The Inter-American Highway and Regional Integration: Opening Borders in Central America

Special Report: Networks and Borders: Geopolitics (I)
By Lucile Medina-Nicolas

The name Interamerican refers to the central american segment of the mythical Panamerican road, the asphalt of which crosses the two Americas, from Alaska to the Chilian Patagonia. On about 3,000 kilometres (without including the Mexican section) the Interamerican road is itself the main means of communication in Central America. It is considered as the only local line of communication which gathers all the boundaries of Central America, a kind of vertebral spine connecting the isthmus with the inland systems. This article purposes to analyse the circumstances of its conception as well as the different choices on nowadays. The work of the whole seems closely tied with the changes of the local geopolitical context on that border of “American Mediterranean”. The carrying out of that road passage, impulsed by the US A and comforted with the creation of the Central American Common Market during the sixties, has suffered since the seventies from the political and military conflicts using boundaries as strategic lines. Nowadays, which stakes the Interamerican will be confronted with? Two of them seem crucial, on two different levels of thought. The first one commits the future of the Interamerican as a privileged way of local centralamerican exchanges and as a support of restored integration. The second one concerns a geopolitical sphere wider than the single local sphere: it concerns the opening of the Tapón of Darién on the border between Panama and Colombia, where a road section is missing to carry on the panamerican way.

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