In Latin America, it's not uncommon for people down here to dislike the idea that foreigners have about this region being "third world."
Other similar terms might be "shithole" or "backwards."
Now, like with any country, you have locals who do say those things about their respective country but HATE it when a foreigner says the same thing.
Be it locals in any country of Latin America or quite frankly any country outside of the region like the US.
No issues with calling their own country a "shithole" but ready to pick up the guns when a foreigner does the same!
Regardless, it is a question: is Latin America "third world?"
Is it a "shithole" or "backwards?"
Well, I will be honest in that I have had my days being quite frustrated at life down here.
Where you just have one of those days where EVERYTHING fucks up.
You go home, grab a bottle of vodka and cuss out "this fucking THIRD WORLD SHITOLE!"
But, after about going through half the bottle and falling asleep, you wake up with a hangover and having completely forgotten all the shit that pissed you off yesterday.
Almost like it never happened.
And probably the day that comes will be better where it doesn't feel like you are battling against one "third world practice" after another.
Where shit constantly feels like nothing works down here.
And, when discussing this with people back home, they might remember the photos you posted on Facebook and go "you know, Mexico City doesn't look third world to me. Less developed but not third world."
And I agree with that.
In fact, I think it's a misunderstanding of what "third world" truly means.
The Third World Measure
What if I was to tell you that the "first world" exists in North Korea and Syria?
It also exists in Afghanistan!
Of course, most of those countries are not part of the first world.
A vast majority of the people in those areas do live in what many would consider even worse than "the third world."
Does "fourth world" sound good for the shithole villages and concentration camps you hear about in North Korea?
Or the villages getting attacked by ISIS in Syria?
Well, we might need other terms that are not "third" or "fourth" world because they sound out of this world.
But, even in those countries, you have places that are "first world."
I guarantee it.
If you are part of the ruling elite anyway, you probably live a "first world" lifestyle or something close to it in those countries.
Sure, if you are Assad of Syria, you can't take too many morning walks outside without intense security.
So not exactly first world lifestyle.
But his life is surely better than most of those in first world countries if you consider at least all the luxuries he probably has.
Could afford a nice international vacation anywhere.
Probably lives in a nice mansion or something.
The best of foods.
Could probably, if he wanted to, have hot bitches show up to his place to fuck him whenever he wants.
Sounds rad, brooo.
So, even in some of the worst countries out there, we can at least find someone who lives "first world."
In contrast, we could go to some country everyone considers first world.
Like Sweden or Switzerland.
Even in those countries, I'm sure there are "third world" aspects to them or "third world" peoples.
Third world peoples meaning those who live shit lives.
Maybe an alcoholic over there.
A drug addict over there.
Perhaps the metro system in some city over there fucks up and doesn't work for a few days.
"It gone third world."
Similarly, we can look at Latin America to understand what I mean by "third world."
Let's take Mexico.
Mexico City is one of the nicest cities in Latin America in my opinion and shit just works in Mexico City.
I can get shit delivered to my house without it getting stolen most of the time unlike my experience in the rest of Latin America.
Customer service is not as nice as in the US but it's not terrible and better than a lot of Latin America.
Higher quality of products here too.
But, on the flip side, the legacy of "the third world" can still be felt here like anywhere else.
Maybe you got on Line 12 of the Metro and it crashes while you were on it.
Perhaps you are walking outside and you see a homeless person opening their asshole right in front of you to let out a HUGE TURD onto the sidewalk a few feet away.
Maybe the police kidnap you and demand a bribe.
Whatever the fuck else!
Even if you go to one of the nicer areas of Mexico City like Jardines de Pedregal as I wrote about here, you will still see some elements of "the third world."
When I was there, I was surprised to see it being not AS NICE as I expected given how supposedly so many wealthy families live there.
Granted, you had some gated looking communities in the area away from it all.
But, in the same neighborhood just outside of those gated areas, I saw a few homeless people digging through the trash bags left outside of homes.
Even in my small town of Iowa, I don't ever remember seeing that outside of my dad's house.
And that's a small town in middle of nowhere US.
Similarly, if you go to a good deal of Mexico outside of the capital, the "third world" becomes more apparent and it resembles more of the rest of Latin America.
And you don't even need to go to the poorest states like Chiapas to see that.
Though Chiapas can REALLY be third world in some parts.
Of course, Mexico does have other cities outside of the capital that are not overly third world but will have more "third world" tendencies to them in my opinion.
But, within the rest of Latin America, it does vary significantly just like it varies within just one country like Mexico.
Some countries like Chile or Uruguay have a lot less "third world" tendencies to them.
Other countries like Guatemala and Nicaragua have them a bit more.
But, even in Guatemala or Nicaragua, you can find spots that are not so "third world."
Maybe the "third world" creeps up on you a little bit like a homeless person going through your trash or you having to bribe someone to get something done at some point during the day.
Or whatever the fuck else.
And, to be fair, it's not like the US is perfect either.
Compared to a country like Switzerland or Sweden, the US might be considered very third world to folks from there.
Quite often is the case of the European looking down on us Americans for shit they hear about like school shootings.
Or you can go to more rural areas of the country that are BACKWARDS as FUCK.
Third world as fuck?
Just check this shit out here from Mississippi!
"Don't drink the water" the water toxic in Mississippi
In a country like the US, shit like that happens still!
Or maybe we can discuss all the people who are in a fuck ton of medical debt.
Maybe how our leaders constantly send us to wars nobody wants to fight in middle of bumfuck nowhere Middle East.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
While I don't want to give the impression that I see myself as above Latin Americans for being from the US, I also want to emphasize that, despite our own third world tendencies, the US is materially a nicer country than most of Latin America.
More opportunities to make money. Better quality of products. Better customer service. So on and so on.
Having said that, there are two points to bring up.
First, as you can see here, you have no shortage of locals in Latin America who get insecure about such statements like "the third world."
Obviously there's a difference between a country that has weak men and one of its metro lines collapsing in the capital city. Plus it's not like Mexico doesn't have weak ass, 5'6 tall men who are chubby as fuck with no real muscle and who don't get women.
Second, to be fair to any insecure local in Latin America, EVERY country in my opinion has "third world" tendencies in select regions and also in terms of habits you see among some of the people.
Some countries also become more "third world" over time and others becomes more "first world" over time.
And that some countries have more of the third world in them than others.
If I went to Switzerland, I bet I could find SOMETHING that is "third world."
Where shit just doesn't work right as it should.
Every country has moments like that.
In the same way everybody farts and burps.
Even us gringos aren't innocent of that.
Ximena Is Disgusted With Mike's Gas | 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days
But some people fart and burp way more than others.
Some people -- perhaps some homeless alcoholic or drug addict -- shits in the middle of the street and vomits after too much liquor.
Maybe, as you can see here in Mexico, said drug addict local begins jerking off in public.
Many such cases.
And most countries -- no matter how nice they are -- have some part of the country that resembles that homeless alcoholic shitting, vomiting and jerking off in the street.
Even in the US.
And that some countries -- including in Latin America -- have more of these areas than others and "third world tendencies" are more common in day to day life than what you'd experience in other countries.
And a country that consists of more "third world" tendencies than not is what I would call a "third world" country or is at least a country I could understand why someone would call "third world."
Now, to be fair, there are not many countries in Latin America that I think most people who know the region would agree are "third world" beyond select areas within said countries.
Are there though any that countries that most would call "third world" or close to it?
Well, I have though heard some expats, such as what you see in this video here, call Paraguay specifically closer to "the third world" but not quite.
I agree with that based on my very limited experience there but I'm sure Paraguay also has some very "third world" seeming areas.
Perhaps El Chaco.
Guatemala is actually another solid example of such.
No offense to the good people of Guatemala but your country is after all very "mala" in some respects.
Haha haha haha haha....
And, now that I think about it, could Venezuela be called officially a "third world" country?
I was there briefly as I wrote here.
I almost forgot about them -- OK, maybe they kinda are.
I've never been to Cuba but, as I see in this article here, it seems kinda "third world" MAYBE based on the descriptions.
If we were sticking to the Western Hemisphere, perhaps Haiti could be thrown in here also (though I've never been there either, just heard it's rougher around the corners).
It is what it is though.
So is Latin America Third World?
As a region and for most countries: no.
Even though the "third world" is more apparent here than back home on a daily basis in my opinion.
But, having said that, Latin America as a whole isn't the worst in the world when it comes to this factor.
If I'm not mistaken, I believe Latin America is technically a "middle income" region.
"Lower middle-income economies include Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, and upper middle-income economies include Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela."
After all, it's not Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan or maybe the Congo in Africa.
Above all though, when I complain about the "third world" in Latin America, that's what I'm complaining about: specific things I see down here that just don't work right but not literally believing that the country as a whole is a third world.
So that's all that comes to mind when it comes to this topic.
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Thanks for reading.