“New South” Latin America

The “New South” in Latin American is calling you.

The New South Latin America Punta del Este, Uruguay

Punta Del Este, Uruguay

In the U.S. 19th century, Horace Greeley, Editor of the New York Tribune, told people to “go west” because that’s where the opportunity was, even paradise.  Well most folks found that it wasn’t that all bright and glowing.

The West was hard and for some it was too much.  And it was messy.  Lack of resources, Native American resistance, and just a lot of hucksters.

But again, in spite of that, many Americans (immigrants) made good and carved out a piece of the pie for themselves.  The social climate allowed it.  In some cases, you made up your own rules.

In many ways, Latin America is the new west, or the “New South” if you like.

New South Latin America Grasslands of Uruguay

Grasslands of Uruguay

Land of Opportunity and Value

There are vast tracts of land that are uninhabited and not developed, but it will support agriculture and business.  I have met not a few Midwestern farmers on plane rides who are working farms in both the U.S.A. and Latin America as well.

Entrepreneurship is just getting going there.  Many countries want skilled workers, particularly those who speak English (learning basic Spanish helps) and have some business background.  They need technical help – everything from computer science, to electricians, plumbers, builders, etc.  You name it.

New South Latin America  Bolivian Quinoa Fields

Bolivian Quinoa Fields

Similar Cultures

Much of our western civilization is based upon concepts of guilt, innocence, shame, freedom, justice, human dignity, etc. and many of these belief systems stem from the Christian religion, but not all.  Other world religions have contributed also.

These points of view or cultural concepts have been with me as early as I can remember – from the first spirited discussion with my childhood buddy and neighbor Paul when we were “debating” at 7 years of age.   We were raised Christian – Paul Catholic and I, Protestant.

Our great debate boiled down to the following – if God is who is says he/she is, then why can’t the Devil be saved like all of the rest of mankind.  I was for salvation, Paul said it couldn’t happen.  So like all great debates at that age, it soon lost its luster with a game of waffle ball in my backyard.

New South Latin America Granada Cathedral with Lake Nicaragua in  background  www.eiu.edu

Granada Cathedral with Lake Nicaragua in background www.eiu.edu

Today’s slash and burn approach to everything from religion, politics, and relationships are not pleasing options.

When it comes to dialogue and change – any kind of change that leads to more compassion and understanding laid with a background of responsibility is a welcomed change.

These days life seems a bit grayer, perhaps it’s always been so.  I don’t mean my mood, although I do better in some climates than others, but I am referring to point of view (POV).

It’s no longer all or nothing for me.

New South Latin America Street Scene Granada, Nicaragua

Street Scene
Granada, Nicaragua www.featurepics.com

Your Opportunity to Travel and Discover

This is one reason why I like to travel.  I see common threads that seem to link people from around the planet, alongside stark differences of opinion and lifestyles that manifest themselves in language and culture.

Hispanic culture and its languages draw me into that dialogue.  I want to join in and get a better understanding.

Hispanic culture has always appealed to me since it seems to be a good mix of east and west.

You may say, well how’s that?  For one thing, some people are unaware that for about a thousand years Islamic culture dominated most of Spain.  References to that period still exist in Spain today – things like the language, food, and architecture to name a few.

On top of that, some anthropologists say that much of the indigenous population of the “New World” of North, Central, and South America came from the east via either water craft or a temporary land bridge near the Bering Strait.

New South Latin America Handmade Carpets for Santa Semana procession in Antigua, Guatemala Richard Spahr

Handmade Carpets for Santa Semana procession in Antigua, Guatemala
Richard Spahr

Despite the Spanish “conquest” of the “New World,” the indigenous population contained eastern ideas as well along with their own unique adaptations like human sacrifice (Aztec).

Of course, the Old Testament of the Christian religion has its example in Abraham nearly sacrificing his son Isaac.  Jesus would be the supreme example of sacrifice to “atone” for the “sin” of humankind.

When the first Europeans arrived in the “Americas,” some of them envisioned a “New World” apart from the status quo, but alas, political and religious powers prevailed.  “Old World” structures became imbedded in the culture.

Still, there were visionaries that believed they had a “blank” canvas to make something unique according to their own vision of what the “New World” should be.  Eventually the indigenous population adapted to this scheme, but still retained some of its own culture.

New South Latin American View of Chilean vineyards in foothills of Andes Puente Alto Chile

View of Chilean vineyards in foothills of Andes Puente Alto Chile
Wikimedia Commons

HIspanic Culture Contains Many Cultures

There is no one homogeneous “Hispanic culture” just like there is no one person that is exactly the same.  Just as if you were trying to define who is “Latino.”  You can agree to disagree and that is the extent of that.

There are common threads in Hispanic culture, like family, religion, politics, food, love of nature, and the courage to engage and confront others in dialogue and common causes.  There’s also personal initiative, as opposed to some eastern cultures that are geared to conformity.

That’s why I like visiting and living in Latin America.  It seems there’s always an energy there to “do” something and combine the best of all worlds old and new.

If you’re looking to reinvent yourself or just join in a culture that tries to take the best of things and mix them into a new whole, Latin America is place to visit. Perhaps you’ll want to stay.

New South Latin America Free Laptops for all Uruguayan Public School Children

Free Laptops for all Uruguayan Public School Children

Do Your Research

Start your Internet search with one country that peaks your interest and study that one.  Then go visit and get “boots on the ground.”

Explore, ask, experience, eat, listen, and practice your poor high school Spanish.

Just get out there and do it.  You may surprise yourself.  You’ll certainly get some surprises along the way.  I suspect most of those surprises will be very pleasant ones.

New South Latin America Street Food Carts Downtown Montevideo Denis Molloy

Street Food Carts
Downtown Montevideo
Denis Molloy

Transfer Your Skills and Experience

In the “New South” Latin America there is a great need for people with skills and experience who know what they’re doing whatever the field.  There are countries in Latin America full of folks, both young and old, hungry to learn and get ahead.

Latin America is a region that welcomes your maturity and experience at no matter what age.

The “New South” Latin America may be calling you.  If I had a son in his twenties, I would tell him to go south – South and Central America that is.  I would also advise baby boomers looking towards retirement or downsizing to consider Latin America as well.

East vs. West

New South Latin America Street Scene in Buenos Aires

Street Scene in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Certain famous financial gurus are sending or telling their children to go east.  I don’t disagree with that.  China and Southeast Asia in some ways are just getting started.  But again, culturally where would you most thrive and more quickly advance?  Would it be a culture akin to yours?  I think so.

Diversity is good, but I would like to think our “modern” civilization is healthier and stronger when it emphasizes commonalities and shared interests.  There will always be differences.  It’s both the curse and blessing of being human.

As individuals, we all change and modify ourselves constantly with whatever grabs our attention.  Most cultures continue to change and adapt as well.

As they say “time will tell.”  I place my bet on Latin America.


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