Latin America: is there political union against Covid-19?

The coronavirus is testing the narratives of Latin American governments.

View of the city of Caracas in Venezuela.

Leaders have tried to call the union in times of pandemic to regain lost political spaces. / Photo: Pixabay – Anderele

LatinAmerican Post | Frannellys Medina

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Leer en español: ¿Existe unión política en Latinoamérica contra el Covid-19?

Months ago Latin America contemplated: social outbreaks in Bolivia and Brazil , Peru with a declaration of a power vacuum and Chile and Ecuador with repression and violence as a consequence of drastic decisions in the social and economic sectors of the countries. For its part, Venezuela does not escape this reality where a division of state is evident, as there are two Presidents, two National Assemblies and a National Constituent Assembly before the international authorities.

This is how, in Venezuela, there is a president in charge (Juan Guaidó) placed in contempt of the national assembly since 2017, who was sworn in in 2019 and is now backed as a legitimate president by the US, the European Union, and more than 50 countries. On the other hand, there is President-elect Nicolás Maduro who has the recognition of countries such as China, Russia and the countries of the Non-Aligned Movement and a National Constituent Assembly. On the subject of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro has asked the IMF for help. It is a tactic to regain that support that many countries have given to the president of the national assembly Juan Guaidó even if Maduro's government heavily criticized the IMF.

"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) rejected in the early hours of this Wednesday 18-M a request for help from Venezuela of $ 5 billion to face the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, which is going through an acute economic crisis amid questions about the legitimacy of the government" the newspaper Panorama reported through its website. This happened although international organizations such as the UN and the WHO recognized Maduro's position as president of the republic and promised to send technical and social aid to combat the pandemic in Venezuela.

This is why Carlos Malamund, principal investigator of the Elcano Royal Institute, refers to the expansion of the pandemic as a stress test for Latin American governments. In this sense, he assures that Latin America will have problems a political nature, in addition to the logical economic, social and health implications that the crisis entails at a time of profound weakness for most governments in the region that have not been very popular in recent years. It also maintains that these governments will have to face the coronavirus crisis being weighed down by state apparatus with serious operating problems. From a political point of view, many executives have little social leadership.

Now, the following question arises: Is there unity between the political sectors in the face of the announced pandemic?

In this sense, the Bachelor of Political Science and specialist in political communication Josber Vásquez  who is also a strategic consultant explains that dogmatic currents do not predominate at this time of crisis, not only Latin America but in the world. He also comments that left and right "are not united, but aligned because of the repercussion that the covid-19 can have," he said.

Likewise, he referred to the possibility of international aid in the case of Venezuela, where he points out, "if we take into account the latest statements by Nicolás Maduro who requested financial aid from the International Monetary Fund, we could understand the power that the COVID-19 has against the governments of the world ”says Josber.

Likewise, he mentions the work of the political scientist Giovanny Sartori who considers "that politics does not stop, it is one of the most changing activities and is in constant dynamism." However, Vásquez emphasizes that a "stop" could be seen in partisan politics through the different media, be they electoral, hereditary, coups d'etat, or any of the ways to reach the maximum power of a state.

Also read: Coronavirus challenges Latin American governments

In the same way, he considers that in the midst of the chaos there are positive elements, such as the need that the world has now to review its forms of government. He also emphasizes that governments should ask themselves whether the economy should be the most important axis in their policies, without abandoning other public policies, such as health or education, so as not to improvise in situations like this.

In Latin America, "there are products of mediocrity experienced by the rulers who have not been successful in the necessary policies and make accelerated decisions and improvisations that generated bad results in their countries"

To end, the political scientist currently residing in the Dominican Republic expresses: "A unity of the people is necessary, we have no partisan capacity in the face of the pandemic since unity is the only way to survive as humanity in the face of this health crisis, but the political union is not mandatory in this type of situation. 

In the same way, he calls for unity and not politicizing this alarm situation in the face of the pandemic "as citizens we think beyond the dogmatic barriers of the world, we will know how to avoid them and how to confront them, we must educate ourselves and train ourselves"

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