You are talking about a lot of countries, all very different from each other. The largest South American country - Brazil - speaks Portuguese, not Spanish. Some major issues in a number of countries include:
Corruption - A lot of money is stolen by politicians
Nepotism - Who you know can be more important than what you know
Land Reform - Often poorer people don't have legal ownership of their land, or land ownership is concentrated in few hands
External relations - Perceived American domination is resented, but the rising power of China may be even worse. The region has to decide its place in the world.
Inequalities is access to healthcare and education (although the United States also has this problem)
Lived and worked in South America