The northern triangle of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) has experienced horrific violence, poverty, and a vicious cycle of human rights violations for decades. Repeated natural disasters and the re-routing of the drug trade through Central America are not helping the situation. On the other hand, nearby Costa Rica has achieved a much higher standard of human rights, public safety, and political stability. Why? Costa Rica has put in place four pillars of development and stability lacking in most other countries in the region: a stronger state, an educated population, inter-racial cooperation, and a more inclusive democracy. For the northern triangle to catch up, it will need to achieve at least the first three of these pillars as soon as possible.

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