10 Facts about Poverty in Latin America
Within the past decade, 70 million people were able to escape poverty in Latin America due to economic growth and a lessened income gap. However, millions still remain in the cycle of poverty. Presented below is key data about poverty in Latin America.

 

10 Leading Facts on Poverty in Latin America

 

  1. One in five Latin Americans lives in chronic poverty conditions. Latin Americans account for 130 million of the nearly 500 million who live in chronic poverty worldwide.
  2. Poverty rates vary from country to country in the Latin American region. With estimated poverty rates floating around 10 percent, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile have the lowest chronic poverty rates. Meanwhile, Nicaragua with 37 percent and Guatemala with 50 percent have the highest chronic poverty rates in Latin America, which are well above the regional average of 21 percent.
  3. Poverty rates can also vary within a country. A single country can have both ends of the spectrum with the highest poverty rate that is eight times higher than the lowest. For example, Brazil has a chronic poverty rate of 5 percent in Santa Catarina, but 40 percent in Ceará.
  4. Poverty in Latin America encompasses both urban and rural areas. Most assume that rural areas have higher poverty rates than urban areas, like in Bolivia, where the amount of people living in rural poverty is 20 percentage points higher than those living in urban poverty. However, the number of urban poor is higher than the number of rural poor in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
  5. Poor Latin Americans lack access to basic health care services. Approximately 20 percent of the Latin American and Caribbean population lack access to health care due to their poverty conditions. The region also has high rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
  6. Those living in poverty in Latin America lack access to safe water and sanitation. The World Water Council reported that 77 million people lack access to safe water or live without a water source in their homes. Of the 77 million, 51 million live in rural areas and 26 million live in urban areas. An estimated 256 million rely on latrines and septic tanks as an alternative to basic sanitation.
  7. The lack of education in Latin America lowers prospects of rising out of poverty. One in 12 young people ages 15 to 24 have not completed primary school, and therefore lack the skills necessary to find decent jobs. The same age group represents 40 percent of the total number of unemployed in many Latin American countries. When they are employed, six out of 10 jobs are informal, lacking decent wages, contract agreements and social security rights.
  8. Limited economic opportunities keep the poor in poverty. The biggest factor that led to poverty reduction from 2004-2012 was labor income. The Huffington Post reported that in poor households every Latin American country had an average of 20 percent “fewer human resources to generate income” than non-poor households and those households who managed to escape poverty.
  9. Chronic poverty levels are falling. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of Latin Americans living on under $4 a day decreased from 45 percent to 25 percent. The Latin American population living on $2.5 per day fell from 28 percent to 14 percent.
  10. The falling poverty levels in Latin America can be attributed to improved public policy. Latin American governments created conditional cash transfers (CCT), which substituted subsidies for money transfers for the poor who invested in human capital beginning in the late 1990s. As a result, child attendance in schools has risen and families have more food and more diversity in diets.


In 2010, the middle-class population exceeded the low-income population for the first time in the region. However, with one-fifth of the population still in poverty, there is much work to be done.

Ashley Leon

Photo: Flickr

Social Entrepreneur CorpsFounded by Greg Van Kirk, the Social Entrepreneur Corps (SEC) diagnoses needs and implements innovations that help marginalized, impoverished and vulnerable families build a better life for themselves.

The volunteers and employees of the SEC play an important role in creating impactful social innovation. They can “gain the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to become the high impact leaders and social entrepreneurs of the future.” In addition, the SEC has been “leading innovative and dynamic impact immersion programs for 10 years and over 1,000 participants have joined [their] diverse programs.”

The organization utilizes well-structured programs where participants are mentored by field leaders, who are experienced development professionals.

One of the SEC’s initiatives includes a needs and feasibility analysis, in which participants perform research through observations, surveys and informal conversations in order to analyze needs of impoverished communities.

Another is an innovative-design initiative, in which participants use their research to develop and give consultations to local community members on ways to improve their state of poverty.

As one SEC participant states, “from giving presentations in Spanish to local organizations to going on campaigns in rural regions, every activity gave me the chance and the courage to step out of my comfort zone and push my boundaries as far as I could.”

Communities in Latin America, for example, are reaping the benefits. The Jutiapa region in Guatemala had a successful village campaign which benefited women entrepreneurs in the region. In one day, participants “served over 150 people and helped the women to sell 69 pairs of glasses, 35 eye drops, 30 packets of vegetable seeds, 8 solar lamps/cell phone chargers and one water purification bucket.”

The female entrepreneurs earned nearly $240 in net profits, which is the equivalent of over two months’ wages for the average rural Guatemalan.

The Social Entrepreneur Corps has played an important role in breaking the cycle of poverty in Latin American countries. The organization’s efforts continue to inspire families and communities.

Vanessa Awanyo


Reports of Chikungunya Fever are on the rise in Peru, raising concerns at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC has added Peru to the Level One Watch List for Chikungunya Fever, as the disease moves toward epidemic proportions in the country. The Peruvian Ministry of Health is taking precautions to limit the spread of the disease in the country, which may have spread from neighboring countries.

Minister Velasquez of the Peruvian Ministry of Health and Minister Candace Vance of Health Ministry of Ecuador have signed an agreement to jointly fight the disease. This agreement allowed Peru to identify the first indigenous case of Chikungunya Fever.

The Peruvian Ministry of Health of has put together a national plan to combat the disease including a surveillance agency MOH to monitor infectious disease coming across the border. They have also placed an epidemiological fence in areas where the disease is prevalent and spray shops and homes to eradicate the disease.

In partnership with Ecuador, the are closely monitoring outbreak and implementing vector control in areas where the outbreaks arise in. Ecuador has suffered more than 15,000 cases of Chikungunya Fever this year alone.

Across Latin America, rates of mosquito-borne disease are increasing; the joint action plan between Ecuador and Peru marks a first step in interstate cooperation to combat mosquito-borne diseases.

Chikungunya fever, much like malaria, Yellow fever, Typhoid fever and Dengue is spread by the bite of a mosquito. Chikungunya symptoms begin about 3-7 days after being bitten by the Aedes Egypti mosquito.

The symptoms include fever, joint pain, headache, muscle ache, rash or swelling. These symptoms left untreated can severely disable an individual. Symptoms can last anywhere from a week to a month depending on the severity of the case.

Robert Cross

Sources: CDC, EL Universo, Outbreak News Today, PMOH, Peru This Week
Photo: Información desde América Latina

Five Unique Facts about Extreme Poverty around the World
1. More than 1 billion people around the world live on the price of a vending machine candy bar.

Many people have only a $1.25 per day for food, medicine and shelter. Although there are 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, the number of people living on this amount has drastically decreased over the last three decades.

2. Poverty in India is different than poverty in China–and still different from poverty in other countries, too.

India has 179.6 million people living in poverty. India has a greater share of the world’s poor than it did 30 years ago. In the 1970s and 80s, India had about one-fifth of its people living in poverty. Now, that number has increased to one-third.

When living in poverty in India, families have to deal with many harsh conditions. Due to poor weather conditions, lack of water and misuse of insecticides, many families can’t grow the crops needed to live a sustainable lifestyle. Families suffering from these poor conditions may move to the slums of Mumbai to get away, where they face other harsh conditions like overcrowded communal bathroom facilities and the lack of proper sewage systems, meaning much of the water they consume is contaminated.

Many residents in India living in poorer conditions have put off things like health and education to keep on basic survival necessities. According to the World Bank, more than 70 percent of the 22 million people living in Mumbai live in the slums.

China, however, has 137.6 million people living in impoverished conditions. Poverty in China differs from poverty in India in that, as of August 2015, it had wiped out the majority of its poverty, but there are still people living in poverty in China’s rural regions. Between 50 and 55 percent of its people live in rural areas.

Over the last decade, the number of females has drastically increased as much of the male population has left to urban areas to find work. This has caused a decrease in farming knowledge among the general population. Farmers are also victims of devastating natural disasters that result in unpaved roads, decreased farm sizes and depleted resources.

3. There are people in the United States living in extreme poverty.

In 2012, a legislator in North Carolina stated there was no such thing as extreme poverty in the state. However, North Carolina is home to three of the top 10 poorest areas in the United States. Other areas include Nacogdoches, Texas; Dalton, Georgia and Gallup, New Mexico.

Over the last few years, the number of women living in extreme poverty in the United States increased from 5.9 percent to 6.3 percent from 2009 to 2010, meaning there are 42 million — about one in three — women living in or on the brink of poverty. One of every six of these women is elderly. In 2010 alone, more than 7.2 million women fell into extreme poverty.

4. More than enough food is produced in the world to keep everyone healthy.

Enough food in the world is produced to keep everyone on an adequate diet, but nearly 854 million people, or one in seven people, go hungry. About 2.8 million people still rely on wood, crop waste and other biomass to heat and cook their food, which can also lead to malnutrition. Luckily, there are many organizations, like Stop Hunger Now and World Hunger Organization, fighting hunger.

5. Poverty in Africa is caused by different effects than poverty in Latin America.
One of the major causes of poverty in Africa is unsustainable agriculture. Poverty in Africa takes place primarily in Africa’s rural regions, where citizens rely heavily on agriculture for sustenance and income. When the weather is harsh on crops, poor agricultural techniques are practiced or soil erosion prevents hearty crops, and many families suffer because of it.

In Latin America, one of the major causes is inequality of wealth distribution. While poverty in Africa is mostly in rural areas, poverty in Latin America plagues both rural and urban regions. Other causes of poverty in Latin and South America are internal conflicts and issues with structural adjustments.

Julia Hettiger

Sources: Mic, Gabriel Project Mumbai, The Guardian, Yahoo
Photo: Flickr

You Don't Have to have an MD to Improve Global Health
The term “Global Health” conjures up a number of images: sterilized hospitals, syringes, people with advanced degrees saving lives clad in scrubs and stethoscopes.

Medical professionals are without a doubt integral to the success of global health efforts; they are responsible for the lifesaving techniques and knowledge that have essentially eradicated polio and controlled infectious diseases like cholera and yellow fever.

However, they are not the entire picture but only a very important piece of the complicated puzzle that is global health.

Researchers are increasingly finding that people skilled in other disciplines, such as the social sciences and humanities, are just as important in combating poor health worldwide.

Where medical expertise was once deemed the ultimate key to improving lives around the world, groups such as Global Health Corps (GHC) have identified non-medical links in the public health chain that need overhauling to allow current medical science to unlock its potential.

Thats why only three of the Africa-bound GHC fellows this year are MDs.

“Global health issues are very complex,” said CEO of GHC Barbara Bush. “They’re so rooted in poverty, they’re so rooted in education — or lack of education — issues. There’s a lot of gender issues that play into poor health outcomes. I think that’s why we need very different thinkers and different folks at the table.”

These “different thinkers” include architects to former Restoration Hardware employees. Bush has called these people “systems thinkers” — the kind of people who can improve health outcomes by attacking barriers to health that lurk below the surface.

These GHC fellows, all under the age of 30, have already taken this challenge onto the ground. In Rwanda, architects have worked to prevent the spread of airborne illness by redesigning airflow in hospitals. Former retail employees, skilled in the arena of logistics and organization, have already begun an overhaul of logistical systems that failed to contain the Ebola outbreak.

GHC’s Africa initiative is not the only organization to recognize the need for interdisciplinary thinking in global health. Rafael Rangel-Aldao, scientist, entrepreneur and owner of R&D Health Holdings Ltd., is calling for a “systems-based” approach in Latin America as well.

“Many developing countries in the Americas have yet to benefit from biotechnology not because of inherent problems with either the science or technology, but rather because most nations lack a system for integrating the different participants in the research, development and manufacturing chain,” wrote Aldao in Nature.

“…The relative strength in trained personnel and laboratory facilities present in some countries in no way guarantees a successful capability for biotechnological applications of economic value or impact on development.”

Research has suggested that biotechnology could be used to greatly enhance the agrifood sector in the economies of many nations in Latin America, yet the isolationist natures of research, enterprise and the public seem to have prevented this.

It is problems like these, not simply a lack of new remedies, technologies, and medical techniques that are holding public health back.

Emma Betuel

Sources: Nature, Fast Company, PRWEB, CDC, Grupo de Ciencia Digital,
Photo: Flickr

Changing Migration Patterns in Latin America

Although immigration is a major concern for policy makers in the United States, immigration and emigration have a significant impact on the economy and communities throughout Latin America.

Over the last 25 years in particular, migration patterns in Latin America show that immigrants have moved from unstable economies and governments into bordering states that have greater economic stability and prosperity. This continues to be the case in Chile, with migrants flowing in from neighboring countries.

The Southern Cone of Latin America is famous for its continued movement of people across country borders. This region includes Chile, Peru, Argentina and Uruguay. Chile has seen an influx of immigrants, particularly from Peru, since the 1990s. This was the turning point in the Chilean economy and government, transitioning over from a military regime to a more stable, democratic system.

This change in government led to more overall economic stability in Chile, creating more job opportunities and more money per household. Neighboring countries, such as Peru, have not seen such success.

This influx of immigrants has been accompanied by its own issues, particularly with regards to security concerns. Large groups of immigrants easily travel across state borders, because of geographic proximity, as well as insufficient border policies. For example, Peruvian immigrants that have migrated to Chile have created cultural enclaves within cities and populated areas of the country. These transnational communities as they are described have created a concern for not only governments of receiving nations, but also the citizens of said countries.

Social marginalization is one of the biggest obstacles many immigrants of said transnational communities report facing, forcing such cultural enclaves to emerge. This, in a way, defeats the purpose of many immigrants, in search of new opportunities, as they are almost forced to stay within the confines of communities that are primarily made up of other immigrants.

Though this is the case, many immigrants in Latin America continue to migrate to neighboring countries, because despite social and cultural obstacles, many do find more economic potential and opportunities for jobs that they have the qualifications and skill sets for.

Immigration is a concern that faces not only the United States and its borders, but also persists as an issue throughout intraregional Latin America. Not only that, but the circumstances in which Latin Americans find themselves makes immigration that much more appealing and feasible.

– Alexandrea Jacinto

Sources: Migration Policy Institute, Money Market, Bloomberg,
Photo: Business Insider

Bolivian-Healthcare

Although the Bolivian government’s new and improved universal healthcare plan has made a considerable dent in child and maternal mortality numbers, the plan still seems to be more suited for improving statistics than the lives of rural Bolivian women.

With one of highest rates of maternal and child mortality in the Latin America, second only to Haiti, Bolivia remains one of the worst places in the world to give birth, especially in rural areas. Mortality rates have historically totaled to 390 mortalities for every 100,000 live births in central cities (like the capital, La Paz), and reach as high as 887 per 100,00 live births in rural areas, according to UNICEF.

Beginning in 1994, Bolivian government officials centered in La Paz developed a series of free healthcare plans—or, more aptly, three free service packages—intended to keep mothers and children alive past the ordeal of childbirth. The most recent addition to these packages is the “Universal Maternal and Child Heath Insurance plan (SUMI).”

Upon its creation, SUMI was lauded as the symbol of iconic change of fate for Bolivian mothers. Targeted at pregnant women and children under the age of five, the program boasted that it would cover 500 common ailments. Additionally, SUMI was the first Bolivian public health program that did not come from a presidential decree, meaning that it would have longevity through congress even as presidential power shifted.

“The system was created to fight child mortality, to fight that economic barrier that prevented the mother from having proper attention from the start,” said Dr. Dante Ergueta, who works with SUMI at the Bolivian Health Ministry, in an interview with the U.K. Guardian. “It is an icon for Bolivia and I might even say for Latin America.”

Initially, SUMI managed to cut the alarming child mortality statistics. After its introduction, Bolivia saw reduction in infant mortality between 37.7% in urban areas. Even in rural areas, the program saw a 29.9% drop in infant mortality, which, although still less than the drop in metropolitan areas, represented a significant change.

However, the effects of SUMI have been blunted, if not entirely counteracted, since this initial drop.

The seeds for this decline can be found written into SUMI itself. According to a study done by Focal, SUMI’s plan to attack statistics was limited to quick fixes. Every service that SUMI provided was a double-edged sword, all of which left the deep roots of maternal health barriers in Bolivia untouched.

Where SUMI expanded the number of ailments covered by insurance, it also drastically tightened the program’s membership requirements, restricting it to women who had given birth within the past six months and children under the age of five. Previously, Bolivian health insurance had covered all women of childbearing age as well as the general population for endemic disease. SUMI cut the general public endemic disease coverage entirely, along with several family planning services for non-pregnant women.

Focal reports that “health indicators worsened after its [SUMI’s] implementation, particularly in rural areas. Inequity in health outcomes also grew because the services of high complexity that the SUMI plan made available in urban areas never reached the segment of the population [rural, indigenous communities] that needed them most.”

This “icon for Bolivia” is perhaps one of the most stark examples of one of the most common failures in public health: the rush to address startling statistics, instead of attacking underlying socioeconomic, or even cultural, gender-based problems.

According to UNICEF, Bolivian women exist in a culturally persistent subordinate role to men. Their rates of illiteracy are significantly higher, ranging as high as 37.91%, compared to 14.42% of men. This gap also drastically decreases the number of women who are capable of participating in the workforce, giving women less access to employment-based private healthcare options.

These socioeconomic and cultural forces show that the answer to improving Bolivian maternal health is more complicated than implementing a system of health-services handouts. It is not about the number of services the state can provide; it is about changing the situations of people receiving those services.

Emma Betuel

Sources: Unicef, The Guardian, ITG, WHO, Focal
Photo: Projects Abroad

Latina-Powerhouses
For years entertainers have adopted a precious role in ridding away difficulties posed against those of the developing world. With such charitable responsibility, ten Latina powerhouses from an assortment of entertaining realms have quintessentially supported strategies that give back to many, albeit by endorsement or establishment of a personal foundation.

1) Cuban musician Gloria Estefan has been sincerely active in providing global health, especially helping those who suffer from paralysis-related illnesses. A paralysis-sufferer herself, the “Conga” songstress founded The Gloria Estefan Foundation in 1997 as a means to empower”the youth by financial support for good health, cultural development and education.

2) Mexican singer Thalía, known in American music markets for her Fat Joe-assisted “I Want You,” has been a charitable key in giving back to underprivileged women and children from Latin American countries. Her more familiar feat comes from participation as a spokeswoman and ambassador for global campaign March of Dimes, an initiative that educates and funds the developing Latin American world of hazardous premature births,

3) Puerto Rican-Cape Verdean hip-hop icon Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes not only served as a member of R&B trio TLC but has additionally held philanthropic ties with organizations alleviating AIDS, alongside giving back to international ones concerned with poverty. Lopes’ most profound advocate roles derived from her donative unit Lisa Lopes Foundation, an organization that provides shelter and necessities to developing Honduran sites.

4) Puerto Rican actress and choreographer Rosie Perez is undoubtedly synonymous with addressing health awareness statements, especially in concern to the discussion of HIV/AIDS. Expanding herself from an inner-city educator to a global spokesperson, the “In Loving Color” choreographer has been massively active in endorsing AIDS-related fundraisers and providing global education of the sexual disease by support of her role in the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), as appointed by President Barack Obama.

5) Honduran entertainer America Ferrera, best known for her televised title role as “Ugly Betty,” first explored her philanthropic skills when she participated with Aquafresh White Trays to provide immediate dental care to women in need. Since her “fresh mouth” spot, Ferrera has worked in conjunction with fellow celebrities in combating AIDS and cancer, and has more notably collaborated with programs like international “Save the Children” and Hispanic Heritage Foundation-associated “READ: Refugee Enrichment and Development” to enhance education for the impoverished; the former notably raising funds to build schools in Mali.

6) Mexican film starlet Salma Hayek has provided a passionate take on helping battered women of all ages around the world. Among her most high-profiled recognitions include her $75,000 donation to Mexican-operated charity units that minimize domestic hardships in northeastern regions of Mexico. Hayek has more notably co-founded CHIME for a Change and its Syrian-based initiative to improve lives like those hailing from the Middle East who have been displaced by brutal conflict.

7) Greatly known for her filming roles as Gail in “Sin City” and Chelsea Brown in the recent “Top Five,” Puerto Rican-Cuban actress Rosario Dawson has taken part in programs that enrich African lives for a socially- and domestically-healthy cause. From attending a 2005 United Nations conference to promote environmental preservation as a poverty eliminator, the “Men in Black II” co-star has been a frequent advocate for the global “V-Day campaign,” a movement that stops violence against women; moreover, Dawnson has launched several initiatives that embrace native Africans who specialize in fashion or design.

8) Renowned Mexican singer and former X-Factor judge Paulina Rubio has led a moderate philanthropic trail in shielding Latinos from sexual diseases like HIV/AIDS. Appointed as the then-newest “Madrina” for the Latino Commission on AIDS in 2007, the “Boys Will Be Boys” musician remains a vast component in initiating safe sex campaigns geared towards a Latino audience, not only from the Latino Commission, but also for accompanying international nonprofits like the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

9) Pop culturally known for her sexual-liberating role as Gabrielle of “Desperate Housewives,” Mexican starlet Eva Longoria has been regarded as among the top philanthropists, particularly for her vast achievements in giving back to a large number of communities. Longoria’s most known charitable causes generally include her involvement with Padres Contra El Cancer and Eva’s Heroes, the latter which improves developmentally challenged children. Further on, Longoria has provided global awareness with her Eva Longoria Fund (ELF), which supports children of any ethnic background who suffer from health-related problems.

10) Finally, the term humanitarian is not fully defined without the mentioning of famed Colombian singer Shakira, who has been featured as a spokeswoman for a number of foundations that give back in millions. The “Whenever, Wherever” artist’s very own organization, Barefoot Foundation, has created over five schools and implemented proper nutritional and educational access to over 30,000 native Colombian families since its launch in 2007.

With the help of these 10 gracious Latina “sheroes,” the developing world might just be a few steps closer in reaching the hopeful of everyone living stably, without financial or health concerns posing as deathly restraints.

– Jeff Varner

Sources: TreeHugger, BORGEN, esmas, PRNewswire 1, San Antonio Express-News, PRNewswire 2, Save the Children, USATODAY.com, California Community Foundation, Shape Magazine, TakePart, thuglifearmy.com, Los Angeles Times, VeroNews, BMI.com
Photo: Billboard

Digital_Revolution
Revolution. The word carries a tremendous amount of weight. From the Arab Spring to the American Revolution, from wars to ideas, countries rise and fall on the waves of revolutions. A new revolution is sweeping through Latin America: a digital revolution.

Latin America currently has about 232 million Internet users. This number is a sharp increase from the number of Internet users in 2005: 78.5 million. By 2017, Internet users could rise by 63 percent to 294 million.

In Mexico, Colima’s 600,000 residents have complete Internet access to all kinds of different state services and documents. The state has made health records electronic and crime reports can be filled out online, as well as filing documents for permits. To go along with this, Colima has hundreds of Wi-Fi hotspots for those that do not have Internet at home.

Further to the south, Columbia and Peru are spreading broadband Internet to remote corners of the two countries. The Peruvian government is working to spread Wi-Fi to public buildings, including hospitals and schools in all of its 25 regions.

The Columbian government in Bogotá has subsidized the spread of fibre optic networks around the country to the point where nearly every town in the nation is connected. The government has also gotten rid of taxes on Smartphones, tablets and computers. Under-resourced families have been given vouchers for broadband access. In the last five years, Internet usage has increased from 16 percent to 50 percent.

The digital revolution is helping to improve education equality in Brazil. The state of Mato Grosso do Sul began a new free online program for high school students to help prepare them for a difficult national exam. Grades from the national exam dictate whether students can attend the federal universities. Students who used the service were 31 percent more likely to achieve grades high enough to enroll in the universities, and the system was so successful that 10 other states have implemented it.

Latin America is often cited as a relatively violent area of the world. Never fear, the digital revolution is helping to fix this too. Ecuador released a real-time data supplier for crime hotspots four years ago. Fast-forward to today and the homicide rate has been reduced by 48 percent, thanks to the system.

Tech start-ups have followed the digital revolution. Coupled with inspiration from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, new “technolatinas” are using the Internet in Latin America to create start-ups of their own. Some companies have used close ties with Silicon valley to register their companies in the U.S. Successful companies have the potential to bring outside investments, creating the potential for economic growth.

The spread of broadband Internet opens up “new frontiers for regional development. It can serve as a tool for reducing social and economic inequities.” However, it can also lead to more inequality. It can enable a select few to “hyper-develop,” leaving the rest in the dust. However, the risks outweigh the gains. With the potential for reduced crime, increased economic growth and a more equal education system it is little wonder the digital revolution is booming in Latin America.

Greg Baker

Sources: FT, Latin Post, ABCNews
Photo: Unitee

Pope Brings Strong Poverty Focus to Latin American Tour-TBP
Pope Francis has been entertaining a wide variety of topics on his current Latin American tour, but poverty has remained at the top of his list.

“Do we realize that something is wrong in a world where there are so many farm workers without land, so many families without a home, so many laborers without rights, so many persons whose dignity is not respected?” the Pope said in Spanish at a stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. “Do we realize that that system has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature?”

The Pope’s focus on poverty rings especially true for many living in the countries he’s speaking in. In Ecuador, over 25% of the population lives below the poverty line; that number jumps all the way up to 60% in Bolivia.

According to the Vatican, the overarching theme of the Pope’s visits is to bring “the Church for the poor.” The Pope is reaching out to the poverty-stricken people and regions of his native South America.

“The human environment and the natural environment are degrading together, and we can’t adequately confront human and social degradation without paying attention to the underlying causes,” the Pope said at a stop in Quito, Ecuador. “In today’s world, among the most abandoned and abused poor, we find the most oppressed and damaged land.”

– Alexander Jones

Sources: Big News, CNN, Telesur
Photo: BBC