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Economic Development of Central America Econ. 4200 - Spring 2004 – Dr. Taylor - page 6 / 153

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U.S. stereotypes and the Central American reality: As in all generalizations there is some truth … and great falsehood.

Central Americans are an extremely complex, diverse people who are struggling to cast off the stereotypes of the past and to find their own way into our increasingly interconnected, global world.

“Sons of the Shaking Earth: Life in the mouth of the volcano”

A well-known study of Middle America by anthropologist Eric Wolf, captures in its title the critical interplay between people and the land in Central America. It asserts that the land is violent and that the inhabitants of the region live in an environment that is often shaken by natural disaster.

The dominant geographical feature of Central America is the impressive and forbidding range of volcanic mountains that runs from Mexico to Panama. These mountains have always been obstacles to communication, to the cultivation of the land, and to the national integration of the countries in which they lie.

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