International Day of Peasant Struggle: Neoliberalism and COVID-19 Impacts in Ecuador and Brazil

Maranhao, Brazil 2016 Photo: Petermann
Note: We have been hearing very little about how COVID-19 is impacting countries in the Global South.  US news media is tunnel visioned on the chaos expanding in the US, meanwhile this is a global phenomenon.
To commemorate the International Day of Peasant Struggle, which has helped organize peasant farmers around the world to fight back against neoliberalism, industrial agriculture, climate change and destruction of forests, we feature two articles that look at the scenes in Ecuador and Brazil.  Here, neoliberal economic policies are exacerbating poverty and concentrating wealth in the hands of a few elites. This intentional neglect of the poor, including a lack of water, food and health care infrastructure is, not surprisingly, wreaking COVID-19 havoc.
To learn more about the actions of La Via Campesina and others to support peasant communities in the time of COVID-19, please go to:

‘They’re leaving us to die’: Ecuadorians’ plead for help as virus blazes deadly trail

The Guardian: It has been three days since Reynaldo Barrezueta passed away at his home in Ecuador’s biggest city – and still his body lies in a coffin on the sitting room floor.

“The authorities are just leaving us to die,” said his son, Eduardo Javier Barrezueta Chávez, who has spent the last 72 hours pleading with authorities remove his father’s corpse – so far to no avail.

Barrezueta is not alone. In recent days the coronavirus has swept into Guayaquil with deadly force, overwhelming local authorities, funeral homes and hospitals and leaving families such as his facing unthinkable horrors.

Lula: Bolsonaro leading Brazil ‘to slaughterhouse’ over Covid-19

The Guardian: Jair Bolsonaro is leading Brazilians “to the slaughterhouse” with his irresponsible handling of coronavirus, the country’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said.

In an impassioned interview with the Guardian – which came as Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll hit 1,924 – Lula said that by undermining social distancing and defenestrating his own health minister, Brazil’s “troglodyte” leader risked repeating the devastating scenes playing out in Ecuador where families have had to dump their loved ones’ corpses in the streets.

“Unfortunately I fear Brazil is going to suffer a great deal because of Bolsonaro’s recklessness … I fear that if this grows Brazil could see some cases like those horrific, monstrous images we saw in Guayaquil,” said the 74-year-old leftist.

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