Latin America’s economic history has long been forged through crises and shocks that stem from the global system. But there is no historical precedent for the turmoil that is just beginning to unfold in the region.
The COVID-19 pandemic has struck at a time when Latin America’s economies were already facing some of the deepest slumps in recent memory. Countries that just a decade ago were riding a growth wave of 5, 6, or 7% seen growth rates fall to 1% or less. For several years, Latin America has been the slowest-growing region in the Global South. Now, the coronavirus shock will bring its economies to a tipping point.
Latin America is certainly not unique in this respect: the pandemic has delivered a one-two punch of health crisis and economic disaster almost everywhere it has spread. But the blow will be especially hard for Latin American countries because of their external economic dependence, dilapidated public sectors, and severe social inequalities.
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