"President Trump on Wednesday signed into law a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package aimed at helping Americans impacted by the coronavirus," The Hill reported Wednesday. It will go into effect in 15 days. The measure, which was previously approved by the House of Representatives, passed the Senate Wednesday in a 90-8 vote. It "includes provisions offering paid leave benefits for Americans, bolstered unemployment benefits and free diagnostic testing for the virus," The Hill noted. What does this mean for the US economy during this coronavirus outbreak?
On Tuesday, "Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported thirty-three people from the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) to Mexico and possibly other countries," the Yakima Immigrant Response Network wrote in a Thursday Facebook post. The network reported the on-boarding at Yakima Airport of thirty men and three women, all from the NWDC in Tacoma, [Washington], a facility located in greater Seattle, a region with the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths.
Despite Governor Jay Inslee’s recommendation to limit as much as possible large gatherings under fifty people, to practice social distancing at all times, and the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendation to cancel all non-essential plane travel, especially international travel, ICE continues its unnecessary forced transportation of immigrants and migrants across the country and beyond the US border, endangering the lives of detained people and potentially further spreading the Coronavirus from the hardest-hit metropolitan area in North America. These deportations reveal an agency failing to respect the United States government’s efforts to contain the novel COVID-19 pandemic. What's going on here?
"Brazilians on Wednesday held what was described as the largest protest against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to date, but the demonstration did not take place in the streets," Common Dreams reported Thursday. What’s going on in Brazil? "Instead, voluntarily confined to their homes to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, millions of people in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro took to their balconies and windows to demand Bolsonaro's ouster over his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, which the president continues to downplay even after more than a dozen members of his inner circle tested positive for the disease." What's the difference between what’s happening in Brazil and what’s happening in Spain and Italy?
A Tuesday headline in The Grayzone reads: "US ramps up sanctions devastating Venezuela’s health sector as coronavirus spreads." The article says, "Promising to 'smash' Venezuela’s government during a 'maximum pressure March,' Trump has imposed crushing sanctions that force Venezuela to spend three times as much as non-sanctioned countries on coronavirus testing kits." What has happened to diplomacy and soft power? Could this be considered virtual germ warfare?
Joia Jefferson Nuri — Political strategist and CEO of In The Public Eye Communications.
Ray Baker — Political analyst and host of the podcast Public Agenda.
Maru Mora-Villalpando — Nationally known immigrant rights activist, co-founder of the Latinx organization Mijente and community organizer with Northwest Detention Center Resistance.
Dr. Gerald Horne — Professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including "Blows Against the Empire: US Imperialism in Crisis."
Teri Mattson — Code Pink Latin America coordinator and founder and coordinator for the Campaign to End US and Canada Sanctions Against Venezuela.
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