Scientific output in the Caribbean and Latin American countries was studied examining the publications indexed by the Institute for Scientific Information which conform the mainstream literature. The growth patterns of first-authors-publishing-scientific-papers coming from the five most productive countries of the region were determined. In addition, the scientific publications from each country of the region, as indexed in 1981, were classified per field. It was found that most of the research was done in the life sciences area. However, the small scientific output observed in all fields appears insufficient to assure a positive role of science for the best overall development of each individual society. This situation may reflect a lack of support for the progress of science in these countries and therefore political commitment towards this purpose is considered to be of particular importance.