Costa Rica and Panama, islands of hope in a storm of drug wars.

Today’s Central America seems to be swamped in a sea of growing drug wars and increased poverty topped by Guatemala’s (46 murders per 100,000 people), figures that exceed even those of Mexico and the U.S. by large. These drug wars seem to be fueled by the remaining military arms of the failed Cuban and Soviet Union attempts to foster communism, who have turned to drugs and extorsion as the focal point of their efforts. With growing unemployment and poverty, and increasing violence, there is little incentive to the young population to seek alternatives; and  joining a gang seems to be the only avenue left to survive. 

Within this chaos, Costa Rica and Panama emerge as two of the most stable and sound economies in the region, and could become the potential shelter for tens of thousands of refugees looking for an exit strategy. As it happened before with Colombia, the first wave of the exodus from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador could include the most affluent, and those educated middle class professionals that are part of the backbone of their countries. Armed with college degrees, professional certifications, the ability to travel outside their own countries, and language skills, they could actually contribute to the economic development of their host nations. 

 

Central America: The tormented isthmus | The Economist.

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