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Message from Graciela Fernández Quintas, President of Cooperatives of the Americas

8 April 2020

Let's continue cooperating, facing the emergency Covid -19

Dearest cooperative people
Dear Leaders of the member organizations
Dear Members of the Board of Directors, Cooperatives of the Americas

I hope you are in good health, caring for your loved ones and engaging more and more to implement our cooperative aptitude in order to reduce the COVID-19 contagion curve in the Americas.
With the spread of COVID-19, humanity is facing a challenge of unprecedented scale, since the disease does not recognize borders, nationalities, religions or ethnic groups.

From last month we are collectively experiencing moments and situations of uncertainty as well as fears, but at the same time we are seeing actions revealing the good nature of human beings: solidarity and cooperation itself.
We have seen solidarity flourishing from every cooperative organization, setting up concrete collaboration with the authorities and governments of every country of the region to alleviate the health crisis.

This is a moment that has stopped us thinking about “myself" and led everyone to use “us”; a situation that brought us out of automatic mode and forced everyone to focus on the family, which is the nucleus of society. This is a moment where we rediscovered the importance of balance and calm, where we are feeling the inadequacy of some social and economic models created so far.

Cooperatives of the Americas is concerned about the devastating effect that COVID-19 will have over tens of millions of people all over the world in terms of unemployment as, according to the World Labor Organization (ILO), the pandemic could generate 25 million job losses worldwide: to mitigate this, we ask our members to make the maximum effort to maintain direct jobs and to forge indirect jobs.

The cooperative movement has always been resilient across time: nowadays we represent around 10 percent of the employed population globally and once again we are helping all our members, families and communities to overcome a very difficult moment.

At this unexpected time we invite you to build unexpected and fruitful alliances, to seek to open spaces for dialogue with governments, to forge inter-cooperation actions.
We will give visibility to all your efforts in order to exchange good practices and to raise awareness about the cooperative contribution to a better society.

We express our sincere thanks to the medical personnel and workers of the health cooperatives. We celebrate and highlight the talent, spirit of service, effort and dedication of every cooperator as an example of generosity and human commitment, of collective care before individual interest.

We wish that after this difficult page in the history of the planet, the principles and values ​​of cooperativism will prevail, and the future that we are going to build will be written with the words of cooperation, solidarity, sustainability, equality and concern for our common wellbeing.

Graciela Fernandez
Cooperatives of the Americas

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