COVID-19: just one more ingredient in the mix of inequality

Written by
Cecilia Hernandez
Published on
May 29, 2023

Originally published in Spanish by Cecilia Hernandez for Eco-Re at:

For the last week I have been in a community in southern Honduras, which experiences high temperatures and with many cultural and social particularities. When I arrived I could see that almost no one was taking any biosecurity measures; my first reaction was of fright and some panic. I mentioned this to some friends to which they replied, “they don’t care” and “people are very irresponsible”, and other similar sentiments. Honestly, I thought the very same thing those first days because in the city the perception of the health crisis is different, and the control of the masses through panic has different scenarios.

The fears are many, and I will mention some from the empirical relationships that I have seen and experienced from this community.

1. Losing a loved one: One of the main fears surrounding this pandemic; but we find that the majority of families in this community have relatives in the United States and Spain. Many of the migrants never arrived at their destination and those who did, have been gone from their homeland for years.

2. Collapse of the healthcare system: Here the story tells itself, knowing that Honduras has a deficient healthcare system, there are worse situations than those we see in H. E. or Mario Catarino. Here we have a more desolate scenario, without medicines or equipment, because they have a decentralized and forgotten system.

3. Getting infected and suffering symptoms: Among all the conversations I’ve had, I’ve heard devastating stories of people working in extreme discomfort, because they don’t have any other choice. There isn’t a system that supports and cares for them.

4. Economic crisis: It is true that this situation has affected the global economy, but it is in situations like these where inequality persists. These communities were accustomed to fighting from a point of hunger and need but they have had to shelve this fear, that with which they have lived all their lives and no longer dominates them, because hunger and the need to work is stronger.

5. Inadequate access to resources: Many of our communities live in constant struggle against those who privatize life and take away the common goods. Rights aren’t earned from birth, but are the result of sacrifices, dispossessions and pain.

In the communities, they continue to resist the fear with joy and faith, that which has given back to them what this unjust system took from them: HOPE.

I still think that it is necessary to take care of yourself and be cautious. We know it is not safe to walk for two hours and cross a river to go to school, it is not safe to go to the river to wash because there is no water at home, nor is it safe to go in a pick-up truck with 11 other people; but they still do it because THERE IS NO CHOICE.

So, before we label them as irresponsible and criticize them from a different position, let’s reflect on who are the ones with real responsibility in this scenario and what steps need to be taken to reduce the tragedy for some and the privilege for others.

Learn more about our partner Eco-Re on their Facebook page.

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Photos by Cecilia Hernandez

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