Speaking to a crowd in the southern state of Chiapas in February, a region with the largest indigenous population in Mexico, Pope Francis condemned what he called “the systemic and organized way your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society” (Puella and Bernstein, 2016). These misunderstandings and exclusion have created in Mexico a situation in which indigenous communities face significantly higher rates of poverty, a problem that impacts their overall quality of life and access to basic resources for 12.6 percent of the population.
Health and Society
March 3, 2016 marked a sad day for activist of human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights and environmental activists. Berta Cáceres, a well-known Honduran activist, was killed at home in the early hours of that Thursday morning. Cáceres fought on many fronts, including human rights, indigenous peoples and the environment, and for this reason, she lived as a target.
During the past decade, drug consumption surveys and expert analyses have warned about growing drug use in Latin America. According to the 2013 World Drug Report, cocaine use in Latin America increased significantly during the first decade of the 2000s while the U.S. cocaine market, although still the largest in the world, has been declining. Similar upward trends exist in marijuana, synthetic, and prescription drug use. These trends are seen as unprecedented as they affect primary drug producers, such as Colombia and Mexico, and are seen as generating significant violence.
Have you ever wondered why Central America, the Caribbean, and South America are commonly referred to as “Latin” America? No one in these regions speaks Latin today. The primary language is Castilian Spanish but there is also wide use of Portuguese, French, English, Dutch, and indigenous languages such as Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní, and hundreds of others.
Nativism in the United States has risen and declined throughout the history of the United States dating back to before 1882 with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. These nationalist sentiments immensely affect the admittance and treatment of immigrants.1 The power of nationalistic movements’ increases from the rhetoric used that can create fear of foreigners and cultivate pride in one’s home country.
It is no surprise by this point in his candidacy that Donald Trump is no friend to Latinos. Along with his rants about building a wall between the US and Mexico, he has attacked the Mexican people personally. In June of last year he was infamously quoted saying, “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with them. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."