Nov. 13, 2012 -- At ABC/Univision, it's our responsibility to inform you about what's going on across the southern border. And we invite you to take a look at the events that shape politics, the economy, drug wars, and culture in the region because it affects us, too.
Here's our roundup of the most interesting news in Latin America.
Latin American Women Earn Less Than Their Male Counterparts
A recent study form the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) claims that although Latin America has reached gender parity in terms of schooling, women are still paid at least 17% less than men throughout the region. Women are still mostly employed in lower-paid occupations such as teaching, healthcare, or the service sector, like restaurants. In high-profile careers such as law, architecture or engineering, women only hold a third of the jobs with a wage gap of up to 58%. There has been progress in recent decades, the study says, but the gender gap still prevails, mostly for cultural reasons.
Is Mexico's Televisa Network Laundering Drug Money in Central America?
According to Nicaraguan investigative news website Confidencial, the leader of 18 Mexicans accused of posing as a Televisa journalist while smuggling millions of dollars in cash throughout Central America, made several phone-calls to the media company, namely to vice president Amador Narcia. Papers supposedly signed by Narcia were also found within the two Televisa vans used by the alleged journalists. Eighteen Mexican nationals who claimed to be Televisa employees where detained on October 20 while crossing Nicaragua-Honduras border with $9.2 million dollars in cash. The Mexican media giant denied any connection whatsoever with the group.
Middle Class on the Rise in Latin America but no Middle Class Societies so Far
A new World Bank study reveals that Latin America's middle class grew 50% from 2003 to 2009, passing from 103 million to 152 million people. However, the growing middle class does not necessarily mean that Latin American countries have become middle class societies. Most of the new members of the middle class have been characterized by The Economist as a members of a "vulnerable lower middle-class" that can very well fall back to poverty.
One Out of Three Mexicans Works in the "Informal Economy"
Official numbers from the Mexican government statistics agency INEGI show that close to 30% of Mexico's employed population works within the underpaid, under-protected, "informal" economy, without job contracts or a guaranteed wages. INEGI claims that every day more than 2,145 Mexicans join the "underground" economy.
Panama City's Construction Boom Threatens Local Environment
Panama City's development is threatening the region's mangroves, environmentalists warn. Panama is Central America's fastest growing economy and its capital has experienced an unprecedented construction boom in the last few years. However, environmental groups say that this comes at the cost of the stability of one of the World's richest ecosystems and habitat for a vast number of North American shorebirds.
Evo Morales' Ponchos are Worth $100,000 Dollars
In an ironic response to critics questioning his personal wealth, Bolivian President Evo Morales estimated the value of the ponchos he has been given by supporters during his time in office. The Bolivian president figures that since he was elected in 2006 he has received approximately 500 of these handmade garments, often made of Alpaca wool, which cost around $200 each, meaning that Morales' poncho collection is worth a whopping $100,000. Controversy over Morales' personal wealth has increased in Bolivia, after Morales declared that he had personal assets worth $389,000 when he filed his taxes in October. This sum is more than ten times larger than the Bolivian President's annual wage which is just $28,000 per year.