Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Colombia and Covid-19

The Atlantic Council hosted a talk by Colombian President Iván Duque to discuss his government's response to the coronavirus. They seem to be doing reasonably well, though like with many places there are lots of questions about whether in the absence of testing we really know the true magnitude. (For a critical view of his response, see here).

From his perspective, the government acted early to mitigate the effects. I winced when he said something to the effect that the quarantine was maybe the hardest decision ever made by a Colombian president because I am tired of hearing the constant self-aggrandizement here. He estimated that 70-80% of the population has received some sort of service, such as through conditional cash transfers or food.

That's where I had a question, and I submitted it but there was limited time. He kept the discussion at the national level, so I wanted to know how successful the government had been in providing assistance in rural vs. urban areas. If we accept 70-80%, then where are the 20-30% receiving nothing? The Colombian state is famously absent in chunks of the country, and so how are those areas doing?

He ended with a call (or hope) that I thought was interesting. He said the U.S. should "decouple" from Asia and focus more of its economic attention on Latin America. The premise--I suppose it's that Asia is more "dangerous"--is pretty objectionable, but I guess he figures it's the only kind of message someone like Trump might listen to.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP