More than 41,500 people died in the United States in 2020, not because of covid-19, but because of gunfire. At the height of the pandemic, there were 592 mass shootings in the United States, or 1.6 armed clashes every day. In 2019, there were 415.
Gun sales broke records in 2020, 23 million in less than a year, 64% more than sales recorded in 2019 when there were more guns in the hands of US civilians than inhabitants: the ratio was 120.5 guns per 100 inhabitants. More than 8 million who bought guns in 2020 did so for the first time (National Shooting Sports Foundation).
To the shame of humanity, it was not only George Floyd who died of asphyxiation while a police officer pressed his neck with his knee. According to Mapping Police Violence, 316 people of African descent were shot and killed by police in the United States, representing 28% of the 1,127 people killed by law enforcement with firearms in 2020.
In the wake of such an atrocity, hundreds of anti-racism protests took place in the US, resulting in more than 10,000 protesters being arrested, including 117 journalists. According to The Guardian, police officers beat and pepper-sprayed reporters. In contrast, only 2% of police involved in shootings were charged with a crime.
This flagrant violation of human rights to life, freedom of speech and expression, due process, and non-discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity was ignored by the UN Human Rights Council, but it also occurred in the midst of one of the worst pandemics afflicting humanity.
While five Americans died every hour from firearms, 64 died from COVID-19 due to the incompetence of a government that, despite calling itself a world power, having vast resources and not being financially strapped, ignored the risks of the virus from the outset, prioritizing economic activity over the lives of the population. The United States leads the world in the number of infections and deaths caused by the coronavirus, which means that the right to health and life are seriously violated in the United States.
William Foege, the former director of the US Center for Communicable Diseases, called what the US government has unleashed by its incompetence in containing the virus a massacre. For its part, The Washington Post called the government’s actions regarding the pandemic “state-sanctioned murder” where “the elderly, factory workers, and African and Hispanic Americans” are deliberately slaughtered.
Even the right to education has not been guaranteed. Access to the internet is fundamental to the pandemic educational pursuit. Yet in the country with the supposedly greatest technological advancement in the world (after China) 17 million children live in households without internet connection and more than 7 million do not have a computer (according to the 2018 census).
Inequality and therefore poverty and hunger in the United States increased in 2020. More than 50 million people, i.e. 17% of the population, were food insecure in 2020, i.e. they had nothing to eat, including 1 in 4 children (Feeding America). Let us recall that, in 2019, according to the Census Bureau, 40 million Americans lived in poverty and more than half a million lacked permanent shelter, figures that increased in pandemic (Reports on the violation of human rights in the United States prepared by the Information Office of the State Council of China).
Some 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs during the pandemic and the unemployment rate reached 21.2 percent. Paradoxically, in less than 12 months, the country’s 614 billionaires increased their wealth by US$ 931 billion (Forbes) thanks to government policies aimed at protecting the stock market. The 50 richest Americans have as much wealth as the 165 million poorest people in the country (Bloomberg).
Not to mention the US government’s violation of the human rights of the migrant population. In 2020, 21 people died in immigration custody. Of the 266,000 migrant children detained and separated from their parents or family members, more than 25,000 have been detained for more than 100 days, 1,000 for more than 1 year and some have spent more than five years in custody. Several asylum seekers were threatened and forced to sign their own deportation orders, those who refused were waterboarded, beaten, pepper-sprayed, and handcuffed for fingerprinting (State Council Information Office of China).
Not content with violating the human rights of their own population, US governments, through coercive measures, but also through other economic, psychological, and political actions framed in unconventional wars, also violate those of all peoples who do not align themselves with their interests to the point of committing crimes against humanity. They try to justify their actions with the alleged violation of human rights in our countries, in addition to the discourse of the failed state, the presence of alleged dictatorial regimes, and more recently with the narrative of terrorism and drug trafficking. The discourse which, of course, they spread without the slightest proof.
Despite multiple calls by the United Nations for the lifting of so-called “sanctions” during the pandemic, the US government intensified the financial and economic blockade against Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, to name but a few countries.
We do not know what surprises us more, whether it is the shameful, public, and notorious double standards of the US governments on human rights or the brazenness of not abiding by the decisions that have been democratically taken in the UN against the coercive measures. How many years have we been voting against the genocidal blockade of the Cuban people? At least since 1992. Have we asked ourselves why the US does not obey the decisions taken by the clear and overwhelming majority of UN member states?
These votes, although very important insofar as they show the will of the majority of countries that are committed to justice, peace, and the self-determination of peoples, have become a kind of moral judgment that the country to the north does not seem to care about.
We are not doing something right; it is necessary to review the strategy that countries have put forward against unilateral coercive measures. These votes have not been enough. In our opinion, what the countries should debate and vote on in the UN Assembly is not only to state whether they are in favor or against unilateral coercive measures but also to move forward in the creation of a new world economic and political architecture to prevent the US from “sanctioning”, threatening, blockading and subjugating entire peoples in order to impose its rules, its economic system and take control of their wealth.
Source: Ultimas Noticias, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English