In June of this year, Guatemala’s Volcán de Fuego erupted with catastrophic consequences. Over two months after the eruption, the death toll from the volcano was 165, and 260 people were still missing as villages were flooded with ash and lava. In total, more than 1.7 million people were affected by the deadly eruption (World Vision, 2018). In 1985, Colombia’s Nevado del Ruíz volcano in the Andes mountains erupted resulting in one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in modern history.
Health and Society
As conditions worsen in Venezuela, more and more families are finding themselves in a state of food insecurity. As of 2016, two-thirds of all Caracas households surveyed by the children’s rights group Cecodap reported that they were not eating a substantial quantity of food, and that number has been rising (Walkers 2016). With few alternatives, many parents have had to turn their nightmares into reality and give up their children in an effort to provide them with food.
This month, authorities in Peru uncovered a widespread baby-trafficking ring in and around the southern city of Arequipa. It appears that the gang operated by preying on poor pregnant women who could not afford to raise a child, and convincing them to sell their babies when they were born. Peruvian authorities have labeled the trafficking ring’s participants ‘Los Desalmados del Tráfico Humano’ (‘The Soulless Human Traffickers’). Although it is seldom discussed in mainstream circles, the trade of newborns and young children is relatively common in developing countries all around the world, including Indonesia and Nigeria.
Whether or not he knew it, just before being assassinated while delivering mass in the Chapel of the Hospital de la Divina Providencia in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero uttered the words that would act as a rallying cry for his supporters: “If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. … A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish” (Sandoval 2018).
Between the 1980s and early 2000s, Colombia was notorious for drug trafficking and the cultivation of illegal drugs, primarily Cocaine. The Colombian drug traffickers were the primary suppliers of cocaine in many Unites States cities during the later half of the century and were the lead suppliers for the Miami “crack cocaine epidemic” that killed hundreds of Americans due to overdoses and thousands of Colombians and Americans alike in drug violence.
Conventional perceptions of Latin America’s organized criminal groups tend to emphasize the greed and violence produced by these groups when, in reality, their existence is much more nuanced than this. Although most associate the presence of criminal groups with heightened levels of violence or drug use, these groups usually do much more than this, often providing certain services and resources to local communities.