HomeSpecialThe biennium of the plague | Luis Britto Garcia

The biennium of the plague | Luis Britto Garcia

Crises should incite humanity to privilege what it has in common over its differences. They usually do the opposite. Let's see.

Resources and Energy

 The most polluting decide on the pollution. With the consent of the G7 and G20, 197 UN countries meet in Glasgow in November for the «United Nations Conference on Climate Change». They commit to limit warming to 1,5 ° by 2030, and to zero carbon emissions by 2050. To do this, they approve spending 50 billion dollars until 2030, (for Anglo-Saxons, one billion is  one billion) and about 150 billion until 2050, of which only 0,1 billion would benefit developing countries, the least polluting. But it is impossible to develop new alternative sources of energy without fully applying the traditional ones. The preaching to replace the 1.420 million automobiles in the world with internal combustion engines with cars powered by batteries forgets that these - whose production consumes a lot of energy - do not create electricity, but accumulate what in turn must be produced by traditional means. On the other hand, the effects of the dumping forced by the United States in 2013 to bankrupt the dissident states of OPEC, among them Venezuela, began to give way. Oil rebounds to $ 80 a barrel. There are critical fuel shortages in Europe. Meanwhile, the United States steals Venezuelan refineries and oil shipments, and the United Kingdom seizes its gold reserves.


The pandemic concentrates capital in fewer and fewer hands. The Oxfam report for January 2021 reports that the world's 2.153 billionaires have more wealth than 60% of the planet's population, some 4.600 billion people. Also, that since the beginning of the pandemic, the fortunes of the ten richest men grew by half a trillion dollars, at the same time that the worst job crisis in more than a century was unleashed. Small and medium-sized companies go bankrupt, their spoils are absorbed by monopolies. Billionaires have only needed nine months to recoup losses from the pandemic, it will take the poor at least a decade. According to the ILO, by 2019 there are more than 3.300 billion salaried workers (ILO, 2019). By 2020 the ILO estimates a loss of 25 million jobs (ILO, 2020), which will be added to the 300 million unemployed registered by the World Bank for 2019. Progressive computerization and automation will make more than 40% of jobs. The pandemic devours workers, fattens large capitals.


The greed of transnationals finds its Paradise in investments off-shore in developing countries. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2010 40% of world trade depends on some 3.500 maquilas installed in 130 countries, which employ 85 million workers without labor rights. The multinationals impose Infamous Treaties against Double Taxation, Tax Stability Contracts and all kinds of amnesties, exemptions and tax exemptions that make their tax contribution practically nil. The OECD estimates the evasion for this concept at 250.000 million dollars annually, which is not applied to the needs of the host country and usually goes to Tax Havens. Such a generous donation from the exploited countries to their foreign exploiters reduces funds for social investment. In November of this year, 130 OECD countries signed an Agreement that reaffirms the principle of territoriality, by virtue of which taxes must be paid to the country where the dividends are obtained and not to the parent company, and approve a minimum tax of the 15% on net earnings. If implemented, it would spell a blow to the most serious robbery of savage capitalism against developing countries. On the other hand, industrial capital becomes more and more speculative finance capital. Due to the credits of governments to face the pandemic, the world public debt increased 28% in 2020, rising to $ 226 trillion, no less than 256% of the annual Gross Domestic Product of the planet.


The threat of death by the biological enemy does not diminish the tendency of humans to exterminate each other. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States' military budget in 2020 reached $ 778.000 billion, more than half of the planet's total. But the biennium of the plague is also that of the progressive dismantling of the hegemony of the United States. It closes with a shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan that it destroyed for almost four decades. Iraq demands the withdrawal of its occupation troops. While fleeing from Asia, it adds new military bases in Ecuador and Argentina to the XNUMX installed in Latin America and to the almost one thousand that it maintains in the world. It escalates threats against Russia, which is no longer communist, and against China, whose economy is open to capital. The horrendous years of the Cold War were therefore not against communism: it was only about maintaining American hegemony. On the other hand, projects are reactivated to open a second interoceanic canal through Nicaragua, wider than that of Panama, which would mean a severe blow to the control that the United States exercises over the area.


Like any crisis, that of the pandemic is a breeding ground for fascist, racist, authoritarian movements that occupy spaces that the moderation or division of the left gives them. Wielding antipolitical flags, they exercise the most brutal policy against workers. However, in Latin America progressivisms persist or make their way, sometimes very difficult: Díaz Canel in Cuba, Alberto Fernández in Argentina, López Obrador in Mexico, Maduro in Venezuela, Arce in Bolivia, Castillo in Peru, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Xiomara Castro in Honduras, Boric in Chile. Colossal mobilizations have shaken the conservative governments of Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil. The pandemic confronts us with a world increasingly divided between rich and poor, aggressive and defenseless, immunized and infected. The virus will not resolve those differences. The solution is in our hands.