Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta (Burkina Faso): The Evolution of the Situation in Burkina Faso. The COVID-19 Pandemic, An Aggravating Element of the Crisis of the Neocolonial System

The situation remains complex in the context of the strengthening of the imperialist domination,
of the deepening of the crisis of the imperialist system, and of their dramatic consequences for the
working class, the working masses in urban and rural areas, and popular youth.

The people’s daily lot includes the high cost of living, the endemic unemployment, misery, and
health problems with the persistence of epidemics such as measles and malaria.

The MPP (People’s Movement for Progress) government is clearly showing its inability to
resolve the pressing problems of the masses and to fulfill their expectations, which were strongly
expressed during the popular uprising of October 2014. On all fronts, among which the impunity
of blood crimes and of economic crimes, the absence of democratic freedoms, the low purchasing
power, the high level of insecurity, the government is carrying out the same reactionary, anti-
popular and anti-social policies of the defunct regime of the autocrat Blaise Compaoré, who was
driven out by the popular insurrection.

The government continues to apply the roadmap dictated by French imperialism, which consists
in guaranteeing the geostrategic interests of France in our country and in the West Africa sub-
region, where it faces the rivalry of other imperialist powers (US, China, Germany, Russia, etc.)
and of countries such as India, Turkey and Brazil. The most important element in this roadmap is
to stifle the resistance and revolutionary spirit of the people, who have forcefully shown their
potential during the popular insurrection and the resistance to the fascist coup d’état of General
Diendéré in September 2015.

This explains the repressive measures taken against the Democratic and Revolutionary
Movement, the attacks against the trade unions by criminalizing their struggles, the arbitrary
arrests and detentions of citizens, the targeted assassinations of activists such as the two members
of the ODJ (Democratic Youth Organization) in Yagha province in the north of the country in
May 2019, the extrajudicial executions of innocent civilians by the Defense and Security Forces
under the pretext of fighting terrorism, which have caused the deaths and wounding of dozens of
people, crimes which have gone totally unpunished.

The people also face the terrorist attacks from various armed groups, which are components of
the counter-revolution. These include elements linked to the defunct regime of the Fourth
Republic, which was swept away by the popular insurrection. Since 2015, these recurring attacks
have occurred in various regions of the country, causing a real humanitarian catastrophe which
has plunged these populations into a state of great despair. The macabre toll is the following:
hundreds of civilians and members of the Defense and Security Forces were killed, tens of
thousands were injured, nearly 800,000 persons became internally displaced people, who have
been crammed into makeshift camps and live in total destitution. Many health centers and schools

have been destroyed, depriving thousands of children living in areas of great insecurity of
schooling.

Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the imperialist powers militarily occupy our country and
the entire Sahel Sahara sub-region with their troops, their military bases and the instruments of
domination they control such as the G5 Sahel, Operation Barkhane, MINUSMA (United Nations
Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali).

The democratic and revolutionary movement is continuing its work of mobilization and
organization in this complex situation, in which the counter-revolution is seen at various levels:
jihadist groups, militias and death squads used by the MPP government and the various fractions
of the reactionary bourgeoisie, the repression by the Defense and Security Forces against the
people’s struggles, and the military presence of the imperialist powers in the country.
The neocolonial state has completely given up its role of defending the territorial integrity and the
security of goods and people, despite its posturing and declarations against terrorism.
The measures introduced in this context, such as the establishment of a curfew and of a state of
emergency in the northern and eastern regions, are in reality directed against the Democratic and
Revolutionary Movement. They negatively impact the populations in their daily life and their
income-generating activities. The government is using the lack of security situation as a pretext to
curb the democratic freedoms (bans on demonstrations by the trade union and democratic
organizations, threats against freedom of the press, assassinations attempts against investigative
journalists, kidnapping and arbitrary detention of activists, etc.).

But this repression did not bring about the effect expected by the reactionary bourgeoisie, the
sowing of fear and resignation among the popular masses.
The fighting spirit is flaring up and developing within the social protest movements that are rising
in all the economic and social sectors throughout the national territory. An example of this is the
unitary general strike launched by the gigantic March 7 demonstrations. The latter were followed
by the general strike of March 16 to 20, 2020, which was widely attended despite the
government’s measures of pressure and intimidation against the workers. Among these pressures
were the containment measures aiming at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The
trade unions decided to carry out the general strike but canceled the demonstration that had been
set for March 17. The government obviously used the pandemic as a form of blackmail to stop
the strike movement.

The March 7 demonstrations held throughout the country had already been very successful.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters had stormed the streets in all of the country’s major cities
and even in the small localities. In the capital, Ouagadougou, and in Bobo-Dioulasso, the second
largest city, the parades of demonstrators stretched over several kilometers. The trade unions
have shown their ability for disciplined mobilization and organization. The maneuvers to divide
the workers intended to pit the public servants against the private sector workers have failed
miserably. The reason is that there were, among the demonstrators, hundreds of thousands of
workers in the sectors of telecommunications, banks and financial institutions, the decentralized
financial systems, commerce, industry, textiles, transportation, etc. The populations also

expressed their support for these mobilizations. The various trade unions united around a
platform of demands structured around five points:
• the end of measures that reduce purchasing power, and the adoption of measures of
improvement to cope with the rising cost of living;
• the end of attacks on democratic and trade union freedoms;
• the end of the looting of the national resources;
• the guarantee of the population’s right to security;
• the respect and implementation of the various commitments made by the government regarding
workers and trade unions.

These massive mobilizations organized in a context of rampant war of the counter-revolution in
our country clearly confirm that the people remain standing and determined to carry on the
struggles for their immediate demands and for a revolutionary change in their favor. The COVID-
19 pandemic comes into play in a national situation that is troubled, very complex and with
contradictory processes.

The coronavirus pandemic, an aggravating element of the social, economic and political
crisis

Burkina Faso is the country most affected by the coronavirus in West Africa, with more than 200
people declared positive, 7 dead, and 10 recovered as of March 28,. The government, besides
taking measures of closing schools, secondary and university institutions, markets, bars and
restaurants, has announced confinement rules. It has decreed a curfew for the whole country from
7 PM to 5 AM, the state of health alert, and the quarantine of Ouagadougou (the capital), which
has the majority of the infected people, and seven other cities. These measures adopted to curb
the spread of the pandemic are quickly reaching their limits. The public health system is in an
advanced state of disrepair, and for a long time now it has not been able to provide primary care
to the population. The Structural Adjustment Plan imposed in the early 1990s on the African neo-
colonies by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund led the State to disengage from
the Health and Education sectors. In the case of Burkina Faso, these budgetary restrictions have
brought the health facilities to their knees; they are under-equipped and lack trained personnel.
The human and animal health workers’ union has constantly waged multifaceted struggles
(strikes, sit-ins, demonstrations) to demand from the government better working conditions, the
provision of equipment and medicines to hospitals and health care centers, and the revaluation
and improvement of the status of the caregiver staff. From May 21 to 25, 2019, this well-
established trade union observed a widely followed strike with a participation rate of 99%
throughout the national territory and of 100% in certain localities. The strike was followed by the
implementation of the watchword to boycott the on-duty and on-call periods from Saturday May
25, 2019 to June 3, 2019.

To deal with Covid-19, Ouagadougou has only one operational center to take care of the infected
patients. The health care services that were already overwhelmed lack beds in resuscitation,
respirators and protective equipment for the health workers, who are exhausted by the work
overload.

The pandemic is taking place in a context where the neocolonial system, through the plundering
of the agricultural and mineral resources of the country by the imperialist monopolies and their
allies of the reactionary bourgeoisie, causes the development of misery, the destruction of the
environment, especially in the mining areas with the poisoning of the groundwater with toxic
products such as mercury. Today, in many rural areas, our people have no access to drinking
water. These objective conditions limit considerably the ability to respond that the country’s
health structures require to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
When applying the curfew, certain members of the defense and security forces use violence and
torture on the offenders. These methods have been denounced by magistrates and by the
Burkinabe Movement for Human and Peoples’ Rights (MBDHP) in the following terms: “It is
pertinent for the MBDHP to condemn the acts of torture and other inhuman and degrading
measures inflicted by certain elements of the defense and security forces (FDS) on those
apprehended during curfew hours. These acts are unacceptable in a state that is governed by the
rule of law, and all the more so since the Public Health Code provides for adequate repression in
the event of non-compliance with a health measure”.
Faced with Covid-19, the democratic and revolutionary organizations, while advocating the
respect for measures aimed at preventing the spread of the pandemic, question the Government
on certain immediate decisions to be implemented on the health, economic and social levels. The
Trade Union Action Unity (UAS) which brings together the six trade union federations in the
country (including the General Confederation of Labor of Burkina), and the independent trade
unions expressed the concerns of the workers and of the populations:

We call on the government to:

• strengthen the capacities of frontline combat agents and provide them with the necessary
equipment;
• facilitate the access to free screening for the virus and provide effective care to the infected
persons;
• develop and strengthen public awareness;
• support all public and private health structures by installing hand-washing devices and by using
hydro-alcoholic gel;
• take the necessary measures to control the sale prices of articles and products necessary to
prevent the COVID 19 and of products of broad consumption to put an end to speculation and
overpricing.
We invite the government to consider medium and long-term measures such as:
• the suspension of certain taxes, water and electricity bills and rents to help the most vulnerable
sectors of society, etc.
• the postponement of the deadlines for reimbursement of bank loans for the affected population;
• the reduction of prices of basic necessities;
• the public responsibility for primary health care;
• the increase of the capacity of health facilities to attend people.
The UAS particularly requests the workers to:

• respect the measures to prevent the disease;
• commit everyone to break the chain of spread of the disease.
This coronavirus health crisis is an aggravating element of the many-sided crisis of the
imperialist system. It exposes the bankruptcy of the neoliberal policies of the imperialist powers
and the financial agencies in their pay, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the
World Trade Organization, that have always imposed the dismantling of public services and
privatization in the health sector. Today people realize with dismay the lack of resources in the
hospitals to deal with the pandemic, to the point where healthcare workers in the developed
capitalist countries such as France, Italy and Spain lack protective equipment such as masks and
gloves. And in our backward agricultural neocolonial country, the situation is even more

At the same time, the sales figures of the monopolies are mounting, the national resources are
being sold off to mining companies that are exempt from paying taxes, the reactionary
bourgeoisie is getting richer through the misappropriation of public funds and economic crimes
that go unpunished.

In this chaotic situation, our party calls on the working class, the people in its various
components, not to give in to panic, to comply with the preventive measures in order to stem the
pandemic. It calls for developing popular solidarity with those infected, with the vulnerable
sectors of society, notably with the internally displaced populations due to terrorist attacks, and to
support the urgent demands expressed by the Trade Union Action Unity.

To continue the popular struggles for democratic and social rights, notably the Right to Public
Health.

To work to develop the unity of the fighting forces, which is the only condition for greater
victories.

To unite around the PCRV to carry out the National Democratic and Popular Revolution by the
general armed insurrection to drive out French imperialism and its local allies, to constitute a
Provisional Revolutionary Government, to convene a Constituent Assembly and to establish a
Modern Democratic Republic in order to implement its minimum program of transition to
scientific socialism.



Categories: Burkina Faso

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