My friend M is still in Cali, Colombia, where there are ongoing protests against the new tax that people there can hardly afford, where the average monthly income a few years ago used to be only $200 or so. (I don't actually understand how people get by, because food prices there are lower than ours, but not THAT much lower. I know multiple generations of families live together...) Police there have been firing indiscriminately into the crowds and have killed altogether about 12-15 people, I think, if you take in all areas. It’s the 3rd biggest city in the country, and was considered the safest to live in.
The grocery stores are running out of food, as I was shown in photos.The city is on lockdown. One of the reasons M urged me to start growing vegetables at home is that he’s facing this actual need himself. I’m just glad he had a lot of supplies laid in due to Covid already. I’m watching the news closely. I don’t want to hear him tell me he has to run to an embassy for safety.
The current president likes to use the police pretty harshly to quell protests and riots. The country has its own George Floyd movement; they’ve endured many incidents of police killings, and last year brought what are called the Javier Ordonez protests, named for a man who was killed by being tasered 20 times by the police.
While the biggest problem talked about in the U.S. is the racist element of police brutality, and this of course is justified, I also wish a more general issue of allover brutality were attended to with urgency. The thin little confused woman who had her arm broken and shoulder dislocated, then left in a cell for over 2 hours while the cops laughed about the video of her arrest just flattened me.
These weren’t racial incidents, but mental health ones. This incident — and the one of the big stocky hispanic man who did absolutely nothing but loiter and got killed for it — affects me because they were both confused people, the lady had dementia and the man some other mental problem. And they were brutalized. I’ve spent too many years caring for tiny little elderly women just like that, fragile people, and I loved the work, I miss it although it was so hard. It makes me horribly angry at those police who hurt her, and the ones who killed that man. They were so defenseless.