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Costa Rica (Modern World Nations) by Roger Dendinger

By Roger Dendinger

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Machismo may be described as the cult of male virility, or an exaggerated sense of masculinity. A “macho” man expresses positive personal values, such as courage and loyalty to friends, but machismo is based also on male domination of women. Sometimes a source of satire in the United States, machismo is still an important aspect of social life in many Latin American countries. It continues to shape gender roles and perceptions for both women and men. Machismo’s female equivalent, marianismo, is also still alive in Latin American culture.

A low score on the HDI indicates a high quality of life and political stability. For example, Sweden, one of the world’s most prosperous places, has an HDI score of 10. At the other end of the spectrum, the world’s poorest countries, such as Afghanistan, have scores well over 100. Costa Rica is far ahead of most of its Central American neighbors in the HDI ranking (Figure 1). U NITED NATIONS H UMAN DEVELOPMENT SCORES (2000) El Salvador Guatemala Mexico Panama Costa Rica 78 76 42 38 31 Figure 1.

The tropical climate diseases made the hard physical labor almost impossible. Nearly 5,000 men, including Keith’s uncle and both of his brothers, died during the construction. q 11/21/02 4:30 PM Page 46 46 Costa Rica made it hard to recruit workers in Central America, so the company brought Jamaicans in to do the work. Their descendents still live along the Caribbean coast. Keith also recruited convicts from the jails of New Orleans. Of the 700 he brought to Costa Rica, fewer than 100 survived.

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