Sunday, October 24, 2021

Covid-19: Survival, Recovery, Transformation

Latin American communities vs the pandemic

The Challenge

Covid-19 brought simultaneous health, economic, and humanitarian crises to Latin America. Government responses and their effects varied hugely from country to country. Bolsonaro in Brazil, Ortega in Nicaragua, AMLO in Mexico sought at times to deny or minimise the problem. Peru locked down early, yet had one of the highest death rates. Chile prioritised vaccination but still suffered a wave of new infections. Everyone was affected, but especially those in poor and marginal communities, indigenous people and women and children –the very people whose stories LAB exists to tell. This projects seeks answers to the following:

How are people surviving? What will communities do to recover from the effects of the pandemic? And how will people seek to transform their lives, to build a new, different, more resilient and sustainable future? 

The Plague

To state quite simply what we learn in a time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.

-Albert Camus, The Plague

The Background

Latin America has some of the highest rates of Covid-19 cases and Covid-related deaths in the world. More than that, compounding factors including weak healthcare systems, social and economic inequalities, and ongoing political instability meant the Covid-19 pandemic in the region escalated into simultaneous health, economic and humanitarian crises.
 
This project seeks to report on how the pandemic has impacted on the region’s most vulnerable, focusing on lived experiences and, as much as possible, providing space for Latin American voices to tell their own stories. From indigenous communities to women tackling gender-based violence, from the urban poor to rural educators, LAB explores how Latin Americans have lived and survived through the Covid-19 pandemic, often neglected and sometimes opposed by their own governments. We will tell the stories of how they survived, how they are recovering and the energy and imagination they are bringing to planning and building new and different futures.

What will the project do?

  • A chapter. LAB’s book Voices of Latin America – Social movements and the New Activism was published in 2019. But we are constantly adding new material, which will appear on the Voices website and eventually be incorporated in a 2nd edition of the book. A chapter on the Covid pandemic is already in preparation. When complete it will be made available in digital format to LAB’s patrons (paid subscribers via Patreon).
  • A website. This project website provides a space for additional reading, multimedia material, and comment. It already provides access to over 130 related articles published by LAB since the pandemic began, and that number is constantly growing.
  • A network to share ideas. With our partners across the region, and the many social movements whose stories we tell, LAB will shine a light on the original and innovative ideas that communities have adopted, both to enable them to survive Covid-19 and to imagine and build their own components of a new society and economy that can survive the pandemic and create a better, more resilient and more just future.
  • A powerful channel for ‘Voices of Recovery’. LAB is a partner with School of International Development at the University of East Anglia, in a project called ‘Voices of Recovery’. We will work with them to gather, translate and interpret those ‘voices’.

How you can get involved

This is just the beginning of our project which we expect to work on for several years. LAB is seeking partners – campaigners, writers, translators and researchers in Latin America, the UK and elsewhere – to join our project. To find out how you can help please contact us at: contactlab@lab.org.uk Universities with related research projects can join with us in an REI (Research Engagement and Impact) partnership.

News about the Covid pandemic

Mexico: schools reopen but worries persist

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Mexico's education system closed down for far longer than most other countries, during the pandemic. Katie Jones looks at the effects, the struggles parents had to home-school their children and the worries which persist.

Brazil is on fire

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With crucial votes pending on land rights, Bolsonaro ramps up threats of violence and casts the shadow of coup across the 2022 presidential elections

Dekasegi: migrants return from Brazil to Japan

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Brazil's sizeable Japanese community was created by migration. Since the turn of the 21st century substantial numbers have been returning to Japan. Malcolm Boorer explains why.

Brazil’s vaccine underworld

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Brazil's CPI senate commission is hearing damning evidence of widespread corruption in the vaccine procurement of the Bolsonaro government, with evidence mounting of the direct involvement of the president himself and his family. One of the main planks of his diminishing reputation is crumbling - his claim to be the clean, anti-corrpution candidate.

Brazil: Indigenous people take their fight to Brasilia

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Brazil's indigenous peoples took their struggle to Brasilia, to protest against PL 490, a law being debated in congress, which would further weaken their rights and accelerate the land theft which has stripped them of their lands

Brazil: no prayers for the dead

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President Bolsonaro is beginning to discover fear -- as deaths mount, protests multiply and his old adversary Lula emerges onto the political scene as a credible threat in next year's elections. However, those elections might spark a coup spearheaded by the Bolsonaro-loyal Policia Militar.

Donations

If you'd like donate towards this project, please click here. Thank you very much to everyone who has supported the project thus far.