Sunday, August 9, 2009

Leaving Guatemala (initial reactions)

Just two weeks do not allow you to understand a contradictory and fascinating country like Guatemala. They are a good start, however, to try to understand the reasons behind the violent past and the difficult present of Central America in general, and Guatemala in particular. After talking with people, reading a little and observing as much as I could, it is clear that: (a) A stronger and more effective state is a necessary but not sufficient condition for development; (b) We need to think harder about the links between multiculturalism, development and state policy; (c) It is important to complement our understanding of macro-processes of development with a solid analysis of all the micro-initiatives to promote "progressive change". This and much more is something that we all need to reflect, using as much as possible a comparative perspective.