COVID Update: Guatemala

GUATEMALA – Artesana Collective

Andrea with a box of teaching tools

As of May 1, 2020, Guatemala reports 599 confirmed cases of COVID-19: 517 are active; 66 have recovered; and 16 people have died.1 The first case was confirmed on March 13; a Guatemalan citizen returning from Spain. On March 16, the Guatemalan President, Alejandro Giammattei, ordered all borders closed and suspended all international flights. This was followed by an imposed 4:00pm to 4:00am curfew across the country.

Several measures have been put in place by Guatemalan authorities  to prevent the spread of the virus; community markets are only allowed to open between 4:00 am and noon. Because many people cannot work, hundreds of arrests are occurring daily for breaking the curfew, as people feel the economic effects of the mandatory quarantine. Among these are Guatemalans who have been deported from the US during the pandemic. Around eighty percent of the deportees who have tested positive belong to rural indigenous communities where the government is taking more strict measures to guarantee the quarantine. It is important to highlight that in some regions, people have threatened and attacked deportees.

According to CoDev’s Guatemalan Partner the Artesana Collective, a non-profit association that supports women deprived of their liberty and their children, the preventive measures are also affecting this target population. One of the measures taken is the suspension of all visits to detention centres. This includes elderly women as well as mothers living in detention with their young children (newborns to four years of age).

With the support of CoDev’s Canadian Partner the Hawthorne Foundation and individual donors, Artesana is able to provide meals, hygiene and cleaning supplies for more than 100 boys and girls across the country. With the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, Artesana’s General Coordinator, Andrea Barrios, is requesting support and donations to enable the organization to continue to providing emergency relief, as well as for their ongoing work. Please watch Andrea Barrios’s message here.

CoDevelopment Canada stands in solidarity with the Artesana Collective and, more importantly, with women deprived of their liberty and their children. It is important to highlight that they do not have a back-up movement behind them that strengthens actions in favour of these women, or those formerly deprived of liberty. The women’s and feminist movements usually do not include those formerly deprived of liberty in their demands, both at the national and the international levels. On the contrary there is a great deal of prejudice against this population and those who support them. You can donate here to support the Artesana Collective.

1 https://www.prensalibre.com/guatemala/comunitario/casos-de-coronavirus-en-guatemala/

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