FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AID-77-142
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AID OFFICIAL URGES RURAL DEVELOPMENT
TO COPE WITH ILLEGAL MIGRANT PROBLEM
Abelardo L. Valdez, the Agency for International Development's Assistant
Administrator for Latin America, says illegal aliens-will continue to swarm
into the United States until there is a "greatly spurred development of rural and
urban areas in Latin America and the Caribbean. "
Valdez's remarks were made to a group of educators attending a meeting
of the Committee on International Education of the Border States Universities
He saw this "migration of refugees from poverty" as continuing "unless
there is more equitable distribution of income in those countries and unless there
is a better access to markets of the developed countries. "
Valdez is a strong advocate of more equitable income distribution. "Half of
Latin America's population of 300 million has an average income of less than $125
a year, " he said. "The poorest third earns only $70 a year.
"Massive poverty and the associated plagues of malnutrition, inadequate
health, shelter and education affect almost all rural families and the majority of
those who live in the mushrooming cities of Latin America. "
'Department of State Washington, 1D.C. 20523
iiy o Ine ato l 9 Deelomen
OFIC OF PULI AFAIS
Valdez told the educators: "We need to encourage more opportunities
for trade and investment in order to make it possible for.people to make a
decent living in their own countries.
"We should explore ways to encourage investment in the infrastructure of
rural areas. Irrigation projects in particular would produce the labor-intensive
work that provides significant numbers of jobs. "
Valdez said there is now new determination that assistance should be
provided directly to the people most in need of help.
"The countries which receive our assistance are encouraged to formulate
policies which benefit the majority of their citizens who are poor, " he explained,
"rather than the few who are well off. "
Valdez cited programs in education where AID had encouraged host countries
to do more, saying that some Latin American nations now spend from one-fifth
to one-third of their national budgets on education.
"Since formal education alone cannot meet the needs of developing countries, "
Valdez said, "AID is also supporting non-formal educational programs. We are
experimenting with educational radio programs to teach health, food production
and nutrition as well as basic education in Honduras, Paraguay, and Guatemala.
Bilingual programs in Paraguay, Peru, Guatemala and Panama are directed at
Indian children who often have problems when they begin formal education taught
in Spanish. "
Prepared December 7, 1977