Migration patterns in Central America seen in the context of economic integration and the need for sustainable development

Stein, E.

Revista de la Oim Sobre Migraciones en America Latina 11(2): 53-97


ISSN/ISBN: 1022-3045
PMID: 12289959
Document Number: 336477
This exploratory discussion of migration policy in Central America focuses on actual procedures in a multisectoral framework that assumes economic integration and sustainable development. The article follows the following format: the author's perspective and general approach to the problems of migration policy and integrated development, an analysis and review of the inadequacies of concepts and methodologies and the need for strengthening Central America's policies, arguments for changing present development strategies, and suggestions for regional economic integration. New policies must be equitable, sustainable, and suitable for agricultural frontier areas at the present level of economic integration. The further development of practical and concrete solutions in the region is based on the current groundwork. New policies should emphasize community participation, a grassroots approach rather than a top-down one, and an alternative model. An alternative system which promotes and facilitates the vertical development of small and medium farmers needs both a Rural Communal Financing System and a System for Communal Marketing to eliminate all speculative economic practices which impede small farmers from making a profit. Buffer zones in the frontier agricultural areas are required. Small farms need to gradually improve farming practices rather than to transfer miraculous technologies. A number of forest products could be collected and commercialized for various purposes, if the knowledgeable indigenous population is informed and involved in participatory research on the technical and ethnological culture and action programs. Many sectors are involved, problems are complex, and the speed of change is very rapid in the region. An approach that seeks to relate sustainable development, economic integration, and migration policy must incorporate the perspective of integrated development and a structural analysis of poverty. The approach suggested in this article would lead to making the production of impoverished areas profitable and would open up cross-boundary employment opportunities. National institutional weakness is a major obstacle to the goals of the region. The region has become, by default, a corridor for migration through Mexico to the US.

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