The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the flow of persons, goods and services and capital across the world but it has not changed the positive perceptions of regional integration in Latin America – around seven out of every 10 people in the region are in favour of greater integration, according to a new Inter-American Development Bank (BID) survey.
"The vocation to integrate remains intact, even in crisis times of health pandemics and economic challenges," concludes a new BID report, La voz latinoamericana, realised in alliance with the Latinobarómetro public opinion firm.
According to the report, support for greater Latin American integration maintains the same levels as a 2018 survey, despite the pronounced disruption caused by the pandemic.
Uruguay stands out as the country showing the highest level of civic support for integration into the region (89 percent), followed by El Salvador (84 percent) with support in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Paraguay and Costa Rica all topping 75 percent while less supportive countries like Guatemala (60 percent), Nicaragua (62 percent) and Chile (63 percent) are still strongly in favour.
The strongest support comes from males, people aged under 45, the top income groups and university graduates.
Furthermore, 56 percent of Latin Americans view free-trade agreements with other countries of the region positively, with Central America taking the most positive view of the impact of these treaties (61 percent). The country most satisfied with Central American integration is El Salvador.
Meanwhile 54 percent of Latin Americans consider direct investment to be beneficial for their country and only 15 percent harmful.
The report also shows findings in terms of integration and immigration. Although seven out of every 10 Latin Americans support regional integration, only half consider receiving citizens from other Latin American and Caribbean countries to be positive.
Again Uruguay is the country most favouring regional immigration (72 percent), followed by El Salvador and the Dominican Republic (62 percent). The countries least favourable towards receiving citizens from other countries are Guatemala (30 percent), Colombia (34 percent) and Bolivia and Peru (37 percent).
According to the report, 92 percent of Latin Americans use social networks but barely 23 percent are into e-commerce. Argentina stands out here with online purchasers accounting for 55 percent of the population.
The results of this study are based on over 20,000 interviews between 2020 and 2021 covering citizens from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries.