Chicana/o Studies – Publishing an Alternative View Since 1970 – CSU, Northridge


El Popo Staff - page 18

El Popo Staff has 138 articles published.

Bolivia’s Economy, the envy of the rest of South America

in The Word is Text by

by Andrew Pacheco

In the past year Argentina and Brazil, two of the biggest economies in South America, have seen growth in their respective economies slow and stagnate. Argentina has seen its currency, the Argentinean Peso, devalued and as result many Argentineans fears of high inflation and end up exchanging the Argentinean Peso for the more much reliable currencies such as the U.S. dollar. Argentina’s economic woes and fears of high inflation rates are due to unpredictable governmental policies. Brazil, one of the three market emerging markets in the world, has suffered a drop in industrial production and weak retail sales in the months of November and December, which have led to Brazil’s economic activity to drop 1.35%. Brazil’s sluggish economic growth has been going on for the past two quarters of 2013. 

While these two countries’ economies continue struggle for growth, one of the unlikeliest of countries in the South America has seen its economy grow dramatically. Bolivia, South America poorest country, in the past year has seen their economy grow 6.5 %. In addition to growth of their economy, Bolivia has kept inflation in check, balanced their budget, slashed some their debt, as well as having a large “rainy day fund” of foreign reserves. Many countries bigger and wealthier, such as China don’t even have foreign reserve funds that come close to the size that Bolivia has.

So what’s the cause of Bolivia’s recent economic growth, a country where their economy was in the past described a “basket case?” There were many changes that took place in order for their economy to experience the kind growth they are seeing this year. One of those changes was to nationalize gas and oil. Socialist president, Evo Morales, has also since 2006 expropriate 20 private companies in different industries. President Evo, who is well known for criticizing capitalism and the many countries and institutions that support it have actually praised him for the changes made he has made to better improve the economy of Bolivia.

As result of this Bolivia has seen poverty rates diminish from 38 % in 2005 to 24% in 2011. Although the poverty rates are still among the highest in South America, many changes are still seen throughout the country. One such change is farming, where animals use to be used to pull plows, now tractors are being used to till the land. Another example is in the city of El Alto, working class city, where the newly wealthy class is showing off their success by building big and brightly colored mansion. Of course there is concern about Bolivia’s recent economic growth. One main concern is what will happen when natural gas prices drop and if their economy is simply going through a “boom-n-bust” cycle that is often associated with impoverished countries. Another potential problem is that Bolivia isn’t doing much to promote and encourage its citizens to into private investments. “Bolivia has about half the rate of private investment than most other countries in South America.”                              

The Woman Who Strove for Success

in The Word is Text by

 By: Patricia Garcia and Jorge Morales

When it comes to wanting to make an effort and striving forward one will do anything they can do in their power to achieve what they want and do the best they can to accomplish it. Having to come to America is not always easy for many Mexicans but when they do, they come to America for one reason and that reason is for their American dream. An American dream that they wish to achieve and will also help them survive in this new country. On March 25, 1977, Angelita Alvarez Renteria was a Mexican woman who had decided to open up a business. A business that had brought her wealth and great success in her life. It is amazing how her business had all started and being a Mexican immigrant woman is not always easy. But being a strong woman that would not give up and would keep on moving forward, Angelita had proven to others that it is possible.

Being honored as Pacoima’s Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year, Angelita Alvarez Renteria had never thought she would be recognized by the community and be in this position that she is now. Thirty-seven years ago, the Lenchitas Restaurant had all started with just two tables and three employees. With the helped from her father, Sr. Candido Alvarez, Angelita was able to create the business that she has now. Having to walk from home to work and working about 14 hours or more, Angelita would always do the best she can and put in all her effort to create the dream she had envision.

Therefore, having to face good and bad obstacles along the way, the Lenchitas Restaurant now contains more tables and employees than it did before. She explains, “con la bendicion de Dios, el apoyo de mi esposo, mis hijos y nuestro fieles clientes hemos llegado a donde estamos.” She is a woman who is not only grateful to god but as well as being grateful for having her family by her side supporting her along the way. Also, same for her clients, if it weren’t for the customers her business would not had succeeded as it is now. Like she said, “muchos han puesto su granito de arena en la historia de Lenchitas Restaurant” meaning everyone has put their two cents in the history of Lenchitas Restaurant. In which I agree, if it wasn’t for her strong self, her family, and the customers the Lenchitas Restaurant wouldn’t had been standing where it is now. Angelita Alvarez Renteria did not only create a great business but a home for many people who enjoy those tasty meals that remind them of their home country.


Healthy Foods & Residential Segregation

in The Word is Text by

By Marioly Gomez

According to the Office of Minority Health, Chicana/os rate of obesity is higher than whites (31% Chicana/os versus 26% non-Hispanic White)

Many believe the reason to be lack of medical care/insurance opportunities. This is definitely a contributing factor, however, the availability of certain foods and residential segregation within impoverished, minority communities plays a bigger role in the health issue.

Chicanos are affected by food deserts more than white people.  Food deserts are areas where affordable and healthy foods are not easily attainable. Food deserts are more than likely to take place in rural areas and low-income communities. If you were to compare what type of grocery stores and restaurants a white neighborhood has to what a minority neighborhood, you would see a big difference. When I go to places such as Beverly Hills or North Hollywood, I see an abundance of whole foods markets and non-franchise, healthy restaurants. However, if I go to place like East LA or Inglewood, I see only a few supermarkets and these supermarkets do not carry organic and/or whole foods. What I do see a lot of is fast food restaurants and taco and burger joints.

There is virtually no way for a minority individual to get all the nutritious foods that a person needs to live a healthy life unless this person lives in a upper middle class neighborhood. Even if they brought a Whole Foods market into a low income community, the majority of the population would not be able to shop there. The prices at these stores are extremely high compared to the supermarkets which provide you with unhealthy foods. This is an unfortunate situation that likely will not change now, or in the near future. Unless people get together and ask for a change in the food distribution, things will remain the same. Unfortunately, most people in low income communities will not seek a change because they are used to eating only foods that are cheap because it is all that they can afford. So, until there is a wide movement to change the prices and availability of healthy foods in rich communities and low income communities alike, minority groups will not advance in health disparities.

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