The country of Peru is entrenched in a colourful history of wonder and innovation. This South American country has a diverse array of cultures, lands, foods and languages amoung other distinct and unique attractions. Peru is best known for its Incan mystical historic site, Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines. Peru also consists of the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca which it shares with Bolivia. Despite Peru’s large pallet of exclusive appeals however, it does have internal problems in relation with its socio-economic realm; which has hindered its advancement as a society in many ways.
Some problems in Peru revolve around poverty, a growing gap in inequality, and extreme debt to foreign corporations and organization such as the International Monetary Fund. Due to these problems and many others Peru remains a developing nation. This report will consist of four sections that will fully explore Peru and its people. The four sections are geography, society, economy, and the political system of Peru. Geography: Peru as a whole has an area of 1,285,216 km? in its territory.
The countries of Ecuador (1,529 km border) and Colombia (1,506 km) border Peru to the north, while Brazil (border 2,822 km) and Bolivia (1,047 km) border Peru to the east. Chile (border 169 km) and Bolivia also border Peru to the south. Peru’s landscape can be best classified by three distinct regions. These regions are made up of a coastal region running parallel to the Pacific Ocean sea line, the highlands (the Andes), and the Eastern lowlands more specifically the jungle (the Amazon). Each section is distinct in its own characteristics which make Peru a diverse country.
The coastal region of Peru houses Peru’s capital Lima amoung other large cities (such as Trujillo, and Chiclayo). This region is paramount for aquatic life and rich in gorgeous beaches. The highland region of Peru contains the Andes Mountains. This region is most known for the city of Cuzco (the highest above sea level city in the world). The land located there is also rich in valuable minerals (such as gold, copper, silver, gold, petroleum, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash which in turn has attracted a lot of corporations) .
This region is also known for Machu Picchu, which is a historic landmark where the nobles and kings of the Incan empire once lived (the indigenous Peruvians). This site is also considered to be a mystical spot, a centre of worship, and an astronomic observatory for the Incas that have attracted a lot of tourists . Along the slopes of this region also lies the Altiplano plateau (a dry basin). This region more specifically is located near southeastern Peru. This section also borders Chile and is known for the Atacama Desert (the driest place on earth).
In this desert located between the coastal region and the Andes lies Nazca. This land is also very famous for its ‘Nazca lines’. These lines are massive imprints of animal figures and other designs stretching across the desert which have remained there for centuries. To the East of Peru lies a massive tropical jungle named the Amazon Forest (the biggest in the world, it is as large as Western Europe or the whole of the US) . The Amazonian forest is the habitat of thousands of different species of animals and plants.
It also is famous for medicines found there. The Amazon also contains one of the biggest rivers in the world named the Amazon River ‘its length lies anywhere between 6,259 km (3,889 miles) and 6,800 km (4,225 miles). It has over 1,000 tributaries, 8 of which are over 2,000 kilometers’ . To the very South of Peru integrated with Bolivia is Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable above sea level lake in the world) . Geographically Peru is very rich in resources and beauty, but for that same reason Peru faces significant environmental and political consequences.
Some problems associated with Peru and its land is deforestation (some the result of illegal logging mostly in the Amazon regions); overgrazing of the slopes of the costal region and highland region leading to soil erosion; desertification; and other hazards such as air pollution especially in Lima; pollution of rivers and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes . These problems have greatly limited Peru from retaining a healthy and secure environment for its citizens. Despite Peru’s problems with its environment, the majority of the Peruvian society cannot be completely held responsible.
There are issues (such as powerful politicians and foreign investors) which greatly deprive Peruvian citizens from having the ability to truly govern themselves. Society: Peruvian society is highly stratified between the rich and the poor. Peru’s total population consists of 27,167,000 inhabitants. 71% of which subsists in urban areas while 29% of Peru’s total population lives in rural areas. There is a distinct difference in quality of life between the Peruvians who live in urban areas versus the people who live in rural areas (which is predominately poorer).
Peru’s ethnicities are mainly divided by Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%. The official languages of Peru are Spanish (official), Quechua (official, spoken by the indigenous), and Aymara. The Spanish language in Peru is predominately used due to Peru’s history of colonization by Spain during the 1520s. Also because of the colonization of Peru, 90% of the Peruvian population is Roman Catholic. Peru in terms of specific characteristics of their overall population is quite common for a third world.
According to the World Bank the average life expectancy for a Peruvian citizen is seven one years old. According to the World Health Organization, the life expectancy for most males in Peru is sixty-eight years old. While for females seventy-three years old is the most common age of death. The World Health Organization also explains that in Peru child mortality rates per thousand people are thirty-six for males and thirty-two for females; and for adults it is one-hundred and ninety-three for males, and one-hundred and thirty-three for females.
Uncommon however to most third world countries, Peru’s literacy rates above the age of fifteen who can read and write for all of Peru’s population is 88% (95. 2% for males, and 86. 8% for females). For the most part, Peru’s social situation is extremely interconnected with Peru’s economy and its division of power. Economy: Peru’s economy is very dependent on foreign investment and aid. Like most developing nations, Peru is rich in natural resources, but poor in efficiency in retaining economic sovereignty in relation to the international market.
Peru is heavily into debt with foreign corporations. According to the World Bank, as of 2006 Peru’s total debt per GDP was 30. 2 billion dollars US. According to the same source Peru’s total debt in service and exports as of 2006 was 12. 9 billion dollars US. This massive debt that Peru is chained to drastically diminishes Peru’s ability to have true sovereignty and the ability to provide the best interests for its people. For this reason 11% of Peru’s population lives below one dollar US per day (1995-2005) .
But although a lot of Peruvians live in poverty, the country’s economic growth rate has been going up. It was said by Peru’s “Economy and Finance Minister Luis Carranza … that Peru’s 2007 economic growth was 8. 3 percent, the highest since 1994” . This ironic actuality exposes the degree of inequality in Peru. If the nation itself seems to be improving, then so should the conditions of its people; but this is not true in this case. From a purely economics standpoint the World Bank dictates that Peru’s annual average annual growth of GDP per capita was 7. % in 2007.
The World Bank also states that Peru’s main economic centers and industries are set up as follows: By percent of GDP, Peru’s agriculture sector is 6. 3%, the industry sector is 35. 2%, the manufacturing sector 15. 1% and Peru’s biggest sector being services accounts for 58. 5%. To give a better idea of what Peru offers to the international market in terms of exports, Peru is ‘the world’s leading silver producer and ranks second in copper and zinc… Among other products, Peru is a global supplier of asparagus, fish, grapes, and organic bananas’ .
These statistics show that Peru does have the ability to compete in the international market if it could set its own prices for the goods it exports and if it were not in debt to international organizations. But because Peru must oblige to institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, Peru has no chance of removing the shackles of foreign power. Political System: Peru politically is a republic and contains a multi-party system that sponsors a president.
The capital of Peru is Lima, and it is here where the President of Peru Mr. Alan Garcia Perez situates his reign . The major political parties in Peru are the Peruvian Aprista Party or PAP (Alan Garcia Perez is the leader of this party); the Independent Moralizing Front or FIM; the National Unity (Unidad Nacional) or UN; Peru Posible or PP; Popular Action or AP; Solucion Popular; Somos Peru or SP; and the Union for Peru or UPP. Peru has a democratic system where a president is elected through a party.
The government similar to the North is divided into three branches the Executive, the Legislative made up by 120 members of the Congress who are elected for a five year-period; and the Judiciary, made up by the Supreme Court. Peru politically is in turmoil with its people. There are many groups such as the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) who oppose the neo-liberal type of government in Peru. Peru does have free democratic elects but history has shown in Peru (especially with president Fujimori) that most politicians have become corrupt and weak to foreign influences (especially the USA).
To conclude the Peruvian people need to come together to conquer the influence of Western capitalism, inequality, and the rule of the elites in Peru. If Peru ever wishes to become truly independent and fair for all its citizens it must break off ties with dominating international organizations and nationalize a lot of its markets. Only when Peru is free of debt and agreements which favor the wealthy of Peru instead of all of its citizens will Peru find true development. Peru must utilize its vast amount of resources to help all of its citizens not just the elite.
Courtney from Study Moose
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