Thursday, August 20, 2020

Covid-19 increases women's unpaid work (Aug. 20, 2020)

 The pandemic crisis has increased the need for unremunerated care in families -- a load shouldered disproportionately by women, and in turn poor women, in Latin America and the Caribbean. Women in the region carry out three times the domestic workload of men. The situation demonstrates the importance of the care economy and how it's current distribution is unsustainable, according to a new report by ECLAC and UN Women. The document calls for integral systems of care that can overcome the current sexual division of labor, and become a driver of socio-economic regeneration in the region. (Full report.)

The Covid-19 economic crisis will be the greatest economic contraction the region has faced in a century, and women will be particularly affected: women living in poverty will increase 22 percent this year, warned ECLAC head Alicia Bárcena at the presentation yesterday. (El País)

Women's particular risk within the Covid-19 crisis is multipronged: women are more likely to work in economically affected industries, or in areas where they face health risks -- like nursing --, in addition to the opportunity cost of added non-remunerated care work created by the pandemic.

News Briefs

  • Nicaragua's Ortega administration has actively covered up Covid-19's spread in the country, according to documents obtained by the hackers group Anonymous. The data, analyzed by Nicaraguan doctors and released by Nicaragua's opposition coalition yesterday, indicates more than double the number of Covid-19 cases officially recognized: nearly 10,000 cases. Epidemiologist Álvaro Ramírez, who analyzed the data, said the true numbers are worse, given that the health ministry information only covers grave cases. In addition, Nicaragua has a particularly low testing rate. (EFE, La Prensa Gráfica)
El Salvador
  • El Salvador's Supreme Court ordered President Nayib Bukele to sign off on an emergency reopening law passed by lawmakers. The bill was passed in June, and was then vetoed by Bukele. The National Assembly subsequently overrode the veto. Yesterday's decision is in response to a subsequent legal challenge by Bukele who said the law is unconstitutional -- the judges said it isn't. (Infobae)
  • Former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe resigned his Senate seat on Tuesday. Uribe is in pre-trial detention, at home, while under investigation for alleged witness tampering by the country's Supreme Court. In the resignation letter, which he tweeted, Uribe accused judges of violating his rights by detaining him preventively. He backed a judicial reform proposed by his Democratic Center party that has gained steam amid his court case. (Reuters, Associated Press)
  • An Open Democracy series profiles social leaders in Colombia, who are targeted by mortal violence with disturbing regularity: as of June, 63 social leaders had been assassinated so far in 2020. The first article interviews Cauca region leader Yaneth Mosquera.
  • A video that went viral this week in Mexico shows plastic bags filled with cash bundles apparently being given to two then senior Senate staffers who worked for the opposition National Action Party (PAN) -- though the source, date and location of the filming is unclear. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador showed the full video in his Tuesday press briefing. AMLO wondered if it may have been given to prosecutors by the former chief of state-run oil company Pemex, Emilio Lozoya, who faces bribery charges in a major corruption trial that implicates former president Enrique Peña Nieto, reports Reuters.
  • Lozoya alleges Peña Nieto and his treasury secretary, Luis Videgaray, used the state-owned Pemex as a conduit to “fulfill promises made during the (2012) campaign” — one of many assertions in a leaked 60-page document whose authenticity was confirmed by Mexican authorities yesterday, reports the Associated Press.
  • The Guatemalan government said the United States has deported 127 detained migrants who had suffered from COVID-19 but recovered. The issue of deportations from the U.S. to Guatemala during the coronavirus pandemic has been controversial. (Associated Press)
  • Brazil's government seeks to work with the private sector -- investors and companies -- to help protect the Amazon, according to the country’s environment minister. The government said it will set up three different investment funds, which should provide about $250 million in environmental financing, and setting aside 15% of the rainforest for preservation, which could bring in another 630 million euros ($747 million) in private investor money per year. (Bloomberg)
  • Emergency payments to Brazil’s poor could be extended through the end of the year, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said yesterday, though payouts would be reduced. (Reuters)
    • Gang violence has persisted in Honduran jails, even in maximum-security prisons built specifically to curb criminal group's control, reports InSight Crime. Since November 2019, at least 55 killings have taken place inside Honduras’ prison system, according to InSight Crime’s count of murders by inmates reported in local media.
    • Former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa announced he will run for vice-president in the country's general election next year. He will share the ballot with economist Andres Arauz, a former minister in his own government, for the Union of Hope (UNES) coalition of left-wing parties, indigenous groups and unions. Correa resides in Belgium, and his candidacy could be complicated by a corruption conviction, though the former leader said he is the victim of political persecution. (AFP)
    • Venezuela's gold reserves are at their lowest point in 50 years -- Reuters.
    • Warm relations between Turkey and Venezuela are fueled in part by tensions with the U.S., reports the Associated Press.
    • Former soccer star, 38-year-old George Forsyth, could become Peru's president in next April's election. The mayor of a Lima municipality, Forsyth lacks a clear ideology, and plays the outsider card though he has a decade-long political track record, reports Brendan O'Boyle in Americas Quarterly.
    • Peruvian health authorities approved a Phase 3 clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG). (Reuters)
    • "In spite of being hardest hit by Covid-19, Latin America is not going to be the first region to receive the vaccine in large quantities. Even in the best case scenario, vaccination rates for Covid-19 will probably be under 50% of the region’s population one year from today, but that rate will vary from country to country," according to James Bosworth at the Latin America Risk Report.
    • Haiti's school children missed class this year first due to months of violent unrest, then the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as schools are finally reopening, many parents can no longer afford it, reports Reuters.
    • Unemployment in Haiti has increased by 10 percent in the pandemic context -- Nodal.
    • The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EEAF) joined the investigation into the disappearance of a Buenos Aires province youth in April. Authorities are autopsying a body discovered this weekend that could belong to Facundo Astudillo Castro. President Alberto Fernández reportedly assured the victim's mother that there will not be a coverup if security forces were involved in the youth's disappearance. (Buenos Aires Times)
    I hope you're all staying safe and as sane as possible, given the circumstances ... Comments and critiques welcome, always.


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