The Colombian Attorney General, Fernando Carrillo, reproached Brazil and the Colombian State for the overflow of coronavirus infections in the jungle department of Amazonas where the pandemic leaves 1,221 infected and 44 dead in just one month.
“The Leticia-regional capital- is a little the result of the irresponsibility of how this has been handled in Brazil,” a country with which Colombia shares 1,644 kilometers of border, warned the head of the Procurator’s Office (Public Ministry) in a telephone interview with Efe.
Brazil is among the countries in the world most affected by COVID-19, with more than 271,000 infections and almost 18,000 deaths, while in Colombia there are 16,935 cases and 613 deaths.
Carrillo assured that since the borders “are porous and people are entering and leaving infected countries,” Colombia, Brazil and Peru, which share a triple border, have to develop a joint strategy to contain contagion in the area.
“The problem is very serious, the borders have been a good part of the transmission and contagion vehicle, we must monitor them,” he added.
For Carrillo, neither Colombia nor the rest of Latin American countries can function with planning scenarios that were in force three months ago, because “the crisis they are going through is structural and not transitory.”
SETTING A HISTORICAL DEBT
According to the attorney, “the great vulnerability” of the Amazon, which has a small population of less than 70,000 inhabitants, added to a fragile health infrastructure and a shortage of public resources, also requires a differential approach for indigenous, majority populations. in the region.
The official warned that the critical areas, where contagions are increasing dramatically in Colombia, are sectors with a great absence of institutionality, a situation that “translates into a scarce social offer.”
“This pandemic has revealed the great weaknesses in public health throughout the country. However, the problem is that the contagion has been concentrated in some departments, where the shortcomings are evident,” he added.
According to the attorney, the country must strengthen the health system, especially in those departments “where there are great weaknesses” and to which resources must be allocated “in an exercise of foresight and planning.”
“From what scientists say, this pandemic is here to stay and we may not be facing infections in certain places, but the serious thing is that in those territories where the state has been so absent are precisely the border departments,” he emphasized.
MORE SOCIAL PRESENCE
On May 13, Colombian President Iván Duque ordered the militarization of the border crossing with Brazil located in Leticia, the capital of the Amazon, but indigenous leaders in the region warn that this does not guarantee effective containment of the virus.
Although military work is necessary, especially in areas where armed groups and drug gangs operate, Carrillo believes that the social presence of the State is just as necessary.
“Of course, public force is needed, mainly where there are organized armed groups, where drug trafficking is the gasoline of the entire illegal confrontation, but the State’s social offer, which itself was fragile, is now going to be even more fragile”, manifested.
To understand the demands of the inhabitants of the Amazon, Carrillo believes that public policies for ethnic communities must be implemented with a differential approach.
“In the face of great absences and state gaps, what needs to be seen is how these approaches are achieved in direct dialogue with the communities, also so that they understand what the purposes are to try to mitigate the effects of this pandemic “he added.
CONTROL OF PUBLIC RESOURCES
According to Carrillo, when a vulnerable community, such as those living in the Amazon, is left without the bare minimum, corruption has the capacity to kill.
“Unfortunately, there are many acts of corruption that have occurred in both governorates and municipalities. A series of behaviors, all abhorrent, that have the capacity to kill,” he said.
The Attorney General’s Office carries out 54 disciplinary processes in 23 of the 32 governorates of the country and 258 in more than 200 mayoralties for irregularities in the contracts that have been signed due to the health emergency.
“It is a double sin, in addition to a crime and a disciplinary offense, for people to take advantage of a person’s hunger or precariousness to enrich themselves, but unfortunately the corrupt do so at both the national and territorial levels,” he added.
The prosecutor concluded by saying: “We are going to encounter several pandemics at the same time, not only that of COVID-19, but also that of hunger, violence, inequality and so many outbreaks that have been in the history of the country.”
Klarem Valoyes Gutiérrez