Trading Partners

SIR – Your evaluation of the Honduran government’s attempt to join the “anti-American” Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas attributed the decision to a presidential whim (“Zelaya plays the Chávez card”, November 1st). This misses a vital point. Trade co-operation between Central America and its primary economic partner, the United States, has, for the most part, led to increased economic insecurity and inequality in the impoverished region.

Trade agreements have focused on opening Central American markets to government-subsidised exports from the United States, which drives up trade deficits and cripples the agricultural sectors of countries like Honduras. In light of the global economic downturn, Central America will probably suffer from a drastic reduction in direct investment from companies in the United States, as well as a drop in demand for its exports. Under these circumstances, it comes as little surprise that Honduras would seek to align itself with an alternative economic block for a shot at prosperity that the United States has failed to deliver.

Original version here