The Latin American Report # 223

in #hive-122315last month


The longest-lived man of all time?

He could live in Peru and be 124 years old, according to a government communiqué sent from Lima. Amid so much political and economic turmoil in the region, I chose this AP article to open today's report. It uncovers the eating routines of Marcelino Abad, a Peruvian who lives in the mountains of Huanuco, where he grew up "among the tranquility of the flora and fauna". Andean authorities are helping this man, who eats fruit and lamb and practices the age-old tradition of chewing coca leaves, to have his alleged age recognized by Guinness World Records. After the recent death of the 114-year-old man, a Venezuelan by the way, who was recognized as the oldest man in the world, that record is now held by a 111-year-old British man. The oldest woman is 117 years old, and the oldest person in history—verified—reached 122 years. Marcelino Abad, reportedly born at the turn of the 20th century, lived in isolation until four years ago when authorities located him and enrolled him in a state pension program. In any case, regardless of whether or not his story is true all along the line, long live him!

Marcelino Abad (source).

Btw, for your healthy diet 👇

Swapping red meat for herring, sardines and anchovies could save 750,000 lives, study suggests https://t.co/3BIGjCtv0q

— The Guardian (@guardian) April 10, 2024

Now back to the [criminal] business

In Mexico, an indigenous candidate for mayor of Amatenango del Valle—in the southern border state of Chiapas—was assassinated last Tuesday by gunmen who shot him as he got out of his car to buy food on the side of a highway. His wife was wounded during the assault, which once again reflects the extremely high risk that local candidates in particular bear in the current electoral campaign. In the first quarter, there were 15 murders of candidates, while last month alone, counting active officials and their families, there were 30 murders, along with other types of attacks such as kidnappings. The politician murdered in Chiapas was the brother of the current mayor, something that at the same time says a lot about Mexican politics. Meanwhile, in Veracruz, yesterday, Thursday, an armed attack was reported inside a house, which left three dead, a woman and two minors, including a 12-year-old girl. Sometimes it seems incredible to me that crime does not even stop at the innocence of children. The alleged motive for the attack, in which the father of the family was wounded along with another 9-year-old daughter, was allegedly revenge for drug dealing, which also says a lot about Aztec society.

Has the foreign labor force played a key role in avoiding recession in the United States?

The answer to the question in this AP report is positive, although I would not say conclusive. A study cited by the news agency, conducted by economists at the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project, found that in the 2022-2023 biennium the arrival of new immigrants "raised the economy's supply of workers and allowed the United States to generate jobs without overheating and accelerating inflation". The article highlights three concrete experiences that exemplify how the Latino labor force contributes to the U.S. economy's resilience. First, it discusses the case of a Venezuelan woman who crossed the Darien Gap with her family and finally entered into the United States via the Rio Grande. After receiving her work permit last year, she is now an employee of a rug company in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The young South American woman told AP that she can support herself and her family in Venezuela with her earnings. Meanwhile, in Clinton, a town in Kennebec County, Maine, known for its dairy industry potential, half of a farm's workforce is "imported", dedicated to "feeding the cows, tending crops and helping collect [18,000 gallons of] milk [daily]". The following is attributed to Jenni Tilton-Flood, a Flood Brothers farm partner.

We cannot do it without them… We would not have an economy, in Maine or the U.S. if we did not have highly skilled labor that comes from outside of this country… Without immigrants—both new asylum-seekers as well as our long-term immigrant contributors—we would not be able to do the work that we do… Every single thing that affects the American economy is driven by and will only be saved by accepting immigrant labor".

Workers in the milking parlor at the Flood Brothers Farm (source).

Another Venezuelan woman residing in a Florida suburb works at a convenience store owned by fellow countrymen. The 32-year-old first worked selling phones, and now also reports earning enough money to send $200 to her family after basic expenses. "I imagine having my own company, my house, helping my family in a more comfortable way," she says. These examples discuss Donald Trump's poisoned jargon on immigration, not so much in terms of the uncontrolled character it has certainly had, but in terms of the negative profile that the controversial politician assigns—generally—to those arriving in the United States. We recently commented here on the sad loss of six Latin American workers who, at 1:30 a.m. last March 26, were filling potholes on the Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge when a cargo ship struck one of its pilings. The third body was recovered just last Friday. Immigrants "generally take undesirable, low-paying but essential jobs that most U.S.-born Americans won't," reads the AP cable, which appeals to this report—recently released by the White House—acknowledging that this dynamic put pressure on lower-income workers, although the representation of U.S.-born labor force in this group is not high.

And this is all for our report today. I have referenced the sources dynamically in the text, and remember you can learn how and where to follow the LATAM trail news by reading my work here. Have a nice day.