The confrontation with the coronavirus pandemic has shown up a curious conduct by certain prominent actors. It is worth recording some of these to better understand the position of each of them in the fight against the virus:
1. China has sent humanitarian aid to Latin America. Among the countries where the Chinese cooperation has reached is Venezuela, which received a commission of eight Chinese specialists to ramp up the exertions against the coronavirus crisis. The team comprised doctors and scientists with experience in the treatment of the virus at its very peak in the Asian nation. Together with them came 22 tons of medical equipment, among it some half a million rapid test kits, ventilators, protective suits, spectacles, masks and gloves. Before this last lot of help, 55 tons of medical equipment had already been sent and more is expected.
Tweet by Telesur journalist on humanitarian aid from China at Caracas airport
Bolivia received a donation of medical supplies from the Chinese company Alibaba, comprising 100,000 masks, 200,000 reagent kits for viral tests and five ventilators.
Argentina received 2,500 kits of diagnostic tests, 5,000 protective suits, 66,000 masks, 2,000 gloves and 53 digital thermometers. Fifty thousand more reagent kits and 10 ventilators are expected. The Alibaba Foundation will also send more thn 50,000 kits, as a result of which Argentina will have more than 150,000 test kits thanks to the help agreed upon with the Asian giant.
Cuba also received a donation of masks, ventilators and coronavirus detection tests from Alibaba. Nevertheless, the U.S. blockade against the island at first frustrated the arrival of medical material to the country, forcing it to look for other methods and routes which increased the costs of sending them.
The help announced by Jack Ma, Alibaba's founder, includes two million masks, 400,000 rapid tests and 104 ventilators to 24 other Latin American and Caribbean countries, among them Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Peru.
A cargo of 11 tons of medical material also arrived in Mexico from China. In the second flight to help Mexico in dealing with the pandemic, there were 1.9 million masks and 820,000 surgical masks. The Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard announced that 20 flights were envisioned in total to combat Covid-19 with a frequency of between two and four flights a week.
For its part, the United States, in its fight against coronavirus, sent to the region a group of destroyers, 10 Coast Guard ships, landing ships, an AWACS reconnaissance aircraft, an E-8 Joint Stars battle management and support aircraft, P-8 spy planes, an Army brigade, an unknown number of Coast Guard Marines, infantry soldiers, as also personnel of the Marines and the Air Force and an unspecified special operations force with the objective of realising a naval blockade that impedes Venezuela's free trade and the arrival of medical kits and food.
Teodoro Ribera Neumann
2. Teodoro Ribera Neumann, whom his friends know as Teo, is such a dirty and malodorous fellow that his schoolmates at Liceo Aleman of Temuco, in the south of Chile, named him Peo Ribera (Ribera the Fart) instead of Teo. It turns out that Ribera the Fart, who is Sebastian Piñera's Foreign Minister, said in an interview that he was very worried about the “disaster” that the coronavirus was wreaking in Venezuela. Let's see the figures:
Chile: Population 18.050.000 inhabitants, 25th in the world for number of infections
Total Cases: 7.917
Cases per million inhabitants: 439
Active cases: 5.179
Recovery rate: 33.42%
Number of tests per million inhabitants: 4.228
Venezuela: Population. 31.980.000 inhabitants, 119th in the world for number of infections
Total cases: 197
Cases per million inhabitants: 7
Active cases: 77 (all of them hospitalised, though the majority are only slightly ill)
Recovery rate: 56.35%.
Number of tests per million inhabitants: 6.873
Something stinks, Mr Ribera the Fart, and it isn't exactly Venezuela.
3. An international media campaign began in 2017 claiming that millions of people were fleeing Venezuela because of the economic crisis created by the blockade and the U.S. and European Union sanctions. Now, thousands of Venezuelans from Ecuador, Peru and Colombia are thronging the borders to return to the country. If the situation is as critical as they say, why are they doing so, if rivers of milk and honey flowed in the paradise to which they went? The local authorities of Colombia are helping their repatriation in good faith but I ask myself if Venezuela is a Hell as they say, doesn't their goodwill make them accessories to genocide in that they are cooperating to drive the migrants to their deaths?
The mayor of Bogota has said: “We can't pay their rent, we aren't paying it to the Colombians, even less we can to the Venezuelans. Already we pay for their food, their births, nurseries, schools with the tax of the Bogotans. It's three years that we've been paying all this.” However, in Venezuela no one knows of Colombians, four million of whom live in the country and who have the same social rights enshrined in the constitution for the Venezuelans, returning to Colombia... something must be afoot.
4. In Brazil, President Bolsonaro said that the coronavirus was just a “minor flu” and called for rejecting the measures for isolation and control established by the local governments. He said he was “worried (about the virus) but always on the side of the people”, adding without being able to hide his euphoria that, “Many have already contracted (the virus) despite the precautions taken. This is going to happen sooner or later: the metros are full, the stadiums are full, the carnival was incredible. There are surely economic interests for the hysteria to reach this stage.” Brazil has 25, 262 infections and 1,532 deaths. The Health Minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who a member of the armed forces, has called for respecting the quarantine and the social distancing. Bolsonaro decided to sack him; he hasn't been able to do so till now but keeps insisting on it. The military opposed it. [Mandetta has since been forced out –Tlaxcala note] Who rules Brazil?
Guayaquil, Ecuador. Photo REUTERS / Vicente Gaibor del Pino
5. There are 7,603 coronavirus cases in Ecuador, 458 per million inhabitants and 369 deaths, although “the Health Minister, Juan Carlos Zevallos, presented a report which highlighted an additional 384 probable deaths for the pathogen at the national level”. As is usual in a President with grand mental limitations, who flees every time there is a conflict, the Ecuadorean government took drastic measure... in economic matters. Ecuador, if not the only, is among the few countries where the bodies pile up on the street and are burnt without being identified. The brilliance of the government is that faced with the number of deaths, it has focused on donating cardboard coffins to deposit the rotting cadavers.
Ivan Duque, President of Colombia
6. It is not news that the Colombian President is inept. He has demonstrated it in abundance but refusing to coordinate actions with the country that has the longest borders with it while doing so with others is criminal. After putting up a fight with the international health authorities, he reluctantly had to do so when it became evident that he was losing sanitary control at the border because the Colombian state lost other control some time ago to the paramilitary and drug gangs that it has protected and boosted, as NGOs and independent researchers who do not receive the Colombian government's resources and can maintain their autonomy have repeatedly informed.
Cuban medical mission
7. Cuba is a tiny country of 11.5 million inhabitants blockaded for 60 years by the most powerful world power which has impaired a greater expansion and development of the scientific and technological prowess of an educated and cultured people with a high professional level and undeniably knowledgable basenin the international sphere. Can one imagine how much more could the heroic Caribbean island coulde do if the blockade were ended and the unjust genocidal sanctions to which it is subject were to be eliminated?
8. On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis asked for an “... end to wars, suspension of the arms trade and condoning the debt of the poor countries affected by coronavirus”. Venezuela's Episcopal Conference asked the government authorisation to organise processions in the midst of coronavirus and the quarantine. Something's not going right in the house of the lord.
"Under Control", by Brian Stauffer
9. As a shareholder in the French laboratory Sanofi, President Donald Trump announced on March 19 that hydroxychloroquine, which the laboratory produces, could be the answer to the pandemic and said, he “had pressured the Food and Drug Administration of his country to eliminate the barriers so that the patients could receive the treatment." Nevertheless, the WHO has said that “there is no proof that it is an effective treatment at this moment. We recommend that the treatment be tried out in ethically approved clinical trials to demonstrate efficacy and security.”
Before that, Trump had “sold” the idea to President Bolsonaro during his visit to Washington where about 20 members of his retinue, including various ministers, were contaminated with coronavirus. As a show of submission to the United States, Bolsonaro recommended the use of the medicine in his country. Till now, 11 Brazilians have died as a result of the stupidity of the two Presidents who play with the lives of the citizens. The use of the medicine has been prohibited.
10. The Chilean President, Sebastian Piñera, is seriously worried about the humanitarian implications for the spread of coronavirus in his country. For this, he decided to release from the “five star” prisons a number of mass murderers, assassins, torturers, chiefs of the forced disappearance squads and rapists who belonged to Pinochet's armed forces and that are his today. Following these traditions he has been doing the same since October 18 when the popular uprising took place in Chile. None of the political prisoners who have been detained for protesting against the extreme exclusion of the majority of the country or social activists who haven't assassinated anybody have been the object of Piñera's compassion. What a democracy and what rule of law in Chile!