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Emilio Godoy: Anti-Poverty Programs in Mexico Are Losing the Battle

Emilio Godoy - Inter Press Service
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August 11, 2015

The Road to Juan's House is the story of Juan Boca Negra who lives in a shack village on the outskirts of a Mexico City dump with his brothers and sisters. It is a story of hope as he receives education in the hopes that one day he can leave his shack in the garbage dump for a better life. Shot on location by Eric Odell. (newagemarketing101)

While most of Latin America has been reducing poverty, Mexico is moving in the other direction. New official figures reflect an increase in the number of poor in the last two years, despite the billions of dollars channeled into a broad range of programs aimed at combating the problem.

The negative impact of the 2014 fiscal reform, poorly-designed and mismanaged public policies, sluggish economic growth, and family incomes that have been frozen are all factors underlying the rise in the number of people living in poverty in the region’s second-most populous country, according to experts consulted by IPS.

“We have some well-designed social programs, but many others have got off track,” said Edna Jaime, the head of México Evalúa, a think tank on public policies. “They claim to fight poverty and foment employment, but they have no effect. Many are captive; they serve political clientele instead of the public,” she told IPS.

The criticism is focused on initiatives like the Program of Direct Support for the Countryside (PROCAMPO), which will shell out some four billion dollars in subsidies this year – money that will mainly benefit big agroexporters in northern Mexico, even though the program was initially aimed at helping small-scale farmers weather the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in effect between Canada, Mexico and the United States since 1994.

Other targets of the criticism are the over 15 billion dollars a year in subsidies for gas and electricity, because they benefit the bigger consumers.

Read the rest at Inter Press Service

IPS is an international communication institution with a global news agency at its core, raising the voices of the South and civil society on issues of development, globalisation, human rights and the environment. Check out the website at

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