As Coronavirus spreads across countries and continents, several members of La Via Campesina have issued statements highlighting the precarious situation of peasants and migrant workers around the world.
Here is a compilation of different Statements issued by the members.
“Coronavirus hit the Migrant Farm Workers” Border Farm Workers Project – Unión de Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos
The current pandemic crisis is a real threat to the entire population. We cannot close our eyes to the deaths, contagions, quarantine closures, social distancing, shortages of basic products in the homes, speculation and hoarding of food, school closings, curfews, insufficient response from governments and authorities of health, indifference towards the pressing conditions of the most marginalized people and communities, as well as an increase in precariousness and inequality, is not acceptable. We are mired in a crisis of life that affects us all and it’s time to act.
However, there are sectors of the population that are in a more fragile situation, and that are the most affected by the threat of Covid-19 contagion, than all. This sector is made up of unprotected poor migrants who not only do not have access to health programs and medical services due to lack of money or basic health insurance, but can also spread the infection to their families and rural communities because they live in fear and why they don’t get treatment or don’t seek treatment if they get sick in the United States.
And as if the threat of getting sick and perhaps dying from the coronavirus was not enough, the crisis has also exacerbated the national security system with its impacts of increased police persecution, more authoritarianism, and more militarism against immigrant and border communities. The state, which is supposed to provide security and tranquility to the people, has fostered social divisions and an atmosphere of fear by executing a war strategy to face the current crisis. Instead of an urgent public mobilization to confront the Covid-19 crisis, the state has taken advantage of humanitarian disgrace to exercise more authoritarian control over the population, a greater restriction of human rights, the tightening of anti-migrant policies, a domain rigorously paramilitary cut of the borders and the containment of the free movement of people….
The statement also highlights the situation of farm workers in Southern Mexico and other areas.
….On the other hand, the thousands of farm workers working in the southern New Mexico farming region and El Paso and Hudspeth counties on the Texas side have too low wages that place them even below the Poverty Level set by the same federal government, so they do not have access to medical services or health services. Most do not qualify for low-cost health insurance and rarely go to community clinics, even when they are in very serious condition….