Between the 1930s and the 1970s, approximately one-third of the female population of Puerto Rico was sterilized, making it highest rate of sterilization in the world. Despite the high rate of sterilizations, the dark history of these operations remains understudied and hidden in the shadows of history. Some argue that the pressure to increase sterilization procedures was a targeted practice to decrease the high level of poverty and unemployment. The government blamed these issues on overpopulation on the island.
Health and Society
Six countries in the world have bans on abortion under all circumstances, four of those are in Latin America. Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic have the strictest abortion laws in the world even prohibiting abortion to save a woman’s life. El Salvador has prosecuted 150 women for abortion with 49 women being convicted and 26 charged with homicide. Legally, doctors must report any woman that they suspect has had an abortion and women could face anywhere from two to eight years in prison.
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).
On May 11th, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), released their joint report on the evolution of the situation of employment in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016. According to this publication, during last year the region “endured its largest jump in urban unemployment for two decades.”