Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala Page: 78
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While the Spanish and Portuguese colonial rules emphasized
the city over the countryside, they provided existing cities
with a measure of economic autonomy. Each served as a
commercial center for a vast hinterland and maintained (legal
or illegal) contacts with the outside. Concentration of
urban development in a few cities gradually stripped the
remaining ones of their economic autonomy. While they con-
tinued to grow they came to depend more and more on the
directives from the primary cities. The economic and social
orientation of most cities toward their own hinterland
gradually changed as they became functional appendages of the
enterprises and authorities centered in the capitol. ...The
economic and social evolution of Latin American cities never
deviated markedly from the general directions set in colonial
This historical trend, combined with the process of primate urbaniza-
tion, developed into what Carol A. Smith (1976: 256), while describing
Western Guatemala specifically, calls: "...a regular central-place
system made up of smaller systems that are both different from one
another and different from the high-level organization of the larger
system," not to mention their independence from each other. She
further believes that the development of Guatemala City is dependent
upon the underdevelopment of the other regions, in that "...the whole
tendency of the region-wide system is to feed back into the growth and
economic power of the top-heavy system." (Smith 1976: 261) Given
this urban-rural relationship between Guatemala City and the rest of
the country and the absence of a formal economic sector, infrastructure
and services in rural areas, specialization in the goods produced in
each particular rural area becomes more pronounced. What results is
either specialization in export oriented agriculture or in subsistence
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Rodeheaver, Daniel Gilbert, 1954-; Bates, Frederick L. & Murphy, Arthur D. Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala, report, May 1982; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84342/m1/91/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.