Our "Summer" Travels To South America, Conclusion
We are very happy and are grateful to have had the opportunity to visit South America and see its wonderful people
Armando F. Sanchez, Contributing Writer
South America is a very large and ecologically diverse continent. It is a continent that offers the world large quantities of food (land and ocean) and minerals. It's cities are getting crowded and were not built to handle its quickly growing urban population. While large portions of its population still live in farms and country side, they are quickly moving into towns and cities.
Published on LatinoLA: April 23, 2013
In general, the cost of living can be as much, or higher, than what persons pay in the US. The price of a gallon of gasoline is around $5-7 per gallon. The minimum wages in many nations can be around $500-700 per month. Yet, beachfront condos in Lima, Peru and other countries were running in the millions of dollars. Their issues of haves and have nots have to be closely paid attention to.
One issue we heard many times in different places was the keen awareness that their children had to be educated with the 21st Century clearly in mind by utilizing technology. Throughout our travels we consistently heard how vital it was for their future generations to be educated in using technology. Unlike the US, they emphasized the importance of children to learn and utilize business related development software. Youth in the US are using primarily recreational software (video games and phone access) and are not familiar with Excel, Word and others. Several countries highlighted plans to offer free Internet throughout the nation.
Regarding their communication infrastructure, we paid to be able to use our cell phone throughout So. America. We were able to use our phones, if needed, practically everywhere. Even in very remote areas we could see homes with satellite dishes on rooftops. The programming offered channels worldwide. What was not in Spanish was televised in close caption. The nation's communication system was very good. Many business offered web Internet connections free or for a minimal cost.
One major area of concern for the nations is its dealing with water and garbage pollution. These countries still lack the infrastructure to handle its fresh water pollution from commercial and human use. Many of its rivers seem to be have detergent in them. It was apparent in some coast lines. The pollution problem is not a primary issue there because there is no shortage of additional fresh water/rain (during rainy season) but pollution does not vanish into thin air.
South America is blessed with many natural resources. They are wealthy nations given their resources and relatively small populations. What is challenging is how small ruling elites have maintained control over many years the primary national industries and resources. Several countries are still recuperating from recent national political strains and dictatorships.
For example, Ecuador's national economy went into hyper inflation and collapsed in 1992. This also happened in Argentina. Each change of political parties in Colombia threatens the nation's economy. Venezuela provides much of the petroleum to these countries and now that its president has died (Hugo Chavez) the issue of oil supply and gasoline prices is in the News. One part of the economy is being stabilized while in another area it is being strained. Inflation is a major topic of discussion and concern.
The world is very fortunate to have a large continent that is in warm climate exactly when the northern hemisphere is blanketed in snow and chill. It's clear to see why the Europeans and others visit and have winter homes here. They seek relief from the long gloomy cold months of winter and the much higher living and traveling costs in Europe. Cost in Europe can be 100-200 percent higher than in South America.
The people we met in South America were very friendly. They were open and frank. One could see the closeness of family members working together. you could see the affection and concern adults and parents had for children. There we many images and statues highlighting children. There we posters in primary public locations highlighting how important children were to the nation. People seem proud of their heritage and culture. They embrace their historical background and cultural diversity. The people don't seem to be tense or walking with a sense of insecurity. They share and hold deep concern for their futures. They have sayings that emphasize hope for the future. The term "ma??ana" for them does not mean do it tomorrow, it means hope is alive tomorrow.
The people value the arts, their writers and music. In many ways, they are inquisitive and constantly asking questions. They are open and very interested in what I thought of what was happening around the world.
People are genuinely concern for their families and the unique and wonderful part of the planet they live in. They want to share it.
One of the major items I learned was how spiritual people are in South America. It's not because of the major role Catholicism is deeply entertained in their recent history. Their nature in spirituality was at the center of their culture long before the Spaniards arrived. The symbols are etched into the artifacts, architecture, and structures still standing. The Inca Empire of South America share that in common with the Mayan civilization (centered in what is now Guatemala) and the Aztec/Toltecas (in the valley of central Mexico).
The building of the Panama Canal in 1914 changed the economy of the nations but today, given the current world trade conditions and population growth, they can benefit by proving resources. The Chinese and Asia counties already have a major economic presence in So. America (factories, automobiles, heavy machinery, etc.) and it will most likely grow.
In conclusion, people live under different social, cultural, political and geographic conditions in a distant land and they are just like you and me. Family oriented, hard working, value education and looking toward a better future. They are planning and working to be part of the 21st century technological world. They understand how their past political leaders have lead them astray but they are acting on change to reverse it. They don't see themselves as victims of the past. They are looking for the process to live in peace and open doors for prosperity. One major strength that they have is that large portions of their populations work with companies and individuals throughout the world. They understand the importance of being focused on world affairs and speaking multiple languages. They continue to get heir children prepared to work with organizations around the world.
We are very happy and are grateful to have had the opportunity to visit South America and see its wonderful people.
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