The people of Central and South America are as diverse as everything else here.  The cities of Mexico City, Panama City, Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aries, etc... are every bit the modern mega-cities equal to Tokyo, London, Night City, Hong Kong and Paris.  Mexico City in particular is the second largest city in the world, coming in just behind Tokyo.  Since its reconstruction after the quake, and its growing self reliance, Mexico City is the symbol of a country on the verge of reaching Super Power status.  The standard of living is high, and people achieving a measure of wealth formerly undreamed of.  Corporate controlled Rio is another city whose standard of living has utterly exploded.  For the people in these urban meccas, life is no different than than in any other large metropolis, people go to work, spend their money on the latest technology and entertainment available to them, and party till dawn.  As in every major city, street gangs are a major problem, particularly for the youth, and the underground black markets support all manner of contraband and illicit dealings.

The rural areas of the region are a dichotomy, in the suburbs life is modern and similar to that of the cities, but in the more remote villages and towns there are areas that still have yet to own a television, or be supplied with electricity or even running water.  Though with the ever consuming growth of the Agri-corp farm presence, this simple way of life is quickly dissapearing.  Whether in urban or rural areas, among families and neighborhoods there is a prevailing sense of community, this extends to some degree to all of the region, propagated both by communal ties, and the bond created by recurring and devastating foreign intrusion over the last several hundred years.

In some extremely isolated areas, particularly deep in the rainforests and high on the mountains, tribal life still exists relatively unchanged for centuries.  Hunter gatherer tribes using bows, spears, and blowguns.  Wearing loincloths at the most, living in grass huts,  and having no concept of technology.  In Brazil it has been made absolutely illegal to interact with these tribes or encroach on their territories under pressure from ecological and anthropological groups.  Deep in the Amazon there are even rumors of headhunters still lurking in the jungle, cannibals.  Of course most people give no more credence to these rumors than they do to the chupacabra legend, but enough reports come in and local populations are scared of them enough, that some in the scientific community still take them seriously.

Religion still plays a huge role in the day to day life and culture of the people.  Catholicism is still the majority religion by an overwhelming number, however Santeria and Voodoo are growing in influence, particularly in the Caribbean.  Among the youth culture, particularly the violent street gangs of the larger cities, a new quasi-religion is quickly growing.  Azteka, a bastardization of Aztec and Mayan beliefs noted for  totem worship, blood rituals, and extremely violent practices.  Practitioners often affect Aztec or Mayan inspired tattoos and fashion, with their "Priests" often wearing headgear and elaborate costumes.  At first it was seen as merely a fad among the youth gangs, but the recent and recurring discoveries of bodies killed by ritual execution has led authorities to believe the threat is becoming much more serious.  Growth of this religion is rampant among youths, and most street gangs, particularly in Mexico, have taken to it with a passion, grown tired of Christianities strict control, condemnation, and unfulfilled promises. Concern is mounting over what city officials

Organized crime, particularly in the form of drug cartels, is ever prevalent even in the rural areas.  Among other criminal activities, underground slavery, prostitution and worse crimes are growing in intensity.  Many countries have little restrictions or little means and resources to enforce them.  This has led to a massive influx of criminal activity and the smuggling and black market network has reached epic proportions.

Anti-American sentiment runs high throughout most of Central and South America, and to a lesser degree the same feelings abound towards Europeans and corporations.  The latter however are tolerated out of necessity, without the corporate presence in the economic community, most of these countries would have reverted back to stone age life after the World Wide economic crashes.  Evidence of this can be easy seen in Suriname, where the entire country has seemingly descended into madness, or the Islas De La Sangre, where the once thriving and independent populations have banded together and resorted to piracy and aggression against any who trespass.  Regardless, of the Anti-American sentiment prevalent in the region, American Nomads are almost universally welcome in Central America, at least in non-SAA allied countries, and there is are large numbers of American veterans of the Second South American war still living in the region, completely assimilated into the native population.  Having effectively denounced the U.S. these "gringos" have little problem with the natives, though lingering discrimination does still exist.


(Written by Deric "D" Bernier.)