The Caribbean: Troubles in a Pauper's Paradise

An archipelago of tiny democracies faces economic woes

One of the more important pieces of legislation that got lost in the rush of last month's lame-duck session of Congress was President Reagan's much heralded Caribbean Basin Initiative. Originally proposed in February 1982, the CBI offered $350 million in short-term cash aid and a variety of long-term trade and tariff benefits for the struggling ministates of Central America and the Caribbean. Approved by the House and the Senate Finance Committee, the plan must be presented anew to the 98th Congress, although the short-term aid money has already been disbursed.

In Central America,...

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