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