AREQUIPA, Peru: A video of a mother running behind a van carrying Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra and begging him to save her husband from COVID-19, has gone viral.
“Mr. President, Don’t go!” screams a tearful Celia Capira as she begs for a hospital bed for her husband in the video shot on Sunday in Peru’s second largest city, Arequipa.
But the 32-year-old mother of three’s story did not have a happy ending, as her husband Adolfo Mamani, 57, died on Tuesday.
Arequipa’s overwhelmed hospital system which lacks both beds and oxygen couldn’t save him.
“They killed him; he was well, they told us he was stable, in the morning I took him breakfast,” Capira told local reporters on Tuesday.
Images of Capira’s tear-soaked cheeks covered with a mask and face shield have come to reflect the desperation of a local population that wants answers from authorities.
Outside the Honorio Delgado hospital where Mamani died, authorities have set up an overflow tent where he was initially given treatment.
“Mr President, you have to go to the tent, don’t leave the hospital until you’ve seen the condition (patients) are in,” sobs Capira in the video as the presidential cavalcade moves away.
“Mr president, it’s bad and inhuman,” she screams.
On Monday, Mamani was transfered from the tent to a hospital bed, but he died the next day.
The couple ran a store in Arequipa, in the country’s south.
“What will I do with my children, how will I tell them their father isn’t here any more?” Capira, who’s children are aged one, six and 14, asked reporters.
On Tuesday, Vizcarra apologized to the widow, saying he hadn’t seen her.
“It’s unfortunate that madam Celia’s husband has died. I give her my condolences and sincere apologies for not having heard her, and we are at her service and everyone’s that has lost a loved one,” said Vizcarra.
But soaring coronavirus cases in Arequipa show no sign of abating.
With more than 370,000 cases and over 17,000 deaths, Peru is one of the worst affected countries in Latin America by the coronavirus.
“Please can this moment serve as a lesson to everyone,” implored Capira on Wednesday as she buried her husband in the La Apacheta cemetery in Arequipa.