An Amazing Latin American Magazine

By Albert Doan #3

Deadly Deforestation in the Amazing Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rain forest is home to approximately 30% of the world's living organisms with 40,000 plant species, 3,000 species of freshwater fish, and much more. It is also home to numerous wild and weird animals such as pink river dolphins, harpy eagles, and poison dart frogs. However, all of these wonderful things are at risk of being destroyed, just for people to gain several wooden trinkets like fancy tables or chopsticks. Deforestation is a major problem for the Amazon Rain forest since many of the rare trees and plants are have valuable products in them that are of interest to loggers. From 1978 to the present, more than 750,000 square kilometers (289,000 square miles) of rain forest have been cut down. Much of this cleared land is used for cattle ranching or soybean plantations, while the wood is shipped off to be processed and sold. Often, when lumberjacks want to cut down a specific tree, they have to cut down many others to make a path for their machines to get through. The effects of this dreadful deforestation are that sadly, many endangered species of plants have been killed and animals have lost their homes/food source and are unable to survive without them. Many countries have passed laws to ban logging in certain areas to save parts of the rain forest, however they are loosely enforced, and have led to illegal logging. To preserve the majestic rain forest, countries can enforce their laws in a tighter fashion by keeping a keen eye out for illegal loggers. Also, more trees can be planted in cleared to replace those who have been cut down. By following these marvelous methods, we can restore the amazing Amazon rain forest.
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Cuba's Not So Great Government

Cuba is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that has a communist government, where all property, resources, and financial decisions are controlled by the government. Anybody who protests against this unfair government is unfortunately arrested or killed. Its current leader is Raul Castro, who is the brother of Fidel Castro (leader of Cuba from 1959 to 2008). Raul Castro's title is "president", and he rules the country until he resigns or dies. Cuba's phantasmagorical government is considered an autocracy because it is ruled by one person (a dictator) who is in complete control. Although Raul Castro is called a president, that is a mere lie, since he is actually a dictator because he has infinite power over the country. One issue that Cuba's government faces is that since it is a communist government, the U.S. government has placed a trade embargo on it. This, along with poor sugarcane harvests and bad government planning, has made Cuba's economy very poor. Even though relationships between the U.S. and Cuba are getting better nowadays, the average GDP of Cuba is only $144.6 billion, while other Latin American countries' GDP's are in the trillions. Also, Cuba's poverty rate is not available to the world, which has led to many people to believe that Cuba has an extremely high poverty rate, and the government does not want foreigners to know.

Mexico's Magnificent Mixed Economy

Mexico has a magnificent mixed economy, where people get to make their own financial choices, people can own property, and free enterprise is used, however, the government regulates certain industries. This economic system is just like the here, in the U.S.A.! It has a literacy rate (age over 15 that can read and write) of 91%, a GDP (value of goods and services produced per year) of $1.578 trillion, and a GDP Per Capital (value produced by a person in 1 year) of $14,400. This is quite good, as Brazil's GDP per Capital is only $10,360. It top 3 trading partners are the U.S.A. ($309.2 billion), Canada (10.5 billion) and China ($4.9 billion). In fact, 82.1% of Mexico's exports go to the U.S.A., which makes it Mexico's top trading partner!

The Incredible Inca: An Astounding Ancient Civilization

A long time ago, in a distant land, there lived a majestic ancient society. They built strong bridges made of grass that spanned tall gorges, cut perfectly shaped stone with rocks, built cities on the peaks of mountains, and had relay runners run thousands of miles a day to deliver information across an entire empire. This was not a magical civilization in a distant galaxy, but a long forgotten race called the Inca that once lived in land that we now call Peru. The Inca first settled in Cuzco, a city in modern day Peru. They were chiefly farmers, however, in 1438, an Incan emperor by the name of Pachacuti rallied an army and conquered some lands to increase Incan territory. The Incan empire soon expanded, and at its height, it spanned across 2,500 miles of land and controlled 12 million people. It stretched across the length of western South America, along the Andes Mountains, and included the modern day countries of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. The Incan accomplished many wonderful things that seem impossible, including building bridges out of grass and keeping government records on a series of knotted ropes (called a quipu)! In addition, they constructed over 19,000 miles of roads to carry goods and messages across their empire, as well as aqueducts to transport water to different places. The lost Inca city of Machu Picchu is a famous example of the skill of Incan builders, since it was erected in the peaks of the Andes Mountains and the stone blocks were chiseled to fit perfectly to create buildings. All this was done by hand and with stone knives! However, in 1532, Spanish conquistadors led by the greedy Francisco Pizarro reached Cuzco, the Incan capital. Although Pizarro was greedy, he was also smart and cunning. He knew that his small army of 160 soldiers could obviously not defeat the Incan army of 80,000 men, therefore, he invited the Incan emperor, Atahualpa, to a meeting. When Atahualpa arrived, the Spanish overpowered the few bodyguards he had brought along and kidnapped the emperor. Pizarro demanded a ransom of two rooms full of gold and silver to release the captive emperor alive. When the desperate Incans paid his order, he killed Atahualpa anyway. Spanish diseases soon wiped out most of the Incan population. This was because the Incas had no immunity to European sicknesses, especially smallpox. The Incas were severely weakened and with the use of Spanish guns, the Spanish conquered the Incas in 1533. Today, some Inca descendants still live in the Andes Mountains continuing their traditional ways of life.