The themes planted in this article will primarily take root in Latin America—referring to the central and southern region of the Americas, still a grossly overlooked population of avoidable hunger and victimization. In a manner of speaking, the oxymoron “separate but equal” locks oars with generations of lives from the U.S. southward, where the descendants of brutal inequality enforced by “holier than thou” themes of colonization reigned down so foreign and toxic that lives are still affected by it to this day. Even under guise of citizenship in an “independent” country, the remnants of brilliant cultures nonetheless continue to remain dependent on globalized capitalism, an institution of keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Steeped in imperialistic persecution from afar, Latin America was at one time a self-sustaining land with indigenous people with expertise in internal sustainability and social harmony. Of historical chagrin, most of these original peoples’ cultural activities, beliefs and simplified-complexities will never be completely understood. From our standpoint on current perspectives in the world, it seems impossible to ascertain that primitive but intricate and highly respectable social systems once existed and were enjoyed. The people were peaceable, ethical and epitomized what has belatedly become our “environmentally friendly” promotion.
The native Americans were hospitable and generous to the Spanish and Portuguese who rode ashore on smaller crafts launched from military formations of ships with wind-whipped sails. The natives welcomed the strange people with open arms and gifts, but their kindness was quickly taken advantage of. They were exploited and brutalized—to the point of extinction for many—and looked upon in a light less than human—unsophisticated and technologically inferior. Unmeasurable and irreplaceable rafts of localized Latin cultures were killed or enslaved, and those that survived the exposure to these conditions were subjected to early death in savage, subterranean gold and silver mines (the Bolivian Potosi silver mine alone is estimated to have claimed the lives of 8 million slaves) or monocultures of fruit and sugar cane, where, currently, a male canefield cutter in Sao Paulo, Brazil makes $6.50 a day.
After establishing a stronghold in the Americas, the Spanish and Portuguese created a supply chain of raw exportation to the “motherland” on the backs of enslaved Americans and Africans. Post-conquest, in procession, remnants of early cultures began to rely more heavily on the profits gained from these forced exports as a method of survivability in their world turned upside down. These Americans were also systematically ranked in cultural status with the Casta system, relatable to the caste system of the United States that still continues to broaden the gap between the middle and high “classes”, leaving poorer Northern Americans trailing at a higher rate of disparity.
Inequality has run rampant in Latin America for centuries. The recursive after effects of transformative debt continues to plague the impoverished: the ones that were not privy to the mountainous wealth extracted from their own land. Those capitalists that did, however, are renewed with transferable assets that power manipulative, global influence. As reviewed in the documentary film, The End of Poverty?, the richest 1% of the Latin American population receives over 400 times as much income as the poorest 1%. Impoverishment begets hunger and hunger kills. About 30 million children living in Latin America are malnourished. Globally, 18,000 children die of hunger or hunger related diseases every day according to the United Nations.
What many think can be conceivably corrected by humanitarian aid, is actually being fueled by the same global power networks flipping the bill for short-term bandages and vaccines. There is a distinct and grievous saddle between social classes, not only within countries, but within the globalization of power that has dominion over the map; in other words, the carriers of transformative assets. From Bahaman gold to African mineral tantalite (producer of the metal tantalum, a metal used in premium electronics including computers and maybe even your cellphone), these capitalist carriers have benefitted historically and currently from the fruits of another man’s labor.
In an ethical sense, capitalism and imperialistic sojourn make no sense. What morality can withstand so much guilt and still cling to the cleverly constructed ideology as if it were a path to redemption from tyranny. Greed continues to propel the coercive acts of resource hunting and hording. If it isn’t gold its petroleum, if it isn’t petroleum its natural gas, rubber, sugar—the list will never fully unfurl.
With greed and power comes a chemical imbalance of superiority and absolutism. According to the Ministry of Sports, Brazil spent nearly 12 billion dollars hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, almost half of the countries annual budget for education, not to mention the grim reality of hunger in Brazil actualized by the Food and Agricultural Organization that 36 out of every 1000 child born in Brazil we not live past their 5th birthday. Meanwhile, in Bolivia, in accordance with the privatization of water sources, villagers were taxed for collecting rainwater. Depriving children food in the name of futbol and attempting to tax the thirsty for the runoff of the heavens. Brazil and Bolivian national mottos: Ordem e Progresso y La unión es la fuerza. These mottos must only apply to people with old money stained with blood.