The expressed continuous desire of Central Americans to migrate to the United States (US) - the country, which has often sought to influence their political ideology, will shape and realign the political, economic and social configuration of Central America in 2019. In South America, its toxic history and all the associated effects from years of military dictatorship, disappearances, civil rights abuses and corruption, will continue to come to bear in 2019 and beyond.
US foreign policy toward Central America had always accepted its migrants from often volatile conditions created in the region. Deadly natural disasters in the region also forced Central Americans to seek life-rebuilding refuge in the US. So for a number of years, the US-Central American relationship of 'let us influence you and then you can come to America when necessary', appeared to work 'tit-for-tat' like.
But in January 2017, with the installation of Donald Trump as president of the US, Central America's benefited part of the US relationship changed without notice to the people of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and others. To keep Mexicans and their Spanish-speaking cousins from Central America out of the US, Trump proposed building a wall at the southern border. The Trump administration has led an active campaign to arrest, to detain and to deport undocumented Latin Americans. Caravans of potential asylum seekers escaping political threats, violence and economic hardships have been repelled from the US border.
In 2019, the political realignment of Central America will take shape. The region as a major sphere of US influence will wane. As managed migration is established, a wider need and desire for a bilingual Caribbean Community (CARICOM) working with its Latin American members within the Organization of American States (OAS), could see a diversion of much interest to migrate to the US repointed to havens within the OAS and CARICOM.
With regards to South America, its wretched history of military dictatorships and rights abuses will continue to pose problems in 2019. Some South American descriptive democracies will be exposed as non democratic. From Brazil, to Venezuela, to Chile and to Argentina, corruption and the betrayal of the people's trust will figure heavily in 2019.
Yet, South America could come out of 2019 fairing well if could shrug off its historical ways of doing business and instead adopt and support greater efforts to regional integration with partners in the OAS and CARICOM.
Clearly, 2019 will be a defining time for the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. As US isolation increases, US influence will wane and in lieu of the once dependable neighbor to the north, the rest of the Americas, Cuba included, will seek greater cooperation and integration amongst themselves in 2019.