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Covid-19 28 Apr 2020

Latin America Current Report: Three expert views of the pandemic

As we transitioned into 2020, most global experts and political scientists were raising concerns that suggested Latin America was facing one of its regular periods of difficulty. Numerous theories were floated about widespread conflict that would devastate the continent to a greater or lesser degree. The economic situation was slipping into paralysis amid a broader context of social insecurity and inequality, along with democratic and institutional disaffection. Countries were turning inward while talk of confrontation and populism was putting a strain on diplomatic relations, adding a local slant to some of the issues that come with the new political and social era of the new century.

Against that backdrop, the unexpected worldwide arrival of the coronavirus is stirring things up further, clouding all judgment and forms of analysis. An already strained political and social climate with flat economic indicators is now joined by the threats posed by a health risk with unforeseeable effects on the continent. No country anywhere in the world will emerge unscathed and the tough consequences of this pandemic will be felt strongest where structures lack the resilience required of a consolidated State and necessary for facing such a sudden, fast-spreading crisis with no immediate end in sight. Never has a maze been so complex and its exits so unclear.

In an attempt to draw you a map for this maze, three different authors with expertise on Latin America gathered from wide-ranging experiences and opinions offer three different approaches to navigating this perfect storm. Carlos Malamud, Eva Mateo and Ramón Casilda sketch out their broadest and most faithful outlines of the situation, and explore some of the possible opportunities that, according to classic proverbs, always emerge from a crisis.

Cristina Ysasi-Ysasmendi – Corporate Director at LLYC

Carlos Malamud
History Professor at the UNED and Lead Researcher on Latin America at the Elcano Royal Institute
Member of the National History Academy of Argentina, he has been selected as one of the “50 most influential Ibero-American intellectuals” according to Esglobal. He has been Senior Associate Member (SAM) at Saint Antony’s College, University of Oxford (1992/93), and Visiting Researcher at the University of Los Andes (Cátedra Corona, 2003) and the Torcuato Di Tella University. Between 1996 and 2002, he was Deputy Director of the Ortega y Gasset University Institute and Director of its Latin America Program. From 2000 to 2002, he was Director of the Security and Defense in Latin America Observatory at the same institute and Deputy Director of the New Majority Latin American Electoral Observatory. He is a Member of the Advisory Council of the Culture Institute of the MAPFRE Foundation and currently combines his work as historian with that of political analyst and international relations in Latin America.
Eva Mateo Asolas
Communication Manager for the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI)
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid, a Master’s Degree in the Management of Communication and Advertising and a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing, both from ESIC Business School. She has received significant training in creative writing and storytelling. She speaks five languages.A journalist with 20 years of experience, she has worked on the editorial staff of various newspapers and radio stations, work that has been recognized, among others, by the Spanish Radio Academy Award as the Best News Presenter. Her reports and interviews from India, Ethiopia, Senegal and Belgium have been published in such media as El País, El Mundo, RNE and Vocento. She spent two years living in Brussels, where she learned about the daily workings of the EU institutions from Spain’s Permanent Representation before the European Union. She began her work in international cooperation in 2011 for the Vicente Ferrer Foundation and today heads up communication for the leading multilateral governmental cooperation body in Ibero-America. She has been a speaker, among others, at the 7th International Congress of the Spanish Association of Communication Research and participated in the COVID-19 book by the consultancy firm LLYC with the article ‘Latin America 2020: A society being tested'.
Ramón Casilda
Economic Affairs Adviser for Deepwell Liquidity Management
Independent Board Member at ATD Brasil. Board Member at El Economista América. He was Executive Advisor to the Chairman of BT Global Services for Latin America. Member of the International Advisory Council of Repsol, Hispasat and Prointec. Managing Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Investments for Ibero-America of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations; Director of Analysis, Studies and Corporate Development of Probanca; and Director of Institutional Relations, Analysis and Development of Soluziona. Professor at the University Institute for Latin American Research Studies at the University of Alcalá, the Institute for Stock Market Studies and the Diplomatic School of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation. He was Chair Director of International Business Management of the Santander Group at Nebrija University.
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