: Students will create a Flipgrid about ONE of the Modern Day Issues facing Latin America today. Students will write a script using the organizer below & record a Flip grid on which issue poverty, war on drugs, or migration, is the biggest problem facing Latin America today. Students should use two (2) facts from the article to back up their opinion.
Modern Latin America As you read, look for u the impact on political and social life resulting from the rule of dictators; u the war on drugs in Latin America and its impact on the United States; u the impact of poverty on the people of Latin America; u migration patterns across the Americas; u terms: dictator, drug cartel, Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas, migration. Dictators and Democracy Governments in Latin America have often had times of instability since they gained independence. Many have been ruled by military leaders or dictators (people who rule with total authority, often in a harsh way). During the Cold War, the United States feared the influence of the Soviet Union in the western hemisphere. This resulted in the United States supporting leaders who were not always democratically chosen in fair elections. Democratic systems have spread, however, in the past few decades. The United States and Europe have provided models of stable government that have been used to design more democratic governments in Latin America. Top Right: Simón Bolívar was a 19thcentury soldier who played a role in revolutions against Spanish rule in several South American countries. The nation of Bolivia is named for him. Above: Augusto Pinochet ruled as dictator of Chile from 1973 to 1990. Left: This mural commemorates students who protested against the government of Nicaragua. The students were killed by soldiers as they demanded improvements in their education system. Section 3: Modern Latin America 329One example of a Latin American dictator was Augusto Pinochet of Chile. This general ruled Chile for 17 years. Many believed Pinochet was able to keep communists from taking over the country, but others viewed him as a cruel leader who disrespected the rights of anyone who opposed him. Another example is the Somoza family of Nicaragua. This dictatorial family was in power for over 40 years. During their rule, the family grew wealthy while most of the country was in poverty. Even when elections were allowed, the family remained in power until the last leader was assassinated in 1980. Even though elections are held in most Latin American countries today, there is widespread poverty, and liberal and socialist leaders dominate politics. Many of the leaders oppose the United States and win support from voters by blaming US policies for problems in their country. The War on Drugs The war on drugs has been an ongoing battle in the United States and many Latin American countries. Drugs such as marijuana and heroin have been illegally brought to the United States, although markets have grown to include routes around the world. Mexico is working to restructure its police force and fund more opposition to drug cartels (criminal drug-trafficking organizations). Recent budgets are spending over $15 billion for public and national security, including programs for crime prevention and justice reforms. Over the last few years, the police force has more than doubled in size and has begun encouraging citizens to be involved in crime control. Individual Mexican states are also revamping their police forces and establishing internal affairs to control corruption. Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, one of the country’s most powerful drug traffickers, was arrested in 2014. He escaped the next year but was rearrested in 2016. A Mexican judge ruled that El Chapo could be extradited (sent for trial) to the United States. The extradition was accomplished in January of 2017. Above: Armed soldiers search vehicles leaving Mexico hoping to catch drug smugglers heading into the United States. Bottom: In 2009, police in riot gear stood guard in the violenceridden border city of Ciudad Juárez. Chapter 12: The Geography and History of Latin America 330Cuba has implemented nationwide programs to keep drugs from being a major problem on the small island nation. A thorough prevention and information program with active policing has kept the drug problem to a minimum. Resources are set aside to prevent drug use from spreading, and drug traffickers usually avoid Cuba because of its strict sentencing laws. The tight control the government has on its people makes controlling drug trafficking somewhat easier in Cuba than in societies where citizens have more freedom. Although Cuba does not have a major problem with drugs, the government has committed to work with the United States on any communication and information sharing. If any criminals from the United States try to find exile in the island country, Cuba is willing to assist in capturing them and returning them to US authorities. Unlike Cuba, where education and strict policing have deterred major drug problems, Brazil has large organizations that operate throughout the country. A major source of drugs such as cocaine, Brazil is a contributor to the European drug market through western African routes. Many large, sometimes violent, cartels control the drugs from within Brazil, but also from bordering countries—Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. These cartels use land routes as well as water routes along the Amazon River. The government of Brazil is aware the problem is a serious one. Officials are committed to taking on this problem but lack the resources to slow down the drug flow along the country’s many borders and waterways. Brazil enjoyed the prestige of hosting the world for the Summer Olympics in 2016, but many in the host city of Rio de Janeiro live in poor, gang-infested areas where violence is fueled by the illegal drug trade. Above: In Rio de Janeiro, the crowded living conditions of the poor are made worse by the presence of drug gangs. Section 3: Modern Latin America 331Poverty With a turbulent history of inequality between European and indigenous peoples, the Latin American people have suffered financially. For hundreds of years, the indigenous and multicultural people have struggled to keep up with the success of European descendants and their families. Non-Europeans in most Latin American countries have always struggled with lower pay and inadequate housing, education, and health care. The foremost problem seems to be that people who are born in a lower class tend to stay in that social structure with no chance of change. Many areas are so challenged they lack the basics of life: clean water, basic supplies, housing, electricity, and basic health care. People’s self-esteem and confidence also must be taken into consideration. If their family has always been poor and is used to that way of life, it is sometimes difficult for them to adapt to a life out of poverty. Jobs are mostly found in urban areas, away from the poor farming regions, but the same poverty-level problems persist in cities as well as rural areas. Low wages and labor-intensive jobs mean that few people can earn incomes high enough to provide for their families. The organization Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas has developed a system to help struggling countries move out of severe poverty. Leaders of 15 western hemisphere governments hope to grow economies throughout the region. Mexico and the United States are leading members. Brazil observes but does not participate, and Cuba is not involved at this time. The group’s goal is to empower small businesses, facilitate trade and regional competitiveness, build a modern and inclusive workforce, and encourage green, sustainable business practices. Top Right: Special educational programs allow students from Latin America to attend colleges and universities in the United States. Above: An outdoor kitchen is part of everyday life for some of those in extreme poverty in Latin America. Right: Shacks such as this provide a small amount of protection from the weather in El Salvador. Chapter 12: The Geography and History of Latin America 332Immigration Immigrating to another country for a better life is not a new practice. However, new immigration laws and changing economies have changed old patterns of migration (movement from one locality to another). In years past, people typically moved north to the United States from Mexico and other Central American countries. There were more opportunities to find a job and support a family in the United States than in their home country. When the economy of the United States declined after 2007, Central American migrants spread throughout Mexico, settling in mostly rural regions and away from urban areas like Mexico City. The Mexican government is trying to lure businesses to the regions by offering business incentives and keeping more of its citizens—and those of surrounding countries—employed and close to home. The increase in violence on the routes to the United States is another deterrent for families moving to find better jobs and educational opportunities. Drug cartels and other criminals have made it risky for the working poor to move with their families. The recent trend is moving just hours away from the family hometown to new areas that are building up their resources. In South America, regional movement has been positively affected by free trade agreements and by the numbers of people moving into regions that promote protection rights of migrants. These laws encourage economies to grow and provide increasing stability. As regions improve, advances in technology as well as road systems allow easier access to once-remote areas. With the addition of Internet technology, improved education facilities, and new health care resources, migrants are finding it less necessary to travel out of the country to improve their life, education, and job situation. Reviewing the Section 1. Why did the United States sometimes offer support to dictators in Latin America? 2. Which two Latin American countries seem to have the largest drug trafficking problem? 3. What measures does Cuba take to deter drug offenders? 4. What challenges do the poor in Latin America face on a daily basis? 5. What causes people in Latin America to migrate to the United States? 6. What event has increased the immigration of people to other areas in Latin America instead of the United States? Top: The workers on this California potato farm are from Mexico. Some may have come to the United States illegally in order to find a job. Above: Governments try to stop illegal immigration with guards and fences. They are not always successful. Section 3: Modern Latin America