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Let South America come to you #1 Reasons to stay away from South America

When you can not go to South America, why do you not bring South America into your home?

Reasons to stay away from South America

Virustime

2020-2021 was no time to go to South America because of a acute respiratory syndrome virus attacking the population badly. Brazil is the Latin American country affected the most by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of July 27, 2021, the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Latin America could be recorded, and Brazil could be placed third highest in the world, the country had reported approximately 19.7 million cases. It was followed by Argentina, with more than 4.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. In total, the region had registered more than 40 million diagnosed patients, as well as a growing number of fatal COVID-19 cases.

As of July 27, 2021, more than 1.3 million people have died due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean. The country with the highest number was Brazil, reporting more than 550 thousand deaths. As a result of the pandemic, Brazil’s GDP is forecast to decline by approximately six percent in 2020. Meanwhile, Mexico ranked second in number of deaths, with over 238 thousand occurrences.

Elena Ruiz, 53, breathes in oxygen with the assistance of a nurse, as part of Ruiz's recovery treatment from COVID-19, in Lima, Peru Peru has more than 2.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19

Classified as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 17, the lambda, or C.37, variant of the coronavirus has already been detected in some US states and at least 29 nations — many of them in Latin America.

In Peru, where it was identified in August 2020, the lambda variant accounted for more than 80% of new infections in June, and it is also spreading rapidly in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.

Coronavirus lambda variant spreads across Latin America

The WHO classified C.37 as a “variant of interest” after it appeared in a number of countries simultaneously. In Peru, where the lambda variant was identified in August 2020, it now accounts for most of new infections.

Elena Ruiz, 53, breathes in oxygen with the assistance of a nurse, as part of Ruiz's recovery treatment from COVID-19, in Lima, Peru Peru has more than 2.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19

Classified as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 17, the lambda, or C.37, variant of the coronavirus has already been detected in some US states and at least 29 nations — many of them in Latin America.

In Peru, where it was identified in August 2020, the lambda variant accounted for more than 80% of new infections in June, and it is also spreading rapidly in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.

“So far we have seen no indication that the lambda variant is more aggressive,”

WHO virologist Jairo Mendez-Rico told DW.

“It is possible that it may exhibit higher infection rates, but we don’t yet have enough reliable data to compare it to gamma or delta.”

Alpha (B.1.1.7), beta (B.1.351) delta (B.1.617.2) and gamma (P.1) are also categorized as “variants of concern” by the WHO. The classification indicates that they are more transmissible and more difficult to treat and can lead to more serious illness.

“Although it is possible, currently there is no indication that variants are more dangerous and lead to increased mortality,”

said Mendez-Rico.

“It is likely that SARS-CoV-2 will become more transmissible throughout the course of its evolution but not necessarily more damaging.”

Time to stay away

The Lambda version spread more quickly than variants deemed far more dangerous by the WHO out of the way, even prevailing over the gamma variant, which had run rampant in neighboring Brazil. But with all the variants going around it is not the ideal time to go to South America when you are not really needed overthere.

Virologist Pablo Tsukayama said lambda was more transmissible, which had helped it spread so quickly in Peru.

“With […] the highest mortality rates in the world, we are the country that has struggled most when it comes to the coronavirus,”

he said.

“Therefore, it is probably no wonder that the new variant has gotten its start here.”

By the end of July, COVID-19 deaths in Peru had surpassed 195,000.

“It is very likely that new variants will appear during a third wave of coronavirus infections during the South American winter between July and September,”

said Tsukayama.

 “They may not be any more lethal but they will definitely be more communicable.”

Last month the landlocked country in south-central South America Paraguay registered 18.09 deaths per million, compared with 2.71 in India, 2.2 in South Africa, 1.01 in the US, and 0.14 in the UK.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted essential health services in most countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, threatening immunization of children and care of expectant mothers and people with chronic conditions, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne warned.

Attractive New World

For many the New World, the Western Hemisphere, or simply the Americas is something which is very attractive and lets us dream a lot. South America is compact and roughly triangular in shape, being broad in the north and tapering to a point — Cape Horn, Chile—in the south.

Having a total area of about 6,878,000 square miles (17,814,000 square km), or roughly one-eighth of the land surface of Earth it has so much to offer, one needs months or years to properly visit it and to taste all the goodness of it.
Mount Aconcagua, in Argentina, near the border with Chile, is not only the continent’s highest point but also the highest elevation in the Western Hemisphere. The Valdés Peninsula, on the southeastern coast of Argentina, includes the lowest point, at 131 feet (40 metres) below sea level. In relation to its area, the continent’s coastline — some 15,800 miles in length — is exceptionally short. San José Gulf was officially decreed a wildlife sanctuary in 1974.

With a grand total of 12 countries packed into the 4th largest continent in the world, South America easily presents a lot of terrain and culture to cover, though not all places are very safe to visit, because of political and crime- but now also because of health risks.

Notwithstanding all the difficulties many countries of that continent have to cover it is a continent teeming with superlatives. According to some it is also next to New Zealand the most of what our fantastic planet has to offer.

South America may very well be the place to visit to see many wonders of the world, but for sure now is not the time to do it. Colouring ‘red’  it looks like you shall have to wait some time before it will be alright to visit it.

But do not worry, if you want already some taste of it, you can get it (if not today) already tomorrow.

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Continues with

Let South America come to you #2 For those with a good taste

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Additional reading

  1. Avoiding to get Water at the price of gold #2 Dealing with effects of a changing climate
  2. 2019 was #1 a Year of Raising fire and voices
  3. CoViD-19 Curation
  4. Challenges of the Post-Pandemic period
  5. Looking at: ‘The rich are getting richer, and the poor are… also getting richer’ by Daniel Hannan

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A look at China wanting to be everywhere in the world

The last two decades we could see how china has more become a hyper capitalist state, it putting all interests in becoming the world-leader in all businesses no matter at what costs. Lots of people had to leave their house because they had to make a place for a great dam or for an immense stadium. Lots of people where put in small apartments with no garden because the government ordered them to move, making place for modern developments.

Nobody can ignore the neo-colonial expansion of China’s post-Mao economic model. The People’s Republic has become an economic superpower that has witnessed continued GDP growth while lifting millions out of poverty.

Head shot of Xi Jinping in 2019. He is wearing a black suit jacket, white shirt and a blue necktie.

Xi Jinping, (°1953), Chinese politician and government official who served as vice president of the People’s Republic of China (2008–13), general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP; 2012– ), and president of China (2013– ).

China wanted to show the world that it is able to restore overland trade routes from China to Central Asia and Europe — the ancient “Silk Road.” In Indonesia, president Xi Jinping of China introduced the concept of a “maritime Silk road,” which is essentially the already well-traveled sea corridor South from China to the Middle East and Europe.  In seven years of implementation, the initiative has become quite controversial, especially in the West.  The controversy is fuelled by a lack of transparency that makes it difficult to get reliable information on the financing involved in the initiative, as well as the specific projects and their terms. There are a growing number of academic efforts, however, to collect and analyse data on ‘The Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI), with a consistent set of findings.

The republic got a lot of African countries in its power by giving them loans and workforce, though many of those Chinese worker were forced to go to work in Africa, often in very bad conditions and months away from their family. At the same time China uses the same colonial tactics of getting as much treasures from those ‘colonies’ as possible, even worse than King Leopold II of Belgium did with the Belgian colonies or other colonial countries did. [Belgium controlled 3 colonies and 3 concessions during its history, the Belgian Congo (modern DRC) from 1908 to 1960, and Ruanda-Urundi (Rwanda and Burundi) from 1922 to 1962. It also had a small concession in China and was a co-administrator of the Tangier International Zone in Morocco. ]

In a smart way the republic of China is gaining more control over several countries widely spread all over the world. By its technological and industrial espionage, it also managed to introduce its ‘own’ technological features in several capitalist countries, having created as such a good stable economic platform or insured economic outlet.

As the owings of developing countries to China have mushroomed debt sustainability is a mounting concern, exacerbated further by the impact of COVID-19 economic shut-downs.  China has given some short-term debt relief but it does not belong to the Paris Club of creditors, and sets its own rules and ethics. By now Beijing has those countries which can’t service their expensive loans in their clamps and power. Question might be if the loans will be converted into strategic extra-territorial acquisitions.

Sri Lanka, as a coveted geopolitical outpost of China, is a case in point. Since the end of the three-decade separatist war there, China’s role in the Indian Ocean has received much attention for its infamous debt-trap led extraterritorial approach. However, within Sri Lanka (and many African countries) the response is mixed – China is both the land grabber, the political influencer, the military supplier and the friendly brother capable of fuelling long-awaited economic growth.

The eyes of China are directed to countries often left aside by Europe and the United States of America, because too poor and of no economical interest because too dangerous or for being highly corrupt and conflict ridden zones. Counties who want some financial help from China may not have alliances with Taiwan or have to stop their relationship with them.

The narrative that China is engaging in problematic debt trap diplomacy has taken off since 2018. Coined the preceding year by an Indian pundit, the term implies that Beijing is purposely striking unsustainable debt-for-infrastructure deals with developing countries along the routes of its ubiquitous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, which a Chinese state-owned firm acquired via a ninety-nine-year lease in 2017 after the Sri Lankan government could not service its loans, has been cited repeatedly as evidence that the Chinese government is practicing debt trap diplomacy. Many countries which do not receive enough aid from Europe or the U.S. hope that China will help them. China does not show any interest in the conflicts those countries may have as long as their are enough goods to explore and to transport to China.
Certain countries are starting to see how China wants to integrate in as many countries as it can.

Poorly planned and badly executed energy and infrastructure deals involving China in Latin American countries like Venezuela and Ecuador have increasingly attracted critical headlines. Even in Europe, Beijing’s efforts to finance and build a railway between the capitals of Hungary and Serbia have run into obstacles and sparked backlash.
The colonial expansion of China is something we would have to watch with Argus eyes also investigating how they treat the people who work for their institutions of firms in that country where they so-called offer their help.
The Chinese government and the developing countries it partners with too often have failed to consult sufficiently with the people most directly affected by grandiose infrastructure projects.
The trending Chinese role model is that of an authoritarian goliath that can make its doctors and billionaires disappear while protecting favoured war-crime offenders and military regimes elsewhere, while meanwhile it exploits a lot of people and makes them work as slave labourers while the managers of the company rake in all the big money.

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