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What causes a
society to grow?
Latin America Today
Unit 6 Latin America Today
Lessons
Lesson 1
Mexico
Lesson 2
Central America
Lesson 3
The Caribbean
Lesson 4
Brazil
Lesson 5
Argentina
Lesson 6
Other Countries of
South America
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Lessons
Lesson 1
Vocabulary
Mexico
plaza
vaquero
maquiladora
subsistence
farm
smog
migrant worker
Reading Skill
Fact and Opinion
How has Mexico
grown?
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Mexico
The People
Mexico is the world’s
largest Spanish-speaking
country.
The people of Mexico trace
their roots to three
cultures-Spanish, Native
American, and mestizo.
Spanish is the official
language, but many people
speak different Native
American languages as
well.
City plazas serve as
centers of public life.
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Mexico
Government and Culture
Mexico is a representative
democracy with a constitution
that guarantees basic human
rights.
Mexico is a federal republic
with 31 states and one federal
district, the capital of Mexico
City.
Mexico’s president shares power with the
legislative and judicial branches of
government.
Folk art, sports, music, food, and dance are
important parts of Mexican culture.
Mexican artists, such as Diego Rivera, have
created many national treasures.
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Mexico
Mexico’s Economic Regions
The North has dry land that is irrigated
for farming and raising cattle. It also
has mineral mines and manufacturing
centers.
Thank you Brianna! At least I got one of
3 text details for my summary
paragraph.
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Mexico
Growth and Challenges
Manufacturing is more
important to Mexico’s economy
since the signing of the NAFTA
trade agreement between
Mexico, Canada, and the
United States.
Thank you Brianna! At least I
got one of the four text details
for this summary paragraph. 
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Lesson 2
campesino
literacy rate
junta
Fact and Opinion
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Central America
Vocabulary
Reading Skill
Review
How has change
helped Central
America grow?
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Lessons
Central America
Economy
Many people in Central
America depend on farming to
make a living.
Some are campesinos, or poor
farmers. Most work on large
plantations that grow bananas,
sugarcane, and coffee.
In recent years, industries such
as manufacturing and food
processing have become more
important in Central America.
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Central America
Belize and Guatemala
Once a British colony called
British Honduras, Belize is the
only English-speaking country
in Central America.
Forestry, fishing, and tourism
are Belize’s main industries.
Guatemala has many forests,
mountains, and good soil for
farming; but a small group of
people own most of the land.
Guatemala suffered a bloody
civil war in the 1970s and
1980s.
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Central America
Costa Rica and Panama
Both Costa Rica and Panama
have strong economies and
high literacy rates.
Costa Ricans overthrew the
military government in the
1940s, and Costa Rica now
has a stable democratic
government.
United States troops invaded
Panama in 1989 and removed
the corrupt leader Manuel
Noriega from power.
In 1999 the United States gave full control
of the Panama Canal to Panama.
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Central America
Three Troubled Countries
In Nicaragua, years of civil
war between contras and
Sandinistas cost many lives.
In 1990, free elections
ended the civil war.
In 1980, civil war broke out
in El Salvador. A peace
agreement ended the war in
1992. El Salvador is now a
democracy.
Government brutality and
gang violence in Honduras
have killed many people. In
2006, a new president
promised to fight corruption.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras have
suffered natural disasters such as hurricanes,
earthquakes, and drought.
Lessons
Lesson 3
The Caribbean
Vocabulary
command
economy
commonwealth
Reading Skill
Fact and Opinion
Review
What has
helped the
Caribbean
grow?
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The Caribbean
The Economy, Cuba and Puerto Rico
Tourism and agriculture are the main
industries in the Caribbean.
Fidel Castro won control of Cuba in 1959
and set up a Communist government.
Cuba has a command economy, where
the government sets most prices for
goods and employs most workers.
Since 1952, Puerto Rico has been a
commonwealth of the United States.
Puerto Rico has many factories that
produce machinery, medicines, and
clothing.
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The Caribbean
Haiti and the Dominican Republic
The two countries of Haiti and the
Dominican Republic share the island of
Hispaniola.
Haiti has long had an unstable
government; Haiti relies on foreign aid
and nearly 80 percent of Haiti’s people
live in poverty.
The Dominican Republic is also a very
poor country; agriculture and the service
industry provide the most jobs.
Many Caribbean countries celebrate
carnival, a festival with music, dancing,
and parades.
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Lessons
Lesson 4
Brazil
Vocabulary
favela
selva
ecosystem
Reading Skill
Fact and Opinion
What changes
brought growth
to Brazil?
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Brazil
Brazil’s People and Government
Once a Portuguese
colony, Brazil is the only
Portuguese-speaking
country in Latin America.
Today, Brazilians are of
European, African, Native
American, Asian, or
mixed ancestry.
In the past, Brazil was
ruled by military dictators;
today, Brazil is a
democratic federal
republic.
Brazilians who can read and are between the ages of
18 and 70 are required by law to vote in elections.
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Brazil
Economy
Brazil has the tenth-largest economy in the world.
Brazil’s diverse economy includes agriculture,
mining, manufacturing, and service industries.
Brazil has many valuable
natural resources such as
minerals, oil, forest products,
grasslands, and farmlands.
Lessons
Brazil
The Amazon Rain Forest
In the 1980s, Brazil’s
government encouraged
mining, logging, farming, and
cattle ranching in the rain
forest.
Deforestation is a major
problem in Brazil, leading to
soil erosion, landslides, and
extinction of plant and animal
species.
Destroying rain forests harms
the ecosystem, all the living
and nonliving things in a
certain area, including plants,
animals, soil, and water.
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Lesson 5
Argentina
Vocabulary
gaucho
national debt
default
Reading Skill
Fact and Opinion
How has
diversity helped
Argentina grow?
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Argentina
Argentina’s People and Economy
Most Argentines live in large
cities such as the capital, Buenos
Aires.
Argentina’s culture has been
shaped by its European heritage.
Argentina has some of the
world’s best farmland and
grasslands for grazing cattle, as
well as other valuable resources
such as oil and minerals.
Argentina’s economy depends
mainly on farming, ranching, and
manufacturing industries.
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Argentina
Argentina’s Government
Argentina is a democratic federal
republic made up of a national
government and 23 provincial
governments.
A powerful elected president
leads the nation for a four-year
term.
A legislature with two houses
makes the laws.
A Supreme Court heads the
judicial system.
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Lessons
Lesson 6
Vocabulary
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Other Countries of
South America
gross domestic
product
barrio
Reading Skill
Fact and Opinion
Review
What products
help other
South American
countries grow?
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Other Countries of South America
The Three Guianas and Venezuela
Guyana was once a colony of Great Britain
called British Guiana. Suriname was once a
colony of the Netherlands called Dutch
Guiana. French Guiana still is a colony of
France today.
Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana have
similar cultures, and most of their people are
of African and southern Asian descent.
Since the 1920s, Venezuela has become one
of the world’s leading producers of oil and
natural gas.
Despite the country’s wealth of natural
resources, many Venezuelans are poor and
live in barrios, slums built at the edge of
cities.
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Other Countries of South America
Colombia and Andean Countries
Colombia exports
many of its resources,
such as minerals,
coffee, sugarcane,
rice, and cotton.
Colombia has struggled with
political unrest and violence for
many years. Wealth is in the
hands of a powerful few, and
many people live in poverty.
Many people in the
Andean countries of
Bolivia, Peru, and
Ecuador are of
Native American
descent and farm the
land using traditional
methods.
Chile has a growing
economy and
exports many
resources, such as
copper, fruit, fish,
and wine.
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Vocabulary
maquiladoras factories where
1. Thousands of Mexicans now work in ______________,
workers assemble goods using parts made in other countries.
2. Many people in Central America depend on farming to make a living; some are
campesinos
poor farmers called ____________.
command economy where the government sets most prices
3. Cuba has a ___________________,
for goods and employs most workers.
National debt is money owed by the government.
4. _____________
Barrios are slums built at the edge of cities.
5. ________
national debt
command economy
barrios
maquiladoras
campesinos
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Comprehension and Critical Thinking
6. What is one of the biggest problems Mexico now faces as a result of its
economic growth?
7. What is the name of the only English-speaking country in Central America?
8. What are the two most important industries in the Caribbean?
9. In what ways is Brazil’s government similar to the government of the United
States?
10. Which South American nation is one of the world’s leading producers of oil
and natural gas?
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Fact and Opinion
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