Latin America continues economic success, growth

Columnist and Columnist

Always looked down on as an underdeveloped region, Latin America has made a name for itself within the global markets and news with the sudden boom of major news stories coming out of the area.

These events include the death of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela to the election of the new pope from Argentina this past Wednesday.

It’s not just the recent changes in their economies, but the success Latin America has had in the past decade. A snapshot of a five-year span shows a 5.5 percent growth with little inflation while the economy remained stable during the worldwide financial crisis between 2008 and 2009.

Latin America has experienced growth within the employment sector and a growing middle class that has narrowing inequalities. Some Latin American countries have the ability to participate in the international market with multinational corporations.

Composed of 20 countries in different states of development, the power lies within three countries that control their portion of the international market. These countries, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil, have had some of the most success on the worldwide economic scale.

On Wednesday, the Vatican elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the newest pope, showing the future of the Catholic Church might be growing within Latin America and their 480 million Catholics. Being a voice for the poor of Argentina, Pope Francis I hopes to raise awareness of the Catholic Church within Latin America.

Before the 2002 economic collapse, Argentina was the richest of the Latin American countries, until the value of the peso fell and they had to default on a multi-billion dollar public debt. But, beginning in 2003, the economy had grown significantly until 2011 when it slowed down to 1.4 percent in 2012. Argentina recovered with little to no foreign investment and from no help in the international market.

But Argentina does have oil, one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, putting the country in competition with he U.S. and China. The government is currently looking to push for growth within the production of oil and natural gas, along with the large agricultural exports that aids the country.

Venezuela itself can become more involve in Latin American trade with oil and other resources after joining the Latin American Integration Association.

With the aid of the country’s large petroleum reserves along with Venezuela’s own oil, President Chavez was able to take what money Venezuela had made and put it towards social reform within the country that aided the poor. Even though Venezuela is not as strong as the other countries, powers like the U.S. are now looking to enhance relations with Venezuela after Chavez’s death earlier this month.

With the seventh largest economy in the world, Brazil has one of the strongest economies in South America. A large producer of food and oil, Brazil has been one of the most stable countries economically. The government has tried to make sure the country remained on target with growth by cutting taxes and lowering interest rates.

A global shift is occurring. What used to be struggling economies are now pushing their way into the global sphere and dominating the world markets.

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