According to a recent study published at the University of Miami’s North-South Center (Weisskoff, 1993), gross national income per capita fell by more than 14 percent from 1981 to 1991 in every Latin American country (21 percent in the Caribbean). The ranks of the poor (defined in terms of the money income sufficient to cover the cost of basic foods, goods, and services) increased in every Latin American country during the 1980s. Today, over half of the Latin American population lives below the poverty line (80 to 90 percent in several countries). The share of the population living in “abject poverty,” i.e., unable to afford a basic minimum diet, has also risen substantially, in some countries including over two-thirds of the population. For significant numbers of Latin Americans, then, the fulfillment of their basic human needs is declining precipitously.