The Pandemic as a scene of dispute

The coronavirus pandemic exposed both the deep inequalities embodied by global capitalism and the particular impacts that affect each country. On the one hand, there are strong conflicts over access to vaccines and their unequal distribution among rich nations and those with fewer resources. In the same way, Covid-19 reinforces global inequity, which in a scenario of neoliberal predominance incorporates, in addition to differentiating economic and social factors, the health issue.

In this context, Latin America is going through its second wave with an exponential increase in infections and deaths that represent almost a third of the deaths on the planet. Tensions accumulate in the various countries and in the Argentine scenario in particular, disputes are present on various fronts in an electoral year. The main conflicts are structured around the actions of the ruling party in the search to mitigate the impacts generated by the health emergency and the previous economic-social collapse of the macrista stage, in the face of an opposition contrary to the care measures, without a defined leadership and articulated with factual powers, such as major media, sectors of the judiciary and large economic groups.

The recent effects of the second wave have been showing a strong level of political confrontation regarding the application of restrictive measures, which has reached unsuspected limits with the controversy between the City of Buenos Aires and the national government over face-to-face classes. The last measures of confinement dictated by the Executive and finally accepted before the evidences of the facts mark only a waiting compass. Precisely, the Metropolitan Area of ​​Buenos Aires (AMBA) -which constitutes a common urban agglomeration and demands a unified strategy- as a relevant focus of the pandemic with irradiation to the interior, forms a tensioned area between CABA, Province of Buenos Aires and the Nation .

In this sense, recent results of the research “Prevention and monitoring of COVID-19 in municipalities of the Greater Buenos Aires from a multidimensional perspective”, funded by the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development and Innovation, highlight various problems. On the one hand, the health issue -with large gaps in terms of infrastructure and resources between the richest and poorest districts- and the provision of food -a highly prioritized axis at the government level and that mobilized multiple actors (territorial organizations, productive units, households and different levels of government management). On the other hand, the support to production and work -with a variety of situations according to type, size and sector of the company in a scenario of gradual economic reactivation- and greater impacts on unregistered employment with respect to formal and registered wage earners (contents largely by state action).

In this context, the intervention of the State in social matters and its regulatory capacity to influence key aspects of the economy and the provision of basic services, forms another place of dispute between the ruling party and the opposition. With a worsening pandemic and various difficulties – external indebtedness, poverty, rising inflation and increases in food – the national government seeks by different means to confront the multiple open fronts (health, economic, social and institutional). The results of this confluence of factors will remain to be seen in the course of a few months.

Researcher-teacher at the National University of General Sarmiento / CONICET.


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