Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Can we all get along?

By Magaly C. Holtz – After I experienced in Los Angeles when I was living there, the riot of 1992, a thought remained on my mind: Could it happen again?

And it happened. Protests erupt again across the US following the death of George Floyd by the police.

I remembered April 1992 It’s etched in my memory. It was one of the worse race riots in American history. The violence erupted after 4 white police officers were acquitted of beating Rodney King.

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The police brutality was capture on video by a civilian that recorded the situation from his balcony. The footage showed the officers repeatedly striking, kicking and, using a stun gun on Rodney King when he was on the ground. It was broadcast by KTLA a local TV station in Los Angeles.

After the tragic verdict the outraged of the African Americans was manifested on a riot that lasted 6 days, 63 people killed and approximately 2,833 injured people.

It was chaotic: people in the middle of the street screaming, throwing stuff to cars,  broking windows, looting the stores that sold electronics, people going crazy at groceries stores- I recalled when I went to Pavillions in West Hollywood, the shelves where almost empty-

That was civil unrest by people who were fed up believing that the legal system, the justice system was going to work for them, for the communities with different racial groups, poor black, and Latino communities.

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This was the tip of the iceberg in the South of Los Angeles that began years earlier in 1965 with the Watts Riots.

“Can we all get along”?

Watching CNN this afternoon I saw a familiar title: Protest erupt across US following the death of George Floyd calling for justice.

And I remembered also the words of filmmaker John Singleton, who was outside the Court House of Simi Valley in 1992 where the trial of the police officers took place: “… the verdict lit the fuse to a bomb”.

The pain is real, the oppression, the discrimination, the injustice…Get the protestors get the message. To raise their voice. Emotions are extremely high. The police officers must be arrested, charged, and convicted.

Standing up in the presents here and now a parallel

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Costa Rica is whipped not only by the COVID-19 but also by a political pandemic. The social health system is financially broken. Among the defaulters are government institutions such as local municipalities that haven’t been able to pay their dues.

President Carlos Alvarado has been able neither to cut public spending. His administration still keeps the orgy of public spending: luxury pensions, salaries, and pluses of public employees are untouchable, institutions that nobody knows why they exist, recent resignations of three ministers from his cabinet, including Finance Minister Chavez, etc.

A scenario of presidential tantrum, tax increases, a rise of poverty in the population. The unemployment rate is 12.5% vs. 11.35 last year, the highest in national history. And an economy without a north with an uncertain future.

Costa Rica is a pressure cooker with ingredients of rage, anguish,

Inequality, poverty, fear. And, from that stew, protestors will march standing up for their rights and social justice.

The opinions of guest contributors are their own and not necessarily those of Q Costa Rica, its publisher, editors, or staff.

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