Economy

Former Latin American leaders sign an open letter on ways to fight the pandemic

The main points are to suppress mortality rate, support jobs and incomes of the labor force, relief to businesses and fiscal stimulus

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A group of former Latin American presidents, officials, distinguished scholars, economy ministers and central bank bosses signed an open letter on how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Offering a roadmap for fighting COVID-19 in Latin America, the group looked at the ethics and economic imperatives and claimed out: “The suppression of the epidemic to minimize its morbidity and mortality must be our top priority”. Besides, the main points are for supporting jobs and incomes of the labor force, relief to businesses and fiscal stimulus. The full letter is available here.

The group also lay claim to public politics that involve financial aid to vulnerable people and capital for small and medium-sized companies. According to the Brazilian former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Chilean Ricardo Lagos and Colombian Juan Manuel Santos, the IMF has an essential role to play – both in the short run to address countries’ foreign exchange and fiscal needs, and in the future to keep supporting economies through a crisis whose duration remains highly uncertain.

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They said that the IMF needs more resources and the ability to disburse them rapidly. “Latin American governments should call forcefully for a new one trillion issue of the Fund’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). And while SDRs are allocated to member countries according to quotas, a non-proportional allocation could be achieved by creating a common pool overseen by the Fund, to expedite fiscal support to governments”.

The group recalls that challenging times has no parallel in this nowadays story. According to them, the world can’t react in an inappropriate manner. Mutual confidence, transparence and logical, and not populism and demagoguery, may be the best guide on these uncertain times. “Crisis can’t be an excuse to weaken our democracies conquered with so much struggle. It should be an opportunity to strengthen up Latin America‘s democracy and to show what it is capable to delivery to population”.

The letter was signed by:

  • Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of Brazil (1995-2002).
  • Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile (2000-2006).
  • Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia (2010-2018).
  • Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, President of Mexico (1994-2000); Yale University.
  • Mauricio Cárdenas, Minister of Finance of Colombia (2012-2018); Center on Global Energy Policy, SIPA, Columbia University.
  • Roberto Chang, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Rutgers University, USA.
  • José De Gregorio, Minister of the Economy, Mining and Energy of Chile (2000-2001), President of the Central Bank of Chile (2007-2011). Dean, Economic and Business School, Universidad de Chile.
  • Ilan Goldfajn, President of the Central Bank of Brazil (2016-2019); Director and founder, Centro de Debates de Politicas Publicas (CDPP).
  • Ricardo Hausmann, Minister of Planning of Venezuela (1992-1993); Professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
  • Eduardo Levy Yeyati, Dean, School of Government, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  • Federico Sturzenegger, President of the Central Bank of Argentina (2015-2018); Professor, Universidad de San Andrés.
  • Rodrigo Valdés, Finance Minister of Chile (2015-2017); School of Government, Catholic University of Chile.
  • Andrés Velasco, Finance Minister of Chile (2006-2010); Dean, School of Public Policy, London School of Economics.