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Year of the Plague – 16 – Voices from Bogota, Colombia – Part Two

April 22, 2020

Looking south towards Bogota This autopista is normally chocked with traffic buses are generally stuffed to the gills. The normal crowded empty except for the police that man each station. Bus after empty bus stop at the station and move on. A few buses had one to three passengers (Photo Credit: Greg Rood)

Interviews with Greg Rood

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It’s not just a question of global solidarity, which it is in part, but there is also an element of self preservation involved as well, as pandemics know no borders. As Davis notes, “…because what could be incubated now in this African, S. Asian (and Latin American) phase of the pandemic could produce a `return COVID-19′ in a more frightening and lethal form.

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Intro…

Very little attention is given in the United States concerning the global nature of the pandemic, it’s still pretty much all about “us”, although the pandemic, like climate change, is worldwide. Given lower immunity rates, and poor or non-existing healthcare systems, many crippled and devastated by International Monetary Fund Structural Adjustment programs – for many countries in the Global South this pandemic is just beginning.

A colonial mentality remains in force. How to overcome it? At a time when the discourse about Coronavirus is becoming increasingly nationalistic, if not openly xenophobic, what is needed is precisely the opposite: a more universal, global approach that includes international coordination and cooperation. This is the lesson of the Coronavirus pandemic – not just Medicare for All in the USA but global coverage.

Sounds “unrealistic”? It isn’t.

Rather than its 800+ military bases all over the world, U.S. foreign policy should be working towards universal healthcare, to protect the health of people everywhere. As Mike Davis suggested in a recent interview, right now it should include:

  • Much more global cooperation rather than the current Social Darwinist beggar-thy-neighbor, narrow nationalist approach of the Trump Administration (and others, Germany, U.K. come to mind).
  • Protective gear, testing kits and eventually vaccines need to be produced to address not just the national, but the global nature of the pandemic. Such medical equipment needs to be supplied to the countries that will need it most – many of them in Global South, in Africa, South Asia, and in Central and South America.

It’s not just a question of global solidarity, which it is in part, but there is also an element of self preservation involved as well, as pandemics know no borders. As Davis notes, “…because what could be incubated now in this African, S. Asian (and Latin American) phase of the pandemic could produce a `return COVID-19′ in a more frightening and lethal form.

Very little attention is given in the United States concerning the global nature of the pandemic, it’s still pretty much all about “us”, although the pandemic, like climate change, is worldwide. Given lower immunity rates, and poor or non-existing healthcare systems, many crippled and devastated by International Monetary Fund Structural Adjustment programs – for many countries in the Global South this pandemic is just beginning.

Uncertainty, angst are the order of the day worldwide. These brief stories – of  how the Coronavirus has effected the lives of people living in Bogota, Colombia were collected by Greg Rood and published below.

The crisis in Colombia, as elsewhere in the Global South, is many faceted. All across the country poor households are hanging red clothing and flags from their windows as a sign that they are hungry. In coastal state of La Guajira people have begun blocking roads to call attention to their need for food.

And the pandemic is just beginning.

Rob P.

 

Magda Disenadora de modas

“Pues está cuarentena me ha servido para reflexionar en muchos aspectos de mi vida …el humano el sentimental y el espiritual …los tres van unidos de la mano …me he cuestionado mucho en estos días ….. preguntandome …si este episodio de mi vida …servirá de reflexión y es una oportunidad para meditar y sentir , si es la mano de Dios quien está haciendo justicia en el mundo …o son los actos que cometemos a diario,la veo como un tiempo de buscar    y aprovechar una  para no volver a cometer los míos errores y aprovechar el tiempo con mi familia …pero también de dialogar más…esto me enseñó que el tiempo pasa rápido y no logramos aprovecharlo al máximo ..y de buscar más de los seres de luz para fortalecernos”

English Translation: (Google Translate, slightly refined)

Magda – Fashion designer

“Well, this quarantine has caused to reflect on many aspects of my life – the human, the sentimental and the spiritual: the three go hand in hand. I have questioned myself often these days, wondering if this episode in my life will serve as a reflection. It is an opportunity for me to consider if this pandemic is nothing other than the hand of God doing justice in the world … or is it something else: the results of the acts committed every day. I see it as a time to look for and take advantage of this moment so as not to make my same mistakes in life again, to appreciate the time with my family, but also to share my thoughts with them more. The Coronavirus has taught me that time passes too quickly: we don’t always take advantage, make the most of it.

We need to seek those who can provide us hope for the future (“more of the beings of light) to help us strengthen ourselves in these dark times.”

______________________________________

Patricia  Rentista indendente

“acerca del covid 19 les comento: NO me he sentido afectada hablo en lo personal, voy hablar por mi aunque observo mi familia tranquila no puedo responder por ellos, cada uno tiene un concepto propio. Mi opinión acerca de lo que esta sucediendo mundialmente es lo más coherente,  nuestra madre tierra lo necesita para estructurarse de nuevo, los animales clamaban un mundo diferente, me di cuenta que el UNIVERSO nos suple de todo, veo las personas más humanas y solidarias entre ellas, AMO LO QUE ESTA PASANDO,   se que cada crisis trae grandes cambios en cada uno de nosotros, soy consciente de que son muchos los que les toca partir, eso si no cuenten conmigo aún tengo mucho quedarle al mundo,  lo que esta sucediendo  fue creado por nosotros, NO SIENTO MIEDO, SIENTO MUCHO RESPETO y VERGÜENZA,  abusamos sin medir consecuencias,  fuimos egoístas con nuestro planeta es él qué nos suple nuestras necesidades, estamos a tiempo de corregir y pensar más en El,  es maravilloso donde habitamos, un día como almas elegimos venir acá, ahora nos queda ser coherentes con nuestra historía como humanos saber manejar con conciencia este mundo dual.

Sentir como el mundo respira de diferente manera, ver las aves, los animales correr y buscar sus alimentos naturalmente, observar los arboles, las flores y las plantas fortalecerse,  es maravilloso  sentir que lo más valioso es la VIDA, unidos podemos sostener un mundo mejor.”

English Translation: (Google Translate, slightly refined)

Patricia – Commercial property manager.

“Speaking personally, I have not felt affected by COVID 19 personally., My family is calm as well. Everyone has their own opinion about how they view the pandemic: I cannot answer for them. Concerning what is happening on a global scale: Our Mother Earth needs it to reinvent itself once again. All living things cry out for a world different from what currently exists. It is Nature which supplies us with everything; Frankly, I LOVE WHAT IS HAPPENING: This crisis will provoke great changes in each one of us I am aware that there are many who will depart but hopefully the crisis will help usher in a new and better world. This is a humanity-created crisis. Without realizing the consequences, we, humanity have abused with our planet, selfishly using its resources. God has provided for us and we must return to him, to respect his power and glory more humbly.

Life is the most wonderful thing. Watching how the world “breathes differently” now, watching birds, animals able to live in the wild and find food, trees and plants that can once again grow in strength and beauty.

All living things together – we can create a better world .

______________________________________

Parviz sastre

Que Me esta afectando demaciado porque ya no hay para comer ni pagar arriendos. Puesto que los estratos tres y cuatro llevamos la peor parte por pertenecer esta clase trabajadora no tenemos ninguna ayuda del gobierno y nuetros negocios se vinieron al piso, ya no sabemos que hacer para sobrevivir. La clase mas desprotegida es clase cuatro y tres si no nos mata la enfermedad no va matar las deudas”

English Translation: (Google Translate, slightly refined)

Parvis – Tailor

“This Coronavirus is hurting me badly. There is no longer enough money to eat, to pay rent. We of the working class and the poor (“layers three and four”) will bear the brunt this pandemic. We have no help from the government; our businesses have collapsed; we no longer know what to do to survive. We are the most vulnerable class: if the Coronavurys disease does not kill us, debts will.

______________________________________

Yolanda Esteica

Me pidieron que hablara de cómo el covid 19 había afectado mi vida. Realmente mucho, está pandemia nos cogió poco preparados afectando a todas las clases sociales. Soy una Colombiana común y corriente,  no tengo un sueldo fijo, no tengo ahorros para pensión,  mi sueldo sale  del día a día de trabajo.  Como vivo en Estrato 4 no tengo derecho a ninguna ayuda del gobierno. 

Hago domicilios de todo lo que tiene que ver con la estética y peluquería,  sólo espero que este virus no vuelva a las personas paranoicas porque estamos en contacto directo con el cliente  .

Existe mucha incertidumbre por lo que viene. Realmente estamos en manos de Dios y los científicos para que encuentren pronto una vacuna que pare está pandemia.”

English Translation: (Google Translate, slightly refined)

Yolanda – Beautician

“You ask how COVID 19 has affected my life?

Profoundly.

No social class was prepared for this, it took us all by surprise. I am an ordinary Colombian, I do not have a fixed salary, I do not have savings for a pension, my salary comes from day to day work. As I am a member of middle class (I live in the Stratum 4) I am not entitled to any government aid.

I make my living as a beautician and hairdresser. In this profession we are in direct contact with our clients.. I just hope that this virus does make people so paranoid that they will not return and take advantage of our services. .

There is so much uncertainty about what lies ahead. . We really are in the hands of both of God and of those scientists trying to develop a vaccine that will stop this pandemic soon.”

______________________________________

Hernan el jefe

“El coronavirus nos ha impactado a mí y a mi familia de una manera muy drástica sobre todo a mi hermano y a mi madre. Yo puedo salir porque tengo que trabajar pero ellos deben estar en casa, no ha cambiado mucho nuestro

estilo de vida ya que nosotros compramos las cosas a diario y siempre ha sido así. Afortunadamente esta casa pertenece a mi madre y no pagamos renta, tengo trabajo y hacemos todo lo posible con los recursos que tenemos para cuidarnos del contagio.”

English Translation: (Google Translate, slightly refined)

Hernan – Supervisor

“The coronavirus has impacted my family and myself in a very drastic way, most especially my brother and mother. Although I can go out because I have to work t they must stay at home. In one sense our lifestyle has not changed much since we buy things daily and it has always been like this. Fortunately, the house where we live belongs to my mother and we do not pay rent. I have a job and we do everything possible with the resources we have to address and protect ourselves from the contagion. ”

______________________________________ 

Adirana Economista

“¿Cómo nos ha afectado el COVID 19?

Esta alarmante pandemia nos hace un llamado a la reflexión y nos desubica totalmente del confort en el que estábamos viviendo.

Como personas el coronavirus nos recuerda lo frágiles que somos y que en cualquier momento nuestra salud puede dar un giro radical, nos afecta emocionalmente tanto en el temor de perder  a nuestros cercanos, como en la incertidumbre de lo que nos puede suceder. 

Productivamente nos lleva a la mayoría de personas a un punto cero,  en donde tendremos que replantear y reinventarnos en nuestras conductas a todo nivel, y en el trabajo dirigir los esfuerzos para producir nuestro propio sustento y generar excedentes para las demas cosas importantes en la cotidianidad.

Por otro lado, tendremos que racionar, ahorrar, reciclar y suspender lo trivial, superfluo y vacío. Vivir más en familia siendo autosuficientes.

Si lo que está sucediendo hoy lo consideramos un respiro para la naturaleza y nos recuerda que debemos trabajar para ella; regresemos a lo básico, a lo simple y tangible, a los valores entre las personas.

Socialmente, el pánico e incertidumbre que cargan las personas pueden ser más graves que el propio virus, pues como humanos tendemos a ser emocionales y a dejarnos llevar por la tragedia,  lo que puede tener serias consecuencias en la economía y en la fluidez natural de las cosas. El impacto social del coronavirus marcará firmemente un antes y un después en la historia del mundo.”

English Translation: (Google Translate, slightly refined) 

Adirana – Economista

This alarming pandemic is forcing us to reflect upon our situation. It has completely disrupted the comfortable situation in which we were living.

As people, the coronavirus reminds us how fragile we are and that at any moment our health can take a radical turn for the worse; it affects us emotionally, both in terms of the fear we experience of losing those close to us and in the uncertainty of what befall us all.

From an economic viewpoint it reduces most people to zero: we will have to rethink and reinvent ourselves, our behaviors at all levels. We will have to invent, create a way of maintaining our own livelihood directly (meaning locally) to generate the surpluses necessary to produce other important products we need in daily life. .

On the other hand, we will have to ration, save, recycle and suspend the trivial, superfluous and empty. Live more as a family while being self-sufficient.

In a way, what is happening today is a respite for nature. It reminds us that we must work to create a new, more vibrant, sustainable economy. Let’s go back to the basics, to the simple and tangible, to the cherishing our interpersonal relations.

Socially, the panic and uncertainty it has engendered in people can be more serious than the medical consequences of virus itself. As humans we tend to be emotional and allow ourselves to be traumatized, carried away by tragedy, This can have serious consequences on the economy and on the natural fluidity of things. It is the social impact of the coronavirus will firmly mark this period in the history of the world. ”

Greg Rood, in Bogota, Colombia

 

 

 

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