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Pandemic could potentiate social upheavals in Latin America

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Pandemic could potentiate social upheavals in Latin America

According to political philosopher Sergio Villalobos Ruminott, the region needs to think and change public policies aimed at the most vulnerable sectors in Latin America, coronavirus, pandemic, virus, covid-19, inequality, poverty, misery, settlements, rural, economy, states , brazil, mexico, ecuador, vulnerability, vulnerable

Latin America will have to reorient its public policies towards the most vulnerable sectors, those most affected by the new coronavirus pandemic, to prevent discontent from escalating in the midst of the health crisis, political philosopher Sergio Villalobos Ruminott told EFE.

“This crisis will increase the discontent that previously existed in the region,” said Villalobos, who is also a professor at the University of Michigan in the United States. He emphasized that the coronavirus arrived in the region in a panorama of social upheavals that exploded in 2016.

“With the feminist protests, the green scarves and the most recent ones in Haiti (due to the lack of food and fuel) and in Chile,” he said.

Chopped region

Covid-19 arrived in a region where 30.1% of its 629 million inhabitants are poor, of which 10.7% live in poverty, according to ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean).

And where, according to the ILO (International Labor Organization), the informal labor rate was 53% in 2018, affecting about 140 million workers.

In addition to being an area where access to water and soap – the main weapon against the coronavirus – is not universally guaranteed. Not only in rural areas, but also in urban settlements.

The problem, explained the expert, is that this will be increased due to the pandemic.

In fact, it was ECLAC warned that the pandemic will cause “the worst recession” in the history of Latin America, which could see the continent’s economy shrink by up to 8% in 2020.

According to the expert, one of the concerns of governments is the collapse of health in a region that, in general, has no assistance. Villalobos believes that governments should now work to prevent an outbreak in societies with high levels of poverty, rural misery and urban overcrowding.

Pandemic was not unexpected

The expert pointed out that the combination of poverty, marginalization and disease is not a coincidence, but a symptom that expresses the intensification of productive and extractive practices in the contemporary economy.

He explained that it is known that covid-19 is a zoonotic disease that is due to processes of overexploitation of natural resources, proliferation of agribusiness, mass livestock, aquatic plantations, comprehensive processes of deforestation and land grabbing, among other things.

“This is a consequence of the neoliberal deregulation of the markets and the relaxation of the quality, transport and trade criteria for all these products,” he said.

And he pointed out that this undoubtedly “enhances” the conditions of inequality that already existed in the region.

Viruses are not ‘democratic’

Villalobos also said that, although the idea that the virus is democratic has been highly emphasized, “this idea is false. The consequences of the attack are differentiated according to the characteristics of the affected population.”

He stressed that the most tense situations, so far, are in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile, while in Mexico the situation is still “tense, but stable” in relation to the management of the pandemic.

Read more: WHO sees Latin America far from the peak and being able to get out of isolation

These governments, he said, have lost legitimacy for managing the coronavirus, including Brazil. And he pointed out that the country “is the second in the world with the worst pandemic management and the highest number of infections and deaths in the region”.

Therefore, according to his observation, these countries are “a pressure cooker or very thin time bombs that can explode at any time”.

He indicated that it is necessary to have public policies oriented “absolutely for the well-being of society and especially for the most unprotected sectors”.

Also read: WHO highlights underreporting of cases in Brazil due to lack of tests

The professor believes that one must think about economic policies that cover taxes to the wealthiest sectors and that these resources are distributed equally, “which will allow us to get out of the crisis”.

These policies must be planned in the medium and long term, but states must be “much more active and not subject to the commercial criteria of transnational companies”.

In addition, the political philosopher said that states must respond to organizations that “pressure”, although this does not guarantee 100% that there will be no revolts, as there are many years of inequality. “But this could be the beginning,” he concluded.

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