COVID-19: A View From Latin America

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 remain deceptively low throughout Latin America, yet the exponential spread will hit the region hard. A group of former leaders point to uneven policy response and warn that the shock and uncertainty could pose catastrophic consequences for the region. Leaders must move rapidly, prioritizing public health rather than trying to evade the threat with populism, misinformation and disdain for scientific advice. “Latin America should focus on upgrading our health systems, channeling resources to hospitals, temporarily adapting idle infrastructure such as hotels and convention centers, and drastically increasing testing capacity,” writes a group of Latin American scholars, including former leaders. The countries must also address disrupted supply chains, falling export volumes, lost income from tourism and remittances. “The supply shock in a big part of the economy coupled with a broader demand shock could trigger a contractionary spiral. To prevent that outcome, bold policies to protect the incomes of individuals and households are essential.” They recommend cash transfers to the most vulnerable, job support, business relief, credit guarantees with the goals of preventing widespread bankruptcies, credit downgrades, currency destabilization and collapse of financial systems. All nations and citizens can anticipate reduced income and more debt, sharp budgetary adjustments and even increased taxes. Policies may differ among countries, yet immense international cooperation and coordination are required. The leaders recommend increased resources for the World Health Organization, widespread testing and rejection of export controls on essential supplies. “The crisis cannot be an excuse to weaken our hard-won democracies,” the letter concludes. “Instead, it should become an opportunity to strengthen democracy in Latin America, and to show it can deliver for citizens.” – YaleGlobal

COVID-19: A View From Latin America

Former Latin American leaders outline ethical and economic imperatives in battling COVID-19: cooperation; strong policy responses; strengthened democracy
Thursday, April 16, 2020

Mutual trust, transparency and reason —not populism or demagoguery— remain the best guideposts in these uncertain times. The crisis cannot be an excuse to weaken our hard-won democracies. Instead, it should become an opportunity to strengthen democracy in Latin America, and to show it can deliver for citizens.  – Letter from Latin American leaders

Read the letter from Latin American leaders urging cooperation on COVID-19.;

The letter was signed by

Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil;

Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile;

Juan Manuel Santos, former president of Colombia;

Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, former president of Mexico, director of the Center for the Study of Globalization at Yale University;

Mauricio Cárdenas, former minister of finance of Colombia and with the Center on Global Energy Policy, SIPA, Columbia University;

Roberto Chang, professor of economics, Rutgers University;

 Cuba	814 Argentina	2571 Colombia	3105 Dominican Rep	3614 Panama	3751 Mexico	5847 Ecuador	7858 Chile	8273 Peru	11475 Brazil	29015

(Source: and PinClipArt)

José De Gregorio, former economic and energy minister and central bank president, dean of the Economic and Business School, Universidad de Chile;

Ilan Goldfajn, former president of the Central Bank of Brazil and director and founder, Centro de Debates de Politicas Publicas;

Ricardo Hausmann, former planning minister of Venezuela and professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University;

Eduardo Levy Yeyati, dean, School of Government, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella;

Federico Sturzenegger, former central bank president of Argentina and professor, Universidad de San Andrés;

Rodrigo Valdés, former finance minister of Chile, now with the School of Government, Catholic University of Chile;

Andrés Velasco, former finance Minister of Chile (2006-2010) and dean, School of Public Policy, London School of Economics.