Today’s headlines surrounding Latin America illustrate a continent full of raging protests in Nicaragua, political oppression in Venezuela, and economic crisis’s in countries like Brazil and Argentina. Yet, there lies one country with significant stability compared to its Latin American brethren. Chile, although it encompasses a similar history to its neighbors, including economic instability, socialism, and military dictatorships—persists as a Latin American success story.
Usually developing small-scale infrastructure in rural areas is seen in a positive light, especially when these rural areas are located deep within the Amazon forest in the borders of Peru. That is the mentality that local people in these communities had, and supported the idea of the government building a road to connect to them to the bigger towns nearby. However, although positive changes have been made, there are still negative consequences within the modernization of communities who have remained remote for decades.
Completion of the Metrocable Medellin in Medellin, Colombia, more than a decade ago ushered in an alternative form of public transportation to densely populated, underserved, geographically isolated communities in Latin America. The Metrocable Medellin and its numerous predecessors are essentially gondolas that are typically associated with transportation from the bottom to top of the hill at ski resorts.
Bolivia is a landlocked country in Latin America, whose economic and cultural centers are located in remote, mountainous regions. This geography has posed challenges for economic exchanges for hundreds of years, and Bolivia is one of the poorest, least developed countries in South America. Bolivia’s stagnation in industrialization can in part be explained by the geography hypothesis delineated by Armendáriz and Larraín (2017), which postulates that forces of nature are a root cause of national poverty.
China’s involvement in Latin America has been rapidly increasing in the past two decades with Chinese companies investing over $110 billion since 2003, but primarily in the last five years. The nature of these investments has been changing as well.
The Amazonian and Andean regions of South America are home to some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Of the top ten ‘megadiverse’ countries in the world, six are in Central/South America. Four of these countries house part of the Andes, and five house part of the Amazon rainforest (Hyatt 2014).