13 junio, 2014
The largest remaining natural resource is the Amazon forest, and the largest salt lake in the world is located in Bolivia. Argentina’s Patagonia has one of the highest wind energy potential on earth. The first drug that was used to prevent and treat malaria, the quinine, is obtained from the bark of a tree that grows in Ecuador, and the 20% of plants that have anti-cancer properties are found only in the great rainforest of this region. As you probably know, I am talking about South America, that area which has nearly 26% of the world’s renewable sources of freshwater and major resources as gold, silver, tin and petroleum.
Despite these impressive facts, it has one of the highest percentages of poverty compared with the rest of the continents. How can be possible that this paradise of natural resources is actually one of the poorest regions of the world?
First of all, it is necessary to understand that South America’s economy is centered on the export of natural resources, not on its exploitation.
We absolutely believe that the main factor of poverty in South America is corruption: a study demonstrated that corruption tends to be higher in countries at lower levels of economic and human development, with lower levels of education, limited political rights, weak or non-existent. Why is corruption the one to blame? Easy. Corruption lowers the rate of economic growth and investment, distorts public spending by diverting funds to sectors where the collection of bribes is easier such as physical public investments and military spending, weakens programs designed to help the poor and reduce inequality apart from the government revenue through tax evasion and improper tax exceptions, lowers foreign aid and influences the structure of trading partners. Politically, corruption reduces the public’s trust in politicians and civil servants, their faith in public institutions, evaluations of government performance and regime legitimacy.
A daily and terrible example is what happened in Bogota where the government, with an enormous quantity of subsidies started to distribute to the proletarian families Cocinol, which is a gasoline product, it was reduced so those families could cook with it. 300.000 families have to live with this kind of miserable life conditions. But these corrupt practices in which not only the politicians make themselves richer but also to private businessman, this is a dramatic punishment for the lower classes that are disadvantage: kids from the proletarian sector are the principal victims of this hateful corruption which is subsidized by their own government.
There are presidents as Alan Garcia, Jaime Paz, Carlos A. Perez, Salinas de Gortari and the Mexican PRI, the best world example of the “perfect dictatorship”(Vargas Llosa) blamed for Colosio’s and Ruiz Massieu’s murder, also linked with barracks Golf mafia and for the just Chiapa’s Indian uprising.
So after analyzing this I correct myself. How could I say that is not only corruption’s fault? It is also the problem of how democracy is perceived in South America, where most of the power is in the government. Politicians get to presidential office with the idea of making a change for the people. However, while they are gaining power they start to forget about population demands, just thinking on their benefits.
This is the best recipe for achieving consolidation and sustained regional development, which is extremely necessary in the region.