The pandemic unfeded by The Covid-19 has shocked the world and made it clear that despite all the technological advancement we have come to, nature can charge us dearly for our mistakes, and that globalization is excellent for expanding viruses.
As each nation has charted its strategies, its own crisis management, we have convened a group of intellectuals from diverse countries to put into context, from their respective nations, this current, globalized scourge of humanity.
They are scientists, professors, writers, journalists, communicators, who will leave their voices here to transmit their experiences, information, opinions. By sharing them, they encourage us to feel that protection that knowledge and ideas provide, something we need very much at this hour.
AGENTINE IN QUARANTINE
By Rodolfo Alonso*
Two months after the assumption of the new, democratic and popular government, which encountered a much more serious economic and social situation than imagined, something much more serious came to the crossroads: the pandemic of an ignored, lethal and universally available virus.
Immediately advised in depth by a valuable team of specialists and professionals led by his Minister of Health, the president took the lead and did not hesitate to take the most effective and less easy path: a national quarantine with mandatory social isolation that, fortunately, was fully assumed by society throughout the country.
Class dictation was immediately discontinued at all levels, all non-essential activities were suspended, wages were decreed for quarantined workers and employees, and, in unisonuming, economic measures were taken to continue to resurrect, in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises, the largest labour giver in the country, while helping the most vulnerable and sanctioning the prohibition of redundancies , among many others.
Of course, there was no lack of pressure from a few large corporate economic groups, who preferred the fatal risk of others to the decline in their profits, for which he had his usual allies; the hegemonic press of “serious journalism” which is his spokesman, and a corrupt part of the judiciary.
Most deputies and senators accompanied the government with laws strengthening their positions. And the polls give it a population assent between 60 and 80%. This adoption of official measures is felt directly in everyday life. The cities are in an eye-catching silence, which allows birds to be heard again, and hardly vehicles circulate, including public transport, which is reduced and with its passengers seated, never standing, and with the stipulated distance between them.
It should be noted that all these measures have been agreed at all levels of the State. From the outset the president has contacts and meetings with all provincial governors and even with all municipal mayors, of all political signs. So much so that even the opposition takes pictures of encounters with him.
It is exciting to think that such a spirit is valued from other countries, not just from the same continent. WHO distinguished Argentina’s attitude by including our country among the few in the world authorized to receive or host some primacy of its actions. As much as the spontaneous presence of so many volunteers, who are not only from here, excites. There are those who come from other lands, as well as valuable donations from other peoples and nations (among which is always Cuba).
But no support is similar to that of our own people, who stand firm, united and quietly as the protagonist of this struggle for life, against a mortal, unknown and aggressive enemy, to whom, however, we have managed to blame the development curve, without increasing the daily dead by double digits, thus allowing us precious time to prepare our public health , increasing the number of hospitals and beds, thanks to the permanent dedication of our medical and professional staff, who every night, at 21 hours, is spontaneously applauded by the village, even from the balconies, in their homes and throughout the country.
As our national anthem says: “To the great Argentine people, health!” The coronavirus won’t pass. (Or at least have as little damage as possible).
Olivos (province of Buenos Aires), April 19, 2020
*The Argentine poet, essayist, narrator, translator, journalist and editor RODOLFO ALONSO is one of the most important living voices in Spanish-American literature. He is the author of some thirty books of poetry, and has translated into Spanish practically all the classics of poetry in the French, Italian, and Portuguese languages. Among the many awards he has received is the National Poetry Prize in Argentina, in 1997, shared with Juan Gelman.
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