Ist der Freihandel mit den USA das Richtige für Zentralamerika?

Der Tod Ronald Reagans hat viele Menschen gezwungen, sich noch einmal mit dem Erbe der brutalen Kriege in den zentralamerikanischen Staaten Guatemala, El Salvador und Nicaragua vor zwei Jahrzehnten auseinander zu setzen. Die kürzlich erfolgte Unterzeichnung des zentralamerikanischen Freihandelsabkommens (CAFTA) mit den USA scheint dabei zu bestätigen, dass die Region ihre blutige Geschichte tatsächlich hinter sich gelassen hat.

Der Symbolwert dieses Abkommens ist hoch; es verspricht nicht zuletzt, dass Bürgerkriege und Interventionen durch die USA der Vergangenheit angehören. Für eine Region allerdings, die noch immer dabei ist, sich von den wirtschaftlichen Verheerungen infolge dieser Kriege zu erholen, bieten die Einzelheiten des Abkommens wenig Anlass zur Freude.

Besondere Aufmerksamkeit genießt im Zusammenhang von CAFTA die Frage, in welchem Umfang die zentralamerikanischen Länder ihre Volkswirtschaften liberalisieren werden. Wichtiger allerdings ist, ob das Abkommen zu einer Gesundung dieser Volkswirtschaften führen wird. Während CAFTA eine wichtige Gelegenheit für die Region darstellt, ihren Zugang zum US-Markt auszuweiten, bleibt unklar, ob die neuen Regeln die zentralamerikanischen Produzenten stärken oder schwächen werden.

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