#69
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Deepnews Digest #69

Looking at Latin America

Editor: Christopher Brennan
Though countries in Europe and states in the U.S. are pushing towards reopening, the coronavirus continues to spread and the WHO has said the new epicenter of the crisis is Latin America, the subject of this Digest. From buses in Brazil to movies in Mexico, the selection gathered with the Deepnews Scoring Model offers an in-depth look at the region.


Editor’s Note: While this Digest focused specifically on a region of the world, all of our topical newsletters have a global scope, which means you can see much more on what is happening on subjects such as medicine or facial recognition. You can sign up for a free trial, no credit card required, on our website. As always, you can also follow us more closely on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Story Source
Reuters
After going two months without running water at her home on the outskirts of Venezuela’s capital Caracas, Mara Loyo stores it whenever it becomes available, in pots, pans, and even tablespoons.

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Indie Wire
As critical resources for the country’s filmmakers face an uncertain future, the Three Amigos rallied this month to keep a vibrant community alive.

Editor’s Note: One of Mexico’s great exports is its film industry, which like in other countries has been whacked by the economic impact of COVID. However, as Carlos Aguilar explores here, the situation in Mexico is particular. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Brazilian Report
A report from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) shows that Covid-19 has now spread to small Brazilian towns, leaving patients far away from intensive care units. More and more people will be forced to travel long distances in order to seek treatment in large urban centers, according to the study, published on May 20. But this is not the only problem: even for those who live near hospitals, the lack of access to privately held ICU beds prevents many from receiving adequate health care

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Grist
Brazil recently became the country with the second highest number of documented COVID-19 cases in the world, trailing only the United States. Though it still lags its North American neighbor in this raw total, Brazil’s daily number of reported deaths was roughly double that seen in the U.S. this week. The latest data show that the country has suffered roughly 400,000 confirmed cases and 25,000 deaths.

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Washington Post
The virus had changed those, too. They were online now as video chats, but she had kept up with them faithfully, even the one a few days earlier that had started just after her ex-husband had called her from Colombia, berating her for falling behind on her remittances to the children.

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NBC News
SANTIAGO, Chile — The woman anxiously removes the SIM card from the cheap cellphone and cuts the chip into pieces before sweeping the fragments into the trash. When her nerves pass, she allows herself a small sigh of relief.

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University of Miami
The initiative has been tracking public health policy response data to determine how swift or lax implementation of mitigation efforts have impacted the spread of the virus in Latin American countries.

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New York Times
The country is one of the last to reject the strict measures introduced globally to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Families say they are paying the price.

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Miami Herald
Even as Cuba’s official statistics were showing a decrease in new coronavirus cases, Havana itself got another taste of how contagious the new virus really is: One woman was patient zero in a massive outbreak that started in a store and spilled over to a lab facility and a state transport company.

Editor’s Note: With a large Cuban population, the city of Miami is closely tied to the island country that sits to its south. Here Nora Gámez Torres follows what is happening in Havana for the Herald. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Atlas Obscura
“It’s wonderful to be a musician,” says Jorge Galindo. “If I didn’t do it from the heart, I’d be better off as a street sweeper or driving a truck.” Mallika Vora for Atlas Obscura

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Associated Press
When Andrés Manuel López Obrador won Mexico´s presidency after years of agitating for change, many expected a transformative leader who would take the country to the left even as much of Latin America moved right.

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CNN
For months, Latin America watched the rest of the world suffer as the coronavirus spread. It is a spectator no longer.

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Washington Post
When tourists from Mexico, China and Britain became the first covid-19 fatalities in Cusco, Peru, it seemed as if the onetime capital of the Inca Empire might be headed for a significant outbreak.

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Foreign Policy ($)
MEXICO CITY — The coronavirus section of the public cemetery in Iztapalapa consists of rows of wreaths. The municipality in Mexico City has the highest number of confirmed infections in the country, and most of the graves are too fresh for headstones. Workers, who dig for families’ tips, unzip their blue hazmat suits to make it through the heat, then close them up again to carry plastic-wrapped caskets. Only two mourners are allowed per funeral; the remainder gather at the cemetery’s gate.

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Americas Quarterly
A DJ and favela tour guide who took action when no one else would.

Editor’s Note: The Digest this past Wednesday dealt with inequality, an issue particularly present in Latin America. Here Cecilia Tornaghi reports on what Thiago Firmino did to disinfect streets with public services lacking in his favela. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Forbes
While few countries in the world can claim to have been well prepared to tackle the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of factors made Latin American nations particularly ill-placed for the challenge from the outset.

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Latin American Herald Tribune
BOGOTA/WASHINGTON – White flags in Guatemala. Red rags in Colombia. Looting in Venezuelan supermarkets. The crisis unleashed by the coronavirus-triggered lockdowns in Latin America and the Caribbean has caused a resurgence of hunger that threatens to ignite a new wave of social protests in the region, where tens of millions of people were living in extreme poverty prior to the pandemic.

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Global Voices
On May 26, Costa Rica became the sixth country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, after Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, and some parts of Mexico. On Twitter, people began counting down the hours until midnight before filling social media with celebratory messages and photos of happy couples.

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Washington Post
In some ways, López-Gatell is Mexico’s Dr. Fauci. The Mexican epidemiologist has serious academic chops — a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins — and years of experience battling pandemics. But he has staked out a radically different path from many of his peers. Mexico hasn’t imposed a curfew or used police to keep people home. It’s not attempting mass testing for the coronavirus.

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Associated Press
BOGOTA, Colombia — Out of work, broke and left with few good options during the pandemic, a growing number of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia have set up a makeshift camp on a tree-covered patch along a highway outside the capital of Bogota.

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The Conversation
Brazil has emerged as one of the worst-hit countries in the coronavirus crisis, with hundreds of thousands of cases affecting people from all backgrounds. But in the early weeks of the pandemic, in March, many victims of the disease had a similar profile: a maid infected by her employer.

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Inter-Press Service
Social inequality, already so widespread in Latin America, has been exacerbated now that this region is becoming the epicentre of the pandemic, and is taking its toll in lives.

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Haaretz
Across the globe all manner of figures, from the political fringes to the mainstream, are flooding social media and TV shows with their take on why the coronavirus, fake or real, was concocted by the meddling Jew. It was Soros, it was the Mossad, it was the Rothschilds trying to tank the economy. Their posts feel like standing in a European town square during the Black Death.

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Rest of World
Frustrated with the limitations of journey-planning apps, thousands of bus passengers in Brazil have self-organized on WhatsApp to get real-time updates on bus locations, delays, and overcrowding. The self-regulating groups allow riders to provide remarkably accurate information to their peers — and to screen against misinformation. This reflects a long-standing trend of Brazilians stringing together creative bottom-up fixes in the face of an inefficient state and market. Here, the tendency is known as a jeitinho, literally “to find a way.”

Editor’s Note: Here is another from Rio by Rest of World, a website aimed at showcasing stories from places that are often overlooked. Here Jacqueline Lafloufa and Jefferson Puff report on another way residents are working among themselves to make it through. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Project Syndicate
Leaders in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul have devised a strategy for living with the virus, based on key indicators, expert consultations, and enforceable processes. And it has done so in full public view. There are lessons here for governments in richer countries that have yet to develop such a plan.

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