Latin America

Coronavirus in Latin America: a tale of failed leadership and inequality

In just half a year, Latin America went from having no coronavirus cases to being the world's pandemic epicenter. We explain what happened

Coronavirus in Latin America: a tale of failed leadership and inequality
Man in Arapongas, Brazil. Photo: Irenercheli/Shutterstock

The first confirmed Covid-19 infection in Latin America occurred precisely six months ago when a 61-year-old man tested positive for the disease in São Paulo. Despite having weeks to prepare for the arrival of a virus that was already disrupting societies in Asia and Europe, most Latin American nations have decidedly lost the battle against Covid-19. In the past six months, the region quickly became the world’s epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic.

Many have succumbed to the temptation of placing the blame solely on national governments. After all, it is hard to dispute that Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro or Venezuela’s...

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