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The devastating impact of COVID-19 on my family in Bolivia


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Employees of a funeral home in protective suits prepare to lower the coffin during the burial of a COVID-19 victim at the local cemetery in the remote Aymara village of Acora, an hour from the city of Puno, near the border with Bolivia , on August 9, 2020.

AFP / Getty Images

I do not know what is more difficult, if being infected with COVID-19 or seeing from afar how my relatives in La Paz, Bolivia, fall one by one, prey to this pandemic. The coronavirus does not care if you belong to the right or the left, if you are religious or atheist, if you are black or white.

This virus attacks anyone and has been especially lethal with older adults and with those communities where leadership is inoperative or there is a political situation that allows security protocols to be not followed.

My father, Manuel Caspa, recently died at the age of 93 from the coronavirus, as did my older brother, Alberto, who was 69 at the time of his death.

The death of my father and my brother corroborate the fact reported by doctors and scientists in the area of ​​medicine, who argue that the biological constitution of the elderly limits them to counteract the effects of the coronavirus.

Despite his age, my father came close to beating the disease. However, the damage that the days of artificial respiration, through oxygen tanks, caused to their lungs, led them down the path of no return. My brother had the same fate.

Unfortunately, the political situation in Bolivia did not allow adequate medical care for my family members and many other people who have been victims of the coronavirus.

The contradictory discourse of the government of Jeanine Áñez, who has crossed the date of the presidential elections until October 18 of this year, has promoted social mobilization and, consequently, disorder.

After the resignation of Evo Morales in November of last year, Áñez took the reins of government in his own right. He promised to establish a transitional government and called a presidential election for May 2020.

Due to circumstances of the pandemic and through an agreement between the political parties, these elections were postponed until September 6. However, the Áñez government once again changed the date and provoked a reaction from the opposition political fronts throughout the Bolivian territory, mainly from the Movement Toward Socialism.

Today, Bolivia is submerged in social chaos and in the lack of control of the pandemic. Interdepartmental roads are blocked. There is no way to get the medicines necessary to save the lives of coronavirus patients.

My father, my brother, and thousands of Bolivians are victims of COVID-19, as well as the ineffectiveness of the Bolivian government and the irrationality of social movements.

Humberto Caspa, Ph.D. is a researcher for Economics On The Move. E-mail: [email protected]

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