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Burning Spear News

With 20 percent death rate in Tijuana, Africans yearn for organization

May 18, 2020
Matsemela Odom, Chair, Africans Charge Genocide - San Diego

As of May 8, there have been 4,929 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Diego County and 165 deaths. The death rate of 3.3 percent, San Diego County’s COVID-19 death rate is 55 percent of the U.S. national average. 

Tijuana, the Baja California city across the false border, comparatively has 1,136 verified cases—77 percent fewer cases than San Diego—but 226 deaths!

Tijuana’s staggering death rate is more than double the Mexican national average.

According to an article in U.S. News and World Report on Tijuana’s COVID-19 deaths, as of  May 8, “more than 21 percent of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus in the city do not survive.... In the rest of Mexico, the figure was just under 10 percent.”

The contrasting experiences of people in Tijuana and San Diego are the result of parasitic capitalism and colonialism. 

In San Diego and Tijuana, Africans have waged The People’s War Against the Colonial Virus to protect the African community, raise consciousness and build organization.

San Diego thrives on parasitic relationship to Tijuana

Founded in the late 19th century, Tijuana was developed by American boosters for the sole purpose of becoming a United States tourist destination. Tijuana remains a popular site for food, shopping, gambling and sexual tourism.

The prices of medical care, pharmaceuticals and dental care in the United States are skyrocketing and U.S. residents regularly go to Tijuana for cheaper services. A California Highway Patrol officer recently stopped a woman who had gone to Tijuana for liposuction during the shelter order.

The underdevelopment of Tijuana is the result of not only San Diego but the U.S. parasite feasting on the economy of Baja, California and Mexico.

High rate of Tijuana deaths the result of colonialism

In April, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that San Diego had a surplus of over 800 ventilators. On May 8, there were 334 hospitalizations. There are a total of 955 hospitalizations to date.

San Diego is home to what is supposed to be the best university hospital systems in the U.S.

In a city of approximately 1.4 million residents, there are over 30 hospitals, including UC San Diego Hospital, as well as Sharp Memorial, Scripps Mercy, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, as well as multiple military and Veterans Administration hospitals in the area. There is also a broad network of community clinics.

Tijuana has 1.3 million residents but only three public hospitals. Bloomberg News reported  that in Tijuana doctors were, “dropping like flies.”  At Tijuana General Hospital, the city’s largest, 500 of the 1200 workers are either sick or furloughed from COVID-19.  

According to Alonso Perez, the Secretary of Health for Baja California, there are ten ventilators in all of Tijuana. 

“We’re trying to bring as many as we can get from neighboring communities such as Mexicali and Ensenada,” Perez stated. 

Perez told reporters that he hoped to get as many as 60 ventilators but there has been no evidence that San Diego was sending health care professionals or ventilators to its “sister city.”

Building Black Power at the border

Following a series of protests by Africans in Tijuana in July 2019, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) San Diego Branch organized Black Power at the Border.

Black Power at the Border is a working group of its Africans Charge Genocide campaign to address border-related issues. Black Power at the Border has brought political organization to Africans in Tijuana. 

Over 5,000 Africans live in Tijuana. With an average monthly rent of nearly $2,000, many Africans from San Diego have been pushed to Tijuana.

Africans from Cameroon, Haiti, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Central America and other nations are in Tijuana due the push-pull factors of neocolonial violence and hopes of labor opportunities.

The conditions for Africans in Tijuana are dire but Africans recognize the need for unity, internationalism and organization.

In 2016, InPDUM San Diego forces partnered with local humanitarian groups to bring resources to Africans in Tijuana. Those mobilizations dissipated by 2017. 

Black Power at the Border has vastly differed from the previous outreach in Tijuana.  The working group dispenses food and clothing that they obtain through donation drives in San Diego.

The Burning Spear newspaper and other Uhuru Movement literature is distributed, new contacts are signed up and outreach protocols are followed. 

This has allowed for the recruitment of Africans into the local InPDUM branch in Tijuana. There are currently six InPDUM members in Tijuana. 

Two of the members were born in the U.S. and four have recently migrated from Cameroon. Many other Africans participate in the outreach.

Africans in Tijuana have gravitated towards African Internationalist organization because of their shared beliefs in the teachings of Kwame Nkrumah and Thomas Sankara. 

Some of the comrades and volunteers in Tijuana came to the U.S. with histories of progressive activism. Others have learned the crucial importance of self-reliance and unity as they waged their courageous struggles against the state militaries in Central America and southern Mexico.

Waging The People’s War in Tijuana

Once the COVID-19 pandemic reached the San Diego-Tijuana area, many Africans immediately looked to InPDUM for leadership. 

The Uhuru Movement’s Project Black Ankh and The People’s War Commission health protocols materials were issued to comrades in Tijuana via Facebook and WhatsApp as soon as it was available. The African community was instructed on social distancing, cleaning, mask-wearing and boosting our immune systems. 

Donated resources were sent to members in Tijuana to acquire food and cleaning products.  InPDUM comrades had initiated The People’s War protocols in Tijuana before San Diego or Tijuana had put shelter orders in place.

According to the organizers, some Africans have gotten sick but have recovered. No organizers of the InPDUM Tijuana branch have died. Yet problems still persist.

It was reported to the working group that the problems they face amid the COVID-19 pandemic are the same that preceded the pandemic: housing, work, food and health care.  They really appreciate the work of Black Power at the Border and look forward to continued unity.

Join the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement at InPDUM.org.

Let’s Build Project Black Ankh in Mexico!

Fight The People’s War!

Smash Colonial Borders!

 

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