.. few indigenous peoples that survived the plague of disease brought on by the Europeans. So began the complex social stratifications embodied within every facet of culture and politics. With the defeat of the Spanish Armada, symbolically the power of Spain was diminishing and thus, the ambitions of the colonies were increasing. Charles III was the last in a succession of rulers, which attempted to consolidate control over the colonies.
This was attempted by both re-designing the administrative system governing the colonies and allowing free trade to occur from any of the ports to Spain, as contained in, the Declaration of Free Trade. The unsatisfied colonies were finally forced to loose allegiance to the crown when Napoleon removed King Ferdinand and placed his brother upon the throne. Many see this as the fateful move, which lead to colonial independence, Without Napoleons interevention the Spanish American colonies might all have remained Spanish until well into the nineteenth century, as did Cuba.(S+S, 29) Napoleons action may not have caused the rebellions alone, yet they served as an impetus for change. This change came all too often tin the form of revolts and rebellions, yet slowly, the provinces gained their independence and a new era of struggling to establish legitimacy and stability in the established world order began. The economic troubles of these early governments had begun before the leaders had even fully been initiated into office and this economic frailty would follow these governments for decades to come.
The militant warfare and fighting of the nineteenth century was due mainly to a combination of factors consisting of social stratifications and economic inadequacies. These inadequacies lead to a period of military rule throughout most of Latin America; some of this was phased in and out as others forms official dictatorships, with an iron grip upon the people, Within a year or so after the October 1929 stock market crash in New York, army officers had sought or taken power in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. (S+S, 52). As economic troubles expanded, the role of the military in government decreased, In this context of economic crisis, Latin America turned way from authoritarianism and, in many cases, toward democracy. (S+S, 60) Generally the expanded middle class began demanding for greater accountability within the government.
This trend increased throughout the twentieth century and today Latin America boasts an all time high in democratically elected governments, with the continued exclusion of Cuba, and this period of democracy may set the precedence for forms of government and success in fulfilling the desires of a people. Argentina The governmental situation within Argentina has been marked with considerable amounts of upheaval and violence, even when gauged by Latin American norms. Within the decade of the nineties much focus has been given to events in Argentinas past, primarily concerns, which focus upon the Dirty War. As President of the country, Menem had begun a series of attempts to punish human rights offenses, which had occurred prior to his tenure. This action prompted mass riots and several rebellions, which posed serious threats and questions toward the legitimacy of government. Menem ceded pardons and the issue gradually subsided, yet this serves to show how actions and inactions of past regimes affect the governments of today. The continued power of military influence upon government remains evident in Argentina today.
In 1994, as held by Skidmore and Smith, the constitution was reformed for proclaimed reasons of efficiency and transparency, although some viewed it as a maneuver by which to prolong the rule of Menem. Menem was indeed successful in prolonging his term by winning the elections of May 1995. Under Menem, much of the Argentinian foreign policy mirrored that of the US, Menem adopted a foreign policy in line with the United States (the foreign minister, indeed, was reported to have quipped that Buenos Aires was seeking carnal relations with Washington). (S+S, 113) In October of 1999 elections were held once again, this time favoring candidate, Fernando de la Ra Bruno by receiving 48.5% of the popular vote over contender Maldonado. (Elections in Argentina) Chile Chile mirrors the haunting past of Argentina, as former criminal acts are now on the forefront of the modern political agenda.
Only since the nineties has Chile consistently begun to follow democratic procedure. This procedure has of course, included investigations of past human rights abuses. The source of the conflict has most often come down to a single man, Pinochet. The role of the military in the Chilean government is still heavily felt in many sectors of government, most notably the judiciary; thus the struggle continues to design democracy amidst military tradition, precedence, and pressure. These pressures overall are beast summed up by Skidmore and Smith, Chiles newly restored democracy also faced formidable obstacle: an ever-alert army still headed by an unrepentant Pinochet, a pro-military judiciary, a rightist-dominated Senate, sporadic terrorism from left and right, and the explosive issue of what to do about past human rights abuses with its potential to ignite civilian-military conflict.(S+S,145) The presidential election of 1993 brought victory to Eduardo Frei, the son of a former Chilean President.
The economic security and growth felt throughout the Chilean economy during the nineties was a stabilizing effect upon government as well. The elections held in December and Jamuary of this year introduced candidate Escobar to the presidency (Elections in Chile). Escobar ran on a platform to decrease governmental intervention in economics and increase focus and spending on public works. This marks a notable transition from past military rigidness faced by businesses and industry. Poverty: Stemming from the dependencia theory, the source of poverty throughout Latin America might possibly be postulated in any number of manners. The fact remains that at some point a world based totally on agrarian and manual labor, was altered by the industrial revolution.
Latin America was certainly chosen to be the warehouse of supplies and materials, not the boutique boasting finished products. Once an economic cycle begins, it becomes difficult to alter; many years later, international powers have faithfully held the same positions, including Latin America. The fate of third world is largely determined by a lack of economic opportunity, which many might contend is ultimately inaccessible due to a lack of education. Mexico With a population of 85 million people, Mexico boasts one of the largest citizenries, yet also one of the lower standards of living.(S+S, 4) Together, high numbers of people, with low standards of living, has made Mexico a country plagued with poverty, and with that, higher rates of crime. The mid nineties brought further economic crisis to Mexico as NAFTA had unpredictable effects on the Mexican economy, Fearful of the overvaluation of the peso, investors withdrew more than $10 billion from Mexico within a week.
(S+S, 261) This of course led the US to create an emergency aid package, necessary to prevent default on Mexican debts. The ultimate concern has and continues to be the direct connection between market conditions and the welfare of people at large, which only shows grim results for now, Between 1963 and 1981, according to one study, the proportion of Mexicans below the poverty line dropped from 77.5 to 48.5 percent; but from 1982 to 1992, under the pro-market reforms, it rose again to 66 percent. (S+S, 262) Haiti Considered to be the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti serves as the ultimate of lowered living standards, With a population of about 6.7 million, Haiti has a per capita income of approximately $370. (S+S, 301) Originally colonized by the French, Haitian slave labor from Africa eventually took over government. Following a political history of violence and rebellion, Haiti still remains on the outer edges of political stability. Aid amounts given to Haiti are high, yet the actual dispersion of these funds is halted often if the government shows signs of internal fracturing or corruption. Here is a list of aid currently being given to Haiti: United States $458 million European Union $467 million Canada $133 million France $121 million Germany $76 million Japan $28 million Switzerland $20 million Holland $12 million Other $140 million Multilateral Inter-American Dev.
Bank $761 million World Bank (International Dev. Association) $377 million International Monetary Fund $131 million U.N. Dev. Program $38 million Other U.N. $50 million $2.8 billion (Center for International Policy) Education: Education is able to be shown in direct correlation to ones standard of living and thus, this becomes a central issue on both the political and social agendas of Latin America.
The low budgets of Latin American governments often leave public works, including education, on the bottom rung of priorities. Money is needed to attempt to solve problems caused ultimately by a lack of education, instead of being spent on education itself, thus this creates a problem of a self perpetuating nature. Only in the twentieth century has this cycle of poverty and dependence been actively pursued by increasing the quality and standards of education, and political activism has been a central mode through which such changes might be made. Peru Peru is highlighted under education to understand the multi-facted uses of education in Latin America. Far from traditional educational institutions, agrarian education as well as environmental education has a far more valuable impact in these countries.
Perumujer is an NGO, which spreads literacy throughout farming regions, yet more importantly, adds components of conservancy and ecological education which not only allow the Peruvians to farm more efficiently, yet bring higher yields of food using smaller land area. Many of the storms throughout Latin America cause mudslides, which kill thousands each year; most often this is due to barren hillsides, which have been inappropriately farmed. Education in many countries focuses on applicable and pertinent living skills and this can make an impact with unlimited benefits. Costa Rica This island country is one general exception to the trends of education in Latin America and thus is used as an example of possible success in the educational sector. Over the last ten years, Costa Rica has boasted a 93% literacy rating, far above the averages held by many tropical neighbors.(Info Costa Rica.com) This exists as the most literate population in Central America.
In 1869 the Costa Rican government, having generated large sums of wealth from the coffee industry made education mandatory and free. Then having one the lower literacy rates, one in ten could read and write; Costa Rica sets an uplifting trend that has developed over time. Not having a university until 1940, Costa Rica now proudly has four such places of study and continues to devote more money toward education annually. Students, under President Figueres, are now required to take English, tying Costa Rica more closely into the new economy and increasing success for tourism. (Info Costa Rica.com) In an analysis of the structures in place in the areas of economics, politics, poverty reduction, and education, one sees that the state of development in Latin America is not neglected for sure-sighted tactics are consistently being employed.
The point of interest is that within all of these categories, most political stability has not fully developed until the onset of the final decade of the twentieth century. Development in Latin America is a priority and examples of successes are amply available, even in the midst of setbacks. In summation, the development of Latin America is progressively transitional. With time, continued effort, and constant pursuit of democratic principles, the development of Latin America will succeed. Bibliography Works Cited Elections in Argentina by Wilfried Dirksen, 2000 http://www.agora.stm.it/elections/election/argenti na.htm My Brazil by Sergio Koreisha, 1997 http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~sergiok/brasil.html CIA World Fact Book: Brazil, 2000 http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/br.h tml#econ CIA World Fact Book: Cuba, 2000 http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/cu.h tml Business Week (International Edition), January 17, 2000 Adios, Argentina Companies are Leaving for Brazil.
Elections in Chile by Wilfried Dirksen, 2000 http://www.agora.stm.it/elections/election/chile.h tm Center for International Policy; Haiti: Democrats vs. Democracy by Robert E. White http://www.us.net/cip/democrac.htm Peru Mujer: Peruvian Literacy project http://www.literacyonline.org/explorer/peru over.html Info Costa Rica.com: Overview, Education http://www.infocostarica.com/education/general.htm l Political Science.