The three Latin America presidents with interesting views on the Corona virus crisis

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Mexico’s president Obrador encourages people to hug each other and not to listen to the World Health Organization recommendations to avoid physical contact.

Brazil’s President Bolsonaro calls Corona virus a little flu and wants everyone to be working normally for economic purposes.

In Nicaragua, President Ortega and his wife are sending brigades of people to go door to door to almost a million homes to talk about Corona virus and march for peace.

Latin America could be one of the worst hit regions by Covid-19 as people are not prepared. Health habits are poor, hygiene campaigns are almost non-existent and the health system does not have the capabilities to battle a virus like other countries are.

Nicaragua and the Covid-19

How is Nicaragua responding to the pandemic going on in the world right now? The government called workers and government supporters to march in solidarity for the countries affected by Corona virus even though the whole world is asking people to isolate themselves and avoid human interaction as much as possible.

There have been no cases -detected- so far in Nicaragua, and the government has refused to put people entering the country in quarantine. Also in a statement made this week, the health institute told the news and media that people who die because of the infection, they would not have a funeral, as it could be a cause of infection for others.

Interview cartoonist Pedro X Molina

Pedro X Molina is een bekende maatschappelijk geëngageerde cartoonist. Hij moest in 2019 vluchten toen de regering Ortega / Murillo het blad ‘ confidencial ‘ met geweld liet sluiten. Vanuit ballingschap bekritiseert hij nu met zijn tekeningen de politieke situatie in Nicaragua en in andere landen in de wereld op een zeer aansprekende manier. Hij wijst ook de rol en het belang van cartoons tijdens een maatschappelijke strijd tegen door de staat geleide onderdrukking. Hij werd op 2 december 2019 geïnterviewd door Dik Bol bij de opening van de tentoonstelling‘Cartooning Repression and Resistance’ . Dit is een samenvatting van 6 minuten van dit interview.

SDG3: Good health and well being for people

During the crisis, the head of the health organization (MINSA) Sonia Castro has been known to order hospitals to reject help and services to opposers and protesters, or anyone that is not supporting the regime of Daniel Ortega. 

One of the factors that helped the explosion of the crisis was the health policies the government imposed on the Nicaragua people. 

While stating the economy of the country was growing at a very healthy yearly rate between 4.5%, the pension for elderly people was significantly reduced and public health services were decaying. 

A significant amount of money from the public insurance was used by the government for private investments which turned out in bankruptcies.

How has Nicaragua ended on the top 10 Gender equality rank for years?

It the first month of 2020, 6 women have been killed. In 2019, it was 45. Since 2010 a woman gets killed by a man on average once a week. It’s not weird to see the headers of woman being lost and found a week later on the news.

For years Nicaragua has around of 4000 – 5000 reported rape cases (12.3 rapes a day in a country with less than 7 million people), but it its very sure this number could be much high, as many cases never get reported. More than two thirds of these rapes are for girls under 17 years.

“Sexual violence against girls is so brutal and so naturalized in the country that it is considered normal, and machismo underlies it all.”

– Mayte Ochoa, reproductive rights organisation

In 2016 Daniel Ortega took down the “Police station for women and children” / Comisaría de la mujer y la niñez. But still more than 150 woman die of pregnancy-related issues for every 100,000 live births, according to the world bank. And also has one of the highest rates of sexual abuse and violence against girls in the world.

When it came to global rankings regarding gender equality, the World Economic Forum ranked Nicaragua at number twelve in 2015, while in 2016 it ranked tenth, and in 2017 the country ranked sixth.

These ranks are hard to believe for women living in Nicaragua. The methods used to give ranks to these countries are based mostly on how many women occupy high rank positions. But it barely takes into account the life in the street of women and childs.

The index measures women’s position compared to men in their country, not to women in other places, according to a BBC report.

According to a BBC report, this index measures women’s position compared to men in the country. But it does not compare women with other countries. So a women ranks high in Nicaragua if the gap is shorter between man in Nicaragua, but it does not compare them to women in other more developed countries.

Photo by: Aljazeera

To build a better future, we need to learn from the past.

In the 80’s after the last Somoza was defeated, a group of young leaders took the handles of the country and were known as “Los comandantes”which were 9. They we’re seen as hero’s and some people recall they were almost praised as god like figures. One of these commandants was Daniel Ortega, current dictator of the country.

They were the rulers of the FSLN party (Frente sandinista de liberación nacional / Sandinista Front of National Liberation).

The name given to the party is inspired by the fight of Augusto Sandino. One of the biggest political figures in the history of Nicaragua. He fought and gave his life to fight against the regime of the first Somoza dictator in the 30’s and was stabbed in the back by Somoza and killed.

Now, the FSLN, (Sandinista Front of National Liberation), now sounds like a big irony and a joke to many. Leaders of this party are the ones stopping the country from making steps towards a better future and imposing and authoritarian regime. Also denying and implementing in no way the global goals set by the UN.

Democracy gives countries the chance for newer generations to lead a country and have fresh perspectives and choices, and move towards a better future.

“Christian, Socialist and solidarity”

How much is the Ortega Family worth? Nobody knows. With the corruption scheme in Nicaragua, the net worth of the Ortega’s is certainly blurred. Even though, everyone knows how in the last years businesses linked to Ortega have grown incredibly fast, with no transparent monitoring.

Photo: Havana Times

Ortega has been called one of the fastest growing regarding his personal wealth, since he came into power. He has abused his power to include nepotism, money laundering and investments for his family interest, including projects like Albanisa, Petronic, Unión Fenosa, and other projects regarding donations from Russia, Cuba and Venezuela.

Most of these actions cause monopolistic markets, and a challenge for the people and the economy of Nicaragua. If you are not link to government people, having a running business could be many times harder than normal.

AK-47, Your Daily Commute

If you walk through the streets of Nicaragua, its not rare to see at least a couple of AK47’s, rifles and other military weapons on your day to day life.

The Nicaraguan dictatorship of Ortega has used armed civilians (govenment fanatics) against the opposition. Now with an economic recession, these same oppressors have become feared criminals and thief’s on the streets of Nicaragua.

Locals have to get used to living under these fear inflicted conditions on their daily life, but it has also become a threat to the local economic development, tourism, which is one of the main economic drivers of Nicaragua and also external investments.

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

On which one of these SDG’s are you going to make a change these coming years?

In 2015 the UN defined the most important goals that have to be achieved before 2030. These goals are aiming at world problems like countries that still have extreme forms of poverty, climate change, biodiversity preservation, healthy and sustainable economies and good relationship within humans and other living beings on earth.

  1. GOAL 1: No Poverty
  2. GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
  3. GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
  4. GOAL 4: Quality Education
  5. GOAL 5: Gender Equality
  6. GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
  11. GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. GOAL 13: Climate Action
  14. GOAL 14: Life Below Water
  15. GOAL 15: Life on Land
  16. GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
  17. GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

What do you consider to be the most relevant SDG? – Thijs Berman

Thijs Berman, director of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy considers SDG 16 to be the most relevant.

This SDG promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

More specifially SDG 16 is targeting topics like War and Peace, Terrorism, Military Spending, Nuclear Weapons, Homicides, Human Rights, Corruption and Violence Against & Rights for Children.