Madrid. Spain. The neighborhood associations of Carabanchel, Villaverde, Usera, Puente and Villa de Vallecas categorically rejected the proposal of selective confinement of their neighborhoods to stop the advance of Covid-19. About thirty of these groups, together with the FRAVM, made the “Manifesto for the Dignity of the South in the face of the second wave” public, a forceful writing that reviews a good part of the endemic problems and the abandonment of the Administration that these districts have suffered for decades and serves to confront the “stigmatization, exclusion and territorial discrimination”. We do not share everything in the following statement, even reject some parts (like the part about sharing a police station in Usera and Villaverde). Still we think its an important read about the growing resistance in Madrid against classist cofinement measures in the framework of COVID-19.
Manifesto for the Dignity of the South in the face of the second wave
From the neighborhood associations in the south of the city of Madrid we want to express our strongest rejection to the classist and racist policies that the government of the Community of Madrid is developing during this second wave of COVID-19 focused on the discrimination of the residents of the south.
Instead of protecting, caring and preventing the most vulnerable population of our city from suffering as they are suffering the highest rates of infection, they have opted for stigmatization, exclusion and territorial discrimination.
It has also opted for the politics of fear, for blaming “individual behavior”, as if our neighborhoods were the only ones where the rules are occasionally broken, or as if we had not seen inappropriate behavior promoted and encouraged by the administrations themselves, such as bullfights exceeding capacity, demonstrations in neighborhoods with high income in a state of emergency, denialist demonstrations without security measures, terraces and venues full of people…
They have decided that those who cannot afford a private car to work, those who because of their precarious jobs and/or in sectors such as cleaning, the hotel industry or commerce, facing the public, those who cannot afford an apartment (not to mention luxury apartments for quarantine) for their family because they cannot even pay the rent for a room… all of them, must assume that they will be infected and that they will also be confined “because of them”.
These neighbors would like to know:
If it is possible to do selective PCRs  in this case in neighborhoods with other socio-demographic characteristics, or perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy was sought by doing selective PCRs in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of working people.
We would like to know why COVID points have not been created so as not to saturate our health centers, why tracking is not carried out, why PCR results take seven days to be given, why there is no medical tracking of quarantined patients, why there are no sanctions for those who do not comply with protection and prevention rules…
We have many more questions, such as why social assistance is not intensified, since it takes months for our neighbors to get help (which sometimes does not even cover their basic needs in a situation of not only social but also health emergency).
The virus has served as an excuse to sow hatred and fear among our neighbors. The choice has been made to point the finger at the weakest link in the chain… instead of talking about what is really important for the South:
Where is the Health Center of Butarque that has been asked for, for more than a decade, to avoid the absolute overcrowding of the Center of Los Rosales?
How are they going to split up classrooms when they build parking lots on the plots of land intended for educational purposes?
And wouldn’t we need more resources to alleviate the social vulnerability that has existed since this city was built, or is it a coincidence that the districts with the worst relative indicators of life expectancy, educational level, average household income, unemployment rate, cadastral value of housing, rate of demand for dependents… are the ones that are decided to be confined?
How many of the 200 measures presented in 2016 by the associations of Villaverde necessary for the equalization of the territory and the opportunities of our neighborhood have been carried out?
Have you considered that districts like Usera and Villaverde cannot share a police station? Perhaps with more resources in security, medication and prevention to improve coexistence, there would be less impunity.
How are we going to protect the children in Usera if we don’t have pediatricians at the Joaquin Rodrigo Health Center?
Among many other questions, countless.
For these governments we are the cheap labor of this “global city”, we are the place where everything that the city needs but is bothered by (sewage treatment plants, refuse incinerators, polluting industry for decades …), we are the ones to confine when things are not going well. But we are tired of putting up with it. We are eternally forgotten neighborhoods and that’s why we oppose these measures, we call on our neighbors to reclaim the Dignity of the South, without us there would be no care, no clean streets and spaces, no food at home, no purified water… because “our way of life” is the way of life that we are condemned to due to lack of investment, not the one we chose.
When the school ratios are met, when the doctor/patient ratio is known and our health centers are functioning, when the necessary trackers are hired, when using public transportation does not imply overcrowding, when the contract for cleaning our streets is worth the same as that of the rich neighborhoods, when PCR is done for the entire city… then, only then, if nothing has changed, we will be confined. A Southern Development Plan is needed, a new Investment Plan that will reduce the social gap in our city, in our region. That will be the only way that the South will agree to stop the contagion.
AV La Unidad de Villaverde Este
AV Los Rosales
Asociación del Comercio de Villaverde
AV Los Hogares
AV La Unidad de San Cristóbal
AV La Incolora
AC Gente de Villaverde
AV Barriada San Fermín
AV La Mancha
AV Barrio Moscardó
Asamblea Vecinal de Perales del Río-Getafe
AV Doña Carlota Numancia
AV Palomeras Bajas
AV El Pozo
AV La Viña
AV Kasko Viejo de Vallecas
AV Puente de Valllecas-San Diego
AV Norte Albufera
AV La Paz de Entrevías
AV Nuevas Palomeras
Coordinadora de Asociaciones Vecinales de Carabanchel
AV Carabanchel Alto
AV PAU del Ensanche de Vallecas
AV La Unión UVA de Vallecas
AV La Colmena de Santa Eugenia
Colectivo 15M de Villa de Vallecas
 PCR: In this case a COVID19 test.
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