Latin America is close to eradicating a harmful practice that remains widespread in Africa and the Middle East. Female genital mutilation or FGM is a cultural practice that affects approximately 200 million girls around the world. This painful procedure is not for medical reasons and is practiced due to myths about modesty and virginity that have been ingrained into various cultures.
Health and Society
Guatemala has a problem with youth pregnancy. The veil of silence around sex, contraception, sexual assault, incest and pregnancy in impoverished Guatemala has led to severe consequences for many young girls and has negatively impacted the entire nation.
Brazil has accomplished a great deal when it comes to combating AIDS. It has developed a comprehensive, multi-level approach to fighting the disease that includes both prevention and treatment. The nation’s approach brings together the federal government, local government and NGOs to combat the epidemic from all angles. After decades of working to perfect the plan to combat AIDS, Brazil received international acclaim for its success. Just a decade later, the country is at risk of shifting their focus away from the disease and losing all of the progress they have already made.
Since the year 2000 the worldwide demand for pineapple has skyrocketed about 300 percent, prompting growers in Costa Rica to increase their output and find new ways to satisfy hungry consumers (Pura Vida Guide 2016). Costa Rica is the largest pineapple supplier to the European Union, and the largest importer is the United States, which gets 90 percent of its pineapples from Costa Rica (Glass 2013). I was able to attend a presentation given by Francisco Arguedas Arce, the financial manager of the fourth largest pineapple producer in Costa Rica, Chestnut Hill Farms.
My article, “Democracy and Student Discontent: Chilean Student Protest in the Post-Pinochet Era,” (Journal of Politics in Latin America, 7(3), 49-84) was based on extensive field research conducted in Chile. I also engaged the theoretical literature on social movements to propose a three-part theory for the seemingly paradoxical emergence and escalation of the Chilean student protests.
Recent events in countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela highlight the extent to which social protest often serves as a vital form of political voice in contemporary Latin America. Though certainly protest is not new in the region, and enjoys a long and storied history throughout the American continent, a growing body of evidence suggests that rates of contentious participation have spiked in many countries over the past decade (e.g., Boulding 2014; LAPOP 2008-2012).