March 30, 2020
The health crisis generated by COVID19 is having repercussions on the economy and aggravates the situation of those most in need. In our country, the emergency economic plan promoted by the government is insufficient and in the poorer sectors, there is growing uncertainty about layoffs, lower salaries, and unresolved health problems. Meanwhile, the punitive policies against those who expressed their discontent with the political-economic order during the social protests keep thousands of young people in prison, despite the risks of contagion.
These days, various international bodies are pointing out that we are witnessing the beginning of a new world economic recession, as serious or even more serious than the one experienced ten years ago. This economic crisis has been brewing for some time and is accelerating due to the spread of the coronavirus and the exceptional measures taken to control it.
The cost of the current recession must not fall on the poorest, on the workers or on the social sectors that have already been questioning the unjust social order in its neoliberal form.
Right now we are concerned that the poorer sectors of society are living in anguish and uncertainty because they do not know how they are going to survive. We are concerned that the financial support announced by the government goes mainly to big companies since it favors the protection of business profits. We are also concerned that the companies that must temporarily suspend their activities, intend to pay salaries from the amount that each worker has accumulated in his or her individual unemployment insurance. We are concerned that, with regard to pensions, individual funds have suffered enormous losses in recent days and despite the time that has passed and the enormous questioning of the individual capitalization system, there are no structural changes to construct a real social security system. We are concerned by the opinion of the Labour Ministry which exonerates companies from responsibility in the event of dismissal. It also fails to point out that the State should assume its social responsibility and especially large corporations and companies which have made the most profits in recent years. They should be helping to resolve the serious social consequences of an unfair order and its current crisis. We are concerned that many of the measures adopted are founded on choosing the economy over people, which once again exposes the system of «modern slavery» in which we live, which does not protect, but rather allows humble workers to risk their lives in order not to lose their jobs.
This is why we insist that the government and the state must act quickly and consider the whole population in its protective and urgent measures. The fight against COVID19 cannot be used for political and economic objectives that seek to neutralize social discontent and benefit minority and economically privileged sectors. The exceptional state of emergency and the measures adopted must be reasonable, temporary and proportional, given that the health emergency cannot be an excuse for repressive action and the punishment of individuals or groups and social movements.
That is why we are concerned that the State insists on keeping so many young people in preventive custody. It is urgent that, for humanitarian reasons, a review be carried out of the need to keep the defendants in overcrowded premises, without sufficient medical care and in appalling hygiene, shelter and food conditions. In our opinion, the change from preventive custody to a less burdensome precautionary measure is possible, necessary and urgent.
The Executive and the State authorities have the duty to resolve the situation affecting the whole population and in particular the most disadvantaged social sectors. The fight against COVID19 does not mean that social and economic guarantees, however weak they may be, should be undermined by antisocial measures, particularly with regard to labour and wage issues. Strengthening the public health system and promoting measures that allow for the dignified subsistence of the people who live in our country are urgent tasks. It is a pity that the conditions of poverty and marginalization will increase and that social and popular indignation will manifest itself, as is already happening in other parts of the world.
These are times in which social justice is urgent, in which it is necessary to make a transforming and structural turn in the economic and social model. Let us not forget that the roots of the discontent – which was expressed so massively from October 18 onwards – are to be found in the unjust social and economic order that has been in force for decades in our country.
These are times in which the responsibility of all of us is crucial to avoid the expansion of the COVID19. Each and every one of us must assume a role of solidarity before ourselves and the whole. Solidarity between people and peoples is the premise that should guide us.
March 30, 2020.