This past week the Argentine peso fell 11% below the American dollar, the steepest daily fall it has suffered in the past 12 years. The official exchange rate has reached almost 8 pesos to 1 US dollar. Since the economic crisis that hit the nation in 2001, many Argentines have shown little faith in their own economy. Instead, they purchase foreign currency to save rather than saving their constantly depreciating pesos.
Ever since the economic collapse in 2001, Argentina and the capital city of Buenos Aires have been experiencing a resurgence in poverty that hasn’t been seen since the first wave of migrant urban workers in the 1930’s. In the southern region of Buenos Aires shanty towns are expanding and engulfing private and unused land. These shanty towns are known as “villas miserias,” which directly translates into villages of misery, and share characteristics of slums all around the world.
Venezuela has long been labeled the rebel in Latin America, holding on to a socialist identity since Hugo Chávez first brought his social revolution to fruition in the country. Part of this social revolution was providing poor Venezuelans with social services, namely health care. Though a popular idea, Venezuela has never truly been able to maintain the necessary resources and services to create an effective health care system. As a result, tens of thousands of citizens lack access to health care, medicine, and life-saving treatments.