Central America entered the 1990s with substantial structural constraints still retarding the sustained equitable development of the region. In Central America the 1980s were a lost opportunity politically as well. The commercialization and internationalization of Central American agriculture, although promoting growth, often lead to deterioration in the economic security of many rural people. The recession-induced reduction of demand for Central American products was paralleled by deteriorating terms of trade, as the relative costs of imports outpaced the value of regional exports. In the 1980s, however, the institutionalization of the electoral process was at the heart of US objectives in Central America. The forces of the oligarchy and other rightists in El Salvador organized their own party, ARENA, to compete in the electoral arena. El Salvador ended the 1980s, then, with levels of violence and fear unparalleled since the early years of the decade.