COVID-19 in Rural & Marginalized Areas, Episode Five
On May 18, Mexico launched phase one of the Plan for a New Normalcy, the federal strategy for reopening economic, social, and academic life across the Republic. This strategy is built around the government’s premise that COVID-19 has peaked or will soon peak in all areas and continues to focus on these four priorities:
- Privileging life and health
- Solidarity of all and non-discrimination
- Moral economy and productive efficiency
- Shared responsibility of the public, private and social sectors
June 1 marks the beginning of phase 3 where the government uses a traffic light system for each geographic region of Mexico, with colors corresponding to how different aspects of society will be opened. This will be “the new normal” for the foreseeable future. In episode five, we touch upon this new normal, and how PSYDEH endeavors to be an impact-making actor in COVID-19 related work.
MEXICO & HIDALGO
The new normal is real, or fiction, depending on who you ask. And it does not necessarily apply to indigenous areas, who have their own unique challenges and preferences for navigating the coming weeks and months. For example, a collective of Oaxacan civil society actors issued a mid-May statement explaining
“[w]e are in the midst of phase three of the covid-19 pandemic, in which cases of contagion have increased and this situation could spread if preventive measures are not continued.” Then, “it would be risky for the municipalities to return to normal, to do so would be an act of irresponsibility and insensitivity on the part of the federal and state authorities and a sign of a clear lack of coordination among the three levels of government, in which the human right to health of the indigenous population is not considered.”
Other indigenous and AfroMexican peoples and civil society across Mexico wonder why the government cut essential funding to institutions on the frontline of dealing with increased violence against women since the quarantine began in March. They also sent a formal communiqué to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and 8 state governors, demanding that post COVID-19 recovery priority be given to an Emergency Food Program for the population in conditions of “misery, extreme poverty and poverty”, as well as respect for the milpera and maicera culture of the peoples, and to promote the recovery of amaranth. Similarly, they ask the government to “prevent, address and punish violence against women, children, adolescents and the elderly”; as well as to guarantee the comprehensive health of the peoples and free and universal public social security.
With these challenges in mind, PSYDEH soon pursues grants and crowdfunding to help us launch a project with myriad focus areas, for example, (1) connecting indigenous women leaders producing embroideries and other local-sources produced to meet national and global demand for the same, and (2) strengthening food security for 100 indigenous families in our target area via a fund that guarantees basic nutrition for these families.
Global resources on rural, marginalized and indigenous communities and COVID-19 are increasingly common. For this episode, we suggest these.
- Latin America is soon to be the world’s epicenter of COVID-19.
- While Mexico and global rural life are somewhat insulated from COVID-19, in places like the USA and India, these areas are feeling corona’s effects, and they just don’t have the infrastructure to handle a wave (just like in Mexico).
- These are European examples of projects and initiatives primarily launched by rural communities to cope with the COVID-19 emergency.