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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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Economy/Natural Resources/Problems of Middle & South America


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    1. Economy/Natural Resources/Problems of Middle & South America Honors World Geography

    2. 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)

    3. 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

    4. 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

    5. 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.

    6. 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

    7. 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)

    8. 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

    9. 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.

    10. 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

    11. 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

    12. Central American Economy continued Ecotourism in Costa Rica Mid-1980’s--- Costa Rica found a way to protect the environment & make money Ecotourism: 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)

    13. 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

    14. 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

    15. 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

    16. Caribbean Economy continued Tourism 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)

    17. Caribbean Problems Population growth has led to: Small living area (1) Unemployment (2) Immigration increase to the U.S. (3) Too much urbanization (4)

    18. 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

    19. 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 Mercosur 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

    20. 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)