Poverty and violence, main enemies of Central America, according to Parlacen

Poverty and insecurity are the main enemies of Central America, a region that must recover the old project of creating a railroad train from Panama to Mexico to improve its socio-economic development, said the president of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), Salvadoran Irma Amaya.

"Poverty is our main enemy in the region," Amaya said in an interview with Efe in Tegucigalpa after participating in a forum sponsored by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).

That scourge, said the first Salvadoran woman to occupy the presidency of the Parlacen, is fought "by investing money from the State, private and cooperation to generate opportunities."

Despite advances in the fight against misery in the Central American region, where more than 45 million people live and about half are poor, there is a lack of "more integration" between countries, said Amaya, a graduate in Legal Sciences.

"As we integrate and carry out joint actions and invest together, it will be easier" to reduce or eradicate poverty in the region, he emphasized.

In parallel, the Central American region requires concrete measures to curb or eradicate security problems that affect each of the countries, he added.

Central America, especially the Northern Triangle, is one of the most violent areas in the world, although a conventional war does not develop, which affects mass emigration to the United States and Mexico, the main destinations.

To cope with this violence and the lack of opportunities that encourage many to migrate, Amaya insisted on the importance of the countries of the region to strengthen ties between them because if each government thinks of "its piece of land and the The few resources it has, it is more difficult "to develop Central America.

"If we combine what little we have and we bet on the unity of Central America, integration will be easier," said the deputy of Parlacen for the period 2016-2021.

He also said that violence, poverty and environmental problems are the main causes of thousands of Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans leaving their countries to seek to improve living conditions in other nations, mainly the United States. and Mexico.

Amaya, founder and president of the Women's Association "Mélida Anaya Montes" MAM, who was a heroic woman pioneer of social struggles led by the Salvadoran teachers since the 1960s, defended the need to work together to generate "opportunities "that the people need.

He also emphasized that the customs union that Honduras and Guatemala initiated in 2017, to which El Salvador adhered in August 2018, must "be strengthened, we must go beyond what is proposed."

The nascent customs union of the Northern Triangle of Central America - integrated by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, concentrates trade flows equivalent to 47.9% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the region and represents 55.4% of total exports of the region. isthmus, according to figures from the Central American Institute of Fiscal Studies (Icefi).

The Northern Triangle is plagued by maras or gangs, which have tens of thousands of members, dominate large territories and are linked to the vast majority of murders, with the sale of drugs and extortion.

To meet the challenge of irregular migration, reduce poverty and develop the villages, Amaya said that the countries of the region must bet on the creation of a railway axis from Panama to Mexico, a project for which CABEI has declared itself "ready ".

The Central American train allows "to mobilize people in less time from one place to another, the cost would be cheaper" and "the employment opportunities branch is expanded," Amaya explained.

He added that the railway axis will unite the Central American cities and help boost regional tourism, as people could know the region "in less time and with less money."

In his opinion, with the project "we would excite foreign investment with more developed projects and (investors) would dare to make investments in our countries."

The president of Parlacen said that with the Central American train some of the objectives of the 2030 agenda for the Sustainable Development of the countries of the region would be fulfilled and, in addition, it would contribute to having "less poverty, less migration and, if we do the environmental approach, also to avoid any environmental disaster in the future. "

Anny Castro

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