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Economic Development of Central America Econ. 4200 - Spring 2004 – Dr. Taylor - page 4 / 153

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Perceptions of Latin America and Central America

Why is this important? Because the political, economic and social development of Central America has been fundamentally shaped by forces – both domestic and foreign – influenced by particular perceptions of the indigenous peoples, the region’s natural resources, and the structure of opportunity in international markets.

These forces typically overran, destroyed, marginalized or simply ignored the people, cultures, and native ecology of the region in successive boom and bust cycles of economic (specifically, agricultural) development.

A survey that was taken concerning how citizens of the United States perceive the Latin American people. Respondents were given a card with nineteen words on it and were asked to indicate those words that seemed to describe best the people of Central and South America.

The percentage of respondents selecting each word as an apt descriptor of were as follows:

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