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Latin America’s Darkest Hour

Author: Oliver Stuenkel

Affiliation: Associate Professor of International Relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (São Paulo, Brazil)

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: January 28, 2021/USA

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 1249


Keywords: Latin America, U.S., Democracy, COVID-19


Based in São Paulo, Brazil, the author focuses on the difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated recently in Latin America, and how the absence of dialogue among regional countries—due to ideological rifts among their governments—has contributed to those difficulties. The author says that it is time for new president Joe Biden to work effectively to recompense the damage after the pandemic through regional cooperation if he succeeds to gather all leaders. It is hard to gather them in polarized Latin America, where the leaders are reluctant to work with other leaders with opposing ideas. So, bilateral meetings must be prioritized by Washington rather than aiming for regional cooperation. Moreover, democracy is likely to be at stake by populist leaders’ re-election such as Bolsonaro of Brazil. Biden has an advantage against populist leaders due to his ability to defend democracy against populism, but the author emphasizes that after the US Capitol riots Washington should not be seen as lecturing to those leaders. Lastly, there is another risk that COVID-19 has brought to Latin America, which is financial instability. US policymakers must consider providing relief by supporting COVID-19 vaccination, because China will offer them credits to retain vaccines in order to expand its sphere of influence.

By: Berat Karadeniz, CIGA Research Intern



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