Central America & the Caribbean

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Central America:

Central America

Central America :

Central America is made up of seven countries located between Mexico and South America.

Guatemala:

Guatemala Size - Slightly smaller than Tennessee Population – 14 million, most populous in Central America

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Ethnic groups – Mestizo 60%, other indigenous 39% Religion – Mostly Christian, some indigenous Languages – Spanish 60%, indigenous 40% Literacy – 69%, average schooling – 11 years Risk of infectious diseases - high Guatemala

Guatemala Economy:

Guatemala Economy The agricultural sector accounts for 13% of GDP and 38% of the labor force. 14% of people work in industry, and 48% in services.

Key agricultural exports include coffee, sugar, bananas, and vegetables.  :

Key agricultural exports include coffee, sugar, bananas, and vegetables.

Farmers often walk long distances to sell their crops in the local markets.:

Farmers often walk long distances to sell their crops in the local markets.

Weaving is a traditional craft of Guatemala. Blankets and clothing are also sold at the local markets.:

Weaving is a traditional craft of Guatemala. Blankets and clothing are also sold at the local markets.

Nearly half the population is under the age of 15 and more than 70 percent of the people live in poverty. It is estimated that there are more than 370,000 orphans in Guatemala. :

Nearly half the population is under the age of 15 and more than 70 percent of the people live in poverty. It is estimated that there are more than 370,000 orphans in Guatemala.

It is also estimated that there are nearly 5,000 homeless children living on the streets in Guatemala City due to abandonment by their parents who were too poor to care for them. Nearly half of Guatemala’s children are malnourished, the highest in all of Central America.:

It is also estimated that there are nearly 5,000 homeless children living on the streets in Guatemala City due to abandonment by their parents who were too poor to care for them. Nearly half of Guatemala’s children are malnourished, the highest in all of Central America.

Volcanic ash spews from the Volcano of Fire, near Guatemala City, in Sept. 2012. The long-simmering volcano exploded into a series of powerful eruptions, hurling thick clouds of ash nearly two miles high, spewing rivers of lava down its flanks and forcing the evacuation of more than 33,000 people from surrounding communities.:

Volcanic ash spews from the Volcano of Fire, near Guatemala City, in Sept. 2012. The long-simmering volcano exploded into a series of powerful eruptions, hurling thick clouds of ash nearly two miles high, spewing rivers of lava down its flanks and forcing the evacuation of more than 33,000 people from surrounding communities.

A typical street in rural Guatemala:

A typical street in rural Guatemala

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Guatemala City – (with McDonald’s)

Belize:

Belize Slightly smaller than Massachusettes Tropical climate – hot & humid Population – 328,000

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Ethnic groups - Mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6 % (In most of Latin America , Creole means a person of unmixed Spanish or Portugese blood , born in the New World .) Languages - Spanish 46%, Creole 32.9%, Mayan dialects 8.9%, English 3.9 % (English is the official language) Religion – more than 70% Christian, 15% claim no religion Risk of infectious diseases – high Literacy rate- 77% School expectancy – 12 years

Belize Economy:

Belize Economy Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner in this small economy. It has the world’s 2 nd largest barrier reef and is a great place for scuba diving. Labor force - agriculture: 10%, industry : 18%, services: 72%

You can go mountain biking through a rain forest or just relax on a beautiful beach.:

You can go mountain biking through a rain forest or just relax on a beautiful beach.

Tourism is followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments. :

Tourism is followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments.

Honduras :

Honduras Slightly larger than Tennessee Population – over 8 million

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Ethnic groups – Mestizo 90 %, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1 % Religion – 100% Christian Risk of infectious disease – high (including AIDS) Literacy – 80% School expectancy – 11 years Labor force - agriculture: 39.2 %, industry : 20.9 %, services : 39.8 %

Tegucigalpa – capital of Honduras:

Tegucigalpa – capital of Honduras

Honduras Economy:

Honduras Economy It is the second poorest country in Central America. It suffers from extraordinarily unequal distribution of income, as well as high underemployment . Two major agricultural exports: coffee and bananas

Hurricane Mitch destroyed Honduras in 1998, killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage. Honduras has been slowly recovering.:

Hurricane Mitch destroyed Honduras in 1998, killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage. Honduras has been slowly recovering.

El Salvador:

El Salvador Situated on the Pacific coast of Central America, El Salvador is the smallest of the Central American countries, with an area equal to that of Massachusetts. Most of the country is on a fertile volcanic plateau about 2,000 ft. high.

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With approximately 6.7 million people, it is the most densely populated nation on the American mainland

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El Salvador is the most industrialized country in the region. Some of its industries include: Food processing Beverages Chemicals Textiles

Capital City: San Salvador:

Capital City: San Salvador

MS-13:

MS-13 This gang, aka Mara Salvatrucha 13, is one of the most violently dangerous gangs in the United States - and one of the most organized. One of many 15-year-olds currently incarcerated in El Salvador

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In 1992, El Salvador began a nationwide highway development program. As a result, the nation boasts one of the finest highway systems in Central America with over 20 percent of the 10,000 kilometer road network paved and in good condition. Infrastructure

El Salvador Agriculture:

El Salvador Agriculture dominates the nation's wealth, social structure, and political dynamics. They grow corn, sugar, coffee, rice, beans, dairy products

Nicaragua:

Nicaragua Size - slightly smaller than the state of New York, it is the largest country in Central America. Ethnic groups – Mestizo 69 %, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5 % Population – 5.7 million Religion – 83% Christian, 16% claim no religion Risk of infectious disease – high Literacy – 67% Education expectancy – 11 years

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Nicaragua has coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America

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It contains sharks, swordfish, and other sea animals.

Nicaragua Economy:

Nicaragua Economy Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America. Agricultural products include: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton Industrial products include: food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, knit and woven apparel Labor force by occupation: agriculture: 28%, industry: 19% services: 53%

Nicaragua’s capital – Managua can be confusing to navigate, as there are very few street signs.:

Nicaragua’s capital – Managua can be confusing to navigate, as there are very few street signs. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1972, killing 10,000 people.

The Mosquito Coast is a coastal region of Nicaragua and Honduras, a band approximately 40 miles wide of lowland on the Caribbean Sea for about 225 miles. The English established a protectorate over the Miskito Indians, for whom the region is named. :

The Mosquito Coast is a coastal region of Nicaragua and Honduras, a band approximately 40 miles wide of lowland on the Caribbean Sea for about 225 miles. The English established a protectorate over the Miskito Indians, for whom the region is named. Under current Nicaraguan rule, the Miskito people are somewhat autonomous, but tensions exist.

Costa Rica:

Costa Rica Size: slightly smaller than West Virginia Ethnic groups: white (including mestizo ) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1% Has 2 active volcanoes Religion: 92% Christian Capital: San Jose

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Because of its location Costa Rica has two distinct seasons each with its own agricultural advantage, as different crops can be grown at different times One-fourth of Costa Rican land has been set aside as national forests, often with adjoining beaches, which has made the country a popular tourist spot for retirees and ecotourists.

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Costa Rica is situated at the bottom of the hurricane belt

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Costa Rica is less than a 2 ½ hour direct flight from Miami.

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Costa Rica is home to 100,000 foreigners

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Including more than 50,000 North Americans

Costa Rica has a Strong Economy:

Costa Rica has a Strong Economy Yet the average Costa Rican earns less than $10,000 per year.

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The US is Costa Rica’s largest trading partner. Intel (the chip maker) is the largest employer.

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The main exports are bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef

Tourism is the #1 source of income Over 2 million tourists come to visit each year for Vacation, Eco-Tourism and Health Tourism :

Tourism is the #1 source of income Over 2 million tourists come to visit each year for Vacation, Eco-Tourism and Health Tourism

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The country contains more than 100 types of ferns, 1,000 orchards and 2000 kinds of trees.

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Wildlife in Costa Rica Toucans Tree Frogs Blue Morpho Butterflies More than 50 kinds of Hummingbirds

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Humpback Whales Olive Ridley Turtles Squirrel Monkeys Sloths

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860 bird species reside in Costa Rica; More than in the US and Canada combined. 25% of the country is protected land.

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Arenal Volcano South Pacific Coast Beach La Paz Waterfall Costa Rica has many Natural Wonders Diving off Cocos Island

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The temperature in the southern Pacific averages 81 ˚

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Costa Rica is proud of a 95% literacy rate among its citizens; among the highest in Latin America.

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The cost of an outpatient visit in Costa Rica is approximately $17 ; in the US it’s $366 Costa Rica is a well known for excellent health care.

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The pace of life is slower in Costa Rica.

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One reason foreigners are attracted to Costa Rica: Property taxes are very low, a home valued at $300k owes only $585 per year!

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A Costa Rican “police station”

Panama:

Panama Size: slightly smaller than South Carolina Climate: tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season Ehtnic groups: Mestizo 70%, Amerindian 14%, white 10% Many Panamanians are bilingual, English and Spanish Religion: 100% Christian

Panama Economy:

Panama Economy Currency is the U.S. dollar 75% of the economy is based on services, the Panama Canal being one of them, along with tourism and others. About 30% of Panamanians live in poverty. Agricultural products: bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane Industrial products: construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials

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Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama. It is located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Casco Viejo (Old Town) is the historic district of Panama City. It is considered the most important city in Central America.

The Panama Canal cuts through the middle of Panama. Isthmus - A narrow strip of land with sea on either side, forming a link between two larger areas of land. :

The Panama Canal cuts through the middle of Panama. Isthmus - A narrow strip of land with sea on either side, forming a link between two larger areas of land.

Panama Canal:

Panama Canal Completed in 1914, the canal lifts ships through a lock system, carries them across the Isthmus of Panama, then lowers them back down to sea level. The cost to pass through the canal ranges from $1,000 to over $200,000 depending on the size and cargo of the ship, but saves 2 weeks of sailing around South America.

Panama Canal Time lapse Video:

Panama Canal Time lapse Video

Darien Gap:

Darien Gap A nearly impenetrable jungle forms the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia. It has layers of canopies. This is one of the most remote places in the world, no roads pass through here.

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Darien Gap has been used by migrant smugglers to move people illegally from Cuba, Asia and Africa to the U.S.

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The area is made dangerous by the presence of armed guerillas (the human kind), bandits, and cocaine traffickers.

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Crossing the Darien Gap requires a boat or plane.

The Pan-American Highway:

The Pan-American Highway A series of roads 29,800 miles in length that runs from the southern tip of South America to northern Alaska. The only break is the 54-mile area in Darien Gap.

The Caribbean Islands:

The Caribbean Islands The 7,000 Caribbean islands consist of three island groups: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Bahamas.

Physical Characteristics:

Physical Characteristics Mountainous islands are the tops of volcanic mountains pushed up from the ocean floor . Flatter islands called cays ( keez ) are coral islands , created by coral reefs. Climate of the Caribbean is affected more by sea and wind than elevation . Temperatures average 80°F year-round, but humidity is high . Prevailing winds affect rainfall. On the windward sides of islands, facing the wind, heavy rainfall reaches up to 200 inches a year, but on the leeward sides, facing away from the wind, rainfall is much lighter at only 30 inches a year. 2

Of all the islands that make the part of the entire Caribbean region, a mere 2% of the land mass is actually inhabited. The rest of the islands are totally untouched by any human civilization, with their natural resources untouched for centuries. :

Of all the islands that make the part of the entire Caribbean region, a mere 2% of the land mass is actually inhabited. The rest of the islands are totally untouched by any human civilization, with their natural resources untouched for centuries.

Ethnic Roots:

2 Ethnic Roots

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2 European colonists arrived with Columbus . Indian population decreased dramatically during colonial era . Much of population of islands descended from enslaved Africans the colonists brought to work on their plantations to grow sugar cane . After slavery was abolished, many immigrants came from East Asia and South Asia.

Sugar cane farming, the reason that so many African slaves were brought to the Caribbean.:

Sugar cane farming, the reason that so many African slaves were brought to the Caribbean.

Caribbean Islands Today:

Caribbean Islands Today About 90 percent of Caribbean population today live in independent countries. Many other islands are still linked to European counties or to the United States . Economies of many islands depend on agriculture . Many work as either farm laborers in industries related to agriculture or on the docks to load and ship exports across the globe . The natural beauty of the islands draws many tourists, but most profits go to foreign companies in the tourism industry. 2

Migration:

Migration Caribbean islanders often migrate to find jobs . Most agricultural work is seasonal, idle workers often head to other islands, Central America, or the United States for work . Political unrest in Cuba and Haiti has sent many refugees to seek asylum in the United States . Caribbean islanders have benefited from emigrants sending money back to people at home. 2

Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile different, even opposing, beliefs and to meld practices of various religions. Santería (The way of the saints) is a religion that began in Cuba. It is a blend of Roman Catholicism mixed with the West African religion brought to Cuba by slaves. They worship a combination of West African deities and Roman Catholic saints. The religion quickly spread throughout Latin America and the United States. :

Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile different, even opposing, beliefs and to meld practices of various religions. Santería (The way of the saints) is a religion that began in Cuba. It is a blend of Roman Catholicism mixed with the West African religion brought to Cuba by slaves. They worship a combination of West African deities and Roman Catholic saints. The religion quickly spread throughout Latin America and the United States.

The Greater Antilles:

The Greater Antilles Includes Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico, as well as some smaller countries and islands.

Cuba:

Cuba The largest country in the Caribbean Ethnic groups: white 65%, mulatto and Mestizo 24%, black 10% Government: Communist Products: sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, petroleum

Tourism in Cuba:

Tourism in Cuba Approximately 3 million tourists visit Cuba every year. Havana – the capital city of Cuba.

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Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and remains part of Cuba. It contains a prison which is the source of international controversy. It houses prisoners from Afghanistan and Iraq who were considered unlawful combatants. There are allegations of the mistreatment of prisoners.

Cuban Emigration:

Cuban Emigration Cubans want to emigrate to the U.S. because of economic and political reasons. They attempt to depart the island and enter the US using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, direct flights, or falsified visas.

The Island of Hispaniola:

The Island of Hispaniola Haiti Roughly ½ of the population practices voodoo. Life expectancy only 62 years 80% live below poverty level Literacy rate only 50% Speak French Dominican Republic Less than 1% practice voodoo, 93% Roman Catholic Life expectancy 77 years 34% live below poverty level Literacy rate 87% Speak Spanish

View of the Haiti/Dominican Republic Border Haiti was once 75% covered in forest, now there is only 2%. The deforestation has led to soil erosion and flooding.:

View of the Haiti/Dominican Republic Border Haiti was once 75% covered in forest, now there is only 2%. The deforestation has led to soil erosion and flooding.

Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in 2010. 200,000 people were killed.:

Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in 2010. 200,000 people were killed.

Voodoo:

Voodoo Roughly half of the people of Haiti practice voodoo. The principal belief in Haitian Voodoo is that deities called Lwa are subordinates to a God called Bondyà . E ach person has one spirit with whom they have a special relationship. Voodoo ceremonies begin with Catholic prayers, then songs are sung in French. Eventually, spirits come and “possess” individuals and bless or cure those who come to them for help. Voodoo embraces the cultural values of honor and respect, and homosexuality is accepted.

Organizations such as New Missions provide children with schools, uniforms, health care, and a hot lunch along with teaching them about Christianity. U.S. families sponsor a child for $30 per month and can send shoeboxes at Christmas.:

Organizations such as New Missions provide children with schools, uniforms, health care, and a hot lunch along with teaching them about Christianity. U.S. families sponsor a child for $30 per month and can send shoeboxes at Christmas.

Puerto Rico:

Puerto Rico Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. They continue to vote to remain a US Commonwealth.

Puerto Rico has about 3.5 million people, over 75% of them live in the capital, San Juan :

Puerto Rico has about 3.5 million people, over 75% of them live in the capital, San Juan

Spanish and English are both spoken in Puerto Rico. Almost everyone is Christian. Over 76% are White. :

Spanish and English are both spoken in Puerto Rico. Almost everyone is Christian. Over 76% are White. Old San Juan is a beautiful historic district. Many cruise ships visit San Juan’s harbor.

Jamaica:

Jamaica Most Jamaicans are descendents of African slaves. Language: English Religion: About 65% Christian, 21% No religion

Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the Jamaican government. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.:

Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the Jamaican government. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy. Kingston, Jamaica’s capital Montego Bay, a popular resort area.

Climb to the top of Dunn’s River Falls:

Climb to the top of Dunn’s River Falls

River rafting through a rain forest in Jamaica.:

River rafting through a rain forest in Jamaica.

Craft vendors sell their wares at the street market.:

Craft vendors sell their wares at the street market.

Local women earn a living by braiding tourists hair on the beach. Men and boys offer to be tour guides.:

Local women earn a living by braiding tourists hair on the beach. Men and boys offer to be tour guides.

Rastafarianism in Jamaica:

Rastafarianism in Jamaica a "messianic religious-political movement“ that began in the Jamaican slums in the 1920s and 30s. The most famous Rastafari is Bob Marley, whose reggae music gained the Jamaican movement international recognition. They believe that Ras Tafari , the former emperor of Ethiopia was a god, and will someday lead them back there. The Rastafarian lifestyle usually includes ritual use of marijuana, avoidance of alcohol, the wearing of one's hair in dreadlocks, and vegetarianism.

The Lesser Antilles:

The Lesser Antilles

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During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th & early 19th centuries. In 1917, the US purchased the Danish part.

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The population of the Virgin Islands are predominantly black and Christian. The language is English. Trunk Bay in St. John is one of the magnificent beaches in the US Virgin Islands.

Caribbean Music:

Caribbean Music Calypso music from Trinidad and Tobago and Reggae music from Jamaica often contain political and social messages. videos

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