mainly with the United States, Singapore, European Union, Mexico, Chile, China, CARICOM (Caribbean Community), among others countries. Politically, Costa Rica is the most stable country in Central America.
  • El Salvador: According to the World Bank, El Salvador is the fourth-largest economy in the region, and has a GDP PPP of $50,903 million.[3] The Salvadoran economy grew by 3% in 2010, after a strong contraction in 2009.[8]
  • Honduras: Is the second-poorest country in Central America, with 60% living in poverty according to the CIA World Factbook. In percentage, Honduras has the largest cheap labor in Central America, its economy is mainly agricultural, the main export products are rice, coffee, bananas, vegetables, and other products.[9]
  • Nicaragua: Is the least stable country in the region, and the second-poorest in the hemisphere after Haiti. Nicaragua is the country that produces less, has the lowest HDI in the region, and it has the lowest minimum wage in Central America (USD $141).[10] Nicaragua is the country that receives financial assistance in the region, since 4 out of 10 people live on less than a dollar a day,[11] according to the United Nations Development Programme. Nicaragua is integrated into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
Panama Canal Gatun Locks
The Panama Canal is the principal trade route between Central America and the world

Currency by country

Each country has its own national currency, with the exception of El Salvador, where the US dollar was taken as currency in the country as of January 1, 2001,[12] replacing the Salvadoran colón, Belize is a country where the dollar circulates, but of Belizean type. In the case of Panama two types of currency are circulating, the Panamanian balboa and the US dollar.

Official Currency
 Belize Belizean dollar
 Costa Rica Colón
 El Salvador US dollar
 Guatemala Quetzal
 Honduras Lempira
 Nicaragua Córdoba
 Panama Balboa / US dollar

Gross domestic product by country (2012)

Guatemala has the highest gross domestic product in Central America, followed by Panama, Costa Rica and El Salvador. The GDP data are based on data from the World Bank corresponding to 2012.[13] The rates of economic growth come from the CIA World Factbook.[14]

Countries GDP PPP GDP PPP per capita nominal GDP nominal GDP per capita Economic growth (%)
 Belize $2,754,000,000 $8,412 $1,520,000,000 $4,481 +3.00
 Costa Rica $58,599,000,000 $12,558 $44,884,000,000 $9,500 +5.10
 El Salvador $45,980,000,000 $7,734 $23,985,000,000 $4,108 +1.90
 Guatemala $78,419,000,000 $5,191 $50,296,000,000 $3,330 +3.30
 Honduras $37,670,000,000 $4,593 $18,180,000,000 $2,185 +3.30
 Nicaragua $19,894,000,000 $3,336 $7,828,000,000 $1,291 +4.10
 Panama $67,804,000,000 $17,830 $36,252,500,000 $9,534 +10.00

Exports and imports

Regarding exports and imports, the balance is negative in the region, each country consumes more than it produces. The main products that the region exports are agricultural type (cocoa, coffee, rice, flowers, etc.), the largest purchaser is the United States. While on the other hand, the region imports nontraditional products (cars, appliances, electronics, etc.) and the main seller is United States.

Imports of goods and services (2010) Exports of goods and services (2010) Balance
 Panama[15] $25,232,000,000 $18,106,000,000 +$835,000,000
 Costa Rica[16] $14,010,000,000 $12,120,000,000 +$120,000,000
 El Salvador[17] $8,234,000,000 $9,333,000,000 +$135,000,000
 Guatemala[18] $8,135,000,000 $8,957,000,000 +$130,000,000
 Honduras[19] $7,235,000,000 $7,002,000,000 +$96,300,000
 Nicaragua[20] $4,723,000,000 $3,366,000,000 +$100,500,000

Foreign direct investment

According to the World Bank, Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala are the countries that receive more foreign direct investment in Central America, and exceeded one billion US dollars. The next table shows the values in dollars, and investment growth between 2010 and 2014:[21]

Countries Foreign investment (2010) Foreign investment (2011) Foreign investment (2012) Foreign investment (2013) Foreign investment (2014)
 Belize $96,449,877 $95,348,525 $194,201,409 $92,247,731 $141,097,030
 Costa Rica $1,850,664,231 $2,141,615,128 $2,692,160,896 $3,284,494,667 $2,345,257,533
 El Salvador $113,160,684 $122,500,004 $447,709,564 $242,345,997 $474,801,761
 Guatemala $845,598,200 $1,139,659,133 $1,263,638,429 $1,353,141,908 $1,204,670,350
 Honduras $484,836,873 $1,042,571,021 $1,067,550,208 $1,069,029,263
 Nicaragua $489,900,000 $936,300,000 $767,658,534 $815,500,000 $840,000,000
 Panama $2,549,100,000 $4,395,600,000 $3,297,100,000 $5,053,200,000 $5,213,800,000


Banking is one of the main economic activities in Central America, which takes place mainly in Panama, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Since 2010, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have developed strong growth of the banking. Regarding financial centers, El Salvador and Panama are the only Central American countries that have a World Trade Center.

The economist magazine American Economy published its ranking "The 250 best banks in Latin America," presented the list of the 42 Central American banks included.

Within the Latin American general ranking, the first Central American Bank is the number 39 in the list, and it is the HSBC Panama in Panama City.

Within the first 100 places in the general ranking of Amperica Economy, 7 Central banks appears: HSBC Panama ranked 39th, General of Panama at 42, National Panama (57), National of Costa Rica (70), Bladex of Panama (75), Agricultural Bank of El Salvador (85) and Costa Rica Bank of Costa Rica (92).[22]

See also


  1. ^ GDP growth (annual %) World Bank Data. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  2. ^ Relaciones Comerciales entre Centroamérica, Panamá y Japón SIECA. July 2013. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  3. ^ a b Report for Selected Countries and Subjects International Monetary Fund.
  4. ^ Guatemala Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) IndexMundi sources of the CIA The World Factbook. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  5. ^ FMI calificó como estable la economía de Guatemala
  6. ^ Panamá - Índice de Desarrollo Humano - IDH Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  7. ^ Economía panameña crece al 6,2% Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  8. ^ Perspectivas del FMI sobre Centroamérica Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  9. ^ CIA The World Factbook - Honduras Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  10. ^ [1] Prensa Latinoamericana. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  11. ^ [2] PNUD. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  12. ^ [3] La Prensa Gráfica. Retrieved; 25/07/2015.
  13. ^ Gross domestic product 2012, PPP. World Bank. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  14. ^ «Country Comparison. GDP - real growth rate», CIA The World Factbook. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  15. ^ Balance preliminar de las economías de América Latina y el Caribe • 2010 Panamá. Retrieved: 25/07/2015
  16. ^ Balance preliminar de las economías de América Latina y el Caribe • 2010 Costa Rica. Retrieved: 25/07/2015
  17. ^ Balance preliminar de las economías de América Latina y el Caribe • 2010 El Salvador. Retrieved: 25/07/2015
  18. ^ Balance preliminar de las economías de América Latina y el Caribe • 2010 Guatemala. Retrieved: 25/07/2015
  19. ^ Balance preliminar de las economías de América Latina y el Caribe • 2010 Honduras. Retrieved: 25/07/2015
  20. ^ Balance preliminar de las economías de América Latina y el Caribe • 2010 Nicaragua. Retrieved: 25/07/2015
  21. ^ Inversión extranjera directa por país (2010-2014) Data World Bank. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
  22. ^ Ranking de Bancos de Centroamérica The Economist magazine American Economy. Retrieved: 25/07/2015.
1932 Honduran general election

A general election (Spanish: Elecciones generales de Honduras de 1932) was held in Honduras on 28 October 1932. Voters went to the polls to elect a new President of the Republic and a new Congress.

“President Vicente Mejía Colindres resisted pressure from his own party to manipulate the results to favor the Liberal Party of Honduras candidate, Angel Zúñiga Huete. As a result, the National Party of Honduras candidate, Tiburcio Carías Andino, won the election by a margin of some 20,000 votes”.

1948 Honduran general election

A general election (Spanish: Elecciones generales de Honduras de 1948) was held in Honduras on 10 October 1948. Voters went to the polls to elect a new President of the Republic and a new Congress.

“Even though the Liberal Party had been made legal again to give the appearance of a competitive election with the National Party, the Liberals boycotted the elections after assessing their chances. But as so often is the case in Central American history, the carefully chosen successor did not turn out to be all that malleable after all”.

1954 Honduran general election

A general election (Spanish: Elecciones generales de Honduras de 1954) was held in Honduras on 10 October 1954. The elections took place, with relative honesty.The split among the Nationalists enabled the Liberals to win a plurality (48 percent) in the national elections, but without an absolute majority the election was thrown into the National Congress, where the distribution of seats favored the Nationalists and the MNR.The Nationalists and Reformists, unable to concur on a candidate of their own, had agreed to block Ramón Villeda Morales.In November the election was thrown into Congress.

“Unfortunately, two-thirds of the deputies was necessary to constitute a quorum and when the National and Reformist deputies boycotted the proceedings (in a ploy designed by US Ambassador Whitting Willauer), a stalemate ensued”.In the midst of this crisis, President Juan Manuel Gálvez, stricken by illness, turned over the power of the presidency to his vice-president.On 16 November 1954 Vice President Julio Lozano Díaz assumed the presidency during a constitutional crisis occasioned by an anarchic election. His ostensible purpose was to save the country from descending into chaos. Once in power, however, he decided to stay there.Owing to the failure of Congress to agree on a winner, the country seemed about to plunge into a civil war, which no one wanted. Thus there was almost relief when, on 6 December, Lozano moved decisively, declaring himself dictator. It was the same old story of someone assuming strong-man rule in order to avoid the imaginary ‘chaos’ that would result from democratic rule. Soon Lozano even uncovered the obligatory ‘communist plot,’ allegedly backed by Guatemalan ex-president Juan José Arévalo, which allowed him to tighten the screws even more. Villeda and other Liberal leaders were exiled from the country.President Lozano, asserting his independence, dissolved congress and appointed a State Advisory Council (59-member) with representatives from the Liberal, National, and MNR Parties. It was to write a new constitution, labor code, social security law, and act merely in an advisory capacity to the president.

1963 Honduran general election

Direct popular general elections (Spanish: Elecciones generales de Honduras de 1963) were scheduled in Honduras for 13 October 1963.

The Liberal Party of Honduras selected Modesto Rodas Alvarado, even though the president Ramón Villeda Morales favoured another candidate. Villeda and most of the party maintained unity.The National Party of Honduras nomination of Ramón Ernesto Cruz Uclés “... marked the requiem once and for all of the forty-year domination of Tiburcio Carías Andino over the National party. Because Cruz defeated Carías’ son, Gonzalo Carías Castillo, by just three votes in the convention”.

Immediately after the May convention, Carías resigned as the party’s jefe supreme and with his son formed the Popular Progressive Party of Honduras.“The 1963 election campaign favored Modesto Rodas Alvarado, the charismatic and fiery former president of the Constitutional Assembly, who promised to large campaign crowds that he would reduce the power of the military. There was a ground swell of support from various sectors of Honduran society to follow the Costa Rican model and proscribe the military”.“Ten days before the 1963 presidential elections, the military, fearful of Villeda Morales’s establishment of a Civil Guard independent of the military and encouraged by the fruit companies and domestic landlords, successfully overthrew the Villeda Morales government and canceled the elections, which probably would have been won by a Liberal colleague of the president’s. Although the Kennedy administration refused to grant U.S. diplomatic recognition to the new regime, the Johnson administration did so a year later”.

1965 Honduran Constituent Assembly election

A legislative election was held in Honduras on 16 February 1965. The people elected 64 deputies to the Constituent Assembly.

1971 Honduran general election

A general election (Spanish: Elecciones generales de Honduras de 1971) was held in Honduras on March 28, 1971. Voters went to the polls to elect a new President of the Republic and a new Congress.

“After considerable discussion and debate, the PLH and PNH parties responded to pressures from labor, business, and the military. On January 7, 1971, they signed a political pact agreeing to establish a national-unity government after the March elections. One of the purposes was to present a single slate of congressional candidates that would divide the Congress equally between the PLH and PNH”.

Canada–Central American Four Free Trade Agreement

The Canada–Central American Four Free Trade Agreement was a proposed free trade agreement between Canada and the Central American states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua (collectively referred to as the Central American Four or CA4). Twelve rounds of negotiations were undertaken between 2001 and 2010, after which no agreement had been reached. Canada and Honduras instead decided to pursue a bilateral agreement between themselves, and those negotiations concluded successfully in August 2011.The United States negotiated and ratified a similar treaty with these countries, called the Central American Free Trade Agreement. In a referendum on October 7, 2007, the voters of Costa Rica narrowly backed the free trade agreement with the U.S., with about 52 percent of "Yes" votes.

Caribbean Basin Initiative

The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) was a unilateral and temporary United States program initiated by the 1983 Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). The CBI came into effect on January 1, 1984, and aimed to provide several tariff and trade benefits to many Central American and Caribbean countries. Provisions in the CBERA prevented the United States from extending preferences to CBI countries that it judged to be contrary to its interests or that had expropriated American property.

The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Expansion Act of 1990, known as "CBI II", made the CBI permanent. However, once the United States entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 with Mexico it became easier for Mexico to export its products to the United States. CBI countries had lost their advantage relative to Mexico, a major competitor in industries such as textiles and apparel, so they sought to increase their own preferences and achieve "NAFTA parity". Those efforts were not successful until the 2000 Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, which was broadened in 2002. Several exports from the region continue to receive preferential status in the United States, however those preferences will likely be replaced by bilateral free trade agreements, and possibly by the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Central banks and currencies of the Americas

This is a list of central banks and currencies of the Americas (Central America and South America and North America) .

Cold War

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc), and the United States with its allies (the Western Bloc) after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989, which ended communism in Eastern Europe as well as in other areas, and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, when nations of the Soviet Union abolished communism and restored their independence. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany and its allies, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.

The capitalist West was led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system, as well as the other First World nations of the Western Bloc that were generally liberal democratic with a free press and independent organizations, but were economically and politically entwined with a network of banana republics and other authoritarian regimes, most of which were the Western Bloc's former colonies. Some major Cold War frontlines such as Indochina, Indonesia, and the Congo were still Western colonies in 1947. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was a self-proclaimed Marxist–Leninist state that imposed a totalitarian regime that was led by a small committee, the Politburo. The Party had full control of the state, the press, the military, the economy, and local organizations throughout the Second World, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites. The Kremlin funded communist parties around the world but was challenged for control by Mao's China following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. As nearly all the colonial states achieved independence 1945-1960, they became Third World battlefields in the Cold War.

India, Indonesia, and Yugoslavia took the lead in promoting neutrality with the Non-Aligned Movement, but it never had much power in its own right. The Soviet Union and the United States never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat. However, both were heavily armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war. China and the United States fought an undeclared high-casualty war in Korea 1950-53 that resulted in a stalemate. Each side had a nuclear strategy that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to the total destruction of the attacker—the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, and their deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe (for example, supporting the anti-communist side in the Greek Civil War) and creating the NATO alliance. The Berlin Blockade (1948–49) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950–1953), the conflict expanded. The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. The Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which was perhaps the closest the two sides came to nuclear war. Meanwhile, an international peace movement took root and grew among citizens around the world, first in Japan from 1954, when people became concerned about nuclear weapons testing, but soon also in Europe and the US. The peace movement, and in particular the anti-nuclear movement, gained pace and popularity from the late 1950s and early 1960s, and continued to grow through the '70s and '80s with large protest marches, demonstrations, and various non-parliamentary activism opposing war and calling for global nuclear disarmament. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action. The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War (1955–75), which ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.

By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of KAL Flight 007 and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises, both in 1983. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. On 12 June 1982, a million protesters gathered in Central Park, New York to call for an end to the Cold War arms race and nuclear weapons in particular. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", c. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia, and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world's only superpower.

The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (notably the internationally successful James Bond book and film franchise) and the threat of nuclear warfare. Meanwhile, a renewed state of tension between the Soviet Union's successor state, Russia, and the United States in the 2010s (including its Western allies) and growing tension between an increasingly powerful China and the U.S. and its Western Allies have each been referred to as the Second Cold War.

Great Recession in the Americas

North America was one of the focal points of the global, Great Recession. While Canada has managed to return its economy nearly to the levels it enjoyed prior to the recession, the United States and Mexico are still under the influence of the worldwide economic slowdown. The cost of staple items dropped dramatically in the United States as a result of the recession.

History of Central America

The history of Central America is the study of the region known as Central America.

Latin American debt crisis

The Latin American debt crisis (Spanish: Crisis de la deuda latinoamericana; Portuguese: Crise da dívida latino-americana) was a financial crisis that originated in the early 1980s (and for some countries starting in the 1970s), often known as "La Década Perdida", when Latin American countries reached a point where their foreign debt exceeded their earning power, and they were not able to repay it.

Latin American economy

Latin America as a region has multiple nation-states, with varying levels of economic complexity. The Latin American economy is an export-based economy consisting of individual countries in the geographical regions of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The socioeconomic patterns of what is now called Latin America were set in the colonial era when the region was controlled by the Spanish and Portuguese empires. Up until independence in the early nineteenth century, colonial Latin American regional economies boomed. Many parts of the region had favorable factor endowments of deposits of precious metals, mainly silver, or tropical climatic conditions and locations near coasts that allowed for the development of cane sugar plantations. In the nineteenth century following independence, many economies of Latin America declined. In the late nineteenth century, much of Latin America was integrated into the world economy as an exporter of commodities. Foreign capital investment, construction of infrastructure, such as railroads, growth in the labor sector with immigration from abroad, strengthening of institutions, and expansion of education aided industrial growth and economic expansion. A number of regions have thriving economies, but "poverty and inequality have been deeply rooted in Latin American societies since the early colonial era."As of 2016, the population of Latin America is 633 million people and the total gross domestic product of Latin America in 2015 was 5.3 trillion USD. The main exports from Latin America are agricultural products and natural resources such as copper, iron, and petroleum. In 2016, the Latin American economy contracted 0.8% after a stagnant 2015. Morgan Stanley suggests that this drop in economic activity is a combination of low commodity prices, capital flight, and volatility in local currency markets. The International Monetary Fund suggests that external conditions influencing Latin America have worsened in the period from 2010–2016, but will show growth in 2017.Historically, Latin America has been an export-based, with silver and sugar being the motors of the colonial economy. The region remains a major source of raw materials and minerals. Over time, Latin American countries have focused on efforts to integrate their products into global markets. Latin America's economy is composed of two main economic sectors: agriculture and mining. Latin America has large areas of land that are rich in minerals and other raw materials. Also, the tropical and temperate climates of Latin America makes it ideal for growing a variety of agricultural products.Infrastructure in Latin America has been classified as sub-par compared to economies with similar income levels. There is room to grow and some countries have already taken the initiative to form partnerships with the private sector to increase infrastructure spending. The main economies of Latin America are Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Chile. These economies have been given positive outlooks for 2017 by Morgan Stanley. The Latin American economy is largely based on commodity exports, therefore, the global price of commodities has a significant effect on the growth of Latin American economies. Because of its strong growth potential and wealth of natural resources, Latin America has attracted foreign investment from the United States and Europe.

Mesoamerican Society for Ecological Economics

The Mesoamerican Society for Ecological Economics (SMEE) is a regional chapter of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE). After its foundation in 2008 at Guatemala City, the organization has already celebrated its first International Conference in 2010 at Mexico City and will carry out the second International Conference, EcoEco Alternatives, between March 4 and 8 2014 at the main campus of the University of Costa Rica.This branch of the ISEE has a unique emphasis within ecological economics. Topics like social justice and the human value in environmental conservation prevail in this region. As a consequence of the strong influence from Joan Martinez Alier's "environmentalism of the poor or social environmentalism", major attention is given to ecological-distributive conflicts. Alier insists that in the South a struggle exists against these conflicts generated by economic growth, mainly by the North. These endeavors "attempt to preserve the access of the communities to natural resources and services." On top of the negative effects on the environment by economic distribution, the cultural influence is also widely debated. For instance, the anthropologist Arturo Escobar suggests that culturally-driven preferences are one of the main factors degrading the environment. For example, society naturally gives privilege to the capitalist model that distributes natural resources with the purposes of production and profit, instead of endorsing the agroforestal ecosystem model, which is less harmful to the environment. As part of this alternate perception in Mesoamerica, Ecological economics doesn't consider that the economic valuation of natural resources nor environmental norms are effective solutions to these social-environmental conflicts. On the other hand, an alternative based on community-based conservation and the management of sustainability is more advocated upon. By adding the latter cultural perspective, the three pillars of sustainable development (the social, environmental, and economic) end up being addressed by these proponents.

Mesoamerican region

The Mesoamerican region (often abbreviated MAR) is a trans-national economic region in the Americas that is recognized by the OECD and other economic and developmental organizations, comprising the united economies of the seven countries in Central America — Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama — plus nine southeastern states of Mexico — Campeche, Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, and Yucatán.Designated as an 'economic territory' by the OECD, the identification of the Mesoamerican region as a focus for common regional economic development has been observed since the adoption in 2001 by the signatory countries of the Puebla-Panama Plan (PPP), an initiative intended to foster regional integration and development across southeastern Mexico and the countries of Central America. The PPP also includes the country of Colombia; other than this, the territory and governments involved with the PPP are the same as those covered by OECD's Mesoamerican region.

Situated within the wider region of Middle America (on the tapering isthmus of southern North America), the geographical region defined by the MAR loosely correlates with that of Mesoamerica, the pre-Columbian culture area defined and identified by archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists and ethnohistorians. For several thousand years prior to the European colonization of the Americas beginning in the early 16th century, the diverse cultures and civilizations of Mesoamerica also shared in common a number of broad cultural, historical and linguistic traits. The modern-day indigenous populations who are the descendants of pre-Columbian cultures number roughly over 11 million people (approx. 17.2% of total regional population) spread across the MAR economic territory, and are largely among the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups in the region.

Victor Bulmer-Thomas

Victor Bulmer-Thomas CMG OBE is a British academic who has specialised in Latin America and the Caribbean. Born in London, his first experience of the Americas was as a V.S.O. in Belize (1966/7), where he taught several of the current leaders of the country.

He studied at New College, Oxford University for his undergraduate degree, where he obtained a first. In 1975 he graduated with a PhD from St Antony's College, Oxford, with an original dissertation on Costa Rica where he pioneered the concept of constructing databases from primary sources and applying them to Latin American economic history. While at university, he became involved in left-wing student politics.

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