The Greatest Challenge that
Faces Latin Americans Today
The greatest challenge that Latin America faces today is poverty.
Latin America has the most unequal distribution of land wealth and income
in the world. Many of the regions governments are unrepresentative and
most are deeply in debt. Throughout most of Latin American, the country
is very wealthy, while an overwhelming majority of the population is very
poor. Some of the governments are truly in economic distress and are
unable to help there impoverished millions.
One of the things responsible for this poverty is the uneven
distribution of land and wealth that persists in most Latin American
countries today, which has caused Latin America to exhibit the highest
index of concentrated accumulation of rural property in the world. Less
than one-half percent of the population in Latin America has too much
land, while more than half of the adult farmers in Latin America have no
land at all.
Most of countries have done little or nothing to change their
situations. The reforms that have been or are being attempted by the
government and the wealthy population have had no effect on changing the
existing distribution of agricultural. Most rural Latin Americans continue
suffer from unemployment, low income, and a lack of education.
Production of food in Mexico has diminished causing food prices to
rise. The people of Mexico must import grains into the country in order to
feed itself. The rapid growth and transformation that has occurred over the
years has left the majority of the population in poverty. The country must
import most of the food it consumes. The government and foreign policy
has encouraged farmers to grow export crops rather than the badly needed
corn and grains that the country needs to feed itself, while at the same time
these policies penalize the internal production of food. Unfortunately, the
only true beneficiaries of this foreign policy are the affluent one-third of
population. The remaining two-thirds of the population are forced to bear
Poverty in Mexico has become a big problem. Forty percent of those
that want to work in the Mexican province of Zacatecas are unemployed
causing them to migrate to other Mexican provinces or to the United States.
Many migrate to Mexico City, where most of its residents live in
substandard housing and nearly half have no running water. The corruption
in the government allows the wealthy to buy there way around regulations
to improve the housing, while the poor are powerless and are left to suffer
the consequences. Some arrive in Mexico City and live in cardboard boxes
and forage for food in the garbage dumps. For those employed, wages are
low and working conditions are bad.
Neza, Mexico’s fourth largest city encounters similar problems. It is a
slum without sewers, running water, paved roads or public telephones. The
unsanitary conditions of this city, due to lack of toilets and polluted air,
gives rise to diseases. Diarrhea kills more people than cancer or heart
attacks and most have no medical coverage.The lack of public policy for
these people allows them to suffer this unpleasant fate. Most families leave
there rural farms because of lack of irrigation or other problems that make
them unable to sustain themselves. Their search for a better life in the
leaves them only slightly more impoverished than before. For most, it
doesn’t get any better.
Another example of poverty in Latin America today can be seen in
Honduras, where poverty has caused a famine that is threatening the lives of
many Honduran families. Drought, population growth, and foreign policy
are all contributors to the cause of the famine. The highest population
growth in the southern hemisphere can be found in Honduras.The
consequences of the nations poverty has caused over fifty percent of the
countries four and a half million people to suffer from malnutrition. The
country is unable to even feed it’s children. The statistics of child
due to malnutrition is one out of seven.Many children die from such
simple ailments as diarrhea or lung infections.
In Brazil the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest is worse than
India. Seventy percent of the wealth in Brazil is controlled by ten percent
the population. The cities are filled with urban workers that have come to
the cities looking for a better life but finding poverty instead. For
in the Brazilian city of San Paulo, one million of its seventeen million
people remain unemployed. Land is expensive, squatting is difficult and
evictions are common.
Furthermore, the problem of poverty in Brazil is so great that child
labor is completely excepted within the society. Workers are paid so little
and the standard of living is so high that in order for a family to survive
three people must be working. The parents of these children are unable to
complain because most families would collapse without working children.
Children are an indispensable part of the work force and they are paid one-
third less than adult workers. The poverty that promotes this exploitation is
not limited to urban children many rural children are put to work in the
fields at age ten. Parents even put their little girls out to begin a life
prostitution as young as 12 years old. The poverty is so great in this
country that the morals of the society have excepted this abuse of their
Haiti is the poorest nation in Latin America. Four out of five Haitians
suffer from poverty, while another three out of five Haitians are
unemployed and three out of four are illiterate. The population growth that
is occurring cannot be sustained by the countries eroded soil and deforested
lands. The weak economy has caused many Haitians to migrate into the
Dominican Republic where they are discriminated against and treated like
slaves. Those that migrate to the Dominican Republic have no chance of
achieving anything less than poverty. They cannot escape their fate and
they continue to constitute the poor population of the Dominican Republic.
Many of these countries could better serve their poor by changing
economic policies and preventing the exploitation of workers and children.
However, the impoverished people of these countries, while they make up
the majority, are under represented by the government. Therefore, they will
most likely continue to endure their current misfortune. While the roots and
causes for the poverty in these countries vary, the results are the same,
millions of underprivileged citizens, and a government and oligarchy that is
unable or unwilling to respond to their cry for help. The dissipation of the
problem of poverty is surely the greatest challenge faced by Latin Americas