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Neoliberlism and Poverty

Neoliberlism and Poverty

Three of every ten Colombian children are given no education. Some estimates claim that 65% of Colombians live beneath the poverty line. Other studies state that it is over 70%.

02.02.2005 [By Carlos Quintanilla*/ANNCOL] Among the most serious problems in Latina America are poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, crime and administrative corruption. Of all these, poverty affects most of the population in the region, aggravated by neoliberal policies of privatization and debt restructuring, prescribed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).

Central Americans are hurt the most by this phenomena. Of the approximately 35 million inhabitants in Central America, 70% live in poverty, a situation that is worsening every day.

The economic crisis is most serious in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras whose governments have been implementing a series of neoliberal policies since the beginning of the 1990’s which have made the rich richer and the poor poorer.

As a consequence, the army of the unemployed in these nations has increased, along with emigration. Most of the Central American countries, except Costa Rica and Panama, have a large percentage of citizens residing in the U.S.

The economies of those governments depend on the money sent by emigrants to their families. There is also a brain caused by the undocumented migration of professional people to the North because of the lack of opportunities in their own countries. One here, they perform cheap and humiliating work.

The economic model in Central America and the rest of the countries in the region is the direct result of unequal human development which is becoming more and more evident.

Colombia is no stranger to neoliberal policies. In this South America country, social deterioration increases and poverty hits most of its forty million citizens. According to prestigious news agencies in the region, over 20 million Colombians lack health coverage and social security.

Three of every ten Colombian children are given no education. Some estimates claim that 65% of Colombians live beneath the poverty line. Other studies state that it is over 70%.

The most regrettable thing about this sad reality is that while the government acknowledges the gravity of the situation, it makes no effort to rose to the emergencies facing its people. Proof of that is a recent poll by the Administrative National Department of Statistics, which found that about ten million Colombians lack the minimal necessary resources to survive. But since government studies about social problems in any country always hide the reality of the problem, the number could be bigger.

Meanwhile, Alvaro Uribe’s government continues to implement his privatization plan. Unions, on the other hand, are ready to struggle and condemn the double talk of the right wing president.

Concentration of wealth, marginality, poverty, hunger, repression ad other phenomena, which prevent the development of the peoples, are only a few of the numerous phenomena that afflict Latin Americans. In Colombia, these phenomena gave rise to revolutionary struggle. The conflict continues without hope for peace dialogues, because of the intransigence of Uribe’s administration, which seems to be more interested in war than peace.

*Carlos Quintanilla is a journalist and director of the radio program, Noticiero Pacífica, broadcasting by KPFK, Pacífica Network, in Los Angeles, U.S.A.

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