Europa and latin america / Covid-19

EL PAcCTO during the Covid-19 pandemic

25 March 2020

Dear partners, colleagues and friends in Latin America and the European Union,

For the last few days, we have been thrown into an extraordinary situation that has forced us to rethink how we work, and when it’s all over, perhaps it may cause us to reflect about the way the world is developing.

Since the beginning of the week, like many of you, all the EL PAcCTO teams have been working from home, using all available tools to stay in contact, which is so essential in ensuring the continuity of the group dynamic. We are all still active and committed to ensuring that the current situation has the least possible impact on the implementation of the Programme. Although we have had to postpone all our scheduled activities until the end of April, we are doing our best to ensure we will be able to resume our work efficiently when the situation permits.

“We are relying on you, our partners in Latin America, for your expert guidance”

With more than 240 activities planned in our Annual Action Plan, the Covid-19 crisis is sure to have consequences. We are aware of this, and that we will not be able to do everything we had planned. Each team member has been mobilised to assess how to reschedule or merge activities that will be impossible to put in place in the coming weeks. Of course, we need to prioritise, and we are relying on you, our partners in Latin America, for your expert guidance. At this juncture, the Programme considers that inter-institutional coordination, strengthening international cooperation and focusing on the proceeds derived from crime should continue to be our priorities in 2020.

This is the first time in our lives that we have ever been deprived of our liberty

Our time in isolation is an opportunity to do background work, which is sometimes neglected due to the frenetic pace of Programme implementation. In the weeks to come, we will share the results of this work. This is also a useful time for reflection. Many of us are dealing with a difficult situation, having been deprived of our basic right to freedom of movement. This is the first time in our lives that we have ever been deprived of our liberty, and although it is not comparable to imprisonment as such, it does give pause for thought. We submit to this curtailment for the greater good, to ensure the health and safety of society and of our fellow citizens. We understand that it is an extraordinary measure that is being applied in exceptional circumstances because of a clear and imminent danger to society. Perhaps, we will come to accept the fact that, whatever the situation, such deprivation of liberty must always be an extraordinary measure, aimed at protecting society as a whole, which unfortunately is not the case today.

You can rely on the mobilisation of the EL PAcCTO teams

In these difficult times, during which we have learnt a lot about ourselves, you can rely on the mobilisation of the EL PAcCTO teams, who are still at your disposal to continue working on everything that can be worked on. We will soon be able to resume work on this programme at our usual pace and meet up again. In the meantime, take care of yourselves, your families and all your fellow citizens. Those of us who are engaged in the fight against organised crime know that there are difficult battles ahead. This is one of those battles, and together, we will win.

We are EL PAcCTO and we will continue to be EL PAcCTO. See you soon!