In recent years, Latin America has seen a lot of change. China has become a major new trading partner, and traditional partnerships with the United States have been shifting since the election of Trump. Nineteen Latin American and Caribbean countries have signed onto the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the past two years. On the security front, the longest conflict in the region came to an end with the signing of the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC in November 2016. However, this past decade has also seen the comedown of the ‘Rise of Brazil’ and now a more immediate crisis in President Bolsonaro’s hands-off approach to the coronavirus pandemic. And the 2017-19 so-called ‘super-cycle’ of elections was marked by ‘anti-votes’ across the region due to growing dissatisfaction with weak state responses to the persistent and wide range of security and socio-economic challenges. Adding to this context, and as a result of COVID-19, the IMF World Economic Outlook Report issued in April 2020 forecast economic growth to contract by 5.2%, with an expectation for the worst recession in 50 years. Since then, the virus has spread extremely rapidly across the region. Current figures indicate over 1 million cases and over 50’000 deaths, as Latin America and the Caribbean has become a new epicentre for the pandemic, according to the World Health Organisation.
While it is too soon to analyse the broader consequences of COVID-19, this webinar episode will provide an overview of the initial economic and security impact of the pandemic on Latin America at the national, urban and individual level. Panellists will cover a range of issues, from geo-economics, development and informal economies to urban violence, drug trafficking & financial flows, and domestic violence. The webinar will focus not only on the current situation but also the expected economic and security outlook as the situation evolves, as well as a discussion of potential approaches for mitigation.
Several of our panellists today are experts for our GCSP-UNIGE Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in International and European Security. We are still accepting applications on a case-by-case basis for the 2020-2021 edition. Find out more here: https://bit.ly/2y0z9yF. This MAS attracts participants working in government, IOs, NGOs, the private sector and academia – if you wish to increase your knowledge, skills and network to advance your career in international peace and security – contact us email@example.com.
More on Latin America with Dr Christopher Sabatini here: https://www.gcsp.ch/digital-hub/video/us-latin-america-relations-dr-christopher-sabatini.
More on Latin America in spanish with Dr Elisa María Aracil Fernández here: https://theconversation.com/covid-19-hacia-otra-decada-perdida-en-america-latina-141387