The Inter-American Dialogue is working to provide relevant and informed analysis regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the Americas. Sign up here to receive our event invitations, reports and weekly newsletter. Our upcoming events on Covid-19, event summaries, articles and Op-Eds, and Q&As from our daily publication, the Latin America Advisor, are gathered below.
Covid-19 in the Americas
*See all upcoming events here
On June 30, 2020, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted “Peru’s Covid-19 Outbreak,” a webinar featuring Alberto Vergara, Lucía Dammert, and Carolina Trivelli. The discussion focused on the political and institutional dimensions of the Covid-19 pandemic in Peru as the country faces some of the worst infection rates in the world.
How have countries in Latin America adapted early childhood care services during the Covid-19 crisis? On June 18, this webinar explored how leaders have designed and implemented resources for children at every stage during the pandemic.
On June 1, 2020, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted “Argentina: Between Covid-19 and Default,” a webinar featuring Maria Victoria Murillo, Alfonso Prat-Gay, and Rodrigo Zarazaga. Michael Shifter moderated the event. The discussion focused on the political, economic, and social dimensions of the current situation in Argentina as the country has found itself in the middle of both a global pandemic and a massive debt negotiation.
Assessing the Economic and Social Impact of Covid-19 – A Conversation with OECD Secretary-General, Ángel Gurría
On May 22, 2020, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted “Assessing the Economic and Social Impact of Covid-19 – A Conversation with OECD Secretary-General, Ángel Gurría.” Before being appointed Secretary-General in 2006, Gurría served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance and Public Credit for his home country of Mexico. He has been a member of the Dialogue since 2001.
On May 20, 2020, the Inter-American Dialogue, Global Affairs Canada and the Office of the Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hosted “Voices in the Pandemic – Covid-19 and Freedom of Expression in the Americas.”
On May 13, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted the online webinar “Innovation and Technology in Latin America’s Post-Pandemic Recovery” with the participation of Carmen Pagés-Serra, Andrés Cadena, Ángel Melguizo, and Victor Muñoz.
On April 29, the Dialogue hosted an in-depth conversation with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state of human rights in Latin America.
What effect has the Covid-19 pandemic had on services for early childhood? This webinar explores how the responses in the region have responded to the crisis.
On April 22, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted Pandemic Response and Executive Authority – The Case of El Salvador, an online event featuring Leonor Arteaga, senior program officer for the Due Process of Law Foundation and member of the El Salvador National Commission for the Search of Disappeared Persons (CONABÚSQUEDA), Carlos Dada, founder of El Faro, and José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch.
On April 16, Dialogue experts briefed key congressional staff in both the House and Senate on Covid-19 and its impact on Latin America and the Caribbean.
On April 9, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted “What Role for China in LAC’s Covid-19 Recovery?”, a conference call with Joyce Chang, Dialogue member and managing director and chair of Global Research at JP Morgan, and Oliver Stuenkel, associate professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in São Paulo.
On April 7, the Education Program hosted a webinar to reflect about the legacy of José María Antón and discuss the digital educational opportunities during the Covid-19 crisis.
On April 2, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted “Pandemic and Politics in Venezuela”, a conference call with Miguel Pizarro, Feliciano Reyna, and Daniella Liendo. The discussion was moderated by Michael Camilleri, Director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program at The Dialogue.
On April 2, Manuel Orozco, Mariellen Jewers, Piero Coen and Gene Nigro discussed the economic and health consequences caused by Covid-19 to migrants and how it impacts Latin America and the Caribbean. Estimates show that remittances to LAC countries will register at a negative seven percent decline in 2020.
The recent oil price collapse, combined with the economic contraction resulting from measures to fight the global Covid-19 pandemic, will have extensive and largely unforetold impacts for Latin American energy markets and beyond. These implications include cuts to investment and delays to ongoing projects in both oil & gas and renewable energy, fiscal and broader economic constraints, and legal disputes, said panelists during a webinar held on April 1.
On March 26, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted a conference call with Congresswoman Donna Shalala (D-FL, 27). The discussion centered around the spread of Covid-19 in Latin America & the Caribbean and how the United States can work with international partners to combat the pandemic.
On March 19, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted a conference call with Alicia Bárcena and Santiago Levy. The discussion centered around the consequences of this pandemic for the global economy and the Latin American and Caribbean region in particular.
Articles & Op-Eds
July 20 | Ana Covarrubias
The Covid-19 pandemic has once more demonstrated the fragility of Latin American regional and subregional organizations, and the reasons for it: the weaknesses of domestic institutions, the lack of shared interests and values, and the dependence on foreign powers. It is not too late to turn the pandemic into an opportunity to acknowledge the existence of common interests, and the value of pursuing them collectively.
July 7 | Daniela Saez | PREAL Blog
This blog details some of the responses implemented by telecommunication companies in the region to address connectivity problems in order to ensure students can continue their online education.
June 26 | Robert Muggah
Covid-19 is transforming organized crime. In addition to heightening the risk of violence, the pandemic is also indirectly strengthening the social, economic, and political clout of several criminal organizations in the same way that the Italian mafia and Japanese Yakuza emerged stronger after the great dislocations of the Second World War. Crime kingpins know full well that law enforcement and criminal justice systems are overstretched, and that prisons are bursting at the seams. They also know that an economic depression is coming, which may increase the risk of violence. It is not entirely clear if governments are similarly alert.
June 16 | Joan Caivano, Sofia Lalinde & Melanie Ordoñez
Covid-19 restrictions have resulted in an increase of domestic violence throughout the region. In response, governments and other societal actors have had to quickly implement new forms of outreach, adapt their resources to fit a Covid-19 reality, and develop new partnerships to widen their impact.
Latin America After Covid-19: Just as Heterogeneous, Fragmented, and Irrelevant as Before…So Now What?
Jun 11 | Andrés Malamud
How does the Covid-19 pandemic affect Latin America’s insertion with the world? Andrés Malamud explored this topic in the book ‘Unfulfilled Promises’ in 2019. Today he reflects on how the pandemic has changed none of the trends he then identified. Rather, it has highlighted all of them: at the global level, we witness increasing multipolarity, failure of multilateral cooperation, and a Sino-American power transition; in Latin America, we observe structural heterogeneity, political fragmentation, and geopolitical irrelevance.
May 22 | Margaret Myers & Ricardo Barrios | VOCES Blog
Tracking the nature and extent of China’s “mask diplomacy” in Latin America and the Caribbean
May 22 | Jed Bailey & Nate Graham | VOCES Blog
The economic damage wrought by Covid-19 in the Caribbean will have numerous implications for the energy sector. In this Q&A, Jed Bailey, managing director of Energy Narrative, discusses impacts for renewables, resilience, utilities, and more.
May 19 | Manuel Orozco | Confidencial
Daniel Ortega’s regime is using the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to ensure political survival. The consequences of the government’s inaction are deadly.
May 4 | Michael Shifter | El Faro
Against the backdrop of a devastating health and economic crisis, Trump is simply unable to show real leadership and has been unwilling to assume his share of responsibility for the calamity. As the US entered the worst phase of the crisis, his position on the pandemic has been notably incoherent and contradictory.
April 21 | Rebecca Bill Chavez & Paul Angelo | The New York Times
China has become an essential, reliable partner for Latin American nations, while the United States, under the Trump Adminstration, has alienated itself away from longtime regional partners.
April 14 | Luis Miguel Castilla | Voces Blog
Latin America and the Caribbean is confronting a severe recession with uncertain prospects. Although the recovery will primarily depend on external factors, three key components will determine whether the region is capable of sustaining its path of economic prosperity and social cohesion: sound economic management, access to external finance and delivery of quality public goods and services to all its citizens. Covid-19 introduces the sense of urgency and opportunity to continue making real progress.
April 10 | Ariel Fiszbein | PREAL Blog
The Covid-19 pandemic has created a crisis in the education systems of Latin America and the Caribbean like never before. During the Covid-19 pandemic, what solutions can mitigate the negative impacts of school closures?
Abril 9 | Feliciano Reyna, Temir Porras & Verónica Zubillaga | Voces Blog
Perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives—inside Venezuela and across its borders—now depend on whether our leaders can put aside their battle for control, engage politically in good faith, and momentarily put the wellbeing of citizens first by taking the urgent steps needed to combat the virus crisis and its consequences.
April 2 | Lenier González | Voces Blog
Cuba vive el efecto acumulado de la crisis estructural de su modelo sociopolítico y económico –que no fue transformado y no es sostenible de cara al futuro–, más el impacto de nuevos factores externos. La combinación de todo ello acrecentará radicalmente la crisis que vive el país.
April 1 | Catharine Christie | Voces Blog
The actions, or lack thereof, of the presidents of the region’s two biggest countries, Mexico and Brazil, have drawn particular scrutiny, casting a fresh spotlight on populism in Latin America and its particular vulnerabilities in the face of a global pandemic.
March 27 | Lisa Viscidi & Nate Graham | Voces Blog
The perfect storm of the plummeting oil price and the Covid-19 pandemic could have dire consequences for oil-dependent Latin American economies, lead to a reduction in upstream investment, and damage the prospects for renewable energy projects.
March 24 | Margaret Myers | Americas Quarterly
China came to the rescue in Latin America and the Caribbean after the Global Financial Crisis. Can it do so again?
March 23 | Manuel Orozco | Confidencial
La pandemia causada por el Covid-19 está creando estragos y consecuencias económicas en todo el mundo. En 2020, se proyecta caída de -5 por ciento de las remesas en Nicaragua, recibiendo $75 millones menos, con una caída mayor del turismo, la economía caerá en -2 por ciento.
March 20 | Manuel Orozco | Analysis
Past events involving worldwide crises can offer insight as to how this pandemic will likely affect remittance transfers. Considering migrants’ financial and health vulnerabilities as well as the forecast recession, a conservative estimate shows that remittances will register a -3 percent decline in 2020 relative to 2019, from $77 billion to $75 billion.
From the Latin America Advisor
Jun 30 | Barry McCaffrey, Adam Blackwell, Yulia Vorobyeva, Tiziano Breda
What implications do the Covid-19 outbreaks in the three Central American nations’ prisons have for both health and security? To what extent are structures in place to effectively manage the outbreaks, and what is the best way for the countries’ governments to deal with the crisis? What effects will the pandemic have on the region’s prison systems in the future, especially in terms of funding and possible reforms?
Jun 16 | Nicolás Saldías, Rosario Medero, Ignacio Bartesaghi, Giovanni Escalante, Scott Morgenstern, Juan Andrés Moraes
Why did Uruguay see lower levels of coronavirus contagion than its neighbors? How well has the government of President Luis Lacalle Pou responded to the health crisis and its economic consequences? To what extent will its neighbors’ economic woes affect Uruguay’s road to recovery?
May 18 | Ariel Fiszbein, Timothy Scully, Michael C. Lisman, Maria Soledad Bos
Do schools in Latin America and the Caribbean have enough government funding and resources to both educate students and protect their health amid Covid-19?
May 8 | Patricio D. Navia, María Cristina Escudero, Claudia Heiss, Guillermo Holzmann
Has the coronavirus pandemic interrupted protesters’ momentum and hopes for social change in Chile?
May 5 | Julio Frenk, Felicia Marie Knaul, Michael Touchton
Some governments in Latin America imposed early preventive measures and mobilized health systems to meet the threat of Covid-19. Meanwhile, others with populist national leaders have done very little to prepare for or otherwise mitigate the epidemic.
May 5 | Laura Gaviria Halaby, Maria Velez de Berliner, Felipe Colmenares, Kathleen McInerney
In what ways is the pandemic spurring innovation in Colombia, and how should the government of President Iván Duque seek to leverage new technologies for economic resilience and eventual recovery?
Apr 24 | Rebecca Bill Chavez, Kenneth Maxwell, Isabel de Saint Malo, José Antonio Ocampo
Will the post-coronavirus world see a significant shift away from multilateralism, and which countries in Latin America and the Caribbean would stand to gain or lose the most in this context?
Apr 13 | Santiago Levy, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Sebastián Acha, Lauren M. Allen, Audriana Rodriguez & Charles T. Call
In what ways is Covid-19 affecting informal workers in the Americas, and which governments have implemented the best measures to protect informal sectors, both in terms of health care services and economic relief?
Apr 6 | Kevin Casas-Zamora, Shannon O’Neil, Sergio Bitar, Nicolás Marsical & Maria Velez de Berliner
Are emergency measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic putting Latin American and Caribbean democracies at risk?
March 27 | Alicia Bárcena, Shelly Shetty, Claudio Loser, Eric Parrado
What do the best-case and worst-case economic scenarios look like for Latin America and the Caribbean, and will the region suffer a U-shaped recession or a V-shaped one? How deep will the recession be, and which countries face the most economic pain? With already high debt-to-GDP ratios, who will countries borrow from to fund their deficit spending, and how can they target economic packages to most effectively preserve jobs?
March 25 | Tinglong Dai, Margaret Myers, Antonio Ortiz-Mena
To what extent has the Covid-19 outbreak in China interrupted global supply chains, and how much have countries in Latin America and the Caribbean been affected? What lessons can be drawn from the economic effects of the pandemic, and will they prompt long-term changes in the way businesses, supply chains and trade relations are modeled?
March 24 | Daniela Chacón Arias, Vicente Albornoz, César Coronel Jones, Abelardo Pachano
How vulnerable is Ecuador to those two threats to its economy? Will Moreno face legislative pushback to his plan? Will social unrest flare up? Is Moreno taking the right actions in light of the developments, and what more should he be doing?
March 23 | Anton Edmunds, Vangie Bhagoo-Ramrattan, Andrea Ewart, Rogelio Douglas
How big of an impact will Covid-19 have on tourism in the Caribbean, and which countries face the most severe effects? What should government officials in the Caribbean do to prepare their countries and mitigate the consequences? How well are tourism-related businesses, such as cruise lines and hotels, handling the situation?
March 17 | Andrés Rozental, María L. Ávila-Agüero, Katherine Bliss, Alejandro Chafuen, Adriano Massuda
How are Latin American and Caribbean nations coping with the spread of the new coronavirus? Which practices are working best, and where have gaps been identified? Are the region’s health care systems robust enough to effectively address the pandemic, and what steps should the region’s public and private health care providers be taking next?
March 11 | Jorge Heine, John Price, Mariano Machado
What have been the major consequences of coronavirus fears on the prices of metals, including copper and gold? Will such trends continue into the foreseeable future? What will be the economic fallout for Latin American metals exporters, such as Brazil, Chile, Peru and Colombia, and what can they do to prepare for potential losses?
Feb 11 | Fiona Mackie, Margaret Myers, Peter Sand, Zhen Pan
How serious is the risk of the coronavirus spreading to Latin America and the Caribbean? What will be the disease’s global economic fallout, and how will such trends affect Latin American and Caribbean economies? Which sectors in the region could be hurt the most, and which industries might benefi t from the trade disruptions?
Press & Media
This is a public health crisis that requires expertise and science to resolve. Populists by nature … have a disdain for experts and science that are seen as part of the establishment.Michael Shifter, AP News (July 23, 2020)
Hay pocas dudas del fracaso de líderes como Trump, López Obrador y Bolsonaro, a la hora de responder rápidamente a la pandemia e insistir en precauciones básicas como el distanciamiento social y el uso del cubrebocas. Y ese fracaso ha tenido costos humanos reales, que se reflejan en el aumento de casos y muertes. Los últimos meses han demostrado que cuando la ciencia y la experiencia sanitaria son ignoradas, o no se toman en serio, los riesgos son enormes.Michael Shifter, El Universal (July 24, 2020)
América Latina tiene dos grandes problemas frente a la pandemia: son sistemas de salud muy deficientes, con poco presupuesto y poca presencia fuera de las grandes ciudades. Casi ningún país latinoamericano podría resistir un brote como los de Europa y EE.UU. El segundo problema, igual de grave, es el económico. Los países tienen recursos limitados.Bruno Binetti, La Tercera (April 24, 2020)
The Covid-19 crisis highlights how important state capacity is and the competence of leaders. I don’t think this will have any ideological implications — it doesn’t help the left or the right. However, proponents of free-market capitalism in the region are going to have a hard time getting traction.Michael Shifter, Financial Times (April 14, 2020)
La forma en la que China puede ayudar a la región será muy, muy diferente a como lo hizo post-2008.Margaret Myers, BBC Mundo (April 14, 2020)
Ahora que muchos han perdido sus empleos [por la crisis del Covid-19], se debaten entre la responsabilidad moral de ayudar a sus familiares en Venezuela y la necesidad inmediata de atender su vida aquí en Estados Unidos.Manuel Orozco, Voice of America (April 10, 2020)
[We] expect remittances to fall between 7 percent and 12 percent in 2020, compared with the previous year.Manuel Orozco, Washington Post (April 6, 2020)
La máxima prioridad de Estados Unidos, especialmente por la probable catastrófica dimensión que tendrá el Covid-19 en Venezuela, debería ser la ayuda humanitaria y salvar tantas vidas como sea posible.Michael Shifter, Deutsche Welle (April 7, 2020)
“Most of the region’s leaders were already in serious trouble, with slowing economies, social pressures and protests forcing them to look inward. With borders closing everywhere, the coronavirus has only accentuated that instinct.”Michael Shifter, Bloomberg (March 25, 2020)
July 20 | Manuel Orozco | Confidencial
Manuel Orozco, director del programa de Migración, Remesas y Desarrollo del Diálogo Interamericano, conversó con Carlos F. Chamorro para Esta Semana de Confidencial acerca de los hallazgos arrojados por la 5ta encuesta de opinión pública de Nicaragua 2020. Esta encuesta se aplicó a una muestra de 1116 nicaragüenses, propietarios de teléfono celular, y sus resultados tienen un nivel de confianza del 95 por ciento y un margen de error de ±3 por ciento.
June 4 | Michael Shifter | Aristegui Noticias
En esta entrevista con Aristegui Noticias, Michael Shifter habló con Daniel Zovatto, Director Regional de IDEA Internacional para América Latina y el Caribe, sobre el impacto de la pandemia en los Estados Unidos, América Latina en general y también casos específicos como Brasil, México, El Salvador, Nicaragua y Venezuela.
May 22 | Michael Shifter | Canal N
En esta entrevista para el programa 20/20 de Canal N, Michael Shifter y Mávila Huertas hablaron sobre los efectos del Covid-19 en América Latina, la situación actual en Perú, la importancia de las instituciones y las diferencias entre esta pandemia y la crisis financiera de 2008-2009.
May 5 | Manuel Orozco | Confidencial
Manuel Orozco fue entrevistado por el periodista de Confidencial, Iván Olivares para hablar sobre las consecuencias de la pandemia en los flujos de remesas. Orozco calcula una pérdida de remesas de unos 300 millones de dólares que afectarán a unas 600 mil familias nicaragüenses.
May 5 | Margaret Myers | Two The Point – Wilson Center Podcast
How is China’s coronavirus assistance to Latin America being perceived and what are the implications for US-China competition in the region?
Apr 17 | Margaret Myers | NTN24
En esta entrevista con NTN24, Margaret Myers habló sobre el rol crucial de China en el combate del coronavirus en Latinoamérica, así como la “diplomacia de mascarillas” o “mask diplomacy” impulsada por este país.
Mar 23 | Manuel Orozco | CNN
Manuel Orozco explica el impacto económico de la panedemia de Covid-19 para los migrantes latinoamericanos en Estados Unidos, sus familias que reciben remesas y para los países de la región. Su análisis se concentra en los impactos relacionados a la crisis de desempleo proyectada para el país.
From our Members
July 18 | Fernando Henrique Cardoso | Paraiba Online
July 22 | Joyce Chang | Barron’s