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Mon May 10, 2021, 10:34 PM

'They can't take it any more': pandemic and poverty brew violent storm in Colombia

Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá
@joeparkdan
Fri 7 May 2021 11.17 EDT

Yina Reyes, a 39-year-old nurse from the downtrodden neighbourhood of Siloé in the Colombian city of Cali, knows only too well what Covid-19 can do to a person – and to a community. Her mother was hospitalized with the disease, and came close to death.

As a home care nurse, she has seen patients get sick and neighbours die. In the early days of the pandemic, her husband lost his job as a chauffeur, leaving her to provide for their daughter and his parents, who share their home.
“I’ve seen this virus face-to-face, I know what it can do, and I know how to protect myself against it,” Reyes said. “But the real terror is the Colombian government.”

Siloé has become the center of a brutal nationwide crackdown on protests against poverty and inequality which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Demonstrations that began with a general strike on 28 April quickly descended into violence, with images of smoke-filled streets dominating the nightly news.

. . .

Amid one of the longest lockdowns in the world, the number of Colombians living in extreme poverty grew by 2.8 million people last year. Red rags were hung outside homes, in a desperate signal that those inside were hungry. And as people got poorer, they also got sicker, with those from the poorest neighbourhoods 10 times more likely to be hospitalized or die from Covid-19 than those from the wealthiest.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/may/07/colombia-protests-police-covid-poverty-violence

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