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Economy/Natural Resources/Problems of Middle & South America

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Economy/Natural Resources/Problems of Middle & South America. Honors World Geography. Mexico Regional Background. Mexico is divided into 31 states Mexico’s Regions: Greater Mexico City (1) Central Mexico (2) Gulf Lowlands (3) Southern Mexico (4) Northern Mexico (5).

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mexico regional background
Mexico Regional Background
  • Mexico is divided into 31 states
  • Mexico’s Regions:
    • Greater Mexico City (1)
    • Central Mexico (2)
    • Gulf Lowlands (3)
    • Southern Mexico (4)
    • Northern Mexico (5)
greater mexico city
Greater Mexico City
  • Mexico City is the cultural, economic & political center of Mexico
  • Holds ¼ of Mexico’s entire population
  • Headquarters to leading industry/banks
    • Mexican stock exchange
    • Major industries include: textiles, plastics, etc.
  • Tourism is also a major economic activity
    • Tourists come to see Aztec ruins, colonial buildings
greater mexico city continued
Greater Mexico City continued
  • Problems in Mexico City:
    • Overcrowding (1)
    • Unsafe water supply (2)
    • Large homeless population (3)
    • No electricity for some (4)
    • No sewage system for some (5)
    • Air pollution (6)
      • Why????
      • Mexico City sits in Valley of Mexico, surrounded by mountains, pollution is trapped in valley by mountains
central mexico
Central Mexico
  • Stretches NW of Mexico City & across the Mexican Plateau
  • Mexico’s 2nd largest city located here --- Guadalajara
  • Largely agricultural
    • Fertile valleys
    • Once colonial Mexico’s grain producing region
    • Today, agriculture in region is a mix of small family farms & medium-size commercial farms
    • Grow a number of cash crops: crops grown for sale in a market
    • Much grown here sold in the U.S.
gulf lowlands
Gulf Lowlands
  • Gulf Lowlands hot humid tropical forests & savannas used for grazing & growing sugarcane
  • Many commercial farms & ranching
  • Includes city of Veracruz, imp. seaport/communications center
  • Rich deposits of oil/natural gas in this region
    • Development of oil refineries, pipelines, fertilizer plants
southern mexico
Southern Mexico
  • Mountainous areas of Southern Mexico/plains of Yucatán Peninsula
  • Mexico’s poorest region---Why?
    • Few cities/little industry (1)
    • Poorly developed transportation/telephone service (2)
    • Inadequate schools (3)
  • Mexico’s most traditional region---Why?
    • Village life/subsistence farming (1)
    • Handcrafts provide cash income (2)
    • Mexican Indians make up ½ of population (3)
northern mexico
Northern Mexico
  • Has become most prosperous part of Mexico
    • Newer roads
    • Better communication
  • Contains city of Monterrey—very industrialized
  • Migrant workers drawn to area to work in factories
northern mexico continued
Northern Mexico continued
  • Border towns
    • Many business in borders towns linked to U.S.
    • Maquiladoras
      • American owned factories that lie on Mexican side of U.S./Mexico border
      • Factories assemble products, such as auto parts/toys, for export to the U.S.
mexico s challenges for the future
Mexico’s Challenges for the Future
  • Economic inequality (1)
    • Majority of Mexicans poor, much of wealth lies in hands a few
    • Many Mexicans have fewer economic opportunities
    • Slowing inequality could slow migration to U.S.
  • Reducing crime (2)
    • Crime results from poverty
    • Drug smuggling to U.S.
  • Improving country’s poor infrastructure (3)
    • Improve water supply, roads, sewage systems
central american economy
Central American Economy

Central America depends heavily on the exportation of crops such as:

Coffee (1)

Bananas (2)

Cotton (3)

Sugar (4)

Cacao (5)

Cacao: type of tree from which we get cocoa beans; used to produce chocolate

central american economy continued
Central American Economy continued

Ecotourism in Costa Rica

Mid-1980’s--- Costa Rica found a way to protect the environment & make money


Focuses on guided travel through natural areas & on outdoor activities

Visitors observe wildlife

Benefits of Ecotourism in Costa Rica:

Hotels/other businesses opened to create new jobs (1)

Cost of tours provides income for the economy (2)

central american economy continued1
Central American Economy continued

Panama Canal

Completed in 1914 by the United States

Allows ships to move from the Atlantic Ocean & Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean

Important economic resource to Panama

Controlled by the U.S. until 1999

central american problems
Central American Problems

Land Reform (1)

Rich landowners control most of the land

Raise cash crops

Mostly subsistence farmers in Central America

Subsistence farmers have trouble selling crops due to rich landowners controlling agricultural market

Violence/Civil War (2)

Weak gov’ts in Central America have experienced times of civil war

El Salvador, Nicaragua

caribbean economy
Caribbean Economy

Most Caribbean countries have market economies

Businesses/farms are privately owned & decide what to produce

Cuba has a command economy

Command economy: economic system in which the gov’t decides what to produce, where to make it & how much to charge

Caribbean largely agricultural

Grow crops such as sugar, bananas, citrus fruits

Caricom: Caribbean Community & Common Market

An economic union formed by Caribbean countries in order to promote trade & industry

caribbean economy continued
Caribbean Economy continued


Caribbean countries see tourism promoting economic growth

Tourism has problems

Resorts can take land away from farmers (1)

Jobs in tourist industries are mostly seasonal & low paying (2)

Raised cost of living (3)

caribbean problems
Caribbean Problems

Population growth has led to:

Small living area (1)

Unemployment (2)

Immigration increase to the U.S. (3)

Too much urbanization (4)

south american economy
South American Economy

Many South American countries have a high standard of living and a growing middle class

Agriculture in South America ranges from subsistence farmingto huge commercial farms &ranches

Market oriented farming is most highly developed

Brazil produces more coffee than any other country in the world

south american economy continued
South American Economy continued

Most South American factories produce food items, consumer goods, or building materials for local markets

Larger countries also produce cars, trucks and jet airplanes


trade organization-Southern Common Market

The purpose of Mercosur is: expand trade, improve transportation & reduce tariffs among member countries

Members are: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay

south american problems
South American Problems

Environmental (1)

Amazon River Basin

Clearing of rainforests

Threatens plant/animal life

Threatens the way of life Amazonian Indians

Growing Population needs more resources (2)

Border disputes (3)

Ecuador vs Peru

Drug Trading in Colombia (4)