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  • A woman gestures as members of the security forces disperse a protest against Chile's government in Santiago, Chile December 8, 2019.

    A woman gestures as members of the security forces disperse a protest against Chile's government in Santiago, Chile December 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 December 2019

Throughout 2019, the populations of Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Haiti have taken part in massive public demonstrations, which have been strongly repressed, causing dozens of deaths and hundreds of detainees and wounded.

The United Nations Development Program ( UNDP ) warned on Monday that inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean can cause greater social crises, as evident by the popular protests in several countries in the region.

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The director for Latin America and the Caribbean of UNDP, Luis Felipe López, defined inequality as "one of the most important structural problems in Latin America, without a doubt, and when it interacts with other elements it becomes one of the destabilization factors".

On Monday, the 2019 Human Development Report presented a worldwide report that was titled “Beyond income, beyond the averages, beyond the present: inequalities of human development in the 21st century”. The regional chapter of the report will be released today in Bogotá, Colombia.

The report, which was previously distributed to the media, indicates that Latin America and the Caribbean persists as the second most unequal region in the world, second only to Sub-Saharan Africa, despite the fact that in the last decade hundreds of thousands of people left the country due to poverty.

This serious social inequity has caused disagreements among broad sectors of the population that is increasingly having difficulty accessing education, health or the pension system, among other things.

Throughout 2019, the populations of Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Haiti have taken part in massive public demonstrations, which have been strongly repressed, causing dozens of deaths and hundreds of detainees and wounded.

The 2019 UNDP Human Development report underlines that the focus cannot only be on economic growth at any cost, but that social inclusion should be privileged.

Lopez said social protests in the region are explained because "inequality in a context of economic growth, as there was, generated aspirations that have not been satisfied."

“These other manifestations of inequality become more evident, such as segregation, lack of social mobility, lack of voice in politics. Countries are richer, but equally unequal," he added.

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