Poverty: the great dilemma of Latin America

Poverty: the great dilemma of Latin America

By Betty Hernández Quintana

After the growth that the area experienced in the first part of the century, progress was made that stopped and since then the situation has remained stable, but no new advances have been registered, so it is most likely that poverty will begin to increase again in Latin America, according to the specialist of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal) Xavier Mancero.

Today the macroeconomic context is more difficult, which can be seen in the poverty and inequality indices that between 2012 and 2014 did not change despite the economic increase, while extreme poverty increased, reversing the process begun in 2000, the expert adds.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) also released the poverty reduction index in Latin America since 2000, where an average decrease of 16.4 percent was seen, which represents the benefit of more than 56 million people.

Looking back, we see that thanks to the economic boom in the region between 2000 and 2012 - the highest in the last four decades according to the UNDP - and the implementation of social improvement policies, poverty rates were reduced.

However, in 2014 about 167 million people continued to be victims of this scourge, which represents 28 percent of the population, an indicator that has been immobile for two years, according to a study by ECLAC.

This source also warns about the increase in extreme poverty from 11.3 percent in 2012 to 12 percent in 2014, which means that 71 million of the total people living in need suffered from extreme conditions.

In this regard, the executive secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Bárcena, stressed that "the recovery from the international financial crisis does not seem to have been sufficiently used to strengthen social protection policies that reduce vulnerability to economic cycles."

"Now, in a scenario of possible reduction of available fiscal resources, greater efforts are required to underpin these policies, generating solid foundations in order to fulfill the commitments of the post-2015 development agenda," the minister added.

With this same objective, the leaders who attended the III Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) spoke, where they exposed the efforts of each country to improve the economic situation of its citizens and measures were decided to jointly develop the next five years.

In said conclave, it was agreed to work on five lines focused on reducing extreme poverty and inequality, favoring education, science, technology and innovation, protecting the environment, financing architecture in the region and strengthening the bloc.

The Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, called the fight against poverty "a moral imperative for our region and for the entire planet, because for the first time in history it is not the product of scarcity of resources but of inequity, a consequence of perverse relations of power where few dominate everything ".

The president, the entity's new pro tempore president, persuaded the organization's leading role in the process of "decolonization in the Latin American and Caribbean region" and in the resolution of conflicts related to member countries.

Correa declared that his government will adopt concrete measures to eliminate poverty in five years, and assured that with a better distribution of resources it will be possible to effectively combat this problem.

On the other hand, the undertaking of the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, is notable, who committed himself to his people and the international community to reduce extreme poverty in the next five years, calling on the opposition in his country to work together and apply the culture of dialogue.

The goal of the Bolivian president is to reduce this evil to eight or nine percent, which is not impossible considering that until 2012 that country was the country with the highest rate of poverty reduction in Latin America with 32.2 percent, followed Peru (26.3) and Venezuela (22.7), according to UNDP.

These attitudes show the determination of Latin American governments to continue social improvements and eradicate poverty in the region, however, the true results of the decisions of the present will be seen in the coming years.

Video: Why is Latin America Poorer than North America? (June 2021).