My Trip through Latin America

By: Amarachi Osuji

Mexico City, Mexico

On My journey through Latin America I took a stop in one of the most important places in Mexico, Mexico City. I was not surprised to see the towering buildings and places of business scattered throughout the city. In fact I got to take a VIP tour of the capital building which was lead by Enrique Peña Nieto, the current president of Mexico. As I toured the building I asked President Enrique about the Government of Mexico. He told me that Mexico is a Federal Republic with 3 levels of Government and 3 Branches. The 3 levels are the federal Union (national), the state governments (states) and the municipal governments (city). The 3 branches of Government are the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The Executive branch includes the President, his cabinet members, and his advisors. In Mexico the President is elected once every 6 years. Mexico’s people call this term Sexnio. The second branch, the Legislative branch consists of the Senate and a Chamber of Deputies (Congress). They make federal laws, declares war, imposes taxes ect. The senate has a total of 128 senators and the congress has a total of 500 deputies. Lastly we have the judicial branch. The Judicial Branch is the justice system of the country. The highest level of the justice system is the Supreme Court of Justice. They are a group of 11 judges appointed by the president with the senate’s approval. When these judges are appointed they stay there for life. All of these branches and levels of Government work together to create a strong government for the country of Mexico. This tour has been a great experience and has taught me so much about Mexico and its government. Let’s see what else my journey through Latin America holds!

Panama

On my second stop in Latin America I landed in a place in Central America…Panama! The main reason I came was to learn about the interesting economy of Panama. Panama’s economy is mainly based on agriculture but over the years has started to lean towards developed services. These services include the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, tourism, and insurance. Today these services provide ¾ of the countries income. As for As for farming Panama’s cash crops include Banana’s, sugar, corn, coffee, beans and tobacco. Another important source of economic growth that I learned about while being in Panama is the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal is a canal that was created by the United States in 1914. Now I know you are wondering why it was the U.S who created the Panama Canal. After all the canal is in Panama. Well Panama used to be owned by Colombia. The U.s has always thought building a canal in Panama would be a great investment and save money. Without the canal ships transporting goods would have to sail all the way around South America in order to get from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The U.S then went to Colombia and asked if they could build a canal but they were turned down, so the U.S helped Panama to lead a revolt to overthrow Colombia. In exchange the U.S was able to build the Panama Canal. The canal was then controlled by the U.S for over 80 years until in 1991, after many protests, Panama gained control of the Canal. Today the canal provides an average of 3.18 billion dollars a year. What an interesting way of income.

Easter Island, Chile

My third stop in Latin America led me to a territory owned by the country of Chile, Easter Island. Easter Island is a small isolated Polynesian island in southeastern Pacific Ocean. This island is Subtropical and has a lot of rain. It has an average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. I came to Easter Island to explore the mysterious series of 887 ancient monumental statues. The people of Easter Island call these statues moai. These statues are believed to be built by the Ancient Rapa Nui people who lived in Easter Island. The Statues all vary in size but on average weigh about 10 tons. The big question is what exactly they are it is why they were built. Nobody really knows the reason for the statues but there have been many theories. Some people have hypothesized that they were a hobby that some people devoted their life to doing. Others think it may have been gods that people worshiped. There are also fantastical theories made by people. One of them is that once an alien spacecraft crashed on Easter Island and were left trapped on earth. The Aliens became so bored that they started to make the statues, but before they could take them down another alien spacecraft came to rescue them. That is why the statues are still there today. Nobody knows fully about the mysterious statues but to me it doesn't matter. It is a beautiful and interesting work of art.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

My last stop through Latin America lead me to the former capital of Brazil, Rio de Janerio. I came to experience the amazing celebration of carnival. Carnival is the most popular celebration in Brazil. It is a celebration that highlights the 4 days before lent. I got to experience the thrill and excitement of the samba style dance and music and of the thousands of people celebrating together in parades and more. The Celebration that I experienced got me thinking about Brazil and its culture, so on the second day of the celebration I went and asked some people about the culture that Brazil has. I learned that Brazil’s culture is based on the people who have lived there in the past. Portuguese, African and Native American culture all tie in to make Brazil’s Culture. Portuguese is the core of all Brazilian culture. Brazil Takes after Portugal’s language, Religion, and architectural style. This is because Portugal ruled Brazil for about 3 centuries until in 1822 they were granted independence. Native American and African cultures also influence the culture with food and especially music. Brazil’s music is very rhythmic. This is because The African slaves in Brazil often played drums. This has influenced the music styles of Brazil today. I also learned about another important celebration in Brazil. It is called all souls day. On this day people go and celebrate their lost loved ones by visiting a cemetery and having a day of prayer. Lastly I learned about the Sports played in Brazil. Soccer is the main sport in Brazil. It is a big part of Brazilian culture. Brazil even has a professional soccer team that has won many titles. That concludes my trip through Latin America. What an Adventure!