June 30, 2020

Latin America and the Coronavirus

Maria and Julio are joined by Peniley Ramírez, an investigative reporter with Univision, and Gisela Pérez de Acha, a human rights lawyer and journalist, to talk about the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Latin America. They discuss the surge in cases, how governments are responding, and the role information plays in a public health crisis.

As Latino Rebels reported, independent media in Mexico launched the campaign called #TómateloEnSerioMX (“Take it seriously, Mexico”) to fight against misinformation on COVID-19 and also the spike of violence against women that is the country’s other pandemic. Peniley Ramírez said while the campaign is useful for a certain sector of the population that Twitter is a bubble.

“In a country where a lot of people are poor, with not a lot of people have internet, not a lot of people are using Twitter in comparison to other countries, for example, the U.S.,” Peniley Ramírez said. “So I think it’s important to have these kinds of hashtags but I really believe in deeper, and close to people reporting.” 

Ramírez’s reporting in Mexico has reflected similar class disparities of those infected by the coronavirus, as those impacted in the United States. She explained that if you look at the map of infection rates in New York City, you will see that it’s also the poor communities in Mexico City that have been hit the hardest. 

Latino Rebels (via The AP) reported in late May that, “At least one American border region is experiencing a spike in hospitalizations that some believe is driven by American citizens who live in Mexico coming to the U.S. for care. But in Tijuana and other Mexican border cities, many doctors, health officials and ordinary citizens worry about the disease coming in the other direction.”

Gisela Pérez de Acha said this pandemic is showing just how arbitrary borders are. 

“It’s a worldwide pandemic, people. If we don’t curb the pandemic in Mexico, we’re not going to curb it in California,” Gisela Pérez de Acha said. “Like we’re so deeply interconnected, and our cultures, and our people and our same soil.” 

This episode was produced by Nicole Rothwell. 

ITT Staff Picks:

  • Peniley Ramírez writes for El Universal about four pieces of good news for Mexico about COVID-19.
  • In this piece for Noteworthy - The Journal Blog, Gisela Pérez de Acha writes, "But in Mexico, rigorous reporting is the exception and not the rule, which results in a lack of accountability measures that spells disaster in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis."
  • The Associated Press reports on how covered Latin America's covered food markets created a near-perfect setting for spreading the disease as shared by Latino Rebels.

If you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of domestic violence and seeking support, these are some of the helplines that are available: 

  • In the United States, the national domestic violence helpline is available 24/7. Call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522. 
  • In Mexico, The National Shelter Network has shelters throughout the country and can support you on 55 5243 6432 and 01 800 822 4460 if you call from inside the republic. 
  • In Argentina, you can reach the Ministry of Women, Genders and Diversity by calling 144 or through this website. 
  • In Brazil, Ligue 180 is a free and confidential reporting channel that operates 24/7. More information here.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

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