Bolivia feeds its hungry while Republicans let Americans starve
Bolivia's new President Luis Arce leaves the Congress on his inauguration day in La Paz, Bolivia, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. | AP Photo/Juan Karita

It is a tale of two countries regarding how Bolivia and the United States treat their people. On the one hand, there is Bolivia, a country that has embraced socialism, has overwhelmingly elected a progressive, anti-imperialist president, Luis Arce, and a country that has just initiated a program of “Bonuses Against Hunger” to provide relief to the draconian hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the drastic economic downturn attributed to the fascist-leaning, election-defeated Áñez regime.

On the other hand, there is the United States, a country that largely embraced the racist despot, Donald Trump. It is a country that has millions of hungry citizens in lines of vehicles stretching for miles waiting for food, and tens of thousands of households not knowing where their next meal will come from. It is a country where the government is deadlocked in providing any kind of sorely needed aid to its beleaguered masses, despite having huge resources that they will not dispense to provide small stimulus checks to alleviate misery.

In the midst of what is normally considered the most joyous time of the year, Congress is the Scrooge of the holiday season.

Keep in mind, of course, that none of our representatives in the Senate or House of Representatives will miss a paycheck of their own this Christmas. This is a fact not lost on the masses in the streets. Notwithstanding the good intentions of our new President-Elect Joe Biden, the objective reality remains that working families face a historic Scrooge for Xmas 2020. The government could care less with the Republican Party bearing the heartless hallmark of Marie Antionette.

Bolivia a shining example of socialist compassion

The bonus (the equivalent of 12,000 Argentinian pesos or $145 U.S. currency), is being given to more than 4 million Bolivians with emphasis on those between 18 and 60 who have no source of income, mothers, pregnant women, the elderly with no pensions, citizens with disabilities, and those who receive the Universal Bonus. Emphasis is also directed to the rural areas abandoned by the de facto government of the Áñez cabal. It must also be noted that Bolivia is a majority Indigenous nation whose Native populace resides mostly in those agrarian regions of the country.

At the same time in the U.S., 1.5 million New Yorkers gather at food pantries because they can’t afford groceries. The statistics are appalling and disgraceful. Nationally, 26 million people, including millions of children, say they do not have enough food to eat.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 50 million people are experiencing so-called food insecurity, but I prefer the term hunger and shall use it henceforth.

More than 35 million people were hungry in 2019. In 2018, 14.3 million U.S. households were hungry with limited or uncertain access to adequate food supply. Households with children are more likely to experience hunger. More than 10 million children lived in hunger-besieged households, even before the pandemic. Every part of the country has families experiencing hunger in rural and suburban communities. Moreover, countless households that are hungry do not qualify for federal nutrition programs because the government regulations are unrealistic.

Presently, the food banks are struggling to provide sustenance for the undernourished masses with 1 in 6 families with children not having enough to eat. According to Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the country, by the end of 2020 more than 50 million people will go hungry. I would think this is a conservative estimate.

Hunger is decimating the country

A hunger crisis is sweeping the nation with states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Texas, Michigan, and South Carolina reporting linesmiles longof cars at food banks, with people waiting hours to pick up just enough food to stave off starvation. People of color, Indigenous, African American, and Latino are being the hardest hit. Other states give similar reports.

Of the 25 U.S. counties experiencing the worst hunger, only four have majority white populations. Recent Census Bureau data discloses that 27% of African American and 23% of Latino or Hispanic households with children lack enough to eat compared with 12% of white families.

In San Antonio, the second-largest city in Texas, the food bank was at one time distributing eight semi-trucks of food every day. Now, because of an exponential increase in need, food is being rationed. The facility is now feeding close to 120,000 people, double the 60,000 during pre-pandemic times.

In Houston, Texas, thousands of cars start lining up in the predawn hours for free meals. In Atlanta, Georgia, cars stretch for blocks for free food. In all other parts of “the richest country in the world” the situation is the same or worse. Remember, this is Trump’s America.

There are political pundits who tout that it is time for America to reassert its leadership role in the world since there will be a new administration. I maintain that it is high time, with all due respect to President-elect Biden, for other countries to be looked at as a model for the world to follow. One of those countries should be Bolivia, instead of the callous example of a hardened plutocracy illustrated by the United States.


CONTRIBUTOR

Albert Bender
Albert Bender

Albert Bender is a Cherokee activist, historian, political columnist, and freelance reporter for Native and Non-Native publications. He was an organizer and delegate to the First and Second Intercontinental Indian Conferences held in Quito, Ecuador and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Recently, he has been an active participant and reporter in the Standing Rock struggle in North Dakota. He is an attorney and is currently writing a legal treatise on Native American sovereignty. He is also writing a book on the war crimes committed by the U.S. against the Maya people in the Guatemalan civil war of the late 20th century. He is also the recipient of several Eagle Awards by the Tennessee Native American Eagle Organization and a former Director of Native American Legal Departments and a Tribal Public Defender.

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