By Geraldina Colotti – May 8, 2020
How is the situation in Argentina, how is the pandemic being dealt with?
The situation was already very critical before this warfare broke out in Latin America. Argentina is immersed in a deep economic crisis inherited from the previous government of Macri that handed the country over to transnationals and strengthened the idea of emptying it by massive capital flight abroad. But to be honest, the foreign debt that today the government of Alberto Fernandez is renegotiating downward to end up paying less, is not only a product of the Macri but also from much earlier. It comes from the time when the military dictatorship was in power and since then no government in those 37 years chose not to pay it, and by doing so it always went against the interests of the poor people. What is happening now, however much they want to sweeten our ears, points in the same direction.
Within this framework, what to do or not to do with the foreign debt appears as an evil guest of Covid-19, because everything got worse in many ways. Although the government realized that the European tragedy could not be repeated, and rushed the idea of obligatory confinement with the first cases of those infected by the virus, then it became bogged down and entered into contradictions that ended up making the population dizzy.
The quarantine has been prolonged without a certain date of ending (now there is talk of not lifting the confinement until after our winter, that is until September 20) and the complaints of health personnel who speak of lack of basic supplies (masks, respirators, etc.) continue to add up. On the other hand, the comings and goings about whether to go out into the street or not, causes more uncertainty, and everything indicates that we are now entering the hardest part of the infections, precisely because on June 21 the winter begins. Here a point must be made, although the virus is dangerous, it is no less so than dengue, which in Argentina causes hundreds of thousands of victims a year, and no one ever bothered to keep track of the day-to-day count. That Covid-19 is very infectious is already known, but the dengue mosquito is deadly in all the most humble neighborhoods and no fuss was made about it, except for the heroic front line of public hospitals or some state unionists from the Health branch who always denounced it and fought to have the suburbs fumigated. What happens is that, as many residents say, Covid-19 is a middle and upper-middle class disease, which then ends up infecting the rest, but dengue fever belongs to the poor.
Besides, now that the virus is advancing, and the hospitals have beds but not enough supplies, one wonders (and here you’ll see that it’s all related) why this government, in the middle of this nightmare, paid first $8 million and then $250 million more, for the foreign debt. You don’t have to be very quick to imagine how many inputs to protect the health of the population could have been bought with that criminal outlay. Because, besides, the debt that is paid and wants to continue to be paid is illegitimate and odious. If before Covid-19 we were already considering suspending payment and investigating its legitimacy, its arrival should be reason enough, but unfortunately this is not the intention of the government, which has even agreed to more loans with the transnational Soros group. And as we know, none of these billionaires lend money for philanthropy.
Which countries, in your opinion, are the ones that have really put forward serious policies against the Covid-19?
Without a doubt, Cuba, Venezuela, China and Vietnam. All of them started from one premise: the most important thing is the human being and not the market. That is why they have been betting their health care for years on preventive medicine, on family doctors, on really caring about public health and not just saying that “something has to be done” when everything is already in a state of collapse. That is why these are the countries that will win this struggle, they have carried out responsible quarantines, they have tested thousands of people in time, they have supplies and in the case of Cuba, which I believe deserves all the credit, they have sent doctors to where they were required. Even to countries that miserably still maintain the blockade against the Island.
Cuban doctors are an impressive expression of the internationalist solidarity that has always been practiced by the Cuban Revolution, and the whole world should be grateful for that. Hence, it is time to redouble the campaign of solidarity with Cuba, Venezuela and all the countries suffering from the blockade and to demand that it be definitively ended.
How do you imagine the post-pandemic in Argentina?
Just by seeing how the present comes, we can prepare for that post-pandemic time. There have been 300,000 layoffs and job losses, a thundering inflation of almost 60%, the economy in a disorderly default. Let’s add that practically 60 or 70%, according to the category, of the small and medium enterprises are melted down and some of them have already decided not to reopen their doors, the “black” dollar in a race of accelerated growth that in the short term will cause a more brutal hyperinflation even more than 2001. In this context, millions of people are submerged in poverty, that part of the population that cannot quarantine because they live in overcrowded tin or cardboard houses, that live off what they earn by working day to day, and that now make up the army of despair, the one that shouts in their neighborhoods, the slogan “if the Covid doesn’t kill us, hunger will”. It is true that the government has opened a line of subsidies, but it is not enough and it does not cover a good portion of this poor population. Because it is also true that hundreds of millions are given to companies as compensation for the payment of salaries, but many of these companies continue to suspend or dismiss workers. As always, wealth (even in these extreme circumstances) is never distributed among those who actually make up a country’s economy.
With this present, we are going to a future in which we will have to fight hard against capitalism and those who represent it here or in the rest of the continent. It is not possible that this “normality” that we are told about means that everything will be similar to the world that existed before Covid 19. If anything, it has demonstrated that the capitalist countries, those that fill their mouths with the word democracy and now suggest that they “look after us”, when in reality they have us in a financial squeeze and are showing contempt for their own people. All they care about is money, profits, the market, the destruction of the earth and the eco system. No, we cannot imagine a world where these values remain intact. This will require that we push forward in such a way as to cause the class struggle to explode in their faces. They, with their transnational companies, with their imperialist wars, with their Trump, but also with their Macrón, Pedro Sánchez; Merkel, Salvini, Conte or Johnson, and others like them, are the ones who have been provoking this tragic present step by step. Are we going to forgive them? Are we going to let them convince us again with their siren songs so that we end up prostrating ourselves before the bourgeois democracies? Or, on the contrary, will we appeal to all the strength of our creativity to think of a different world, where we appeal to the wisdom of the original peoples, to their love of the earth, to their contempt for consumption, to their ancestral strength?
What’s going on in the prisons, what’s the situation?
Not only in Argentina, but I believe that all over the world there are prison revolts, logical protests from those people behind bars who are afraid of being infected by the overcrowding in which they live. There, political prisoners and social prisoners are mixed up in their demands, and governments ignore the need to grant house arrest to those who are not accused of rape or serial and genocidal murder. However, here in my country, several nefarious judges have granted this benefit to military personnel who violated human rights or civilians who are accomplices of the dictatorship. On the other hand, the mere mention that this type of temporary prison could be granted to some detainees who do not fall under the category of the “dangerous”, provoked a flood of protests promoted by the right and thus we saw how a lot of middle class people went out to crow on the balconies not to let prisoners get out. This fascist demonstration by a part of society is disgusting, but much of the blame lies with the hegemonic media that heats up the engines to make reactionary phobias explode with force.
What happened to Milagro Sala?
Milagro Sala, Luis D’Elía and other social leaders are in house arrest because there was strong militant pressure forcing the government to take this step. The tremendous thing is that the government, which these comrades continue to support, looked aside all this time, as if it really couldn’t do anything to free them. That speaks of an incomprehensible formalism that surely the right would never do. On the contrary, they put you in jail without any excuses, and they give all their impunity to their people.
How do you assess the situation from the communication side?
With all this bacteriological warfare we are enduring, the hegemonic media continues to play a nefarious role. They are the specialists in continuing to brainwash consumers of false news or clear misinformation about reality. They have never stopped conspiring against governments that they did not collaborate in promoting. They were obedient and disciplined along with the military dictatorship and from then on, they have destabilized any attempt at a minimally progressive approach. The worst thing is that governments that claim to be national and popular do not really confront them, but rather grant them space in the form of publicity, and ironically this serves to makes this media conspire permanently against these administrations. We saw this throughout the Kirchner period, then it was reinforced in the Macri era, and now as the Fernández-Fernández government is timidly trying to modify some of these deficits, they are already conspiring against them from their communication sewers.
On the contrary, this situation makes it increasingly necessary to strengthen alternative or counter-information media, both to fight against the lies of the “big media” and to generate spaces for training and debate among those who dare to fight and challenge capitalism. Media such as ours (Resumen Latinoamericano), which has already been in existence for 31 years, and which has grown by navigating against the current plays an important role in this difficult moment we are living through.
We are preparing for the post-Covid moment, giving space to information that is not subordinated to the WHO but to the reality of what is happening in our countries that are ravaged by misery and hunger. In our pages we are also giving space for articles by scientists, doctors or philosophers who do not want to scare us but rather appeal to our intelligence in fighting against the virus. We don’t want to be “taken care of” by those who gave us agro toxens, GMOs, bombs, wars, invasions and racist attacks against immigrants. The alternative media in this battle has a role so that the intoxication of lies is not perpetuated.
What do you think about what is happening with Venezuela under U.S. aggression?
The Venezuela thing is really heroic. Outside Cuba, no country has endured, without falling apart, an imperialist plan of such continuous intensity. It is because the teachings of Commander Hugo Chavez, in the sense of not giving in to the aggression of Washington and its European allies, has been embodied in the brave people and their armed forces, generating a wall where all the attacks have crashed.
Right now we have the example of this new Venezuelan Bay of Pigs, when Colombian mercenaries, backed by money and gringo logistics, tried to land in La Guaira and other parts of the country. Once again they failed because the FANB, with their intelligence, their weapons and their courage, plus the collaboration of the people in arms, made those who tried it bite the dust. For these murderous henchmen there should be no concessions whatsoever.
Since 1998, when Chavismo took over the government, all the U.S. presidents have tried to take over Venezuela and its wealth, there is no doubt that the intensification that has taken place with the arrival of Trump has set off all the alarms in the country. The strengthening of the civic-military alliance plus the unstoppable development of the militias are a fundamental factor in why the empire has not been able to cope, but in addition, Bolivarian Venezuela has multiplied its diplomatic victories, throwing to the ground any attempt by Trump’s compliant allies in Latin America to force a direct intervention.
With the leadership of Nicolás Maduro, the loyal and tireless work of Diosdado Cabello, the loyalty of minister and military chief Padrino López and the impeccable work as foreign minister of Jorge Arreaza, the Revolution is still standing and resisting sanctions and aggressions every day. Now, that same solvency has been demonstrated in the fight against the Covid-19, generating confidence and maintaining permanent communication to bring peace of mind to the population. Within this framework of continuous victories, the US also wanted to set up a naval blockade in the last few days, in addition to the one that already exists and which generates all kinds of difficulties for the Venezuelan economy.
However, the health catastrophe that the US people are experiencing due to the disastrous health policy of the current government has put a brake on this warlike initiative of its marines. That’s why they gave the green light to the Colombian paramilitary scum, the DEA “soldiers” and the “Rambos” of Silvercorp, and now they’ll be cursing each other as they watch a humble group of fishermen from Chuao arrest them, tie them up with plastic ropes and expose them to everyone’s view, there on the ground in front of the “Socialist Fishery” inaugurated years ago by Hugo Chávez. Beyond this undisputed and invigorating victory for all of Our America, Venezuela and its Revolution must always be on our agenda and be a fundamental premise of all internationalists in the world. Those of us who, with the local Bolivarians, repeat: “Always loyal, never traitors”.
What should revolutionaries do during these times when the powerful could take advantage of the crisis to strengthen themselves?
They have to organize to increase the frontal struggle against capitalism wherever it is possible to act. To ignore the voices of those who always try to put a cold shoulder to the militants. The future, I repeat, will be one of confrontation. It is no use continuing to buy the little colored mirrors of reformism or the social democratic adventures which certain progressives are usually dazzled by. With the millions of layoffs coming around the world and especially in our Latin American territory, with structural poverty increasing month by month, what other way can we imagine than to continue thinking about Revolution and Socialism. Capitalism has shown, once again, that it is the embodiment of death. It is essential to build a world where people stand back to back and reject hateful and restrictive borders. All avenues of struggle are good when it comes to thinking about standing up to imperialism and capitalism. Let’s learn from the sisters who have united their forces against patriarchy and male chauvinism, and let us try to unite the entire new and old one.
Featured image: Cancel the IMF Debt