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Sunday, September 03, 2006


The Latin America I don't write about

I write a lot about Cuba, and Venezuela, countries where the political and economic system is, or is starting to be, devoted to the needs of the people rather than the corporations and the elite. Every once in a while it's good to look at the other side of the coin. Bolivia is a country where there is potential for change, thanks to the election of Evo Morales, but certainly no substantive change has yet occured. This is the starting point:
Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants look to better their lives outside Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. With nearly 1.5 million Bolivians -- a fifth of the population -- living abroad, few families are untouched by the exodus.

Some 10 percent of working age people are unemployed, and four million more are underemployed, many earning less than the national minimum wage of about 480 bolivianos a month, about $60.
The Miami Herald doesn't do the math, but the population of Bolivia is 9 million (presumably not including that 1.5 million living abroad, although that's not completely clear). So the unemployed and underemployed together amount to a whopping 54 percent of the population.

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