Inside Development in Latin America: A Report from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Brazil

Inside Development in Latin America: A Report from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Brazil

Inside Development in Latin America: A Report from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Brazil

Inside Development in Latin America: A Report from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Brazil

Synopsis

This optimistic view of three Latin American countries describes community health programs and rural extension projects through the people who do the work. They explain how credit is organized, describe the routines at health posts, and discuss crops and cooperatives. Here is powerful evidence of what can be accomplished when community-based development focuses on people and their everyday problems. Lang argues that local development is affordable, realistic, and irreplacable.

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Excerpt

"Lake Titicaca," said Sister Pancretia, "is the highest in the world; it is the lake closest to God." in the fourth grade, we learned simple virtues: to feed the hungry, to care for the sick, to clothe the naked. Experience has overturned the truth of the fourth grade. God's plan was one thing, man's was another.

When John Gunther took a generation Inside Latin America in 1941, he described nations that "as everyone knows live by the export of raw materials; they are basically one-crop or one-product countries." His index had no entries for manufacturing, hydroelectric power, or industrialization. To travel through Latin America today is to see a land much changed since Gunther's journey. Brazil is one of the world's top ten automakers, turns out 14 million metric tons of steel a year, and exports jet aircraft to the United States. Brazil can no longer be described by sambas, carnival, and coffee. and Brazil is not alone. To track the industrial sector in Argentina, Mexico, or Venezuela is to tally petrochemicals, steel output, automobile production, and cement.

Despite the achievements, aspects of the "old" Latin America Gunther knew persist. "Dictatorship," "poverty," and "illiteracy" were prominent categories in his index; today's Latin America cannot be described without them. Brazil's new democratic government, for example, follows twenty years (1964-85) of military rule. It has inherited the legacy the old regime left behind: the poorest 40 percent of Brazil's families get by on only 10 percent of the national income; half the country's school children drop out before the fourth grade. Based on gross national product (GNP), Brazil ranks as an . . .

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