Tragedy Knocking at Latin America’s Door: Este Pais

The health and economic shocks of Covid-19 could surpass any challenge of the previous century for Latin America and the Caribbean. Mixed responses – some swift and efficient with a focus on saving lives; others incompetent and political – could devastate the region. With global economic interdependence or not, governments must contend with errors made by other countries. Too many leaders around the world initially prioritized short-term economic interests and their own political destinies, neglecting severe health inequities among the poor and disadvantaged while allowing the disease to spread, explains Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and former president of Mexico. The pandemic exposes many weaknesses, especially with health care systems and prevention capacity. Zedillo urges governments to ward off protracted depression, focusing on job, income and social security protections as well as aid for businesses, ensuring liquidity to prevent bankruptcies and banking crises. Such support must be transparent and free of discrimination. Leaders can prepare voters for visionary policies: preparing for an inevitable energy transition by taxing carbon emissions while oil prices are low and overhauling tax systems to eliminate loopholes, increasing capacity for investment in public goods. Latin America should speak out for international cooperation and economic coordination. Zedillo eloquently concludes with how governments must rely on democracy and trust to emerge from this pandemic. “To earn that trust, instead of propagating unfounded illusions, our governments must grant people the truth, irrespective of how overwhelming this is. Trust is not created with demagogic posturing; it stems from sensible policies and actions guided by a strong comprehension of responsibility and commitment, not by the desire for personal popularity.” – YaleGlobal

Tragedy Knocking at Latin America’s Door: Este Pais

Governments must muster resources to confront the Covid-19 pandemic, building trust and uniting citizens around preventive health care, economic stabilization
Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
Monday, May 4, 2020

Read the article analyzing the impacts and required policies for Latin America and the Caribean,  translated from Spanish from Este Pais. Also read the English translation from Este Pais.

Ernesto Zedillo is the Frederick Iseman ’74 Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization; professor in the Field of International Economics and Politics; professor of International and Area Studies; and professor adjunct of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He served his country as President of Mexico from 1994–2000.

The channels through which Latin American economies will be affected are multiple, and include widespread recession, acute contraction of global trade, collapse in the prices and volumes of commodity exports, disruption and even destruction of supply chains, volatility and extreme risk aversion in the international capital markets, interruption of foreign direct investments, and drastic contraction in income from both tourism services and migrant workers remittances. – Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León

Reported Covid-19 Deaths/Rate per 100,000, Selected Nations, May 4: Haiti, 9	0.08 Cuba, 67	0.59 Argentina, 246	0.65 Colombia, 340	0.68 Chile, 260 1.37; Mexico, 2154	1.69 Dominican Rep, 333 3.1; Brazil, 7051 3.34; Peru, 1286 3.96; Panama, 200	4.79; Ecuador, 1564 9; US, 67,700	20.67
Mixed results and outcomes: Testing availability varies within and among nations, and the disease struck some nations earlier in the year (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

Copyright 2020 Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León

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