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South America is not Latin America and vice versa (a.k.a. John Rathbone of the FT wins this week’s coveted award)

There are three things I see in dumbass English language reporting about LatAm that drive me up the freakin’ wall:

It’s “Ecuador”, not Equador…all right?

It’s “Colombia”, not “Columbia”….got it?

And Latin America is not the same as South America.  

This comes up once again because even a publication with the supposed gravitas and fact-checking background as The Financial Times gets it wrong, wrong wrong. 
Exhibit A: I was recommended this article in the FT today by a reader, opened it up but stopped after the first FREAKING HEADLINE PHOTO CAPTION about 20 words in and went to do something better with my time than read high-falutin’ tosh from yet another English language reporter that’s pretending to know far more about the region than he clearly does. The caption under the nice photo of São Paulo read:

“Gaining altitude: São Paulo in Brazil, a country that accounts for about half of the economy and population of Latin America” 

…..to which your humble scribe immediately called BUUUULLSHIT in a loud enough voice to startle the dog out of his morning nap. So after about a minute over at the CIA World Factbook I pulled down the numbers to back up the case:

LatAm Population: 580m
Brazil population: 201.1m
Percentage of Brazilians to LatAm population: 34.7%

LatAm GDP (PPP): U$6.27 trillion
LatAm GDP (Official exchange rate): U$5.16 trillion
Brazil GDP (PPP): U$2.013 trillion
Brazil GDP (Official exchange rate): U$1.574 trillion
Brazil % of LatAm GDP (PPP): 32.1%
Brazil % of LatAm GDP (Official exchange rate): 30.5%

So according to the FT, Brazil is “about half” of Latin America in terms of population and GDP. But according to bleeding reality, it’s less than 35% by population and between 30% and 32% of regional GDP, depending on how you cut and slice the figures.
Yes, you’ve worked it out already haven’t you? FT reporter John Paul Rathbone has taken the numbers for South America and not Latin America and made his 50/50 call. Another dumbass hack in other words, so John, why not do us all a big fat favour when it comes to your crap reporting about LatAm and…..

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