by Hugo Alexander Morán Chávez| March 05, 2019
We are all familiar with the saga “The Hunger Games” movies. And at first, we all loved them because it was a different kind of movie we haven’t seen in a while, the vampire saga “Twilight” or the Harry Potter movies finally came to an end. But we didn’t realize that the very hunger games we were watching were happening right outside the theater.
Every day, somewhere in the world, the hunger games are happening. And the odds are 99% of the time not in their favor. Poverty and Hunger is a pandemic everywhere you go, in developing countries and developed countries alike.
But there are many other problems such as a) Lack of economic opportunity and employment, b) Safety, c) Lack of education, d) Food and water security, e) Government accountability, f) Religious conflicts, g) Inequality, h) Wars, and i) Destruction of natural resources1. In this article, we will focus on how government corruption is one of the main reasons these hunger games never end.
While we enjoy a hot bath and a cup of hot coffee or a cup of wine in our bathtubs, others in the world are dying because they have no water to drink or because their access to water is expensive and unaffordable. While we enjoy going for walks on our neighborhoods or at our local parks, in many countries people can’t even walk outside their homes because of fears they will get shot and killed or raped or kidnap.
Let’s Start with America as a Continent.
The US, one of the wealthiest countries in the world also lives in hunger games. Believe it or not, fighting for clean water is a real problem. An investigation from USA TODAY found that 63 million Americans may be exposed to unsafe drinking water2. Homeless in the US is also a problem, approximately 17 people experience homelessness per 10,000 people3. Hunger remains a significant problem in the world’s biggest food-producing country. In 2017, 40 million people struggled with hunger in the United States, of those, 12 million children4.
Let’s move south on this continent that’s full of natural resources such as water and productive soils that could end hunger and water problems in no time 100% of the time are the corrupt governments that do not stop these hunger games.
Central and South America’s never-ending hunger games. Corrupt governments that do little to improve their countries’ hunger fights are the main reason why these problems remain so deep and unsolved.
El Salvador for example, the government corruption that has happened since the signing of the peace treaty in 1991 between the FMLN and the federal government has left the country in poverty, destruction and divided. Many corrupt cases like former president Elias Antonio Saca and former president Mauricio Funez have stolen millions, and millions of Dollars amounting to almost 1 billion US dollars have left the smallest of the Central American countries in extreme poverty rates, hunger, and difficult access to clean drinking water. Not to mention the insecurity of the nation that leads to one of the highest murders rates in the world 5,6,7.
Honduras government became tyrannical, where lawmakers reformed its constitutions so it could re-elect the same president over and over and where cases of corruption are nothing new anymore. President Juan Orlando Hernández diverted funds to his party in 2013, and while he was busy doing such scheme, his country suffers from poverty, hunger and poor access to clean drinking water.
Guatemala’s government also suffered a similar case, President Otto Pérez Molina was sent to jail for running a fraud scheme network in 2015, forcing his resignation8.
Nicaragua’s dictatorship and failed socialist project. Daniel Ortega brought hope in the 1980s, but today’s Nicaragua is immersed in poverty, hunger and many other problems. People are revolting against Daniel Ortega because they want to change. Nicaragua is ranked the most impoverished country in Central America and the second poorest in the western hemisphere after Haiti9.
Another problem deep in Central America and the reason for mass migration and fears of the people are the Gangs. They run freely in the streets, terrorizing everyone on each neighborhood, none is safe but the politicians since they have bodyguards and protected vehicles everywhere, they go, they never get touched by these criminals. These gangs kidnap, rape, kill, blackmail every citizen, every business and every human being that crosses their way.
Let’s review South America
Venezuela’s dictatorship. Our brothers and sisters in Venezuela are the ones suffering the most. This brutal regime has taken the lives of many because of the failed socialist project implemented by the deceased president Hugo Chavez. The average Venezuelan losing an average of 19 lbs. per year due to extreme hunger and poverty10. This country in our opinion is in levels of extreme famine caused by its own government. Recent videos taken by Jorge Ramos who traveled to Venezuela shows people picking up from garbage trucks to feed themselves because there is no food. Venezuela could be the wealthiest country in the Americas more than the US, but a failed socialist project and the tyranny of its government have brought this country into famine and chaos.
Brazil11. Brazil’s problems are complex, but one of the most significant difficulties keeps being the many political scalding in recent years. The right and the left fight for power. As soon as one-party leaves governments start accusing it of corruption and send them all to jail and this repeats itself over and over, leaving Brazilians divided and broken. While problems of the overpopulation and the hunger in the favelas keep being forgotten, politicians just come and go, and nothing seems to improve. The tyranny of governments that the Amazonia is the most abundant natural reserve of all the world is being lost because governments make secrets contracts with companies and give them permits for deforestation and who knows how much is the hush money these politicians receive in return?
These “hunger games” are complex and difficult to eradicate from one day to another, but they can be solved. Everything is possible, and it starts with holding our governments accountable. The pattern we see is the corrupt governments that do little to help their countries, as soon as they are elected, they steal and disappear, and these countries remain immersed in never-ending hunger games.
- The World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Survey 2017. Accessed on 3/01/2019 http://shaperssurvey2017.org/static/data/WEF_GSC_Annual_Survey_2017.pdf
- The Carnegie-Knight News21 program, USA TODAY. 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/08/14/63-million-americans-exposed-unsafe-drinking-water/564278001/
- National Alliance to End Homelessness. 2019. https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-report/
- Feeding America Project. 2019. https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/facts
- Corruption in Latin America. The BBC Latin America. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45507582
- Corruption in Latin America. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-el-salvador-corruption/el-salvador-prosecutors-request-extradition-of-former-president-funes-idUSKCN1LU2VZ
- Insight Crime, 2019. Corruption in el salvador politicians, police, and transportistas. https://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/corruption-in-el-salvador-politicians-police-and-transportistas/
- The New York Times. In a Corruption Battle in Honduras, the Elites Hit Back. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/01/world/americas/honduras-corruption-hernandez.html
- The Guardian News. The Observer view on Nicaragua’s critical need for a new direction. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/17/observer-view-daniel-ortega-nicaragua-needs-new-direction
- Reuters News. Venezuelans report big weight losses in 2017 as hunger hits. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-food/venezuelans-report-big-weight-losses-in-2017-as-hunger-hits-idUSKCN1G52HA
- Brazil corruption scandals: All you need to know. BBC Latin America. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35810578
Note: there are so many countries, but for limitations of time and budget we addressed only a few. We will address the middle east and other parts of the world in the near future.