The Latin America Times Newspaper

By Safa Wahidi

Venezuela’s sticky situation:

Venezuela is a world-leading producer in the oil business, but that comes with consequences. The coast is polluted with oil, making it hard for fishermen to make money. Oil mining strips oil from the land, and takes up nutrients in the soil. Plus, oil spills damage the environment and the plants and animals living there. People aren’t very responsible when it comes to cleaning up the oil pollution, so there is lots of toxic waste. The government in Venezuela should try to make laws on cleaning up oil related pollution, and to switch to using renewable resources, like solar energy, for fuel instead of drilling for oil. The government will need to enforce laws on oil pollution, or all the oil from the ground will soon be gone. People will lose their main source of income. The citizens in Venezuela may need to start looking to make money in other industries.

Meet me in Mexico:

Mexico is a beautiful city, with its sandy beaches, majestic volcanoes, and its towering mountains. The Sierra Madre Mountains surround Mexico on all sides. There is a plateau between the Sierra Madre Occidental on the west side of Mexico and the Sierra Madre Oriental on the east. The plateau has a large population. At the northern corner of the plateau, you will find yourself in Cordillera. This area contains most of the volcanoes in Mexico. Did you know Mexico is home to over 40 extinct and active volcanoes? Mexico also has more than 6,000 miles of shoreline, and it is known for its sandy, white beaches. I would love to see this someday, wouldn’t you? In Mexico, you will find a landform known as Copper Canyon. This canyon is bigger and deeper than the Grand Canyon. The Copper Canyon is made of a series of canyons created by six rivers. Here, you will also find Cascada de Basaseachi, Mexico's second largest waterfall. It is 807 feet tall. The waterfall is created by the Arroyo del Durazno and the Arroyo del Basaseachi streams.

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A beautiful beach off the coast of Mexico is shown above.

Brazil Bling:

Brazil is home to the world’s seventh largest economy by GDP, and the largest economy in Latin America. The currency used in Brazil is called Brazilian Real. In 2013, their GDP was 2.246 trillion U.S. dollars. The literacy rate, or the percentage of people over the age of 15 that can read or write, is 88.6%. Brazilian students stay in school for 14 years. Brazil’s top three import partners in 2011 were China, the United States, and Argentina. Brazil’s top export partners in 2012 were also, China, the U.S., and Argentina. Brazil's number one import is refined petroleum from the US, and Brazil's number one export is iron ore to China.

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Shown above is a pie chart of Brazil's imports in 2011.

Venezuela’s Independence Movement:

Venezuela gained freedom from Spain with much help from Simon Bolivar. Simon Bolivar was born in Venezuela in 1783. He went to Spain at an early age to continue his education. While in Spain, he saw freedom. He decided that he didn’t want to live under Spanish control anymore. He realized that he wanted to free Venezuela from Spain. He built up an army and in 1810, he kicked the Spanish governor out of Venezuela. Soon, Spanish royalists built an army and defeated Bolivar’s army. He was forced to run to Colombia. While there, he organized a bigger army and came back to Venezuela. In 1813, Bolivar’s army won against the Spanish army. They took control of Venezuela’s capital. Bolivar freed more South American countries through battles. He was nicknamed El Liberator.

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Above is an image of Simon Bolivar fighting for Venezuela's independence.

Controllers in Cuba:

Cuba’s type of government is an autocracy. An autocracy is where there is only one leader in total control. The current leader of Cuba is Raul Castro. He is the brother of Fidel Castro. Before Fidel Castro, there was another dictator named Batista. Castro promised he would overthrow Batista and start a democracy in Cuba. The U.S. originally trusted Castro, and supported him. However, when Fidel Castro overthrew Batista, he made himself dictator of Cuba, and turned Cuba into a communist country. A communist country is a country in which the government holds all power, and claims to distribute everything in an equal manner. Fidel eventually gave up being dictator, and he gave the power to his brother. Although the Cuban government claims to “distribute everything fairly”, this is not so. In fact, this is a big issue with communist governments. Many people in Cuba don’t have food. They often have to go to black markets to get food, because the prices for food are too high. Since there is a dictator in Cuba, there is no set “term length.”

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Shown is Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Castro.