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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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South America

Economies of South America

“Data from IMF, World Economic Outlook, April 2019

There are many stories in this video in the nearly 40 years of economic history of South America since 1990.The two most important stories portrayed (or at least the most dramatic) in the animated chart are decline of Venezuela’s economy and the rise of Chile’s.  This video can act as a primer to get students to consider the regional context of economic growth as well as the differing historical, political, and geographic context that leads to distinct results in any given country.

GeoEd Tags: South America, Latin America, economic, historical, political, video.

The Displaced: Venezuela

The country of Trinidad and Tobago is only 7 miles away from Venezuela, which is currently in the midst of a political, agricultural, and economic collapse.  As 10% of Venezuelans have left their country, an estimated 40,000 have fled to the small, neighboring island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.  The Trinidadian government and people have done much to aid Venezuelans, but can only do so much and are feeling stretched beyond their capacity to assist the  Venezuelans who can be called refugees or economic migrants, depending on how you see this situation.

I believe that this is the first in the BBC’s new series, The Displaced and look forward to seeing more.  Not surprisingly, when reading the Youtube comments on this, many from Trinidad feel that this reporting did not convey an accurate portrayal of the situation, that most of the Trinidadians that are welcoming to migrants and not xenophobic.  I believe, to some extent, that the BBC is judging the Trinidadian government much as it would a large, developed country with a far greater capacity to accommodate an quick demographic influx.

GeoEd Tags: South America, Venezuela, borders, migration, refugees, poverty.

Why Colombia has taken in 1 million Venezuelans

"Colombia is currently dealing with a massive wave of refugees coming from Venezuela. Venezuelans are fleeing their home because of a severe economic crisis under President Nicolas Maduro. There are high inflation rates and there isn’t enough food available for people within Venezuela to even eat. Thousands of Venezuelans cross the Simon Bolivar bridge located at Cúcuta every day and Colombia doesn’t seem to be turning anyone way. This borders episode looks at why Colombia doesn’t turn away these refugees, the shared history of the two nations and how there may be a limit to Colombia’s acceptance of incoming Venezuelans."

Source: www.youtube.com

The Vox border series is one of Youtube series that is the most infused with geographic themes and concepts.  If you haven’t yet discovered this yet, this episode is a great introduction to current issues in both Colombia and Venezuela.  This is also a curious case because it gets so close to the line of what we consider voluntary and involuntary migration. 

 

GeoEd Tags: South America, Venezuela, Colombia, borders, migration, poverty.

Scoop.it TagsSouth America, Venezuela, Colombia, borders, migration, poverty.

 

Chile’s Energy Transformation Is Powered by Wind, Sun and Volcanoes

“Once energy dependent, Chile is on track to become a renewables powerhouse with the potential to export electricity. Chile is on track to rely on clean sources for 90 percent of its electricity needs by 2050, up from the current 45 percent.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

The definition of a natural resource changes as the societal and technological context shifts.  Firewood was once the most important energy resource and now there are tree removal companies that haul are paid to haul away what some would consider very valuable goods. The coastal breeze of the Pacific, the harsh sun of the Atacama desert, and the rugged volcanic landscapes of Chile were never an energy resources…until they were made so by technological advancements and shifting economic paradigms.  As this article and embedded video demonstrate, Chile and South America are fully investing in the transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable energy resources.

 

TagsChileSouth America, industry, sustainabilityeconomic, energy, resources, unit 6 industry.

Peru gives landlocked Bolivia a piece of Pacific coast to call its own

“It might be a strip of sand without even a jetty but a small stretch of the Pacific coast now harbors Bolivia’s dream of regaining a coast and becoming a maritime nation. The landlocked Andean country has won access to a desolate patch of Peru’s shoreline, fueling hopes that Bolivia will once again have a sea to call its own. President Evo Morales signed a deal yesterday with his Peruvian counterpart, Alan García, allowing Bolivia to build and operate a small port about 10 miles from Peru’s southern port of Ilo. The accord, sealed with declarations of South American brotherhood, was a diplomatic poke at Chile, the neighbor that seized Bolivia’s coast and a swath of Peruvian territory in the 1879-84 war of the Pacific.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

How important is a coastline to the economic viability of a country in the global market and to for the country’s geopolitical strengthen?  Ask the countries without one. 

 

TagsSouth America, Bolivia, economictransportation, political, coastal, borders.

 

As Venezuela Collapses, Children Are Dying of Hunger

“Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But in the last three years its economy has collapsed. Hunger has gripped the nation for years. Now, it’s killing children. The Venezuelan government knows, but won’t admit it. Doctors are seeing record numbers of children with severe malnutrition. Before Venezuela’s economy started spiraling, doctors say, almost all of the child malnutrition cases they saw in public hospitals stemmed from neglect or abuse by parents. But as the economic crisis began to intensify in 2015 and 2016, the number of cases of severe malnutrition at the nation’s leading pediatric health center in the capital more than tripled, doctors say. 2017 was even worse.”

 

Tagsmortality, medical, developmentfood, poverty, Venezuela, South America.

Source: www.nytimes.com

What Rio doesn’t want the world to see

“Rio is hiding poor people. See Part II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3BRTlHFpBU

Source: www.youtube.com

This isn’t news, but it isn’t just about Rio de Janeiro, since the World Cup and Olympics have already come and gone. Yet the urban planning designed for the world’s gaze remains.  Some strategies used were to create economic development and stimulate the local communities, but more often than not, the poor of the city and the poor communities cities were swept under the rug without addressing the issues that creating poverty with the city.  Many of the poor communities closest to Olympic venues were demolished without real viable housing options for the displaced residents.

 

Questions to Ponder: Can you think of other ways (of other examples) that city planning is used to hide the poor or the ‘less desirable’ parts of the city?  Why does this happen?  How should urban planning approach economic redevelopment, poverty, and community?   

 

Tags: Brazil, urban, squatter, neighborhood, economicplanning, urbanism.

 

Venezuela Is Starving

Once Latin America’s richest country, Venezuela can no longer feed its people, hobbled by the nationalization of farms as well as price and currency controls. The resulting hunger and malnutrition are an unfolding tragedy.

Source: www.wsj.com

Widespread famines are very rare in democracies and are much more prevalent in authoritarian regimes.  This is because food production is but a small part of a larger picture; the system of food production and distribution in Venezuela has been decimated by the nationalization of private farms.  Individual farmers can’t make a profit in the new political economy and consequently are going to stop producing for the market.  This vicious cycle is political in nature more so than in is agricultural. 

 

Tags: food, poverty, Venezuela, South America, economic, political, governance, agriculture, food production.

Colombia rejects FARC deal: What’s next?

“A narrow win for Colombia’s opponents to a government peace deal with FARC rebels has thrown the country into disarray, leading one journalist to starkly declare, ‘Nobody really knows what will happen tomorrow.’  Likened to the fallout from the United Kingdom’s ‘Brexit’ referendum, the vote’s unexpected failure has left the Colombian political classes reeling and unsure how to respond in order to save four years of hard negotiation with the Marxist militia.”

Source: www.cnn.com

The Colombian peace negotiations with FARC (the insurgent rebels in drug producing regions) were hailed as the key for Colombia to move past it’s violent, drug-cartel past and move into the future.  As the Colombian population rejected the deal by the slimmest of margins (50.22% against), it leaves the government “without a Plan B.” There are more questions than answers at this point about what might happen (if you are asking what’s FARC?, then this primer will walk you through it). 

 

TagsSouth America, Colombiapoliticalnarcotics, conflict.

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