Remittances that support millions of households in Latin America and the Caribbean have plunged as family members lose jobs and income in their host countries, with entire families sliding back into poverty, as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis and global economic recession.
Health systems in Latin America, already falling short in their capacity to serve the population, especially the poor, are in a weak position and face serious risks when it comes to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peru began the year with 11 femicides in January, despite progress made in laws and statutes and mass demonstrations against gender-based violence. This situation is also seen in other Latin American countries, raising the need to delve deeper into the causes of the phenomenon.
As he milks his cow, Salvadoran Gilberto Gomez laments that poor harvests, due to excessive rain or drought, practically forced his three children to leave the country and undertake the risky journey, as undocumented migrants, to the United States.
A landmark global migration pact provides dignity and rights to migrants in every situation and context, stressed representatives of non-governmental organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean, where some 30 million people live outside their countries, forced by economic, social, security, political and now also climatic reasons.
Left blind by a beating from her ex-husband, Susana Gómez barely managed to avoid joining the list of nearly 2,800 femicides committed annually in Latin America, but her case shows why public policies and laws are far from curtailing gender-based violence in the region.
For the third consecutive year, South America slid backwards in the global struggle to achieve zero hunger by 2030, with 39 million people living with hunger and five million children suffering from malnutrition.
"At the age of 18 I was the first female leader in my organisation, my grandfather who was a male chauvinist demanded that I be beaten because I was sitting among men," said Teresita Antazú, an indigenous leader of the Yanesha people in Peru's Amazon region.
Latin America and the Caribbean called for the free movement of persons to be included in the Global Compact on Migration, which will be negotiated within the United Nations in 2018, in the first meeting held by any of the world’s regions to decide on the position to be adopted on the future agreement.
The final declaration of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 stated that “Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens.” However, this rarely happens in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The end of last year and the start of the current one were marked by major changes and enormous uncertainties, although there were also some notable advances and great opportunities, both at the global level and for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the only region in the world where, for the past four decades, states have continuously met to discuss and commit themselves politically to eradicating discrimination and gender inequality and moving towards guaranteeing women the full exercise of their autonomy and human rights.
“We as mayors have to govern midsize cities as if they were capital cities,” said Héctor Mantilla, city councilor of Floridablanca, the third-largest city in the northern Colombian department of Santander.
Climate change is leading to major modifications in agricultural production in Latin America and the Caribbean, and if mitigation and adaptation measures of the productive system are not urgently adopted, threats to food security will be exacerbated.
Education, the most powerful instrument in the struggle against exclusion and discrimination, is still elusive for indigenous people in Latin America who remain the most disadvantaged segment of the population despite their wide presence in the region.
Over the last decade, Central America has managed to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels for the production of electric power, while expanding coverage. But the progress made by each country varies widely.
Activists and researchers dedicated to the study of gender violence in Cuba insist on the need for a comprehensive law to protect the victims and prevent the problem, which was publicly ignored until only a few years ago in this socialist Caribbean island nation.
“The countries of Latin America have not fully committed themselves to the international conventions and have not given indigenous peoples access. Nor have their contents been widely disseminated,” to help people demand compliance and enforcement, said Guatemalan activist Ángela Suc.
Central America’s toolbox to pull 23 million people – almost half of the population – out of poverty must include three indispensable tools: universal access to water, a sustainable power supply, and adaptation to climate change.
For years, Latin America has exported its raw materials to China’s voracious factories, fuelling economic growth. But now that the Asian giant is putting a priority on domestic consumption over industrial production, how will this region react?
Latin America is facing a two-pronged challenge: double power generation by 2050 while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The only solution? Green energy.