Sunday, January 16, 2022

Covid-19: Loss, 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 pandemic. 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:

What was lost? Lives, livelihoods, culture, memory, education, communities? 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? 

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’.

The Plague


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: Universities with related research projects can join with us in an REI (Research Engagement and Impact) partnership.

News about the Covid pandemic

Another Brazil is possible

Extraordinary photo of a Zo'é man carrying his father to be vaccinated has gone viral as a symbol of hope for all Brazilians

Does Colombia’s migration policy work for Venezuelans?

Around 2,000 Venezuelans per day are now migrating to Colombia, mostly using 'informal' crossing points. Colombia's policy of economic integration has benefited some, but now faces growing hostility towards the newcomers

Peru’s grim Covid record

Why did Peru suffer 200,000 deaths in a population of less than 33 million?

Mexico: schools reopen but worries persist

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

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

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.


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