Paola on the impact in Colombia

5. What are the social / political effects of the corona crisis in your country (now and in the future)?

With regard to the social and political impact in my region and in my country, it is still a little premature to draw any conclusions today. You have to keep in mind that - even if Colombia has experienced very difficult moments in its history as a republic - the current pandemic is something completely new for us. The only thing that is certain is that the future will be full of uncertainties.

In the last few days we have learned that the lockdown will officially be extended until May. According to some media, there are supposed to be voices in the capital's political circles who are in favor of the Bogotans remaining in quarantine until a vaccine against the Corona virus is available. In view of the fact that some vaccines developed to date are being tested in clinical studies and in the hope that one of these vaccines will be approved, it must first go into mass production and then be distributed worldwide. So it will be a long time before it gets to that point in Colombia. In the worst case, the lockdown could be part of our lives until at least next year. Hence, Colombia's industry and trade may most likely not get back on its feet in the coming weeks and maybe months.

These circumstances would undoubtedly lead to a social crisis in Colombia. The rise in unemployment could worsen security in the country and even result in violence simply because people have no money to buy basic food. The cost of living will also rise, which we are already feeling. Due to an exaggerated rise in the price of food such as sugar, rice, milk and chicken, the Colombian government is trying to take action against hoarding and price speculation. The government's idea is to set and cap the level of sales prices. In this way, the most vulnerable households should have access to food as well as medical and hygiene products again. I think that is a fair and necessary measure. The efforts of the Colombian government to find interim solutions to get through the crisis will certainly not be enough. Because we all live in a globalized world, which means we are interdependent and it doesn't matter whether we are neighbors or separated by oceans - we are all in the same boat.

The extent of the social and political consequences of this state of emergency in Colombia clearly depends on the duration of this pandemic. The shorter, the greater the likelihood my country will get away with a black eye. As the saying goes: "El tiempo lo dirá todo" (Time will tell everything.)

Translated from Spanish

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