3 January 2011

Snapshot Of Latin America 2010

Water: More than 120 million Latin Americans do not have access to potable water in their homes and more than 200 million are without access to proper sewers. Another 100 million lack drainage cover and another 256 million have to get rid of their waste through septic tanks.

Killing Scribes: Latin America was the most dangerous place for journalists, contributing to 35 of the 105 scribes killed worldwide. 14 of them died in Mexico.

Child Labour: Of about 141 million children between the ages of five and 17 in Latin America, some 14 million work as child labour, the ILO said.

Ecuador Children: Ecuador has virtually eliminated the practice of children working in garbage dumps. There were 2,000 of them at the start of the year but only 29 now remain.

U.S. Aid: 47% of the $3 billion in U.S. aid to Latin America this year has gone either to the military or the police, says a report by three U.S. thinktanks.

Road Accidents: Road accidents kill 120,00 in Latin America and the Caribbean every year, with fatality rates of 26.1/100,000, the highest in the world, going up to 31 in 2030.
Dakar Rally: The Dakar car rally, shifted to Latin America from Africa, is being criticised for the environmental impact it will have, especially by the indigenous populations of Chile and Argentina through which it will pass.

Peru Tribes: Peru has 1.786 indigenous communities spread over 11 provinces and belong to 13 linguistic families.

Clean Cuba: Cuba is the ninth cleanest country in the world, according to a table developed by researchers at the Yale and Columbia universities, with Iceland at the top, Costa Rica third and Columbia ninth.

Cuba Medics: At least 38,000 Cuban health professionals work in 77 countries, but the largest number is in Venezuela where the country’s health system is being revolutionised with Cuban help.

Angola: Angola will implement Cuban ‘Yes I can’ pedagogical method in tackling adult illiteracy from this year with the start of a pilot project.
Milagro: More than 1.3 million Venezuelans have been attended to by Misión Milagro, the world’s biggest ophthalmologic programme signed between Cuba and Venezuela in 2005, which now treats patients from all over Latin American and in parts of Africa.

Venezuela Medicines: Venezuela plans to achieve sovereignty in medicines within the next three years with help from Cuba and Portugal. 

Mexico Jobless: Unemployment grew by 333% in the last nine years and employment and the number of workers paid five times the minimum wage fell by 30%.

Bolivia Poverty: The number of people living below the poverty line fell by 16% between 2000 and 2009.

Mexico Poverty: Every second Latin American who descended into poverty in 2009 was a Mexican, according to the government and the World Bank. In 2008, 47.4% of Mexico’s 105.3 million people lived in poverty.

Brazil Poverty: Poverty in Brazil fell between 2004 and 2008 from 33.2% to 22.9% and signs are that it has fallen even further in 2009.

Homes: As part of the “My house, my life” programme, Brazil will construct a million homes for those of modest incomes as part of efforts to generate employment.

Brasil Landless: 1.6% of land owners control 46.78% of the land in Brazil, according to the MST social movement.
Coca: Peru’s legislators have approved a measure to allow coca leaves to be processed as flour and as flavouring for certain drinks though it will also have to passed by Congress.

Colombia Drugs: Coca cultivation in Colombia grew 27% in 2007 and it now accounts for 55% of the Latin American cultivation, followed by Peru 29% and Bolivia 16%.

US Complicity: The CIA and senior U.S. diplomats were aware as early as 1994 that U.S.-backed Colombian security forces engaged in "death squad tactics," cooperated with drug-running paramilitary groups, and encouraged a "body count syndrome," according to declassified documents published on the Web today by the National Security Archive.

Judge Flees: A Colombian judge who sentenced a former soldier to prison for his part in the killing of civilians has had to flee the country after death threats and criticisms from the President and the reluctance of the state to provide her with security.

Disappeared: 38,225 people have been “disappeared”, presumably killed, in the last three years, says a Colombia group, Legal Medicine.

Hired Killers: Colombia says there are 2,000 hired killers in the country.

Juarez: 306 women were killed in Ciudad Juarez on Mexico’s border, the highest in the last 18 years.  

Arms Dealer: The Tourism Minister of Panama, Salomón Shamah, has been linked to arms dealing and money laundering.

Guatemala Archives: Guatemalan Army has declassified 11,641 civil war archives for the years 1960-96 which will throw light on disappearances and human rights violations.
Minister Arrested: Spanish police have arrested Carlos Vielmann Montes, a former Guatemalan Minister accused of authorising and supervising the extra-judicial killing of 10 prisoners between November 2005 and September 2006. 

Child Killers: The Right-wing Colombian death squad AUC killed more than 2,000 children in 18 years, Bogota has told Unicef and that 104 bodies of children were found in common graves.

Colombia Refugees: Ecuador will recognise 50,000 Colombians living on its soil as refugees. They had sought refuge between 2000 and 2007.

Torturer: A retired Brigadier of the Chilean Army, Jaime García Covarrubias, who worked as a Professor in the Pentagon, has been named as a torturer during the Pinochet regime.

Argentina Killings: Since 2003 the Argentinean security forces have been killing at least one person a day, half of whom are men below the age of 25.

Bolivia Prisoners: 78% of Bolivia’s prisoners are undertrials, their likely number more than 10,000.

Evo’s double: The Bolivian police rescued in the nick of time Valerio Queso, Evo Morales’ double in the film on the Bolivian leader, Evo Pueblo, after he led a land occupation by the homeless in El Alto.

Allende Suicide: Gonzalo Meza Allende,45, grandson of Salvador Allende, the murdered Chilean President, committed suicide after a long bout of depression.

Chile Killings: The Chilean justice system has discovered that many Peruvians, Bolivians and Ecuadorians were killed during the Pinochet years.

Murdered President: A forensic expert's report confirms ex-Chilean President Eduardo Frei Montalva was poisoned to death 27 years ago, an attorney for the family says. Though an opponent of Salvador Allende, Frei was starting to oppose  Pinochet; his family think his regime was behind the murder.

No To Tasers: An Argentinean judge ruled that Taser guns violated the U.N. pact against torture. The right-wing mayor of Buenos Aires had bought several of these for use in the city.

Mexico TUs: 90% of Mexican trade unions are fakes and this affects women workers the most as they make up 37% of the economically active population but are left without labour rights.

Free Lunch: 873.150 Venezuelans get free food from Monday to Saturday in 5.821 centres distributed in the 24 states. Pregnant women, people in dire poverty and children in difficult circumstances are the principal gainers.

Malnutrition: Venezuela has Latin America’s lowest malnutrition rate, says WHO. It ranges from 4 to 6%. in 1998, before the Chávez-led Government came to power, it was 21% and 98% of Venezuelans now have at least three meals a day.

Malnourished: Just about every other pregnant Colombian woman suffers from malnutrition.

Guatemalan Hunger: 49% of Guatemalan children below the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition while 40% of children between 7-9 suffer moderate to severe malnutrition.

High Prices: Basic food items in El Salvador such as rice, maize and sugar are the most expensive in Central America and could be because of the government’s close ties with the private sector.

Organic Sugar: Cuba has started producing organic sugar and hopes to export it to Europe, North America and Japan, where it fetches significantly higher prices.

Bolivia desert: A full 41% of Bolivia, where 71% of the population lives, has been affected by desertification brought about by climate change, overgrazing, population pressure and indiscriminate felling of forests, says a Bolivian minister.

Cancun Pact: President Evo Morales says he will ask the International Court in Hague to nullify the Cancun agreement because it was done without consensus and is against human life on the planet.

Cuba Blockade: 59% of Americans think their country should lift the blockade of Cuba and restore normal relations, up 14% from May 2008, while 30% want to retain the old policies.

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