William Mora, a Venezuelan activist involved in the defence of the Venezuelan cause from the aggression perpetrated by right-wing policies, has been an active member of his community in London and, despite the pandemic, he kept the Venezuelan community together. Any community only exists when this interaction occurs.
He moved to London 15 years ago, attracted by the different professional opportunities that this city has to offer.
Through the years, he has been volunteering for many initiatives in London, fundraising campaigns, as well as educational events and community commemorations.
London, has always attracted him as a place to visit, especially because it has been the centre of various critical developments for Venezuelan history: “as it was in the past it is still today”, commented William. He graduated as a chemical engineer and subsequently, he undertook a master in environmental engineering. As soon as he landed in the UK, he was immediately incorporated in the design engineering sector working on big projects, “that was an opportunity that I am always grateful for and valued enormously.”
Nowadays, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, he has been helping his children with their education, but he still fears for their future.
William Mora spoke to The Prisma about his experience of the current pandemic, sharing his fears and worries and how he and his family had to adapt to the “new normality”.
How are you dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak as an immigrant in the UK?
Like many families, the best we can. Basically following the guidelines that the health service announced, as well as creating routines that help to maintain our mental health. The isolation deprives us from visiting our friends and any social interaction. That is the most difficult thing because any community only exists when this interaction occurs.
Recently, I have held our community meetings via Zoom and that seems to be a good alternative, but still it is never as enjoyable as all the multiple interactions that normally we have had all together for real. I guess, we will be in restricted contact for a bit longer if we consider the second wave of the pandemic.
What can you tell me about your activism?
I have been participating in “Plataforma 12 de Octubre“, which is a special organization of various social groups that gather analysis of the economics, social and cultural consequences of the European invasion of “Nuestra America” and their subsequent forced assimilation on the native population since 1492.
I have helped the celebration of Amigo Month in London to compare and contrast the cultural integration of Latin American communities in British society.
As part of a group of Venezuelan friends, we started GPPUK (Gran Polo Patriotico de Venezuela in the UK) back in 2013, as a study and action group that helps all kinds of solidarity with Venezuela in London, and since then the activity has been relentless.
The GPPUK is part of “La Red” and in 2019 organised, with the help of many other organizations, the 2nd meeting of Red Europea de Solidaridad con la Revolución Bolivariana en Venezuela. The latest project is the defence of Venezuelan assets that are stolen by corporate interests.
What are your worries for now and the future?
As the situation develops my worries are the economic impact after the pandemic is finally over. The news we keep receiving is very unsettling. The global great depression could last several years and this will be compounded with climate change impacts that could add extraordinary pressures.
One thing I can imagine is that community-based organizations will be more relevant than ever.
How has your life changed?
My family life has improved enormously. I am blessed with a house with a garden that keeps us busy and we have enough books to explore the minds of wonderful writers.
However, there are moments of anxiety, I wonder if we are not doing enough at home for our kids’ education and if in a general test they will underperform, but that is something we cannot control, we can only do our best and keep their curriculum as complete as possible.
This is a very unique situation, and could easily become the new normal.
How do you think the British government is dealing with this emergency?
I have divided opinions. I can see that there are many professionals doing the best they can.
The NHS is doing a fantastic job given the limited resources austerity policies have imposed on them, but it is true that the “herd immunity” theory exercise at the beginning of this crisis revealed a criminal mind set.
Many actions should have been taken early on but a certain eugenic way of thinking was experimenting with us, and that is a criminal act that should be charged and prosecuted, but things are the way they are now, and there is political immunity and therefore, impunity.
Were you prepared to deal with the pandemic?
I think nobody is prepared for a pandemic, individually I mean. Good personal hygiene practices could give you a chance but there are many human social practices that inadvertently became a contagion vector. However, there are governments far better prepared than others to deal with the conflicting decisions this pandemic offers, especially those with previous experience in similar outbreaks.
I guess we all are now far more prepared for the next health challenge that climate change will be awakening.