The global economic crisis, caused in large part by the failings of the U.S. economy, has brought on potentially damning effects for Latin American countries both large and small. According to Rebeca Grynspan, regional head of the UN Development Program (UNDP), failure to take immediate action by the U.S. and Latin American governments could result in a rise in poverty as much as 15% this year alone.
Some analysts are projecting that at least 2.5 million Latin Americans may lose their jobs. Brazil, for example, has the world’s sixth largest car industry. But with lagging sales, car firms like Mercedes and Volkswagen have placed workers on mandatory leave. Also, oil producing countries like Venezuela risk the future of effective social programs with the drop in oil prices. Grynspan emphasized that if public funds are not used to boost regional economies, significant social gains made in recent years may be lost for good. She expressed particular concern for smaller countries in Central America and the Caribbean, which lack the financial means to deal with widespread unemployment and financial crises. Even if President Obama’s stimulus package gets approved and little by little starts to bail out American citizens instead of corporations, it doesn’t seem like there will ever be enough to go around.