Aid official urges rural development to cope with illegal migrant problem
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T'For the

PRESS


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AID-77-142
Contact: (002) 632-8332


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

Consortium.

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. "
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'Department of State Washington, 1D.C. 20523


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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




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