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The Macabre Dance

By: Rolando J. Vivas

The signal, even today is confusing, the president points out that we should come out of the confinement and out to the streets and that we should lose the fear of the pandemic, I agree that we must lose fear, as we have lost fear of many other things, always with caution , we must re start the economy, the damage of an inactive economy becomes greater the longer it happens like this, if you close your store, the client will go to other stores, your suppliers will stop caring for you and your business will fall into oblivion, so it is with the country, the economy must be saved, and those who work in the formal economy will surely find a way to do it in a safe way, with more support, and with the possibility of working from home as much as possible. Our problems today are two, informality and our life outside of work.

Informality is an evil that has affected Mexico for decades, more than half of our economy is informal, a large part is on the streets and a large part lives day by day, it may be thought that informality does not contribute to the economy national because it does not pay taxes, in part it is correct, but if it pays “taxes” in the form of extortions by floor inspectors who request illicit payments in exchange for not closing them, thus, informality becomes the petty cash of the most corrupt part of the government, and a large part of the government, it is not convenient for this loot to disappear, it is money that is not registered and that falls into someone’s pockets, and the interest of this corrupt part of the government is to grow it even more, that Informality cannot work from home, it has to take to the streets, and it becomes a sector affected by the pandemic, it is not surprising that in the south of the country, where there is more informality, are the critical point of contagion in Mexico, even worse, many of the informal sector workers move on the public transport, a forgotten sector that the government refuses to pay attention to, putting the lives of thousands of people at risk on a daily basis.

Within the formality, there are many companies that are complying with the measures indicated by the authorities, the distance is taken care of, mouth covers are used, temperature measurements are made, even, you can work from home, and in the worst case , has the support of a health system, the IMSS, the main problem in the formal sector, and what puts it at risk is the life that takes place beyond working hours, when it thinks about what to do with its time free, go to the movies, go to a restaurant, go to mass, go to the birthday of a relative or acquaintance, and it is there, where the risk of contagion becomes greater, and where there seems to be no proper protocol and education and information necessary to raise awareness and really convey the seriousness of this contingency, no way has been seen to educate society to guide themselves in their free time.

This morning I heard the secretary of education speak about the benefits of water and soap over chlorine, but I did not hear him making relevant proposals for education by August, in which schools are going to supposedly be reactivated, I did not hear him saying that it will be done so that the students are protected when traveling on school transport, in the canteens and patios of the schools, in the classrooms themselves, how they are going to adapt, how they are going to guide the children, I did not hear any of that, for me, the school year that has just passed, unfortunately is a lost year, a year in which no progress was made, I had to see my children’s teachers who were not prepared to use technology and teach distance classes, listen to colleagues who study in universities, how these did not have the appropriate platforms, and we saw that we were not really prepared for distance classes, and from what I could hear in the morning, we still are not.

The government did not act in an organized way to hit the outbreak of infections with the hammer at the beginning, when confinement for a couple of weeks could have “flattened” the curve, so the subsequent dance that involves living with the virus, has turned into a macabre dance, now all that remains is to go out on the street and take extreme precautions by ourselves, to avoid that the economy does not go lower, to think that in informality, the fee charged by the virus will be much higher and to think that the educational delay will continue. How will the government attack informality, if it is interested in doing so, will it really make the effort to integrate this part of the economy into formality? Will it really educate through useful information to the population to prevent contagion in public places where crowds occur? Will there be more and more adequate training for the teaching staff to improve the quality of education? this is the “new normality in Mexico”, the time has come upon us and it does not seem that we are moving along.