region in income in the world (34.9%).region in income in the world (34.9%).

region with the highest percentage of inequality in income in the world (34.9%). Poverty is at a high rate and there is a huge gap in income distribution between the poor and the rich of each country. Chile is the second country in the world to have the highest difference in income distribution between the 20% of the richest and the 20% of the poorest people, with the income of the richest being 10 times higher than the income of the poorest. At the same time, the government of Chile’s public social spending (11.2% of GDP) is way below the global average (21% of GDP). This creates dissatisfaction within societies, as the governments of South American countries have not made efficient efforts in reducing poverty and balancing income distribution. Moreover, there is a high level of social stratification, which means that, in those countries, societies tend to categorize and rank civilians based on their wealth or social status. This creates the sentiment of inferiority to those living in a lower economic situation.

Happiness rates have fallen the past years as well, with Venezuela having had the highest fall from 2007 to 2016 in the world. Civilians cannot live under such unequal conditions and so they turn to illegal activity, from just stealing money or food in order to sustain themselves to becoming members of criminal groups and perpetrating felonies. For children that live on the streets due to poverty, the role of their family is often substituted by youth gangs and peer pressure often gets them involved in illegal activities.

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Figure 4: Militarized police in South America




Many South American countries have experienced civil wars the previous decades. After fighting for their independence from the Spaniards and the Portuguese (1802-1826), those countries faced many internal conflicts. Colombia is the country that has suffered the most from those conflicts, with its latest civil war ending in 2016. Even though there are no such wars happening at the moment, the impact they have left on South American societies is quite significant. Once the armed conflicts were over, the state