Poverty is the source of citizen insecurity in Latin America


A report by NGO Social Watch says that insecurity in the region is caused by poverty, rather than wars or political violence.

United Nations, Apr 26, 2004. Poverty has become the main obstacle to human security in Latin America, contrasting with other regions in the world where the threat comes from armed conflicts or violence.

That is one of the conclusions in the latest report by Social Watch, an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) network, launched today at United Nations headquarters in New York.

This report has been issued for almost a decade and analyzes whether governments meet their commitments on social development and the fight of their peoples against insecurity.

The latest report, “Fear and Want. Obstacles to Human Security”, tries to determine the obstacles different populations face when exercising their rights, whether political, economic, social or civil. Obstacles that prevent people from feeling secure are usually problems related to intra-regional violence and armed conflict situations. However, the situation in Latin America is different, since the main obstacles come from failed economic policies that create conditions for insecurity, explained Areli Sandoval, a member of the network’s coordinating committee, to EFE.

“In the Latin American continent, one of the challenges faced by security is the widespread poverty situation, as well as the privatization and trade liberalization economic policies that create patterns of impoverishment”, he said. However, the organization has detected that most countries implemented programs dealing with poverty, and although failing to reduce the overall rate, they did achieve a slowdown in its growth.

This factor is joined by another one typical of the region: migration, both from rural to urban areas, and from the cities to countries in the North, mainly the United States.

“As happens in Mexico and several Central American countries, the people’s anguish leads them to seek better opportunities up North, although on the way they face situations of insecurity for them and their families”.

Another common factor in Latin America is domestic violence, a problem that affects countries such as Brazil and which does not receive enough government attention.

In Colombia poverty is joined by internal violence, which creates severe security issues for opposition groups.

The report mentions other countries where armed conflicts are a thing of the past, but “certain traces of government violence and repression patterns remain, which end up complicating civil society’s free involvement in politics”, according to Sandoval.

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