2021 Latin America and the Caribbean in Review: The Pink Tide Rises Again

Roger D. Harris

Orinoco Tribune | January 01, 2022

US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean continued in a seamless transition from Trump to Biden, but the terrain over which it operated shifted left. The balance between the US drive to dominate its “backyard” and its counterpart, the Bolivarian cause of regional independence and integration, continued to tip portside in 2021 with major popular electoral victories in Chile, Honduras, and Peru. These follow the previous year’s reversal of the coup in Bolivia. 

Central has been the struggle of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) countries – particularly Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua – against the asphyxiating US blockade and other regime-change measures. Presidential candidate Biden pledged to review Trump’s policy of US sanctions against a third of humanity. The presumptive intention of the review was to ameliorate the human suffering caused by these unilateral coercive measures, considered illegal under international law. Following the review, Biden has instead tightened the screws, more effectively weaponizing the COVID crisis

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Effects of covid-19 pandemic on life expectancy and premature mortality in 2020: time series analysis in 37 countries

Nazrul Islam, research fellow1,  Dmitri A Jdanov, head of laboratory of demographic data23,  Vladimir M Shkolnikov, research scientist23,  Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine45,  Ichiro Kawachi, professor of social epidemiology6,  Martin White, professor of population health research7,  Sarah Lewington, professor of epidemiology and medical statistics18,  Ben Lacey, associate professor1

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2021-066768 (Published 03 November 2021)

Abstract

Objective To estimate the changes in life expectancy and years of life lost in 2020 associated with the covid-19 pandemic.

Design Time series analysis.

Setting 37 upper-middle and high income countries or regions with reliable and complete mortality data.

Participants Annual all cause mortality data from the Human Mortality Database for 2005-20, harmonised and disaggregated by age and sex.

Main outcome measures Reduction in life expectancy was estimated as the difference between observed and expected life expectancy in 2020 using the Lee-Carter model. Excess years of life lost were estimated as the difference between the observed and expected years of life lost in 2020 using the World Health Organization standard life table.

Results Reduction in life expectancy in men and women was observed in all the countries studied except New Zealand, Taiwan, and Norway, where there was a gain in life expectancy in 2020. No evidence was found of a change in life expectancy in Denmark, Iceland, and South Korea. The highest reduction in life expectancy was observed in Russia (men: −2.33, 95% confidence interval −2.50 to −2.17; women: −2.14, −2.25 to −2.03), the United States (men: −2.27, −2.39 to −2.15; women: −1.61, −1.70 to −1.51), Bulgaria (men: −1.96, −2.11 to −1.81; women: −1.37, −1.74 to −1.01), Lithuania (men: −1.83, −2.07 to −1.59; women: −1.21, −1.36 to −1.05), Chile (men: −1.64, −1.97 to −1.32; women: −0.88, −1.28 to −0.50), and Spain (men: −1.35, −1.53 to −1.18; women: −1.13, −1.37 to −0.90). Years of life lost in 2020 were higher than expected in all countries except Taiwan, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and South Korea. In the remaining 31 countries, more than 222 million years of life were lost in 2020, which is 28.1 million (95% confidence interval 26.8m to 29.5m) years of life lost more than expected (17.3 million (16.8m to 17.8m) in men and 10.8 million (10.4m to 11.3m) in women). The highest excess years of life lost per 100 000 population were observed in Bulgaria (men: 7260, 95% confidence interval 6820 to 7710; women: 3730, 2740 to 4730), Russia (men: 7020, 6550 to 7480; women: 4760, 4530 to 4990), Lithuania (men: 5430, 4750 to 6070; women: 2640, 2310 to 2980), the US (men: 4350, 4170 to 4530; women: 2430, 2320 to 2550), Poland (men: 3830, 3540 to 4120; women: 1830, 1630 to 2040), and Hungary (men: 2770, 2490 to 3040; women: 1920, 1590 to 2240). The excess years of life lost were relatively low in people younger than 65 years, except in Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and the US where the excess years of life lost was >2000 per 100 000.

Conclusion More than 28 million excess years of life were lost in 2020 in 31 countries, with a higher rate in men than women. Excess years of life lost associated with the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 were more than five times higher than those associated with the seasonal influenza epidemic in 2015.

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CUBA’S FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Cuba Will Vaccinate Its Entire Population against COVID-19 In 2021

Nuria Barbosa León and Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver

Granma | January 26, 2021

The BioCubaFarma enterprise group is adjusting capacity to make possible the administration of Soberana 02 to more than 150,000 persons, while a new clinical trial with children has been launched, as more steps are taken along the path to vaccinating the entire population. Photo: BioCubaFarma

Cuba’s national public health system is waging a hard battle against the new coronavirus, sparing no effort and overcoming physical and intellectual fatigue.

The Party and government’s strong political will has made this possible, along with the impressive work of our scientists who have again reiterated that Cuba will be among the first countries in the world to vaccinate its entire population in 2021, despite the tightening of the U.S. blockade of the island over the past 12 months, stated Dr. Eduardo Martínez Díaz, president of the BioCubaFarma state pharmaceutical enterprise group, on his Twitter account.Read More »

STRUGGLE IN LATIN AMERICA

2021 Begins with More Assassinations in Colombia

Peoples Dispatch | January 05, 2021

“No to war. We defend life”. Photo: Colombia Informa

The humanitarian tragedy in Colombia continues into 2021. In the first four days of this year, two social leaders, two former combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and a family member of an ex-combatant have been assassinated in the country.

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Forces (FARC) political party denounced the murder of former guerrilla fighter Duván Arled Galíndez Nadia on January 3. The party was created as part of the peace agreements signed by the insurgent group and the national government in 2016.Read More »

THE WRATH OF U.S. EMPIRE

2021’s Most Pressing Humanitarian Crises Are All Victims of US War, Regime Change

Alan Macleod

MintPress News | December 16, 2020

Syria US Feature photo

The International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) yearly report on the world’s most pressing humanitarian situations has just been published, with the three most disastrous cases — Yemen, Afghanistan, and Syria — all the product of decades of interventionist U.S. foreign policy.

For the third year in a row, Yemen has topped the IRC list, the report estimating that 80% of the country’s 29 million citizens are in need of humanitarian assistance. “The world is facing unprecedented humanitarian emergencies—as well as a political crisis of inaction by world leaders,” they warn.Read More »