Laurell AC, Wences MI. Do poverty programs alleviate poverty? The case of the Mexican National Solidarity Program. International Journal of Health Services 1994; 24(3):381-401.

Objectives: To analyze the Mexican National Solidarity Program, “Pronasol,” and its impact on poverty.

Methodology: Analytical and interpretive.

Results: In recent years, different countries have adopted compensatory poverty programs in response to the political effects caused by structural adjustment programs implemented by the majority of countries in Latin America and Africa . The authors focus on the Mexican National Solidarity Program, or “Pronasol.” They analyze the relationship between structural adjustment and processes of impoverishment, to establish the dynamics and magnitude of poverty in Mexico . Structural adjustment programs have increased poverty considerably, via a sustained reduction in salaries and the loss of jobs.

The authors analyze whether Pronasol fulfills program requirements to guarantee the poor a minimum resource base and whether the resources that it directs address the magnitude and geographical distribution of poverty. The data suggest that -- given the magnitude of poverty, the shortage of earmarked resources, the orientation of secondary programs, and the distribution of funds -- Pronasol cannot be considered a program that guarantees minimum resources for the poor. Neither can Pronasol be termed an important social compensation program.

The article develops an alternative interpretation of Pronasol. Under the image of a program designed to alleviate poverty, ideological processes legitimize policies of structural adjustment and political control of the poor.

Conclusions: Assistance programs for the poor have been developed within the framework of structural adjustment policies. Sociopolitical analysis plays a critical role in contextualizing projects to address poverty.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico