From the March-April 2021 issue of News & Letters
Xico, Veracruz—Almost one year after the declaration of the COVID-19 alert in Mexico, the way the government has been “managing” the situation is genocidal. At the beginning, the government kept workers in factories and offices but forced workers off the streets. It closed parks, but it protected banks and supermarkets with police.
By mid-summer, without substantial change in the rate of infections or deaths, we were suddenly allowed “out of quarantine.” Now that the vaccine is available, the administration allows access primarily to the elite.
A couple weeks ago, I registered my grandmother on the government’s website to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It was a mess. I spent more than an hour refreshing the page, checking “I am not a robot” 1,000 times, getting notifications—in English!—about issues with the server, etc. How was my grandmother supposed to do this? How are other elders going to do it?
In Mexico, people 60 and over are the second population group, after health workers directly involved with COVID-19 patients, who would receive a free vaccine. Two weeks after subscribing to the list, my grandmother hasn’t received the dose. She lives in a small town in Veracruz, probably one of the last places that will get a shipment. And all this is just for the first of two doses!
We are in a deathtrap! Unemployment and misery have led to poor health conditions, which are the main cause for our vulnerability to the virus. They stop us from getting decent medical attention, which has been slowly turned into a commodity, while the public health system was left to die decades ago.
Now the purchase of millions of doses goes to multinational pharmaceutical corporations—hail to the free market! That will unavoidably lead to more public debt, more poverty, and then the circle starts again!
That is why we have to break it! A difficult task, for we are fighting now for our mere survival. What do we need to substantially change our life conditions? Is it an individual or social transformation? Is it something that is just happening in Mexico or in the whole world?