Latin American and the Caribbean; thinking in the Context of a Pandemic

By Mike Browne

Amidst the minutiae of the global reportage on the coronavirus, landscapes and pathways are discernible. The socialist and socialist-oriented nations have been characterized by the generally humanist approach of their Progressive administrations. Firstly, like other countries, their health systems have been impacted in an unprecedented way but they have, by and large, risen to the challenge, aided by pre-existing services and policies which they have self-critically confirmed.

Secondly, they have, in the framework of their resources, remained loyal to their internationalist commitment; sharing experiences, advice, medical supplies and equipment. Thus, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, despite capitalist aggression (threats, blockades, seizures of assets, the May 03 military assault/incursion), has provided tangible support to the anti- coronavirus struggle. Cuba similarly has dispensed much needed aid worldwide. Both have supplied pandemic assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the internationalist spirit of Bolivar and Chavez.

The viral bodyblow to global capitalism has hurt but not mortally wounded it. Note the continued sanctions/blockades and invasions/attacks against socialism! Workers—not only frontline medical personnel—are bearing the brunt of the viral attack as are certain categories (in the USA, non-whites and poor) particularly vulnerable, reflecting the class nature of capitalist societies. New voices and new roars of old voices are in evidence in protest. Trade unions, including formerly quiescent ones, are agitating. Activists have found new energies. Liberals are sounding progressive, almost revolutionary.

That a new global situation has arisen, with national and local particularities, there is no doubt. It is therefore incumbent on all progressives (small “p” and big “P”) to assess the new opportunities for struggle against capitalism for a better world, a non-return to “normality” — put differently, for a “new normal” more egalitarian than the pre-virus one. This historic moment should give impetus to a five-dimensional programme (local, national, regional, hemispheric, global) which corrals, coalesces and consolidates. For example, the inadequacies of capitalist health systems, laid bare by the virus, can give rise to a campaign for state-run free medical care for all.

Mr. Mike Browne participated in The Second International Convention (virtual) May 21-22, 2020. Held by the BOLIVARIAN UNIVERSITY OF VENEZUELA, Centre for Social and Cultural Studies of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under the theme Decolonial Voices and Peoples in Resistance: Latin American and the Caribbean thinking in the Context of a Pandemic, Emancipatory Discussion and Good Loving in the Non-Return to “Normality” of the World System.

About the Author: Mr. Mike Browne is the President of the Venezuelan Vincentian Friendship Association -VENVIFA;Chairman of SOLIDARITY! Former Senior Minister of the ULP Government and former Acting Prime Minister.

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