COVID-19 – A Contrast of Ideologies

Why is there such a world of difference in the effects of the coronavirus pandemicised as COVID-19 across the nations and regions of the world?  Shouldn’t such an outbreak, assuming it is the same disease everywhere, produce similar responses in different populations of the same species wherever they are?  And why would the death rate from the disease appear to vary so much over time?

Not all of these questions are answered here, but this shared comparison of the two main types of socio-politically organised societies predominating the global human world provides ample food for thought on some of those issues – and answers to questions you might have asked yourself.

It contrasts the experience of the mainly capitalist nations with those of the more socialist organised states and reveals some surprising actual outcomes based around how people and state work together (or not) and the general structural integrity prevalent in those various social organisations.

It is a contrast of:

  • Science vs Hallucination
  • Public sector vs For-profit sector
  • Public action vs Atomisation and paralysis of the population
  • Internationalism vs Jingoism and racism

Detailed reports from the socialist states of Cuba (part of that report highlighted below), Vietnam, Venezuela and Kerala (one of the few socialist oriented states in mainly capitalist India – possessing the top 12 Primary Health Centres in the whole of India).  It makes remarkable reading – especially when it is realised the devastation happening elsewhere in the world.

This is some of what is said about Cuba.  Make your own judgement. 

“The backbone of Cuba’s response to COVID-19, as in other socialist countries, has been public action. The Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (CDRs), founded in 1960 under the threat of a possible US invasion, have an estimated 8 million members (out of a population of 11.34 million). The committees are organised on a block-by-block basis; they mobilise the people to help the most vulnerable in each community, to participate in health campaigns, and to provide food and shelter during the hurricane season. In the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, CDR members like Juana Guerra, a university professor and a member of the Federation of Cuban Women, made 16,000 masks. Members of the Federation of University Students volunteer in different cities, helping to clean and cook in isolation centres, delivering supplies to families under quarantine, and working in designated support centres preparing food for medical personnel and vulnerable families. Inspired by the battles of the past, many students proudly say that COVID-19 has become their Bay of Pigs (#EsteEsMiGiron). 

Internationalism is at the core of the revolutionary Cuban ethos. In 2005, Cuba founded the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade to provide emergency health assistance around the world; since then, it has sent twenty-five contingents abroad, aiding 3.5 million people in twenty-three countries. This brigade is now at the centre of the fight against COVID-19, responding to requests to send Cuban health workers to countries around the world. On 15 March, the first contingent of 130 epidemiologists and other medical specialists left for Venezuela. Since then, thirty-three more contingents made up of 3,337 health workers have gone to work in twenty-seven countries in Europe, Africa, and Latin America (the contingents range from two doctors in Grenada to 217 health workers in South Africa). Many of these countries have come under increased pressure from the US government to deny Cuba’s help. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has led the charge, accusing the island of profiting from the pandemic. Cuba’s foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla responded to the US smear campaign, saying, ‘What right does the Secretary of State have to put pressure on sovereign governments to deprive their nation[s] of medical care?’”

Quote from: “CoronaShock and Socialism” – The TriContinental –

This article happens to be Part 3 of a multiple-part series of studies on CoronaShock published on the TriContinental. You can read the previous parts here Part 1, and here Part 2.

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