“While regional experiences vary and it is still early to draw definitive conclusions, it is already clear that the pandemic is exposing and exacerbating many of Latin America’s preexisting challenges. Income inequality, labor informality, and weak social safety nets obligated millions of citizens to choose between protecting their health and feeding their families. Strained public finances and regressive tax systems limited the steps governments could take to stimulate their economies and support those most in need. Weak public services and discrimination left vulnerable populations such as migrants, prisoners, and indigenous and Afro-descendent communities particularly exposed to Covid-19. Corrupt public officials and cynical profiteers exploited the health emergency for their own gain. And in some countries, politicians used the pandemic to further polarize society, while authoritarian leaders exploited fragile checks and balances to concentrate power and further erode civil liberties…”

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