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Efforts are under way in parts of South America, again, to integrate the transportation infrastructure of various countries. For instance, in December 2007, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile agreed to undertake a project to construct a corridor between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. But the continent's history with similar initiatives is not encouraging, says Roberto DurÃƒÂ¡n, professor of international relations at the Catholic Pontifical University of Chile. DurÃƒÂ¡n believes that the decisive factor will be how well the three countries coordinate their efforts to construct, improve and--later on--maintain the transcontinental route.
According to DurÃƒÂ¡n, "From a technical point of view, it is essential that the countries agree on the sort of road they want to build. If there is no consensus about materials, quality and the maintenance process--who, when and how all that is going to happen--the initiative is going to be risky."
While DurÃƒÂ¡n applauds the plan for constructing a corridor between the two oceans, he emphasizes that earlier projects for integrating the infrastructures of Latin American countries have been long postponed. "Whenever the topic comes up among diplomats, the governments of Latin America agree that one of the most important goals is to improve the integration of the (continent's) infrastructure, whether it is with roads, air travel, railroads or over water. Nevertheless, nothing is ever completed. In short, there isn't enough political will for successfully carrying out what is proposed in theory."
Along the same lines, DurÃƒÂ¡n notes another obstacle to actually carrying out all these plans: the influence of nationalistic groups--whether civil, military or public opinion--has been a detriment to some degree.
Source: Wharton Business School, http://www.wharton.universia.net
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