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After the collapse of the USSR in 1990, Latin America turned over a new page in its history. Almost all countries in Latin America, except for three of them – Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, were under military rule. Moreover, the above said three countries were far from what could be called democracy, and nevertheless, they all accessed a new program of development called neoliberalism. The program provided for every eventuality to realize maximum wage controls like anti-inflation strategy, privatization of state property, and fostering free trade. Cuba ceased to be a bulwark to export socialist revolutions. It seemed that the communist era in the world was put to an end and democracy was to be developed in every country. However, we must confess the running of things in the world leaves much to be desired.
From the beginning, all countries in Latin America were divided into three groups according to their way of development. So, the first group including Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela was inclined to develop their economics similar to Cuban socialism. They are rich in natural resources and at the same time have huge poverty. For instance, Venezuela is the fifth-largest oil reserve in the world, and 30% of its population lives below the poverty line. Venezuela has invented an original way to solve any problems with the help of changing oil for medical officers from Cuba and influencing deeply the countries of that group. Concerning Bolivia, it should be mentioned that country possesses huge deposits of iron ore and gas, and at the same time, 64% of its population lives below the poverty line.
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The second group is Mexico, Colombia, and Peru. They orient on the U.S.A. Mexico is a politically stable country, but it badly wants a reform-oriented government, and that gives every opportunity for 40% of its population to immigrate into the U.S.A. The third group is Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. They wanted to develop their economics in their own way. The most powerful country in the group is Brazil. It has a huge potential of natural resources to be an industrial and agricultural giant in the world, but poverty and such problems connected with it as drug use, crime, and corruption turn Brazilians into the unhappiest people in the world against the background of luxury and industrial progress.
All countries in Latin America are inherent in the following problems: the low scale of life, low wages, insufficient health care, racial and gender inequality. A lot of attempts have been made to solve the problems, to improve health care, to conduct an educational reform, to increase a living wage, and to help the poor, but corruption, the greatest problem in Latin America, makes null and void all the above-mentioned reforms. So, the citizens have to immigrate to the U.S.A., searching for a more successful life. Most people come to the U.S.A. from Mexico. It is 60% of 41.3 million immigrants from Latin America and 15% of the whole population of the U.S.A. 12 million immigrants reside without documents. They need medical care, counseling, and schooling. At the same time, they are subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment. They mainly work in the fields of Florida as tomato pickers. Their working conditions really remind slavery.
There have been established many organizations to protect immigrants from slavery, racial and gender discrimination, and inhuman treatment. One of the most famous organizations is Centro Campesino. This non-profit organization is engaged in rendering services to improve the scale of life and working conditions of migrants and their families irrespective of their race. Centro conducts the following activities: assisting with weatherization, purchasing a home, and solving problem connected with it, including legal services and obtaining the loans, rendering various assistance to family strengthening, entering various educational establishments, obtaining a job and receiving another qualification, undergoing rehabilitation, and getting legal services on protecting the farmworkers’ rights.
Another organization is the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The members of the organization are mainly immigrants from Latin-American countries, Indians, and Haitians working in the fields of Florida as farmworkers for a low wage. They fight for getting sufficient salary for their labor, respecting their human dignity by their bosses, getting better dwelling, stronger legal punishments against every person who would make slaves from them, and putting an end to slavery in the fields. They organize marches for Fair Food, for human rights, and for the solidarity of farmworkers to get safety programs to protect their health. Since late 2010, the CIW has been seeking to affirm the rights of tomato workers and improve the conditions under which they labor. The CIW has become a strong organization, which has gained multiple awards from the U.S. Government and various national organizations, such as “the 2000 National Organization for Women (NOW) Woman of Courage Award”, “the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award”, “a 2005 letter of commendation from F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller”, “the 2007 Anti-Slavery Award from Anti-Slavery International of London”, and “the 2010 U.S. Department of State’s “Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award” by Secretary of State Clinton” (CIW anti-slavery campaign, n.d.). It should be mentioned about the fifteen-day Fair Food journey of 250 tomato pickers from Ft. Myers to Lakeland FL, the headquarters of Publix Food Company. The 250 tomato pickers made 250 miles on foot, attracting attention to their problem of low wage. They went from Ft. Myers on March, 3 and came to Lakeland on March, 17. The journey was called March for Rights, Respect, and Fair Food, having a great repercussion in the U.S.A. The March was reported in mass media and, as a result, many companies increased the wage of tomato pickers. The problems exist and they demand the solution as soon as possible.
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