Latin America’s Perfect Storm
The mass protests that have recently erupted in countries as different as Colombia and Cuba attest to the severity of the crises facing Latin America. Although the region's problems must be addressed above all by its leaders, increased international cooperation will be vital to reviving economic growth and political stability.
MADRID/MONTEVIDEO – Latin America is experiencing an especially grave set of crises. The region’s economies are stagnating. Its politics are broken. And, above all, the health of its people is in jeopardy. The mass protests that have recently erupted in multiple countries attest to the severity of the problems that the region’s leaders and the international community must now tackle.
Despite accounting for just over 8% of the world’s population, Latin America has recorded more than 30% of confirmed COVID-19 deaths. With a few exceptions, vaccination in the region is still proceeding painfully slowly. In Peru, which has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 death rates, only about 20% of the population has received at least one vaccine dose.
The region’s economy shrank by 6.3% in 2020 because of the pandemic, but Latin American countries had already been performing anemically for the previous five years. They are also among the world’s most unequal countries, creating an ideal breeding ground for both COVID-19 and the virus of political instability.