We are living in historical times, one of those that define who we are as human beings and as a society. Everybody is concerned about how life in the future is going to be, mainly in the economic sector. This is a natural response because in the end, what humans search for is to survive at any cost. That expression is well known by all those whose lives are a far cry from the privileges of the developed world. Poverty has to exist to make others richer, that is a universal law that and whether you like it or not - is inherent to the capitalist system.
The COVID-19 pandemic is probably the worst international catastrophe since WWII. We are facing an invisible enemy that doesn’t care about borders or nationalities, and reaches into the last corner of the planet if there is a minimum sign of civilization there. Poverty is a disease that is a lot worse than COVID-19 but combined cause collateral destruction that probably will delay the UN objectives for poverty from 10 to 20 years. Europe, parts of Asia and North America have enough multilevel structure to face the present challenge. But what about those countries that most people either don’t know about or where the first terms that come to mind on mention are “third world” or “misery”. Those countries are the forgotten ones of this global crisis.
We are talking about states that are either deemed insignificant for the rest of the world, or unable to impose their power throughout the totality of their territory. The citizens of those countries are used to surviving without any protection of the law and authority. Examples of such countries are Bolivia, Haiti, Mali, Niger and Sudan.
The word death usually means something else for those that live there and probably COVID-19 is not their main public health emergency concern. But sometimes in the world that we live in, the economy is equally or more destructive than a disease. The international cooperation from developed countries is used in various ways; it can be a totally sincere help or a diplomatic weapon. That perverse use of cooperation funds has perpetuated the anguish of certain parts of the world. This has a logic that is best explained with a metaphor - if you take care of an addict and you substitute the drug with an Analgesic that also is extremely addictive, you don’t solve anything. The world works just like that: if you make people dependent on your money, they don’t create their internal market, and the development rate that one should expect of a state doesn’t exist.
Now it´s Corona-time and obviously, the cooperation has stopped, the connections have stopped, and the world has stopped. For those countries, this means that with a public health emergency, they have to add an unexpected lack of investment provided by cooperation, and also the impossibility of gaining the profits of the export of raw resources that allow the population to survive every year.
This is not a theory, we can see this impact in the news every day. What an overloaded health system, added to political instability and the slump of international activity has caused, for example, dead bodies lining the streets of the Bolivian cities of La Paz and Sucre. I also want to mention the situation of those countries that were already amongst the forgotten ones before COVID-19 - the ones that are facing a war, but a war deemed unimportant, otherwise, it would have ended long before. The civil wars in Yemen, Syria and Libya, conflicts of which the end is not in sight and where people have been starving and dying for 10 years or more already. COVID-19 is the last thing that those conflicts needed - to become crueller. The insignificant state structure that might have existed previously, added to the weak economies in those countries, produce a perfect mix to make the lives of their people even more desperate.
Covid-19 will establish without any doubt a more unequal international society, not only in those countries but also in developed countries. We must think about what choices we are going to make once we overcome this virus. It is our responsibility to work on building new infrastructures and mechanisms in order to offer solutions to the forgotten ones. If we continue the path of selfishness and putting profits first, the final result will be the impoverishment of the whole system. The creation of additional structural conflicts only adds more trouble to the entire structure. Consider the rational consequences of what war brings - apart from warmongers and warlords - nobody profits from this kind of situation.
In conclusion, accepting that the forgotten ones exist is assuming a part of our heritage. In the course of history, all nations among time have been part of that group. Not correcting the present day deficiencies of the international order means to disrespect all values that the humanitarian movement and humanism have created during the many centuries since the enlightenment and the creation of the modern states and nations.