Monday, June 23, 2008

Rising food prices hit home -- Bolivia's poor, whom sit at "the heart of South America" -- go hungry as food prices continue to rise

Apologies if entries this weekend where a bit "lacking." I was traveling and simply had little access to computers.

Following up to this mornings post, in which I discussed in brief the tremendous untapped agricultural capacity of South America, emphasizing Brazil and Argentina, I present the other side of the story via this video from Reuters.

Bolivia, South America's poorest country used to feed over half a million people using UN donations. Those same donations, in the wake of rising fuel costs, can feed a mere 200,000 today, leaving many with empty stomachs as the video above describes.

The question remains... Yes, no one doubts the "richness" of Latin America, but how do you translate natural resources or un-tapped agriculture potential into sustainable development? Second, how do these countries keep their resources from being exploited by multi-nationals or corrupt and greedy locals?

Most Latino's learn in school and as they grow up their countries are richly endowed with resources, giving their countries the potential to emerge from poverty and develop their countries. Sadly, this has not been the case for any Latin American country, perhaps Chile being a unique example once again.

Chile did succeed to a certain degree in this, putting much of their copper wealth towards sustainable economic development goals. The Chilenean economy emerged significantly more competitive and efficient compared to its neighbors in South America.

Let us not forget the high-cost and much suffering on the parts of some people who lived through the Pinochet dictatorship and the reforms of the "Chicago boys."

Bolivia, itself, in the past 15-20 years has developed its own agricultural capacities in the low lands of the country. I learn new things about Bolivia everyday, society is quite fragmented between the mestizo population (and European descended), and the indigenous community. Despite social and racial problems, a countries people, endowed wit vast resources as Bolivia should not be going hungry.

Bolivia is a unique country in South America, the good man Erneste "Che" Guevara called it the "heart of the America's," and that it is. I hope to see the country with my own two eyes one day before I pass further judgment, but no less, regional methods or a more cohesive internal movement should be put in place to at least alleviate malnutrition and hunger in Latin America.

The continent is poor, but always prided itself as being a poor continent which at least "did not go hungry." This age old myth (yes... myth), is now also on the verge of disappearing as food prices around the world continue to rise.


marshall said...

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