News of struggles and conflicts from Africa, Asia and Latin America is not always easy to find. A general strike in India is not reported in the corporate press, neither is the murder of a human rights activist in Central America nor indeed is news of great humanitarian interest from the multilateral organisations (such as the agencies of the United Nations). As the world’s media gets more and more homogenised by the interests of corporate ideology, more and more news about the world’s peoples vanish. There is so little basic information, for instance, about world hunger and about the fights to feed the hungry. We are not interested merely in the conflicts and the suffering. We are equally interested in the struggles of people to address these broad challenges.

We, at the Tricontinental, will send out a weekly newsletter, a curated note with information from one part of the world, that will offer a window into some of the struggles and conflicts of our time. The newsletter will be available by subscription – and it is free.

To find out more about the newsletter, or to send us stories that you believe we should cover in it, please write to [email protected]. We do not promise to use each and every one of your suggestions, but we do welcome them. If you have objections to anything we run, please let us know. There might be times when we might publish your criticism as part of our mandate to stimulate debate.

 


Fragment, Kelana Destin (Indonesia), Water, 2020.

The United States, Brazil, and India have been the worst-hit by COVID-19, harbouring about half of the world’s cases. This is a result of the paralysis of the governments of Trump, Bolsonaro, and Modi, who prefer to craft excuses rather than competent public policies. Beneath their buffoonish statements about the virus, and their reluctance to take it seriously, lies a much deeper problem that is shared by a range of countries. This problem goes by the name of neoliberalism.


Henar Diez Villahoz (Spain), Quien sostiene la vida (Those who sustain life), 2020

Public healthcare systems have been weakened by austerity budgets, often enforced by wealthy bondholders and the IMF, who demand the debt service payments and do not care that this money comes out of the public health, public education, and public welfare budgets. Chronic underfunding of the public sector and short staffing of medical workers has plagued much of the capitalist world, especially in the Global South, even before the emergence COVID-19. A ‘care drain’ has further sucked the availability of care workers from the Global South. We must demand the cancelation of debt in the developing world.


Every dollar that goes towards in debt servicing is a dollar that cannot go to buy a ventilator or fund emergency food support. During the CoronaShock crisis, this is both morally indefensible and economically irrational. Debt suspension or postponement is insufficient; it merely puts off the reckoning. It is beyond time to cancel these odious debts, which cannot – in any case – be paid during the coronavirus recession. In this week’s newsletter, we publish a statement on debt cancellation cosigned by Dilma Rousseff (former President of Brazil), T. M. Thomas Isaac (Finance Minister, Kerala), and others.


Too little has been made of the fact that countries like Laos and Vietnam, where there are zero COVID-19-related deaths, have been able to manage the coronavirus. India is separated from China by the high Himalaya Mountains, and Brazil and the United States have two oceans between themselves and Asia. Nonetheless, it is the US, Brazil, and India that have shocking numbers of infections and fatalities.


Luis Peñalever Collazo (Cuba), America Latina, Unete! 1960

Some estimates indicate that, as CoronaShock grips the globe, half of working-age people are without adequate income. Despite the crisis revealed by the pandemic, political forces remain wedded to the religion of neoliberalism, choosing to protect the economy before protecting the people. But it is impossible to imagine that this reality will not be overturned by the capacity of human beings to find ways to gather together and transform our reality. Already our popular movements are pushing for alternative futures.