Coronavirus challenges Latin American governments

From network control to sectoral quarantines, these have been the hectic decisions of Latin American presidents.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico.

Mexico is one of the Latin American countries with late reactions to the health emergency. / Photo: Reuters

LatinAmerican Post | Jorge Hernández

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Leer en español: El Coronavirus pone en ‘jaque’ a gobernantes latinoamericanos

From the deletion of messages by administrators of social networks such as Facebook and Instagram for violating the "Patterns of Behavior" to sectoral quarantines, these have been the hectic decisions of Latin American presidents.

Little by little the presidents of Latin America have conceded against the obligation to take drastic measures against the COVID-19 among them, the dreaded total closure. On a tour of the region, we can see that the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, has made "right" decisions, according to a report by the US financial company JP Morgan and published by the newspaper La Tercera, trying to save the economy.

The southern country, according to the North American firm, was right in the preventive measures, "which were taken earlier" than other countries after a first confirmed case. Chile has a "high availability of tests and a large number of people evaluated. " JP Morgan also maintains that if the Piñera government's strategy continues to show positive results, "this could end up involving a shorter interruption of the economy in comparison with other countries ”, which would be positive for Chile and the image of the president, which was on the ground because of the social revolt.

Meanwhile, his Colombian counterpart, Iván Duque, risked a 19-day quarantine, a decision that was well received by the people, but not so much in the business sector; a risky move. The president of the coffee industry stepped up to the measures that were being implemented by the local leaders, including the mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, who belongs to one of the opposition parties of the national government and who shined with her proactiveness compared to Duque's indecision. 

Also read: Why does the pandemic affect the stock market?

Not spared from criticism is the controversial Jair Bolsonaro. The President of Brazil has been downplaying the importance of the pandemic from all angles, so much so that the social platforms Facebook and Instagram decided to eliminate publications of the president in which he generated “disinformation” against the Coronavirus. According to the BBC, the beaches of Rio de Janeiro are deserted and the avenues of Sao Paulo are empty, while Bolsonaro continues his fight to sustain his country's economy.

And the rest?

While Argentina lives in total quarantine, like Colombia, Peru seeks help from China and South Korea to face the pandemic. Uruguay asks its people not to leave their homes if it is not necessary, while countries like Mexico and Nicaragua are among the Latin American nations with fewer restrictions. The two presidents decided not to close their air borders, nor did they impose restrictions on travelers who arrived at airports, nor did they declare a curfew or mandatory quarantines.

The truth is that, after learning about the havoc that the COVID-19 did in Europe, the Latin American presidents had the time to study, analyze and make the best decisions for their countries. That, in the end, will be determined by time and economic impact.


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