Initially settled by the Netherlands, Guyana was turned over to the British in 1815. After slavery was abolished, indentured servants were brought from India to supply labor for the large sugar plantations of the colonial period. As a result of this complex labor history, one-half of the 765,200 population of Guyana is East Indian, while another 36 percent are of African descent. These ethnic differences have often fed political dissension. Boundary disputes with Venezuela and Suriname have also led to political tensions and to a lack of regional cooperation. In 1992, Guyana held its first free election since independence was granted in 1966.

The Guyanese economy suffers from the lack of skilled labor and the low level of infrastructure. The length of borders and low levels ...

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