Find out what's been happening in Latin America with our latest news update.
Argentina’s state-owned airline Aerolíneas Argentinas has announced it will suspend more than half of its workforce for two months due to the drop in demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The airline will suspend 7,500 of its 12,000 workers during June and July following a 97% fall in its revenues. The workers will be paid a portion of their salaries during the temporary suspension. The announcement follows the bankruptcy of Colombia’s national carrier, Avianca, and Chile-based LATAM Airlines, the region’s largest carrier, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in the US in late May.
Opponents of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have launched a pro-democracy manifesto calling for a united front against the president’s perceived threats to the country’s democratic institutions and a failure to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, as Brazil becomes the world’s fourth worst-hit country. “The choice is between democracy and barbarity. It is our country’s future that’s at stake,” Marcelo Freixo, a left-wing congressman, tweeted. The movement, which takes inspiration from the anti-dictatorship activism in the 1980s, brings together politicians from both ends of the political spectrum, as well as figures from academia and culture. Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll has surpassed 29,000, with more than 515,000 confirmed cases in the country.
The International Monetary Fund has approved a two-year flexible credit line for Chile of an equivalent SDR 17.443 billion (about $23.93 billion, equivalent to 1,000 percent of quota). The disbursement is not conditioned on compliance with policy targets as in traditional IMF-supported programs, and is justified by the very strong track records of countries that qualify for flexible credit lines, the IMF said. “Chile’s very strong fundamentals, institutional policy frameworks, and track record of implementing prudent macroeconomic policies have been instrumental in absorbing the impact of a series of recent shocks,” Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, said. She added that, notwithstanding its very strong fundamentals, Chile’s economy is exposed to substantial external risks as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.
Colombia has made working from home obligatory, with the government ordering remote working for all businesses and government agencies where possible. The decree excludes persons who cannot perform their duties remotely such as nurses, retail cashiers and construction workers. During the duration of the sanitary emergency caused by the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic, public and private sector entities will procure that their employees and contractors whose presence is not indispensable in the workplace, to perform their functions and obligations under the modalities of telework, work-from-home,” the decree states. The wide-ranging order also mandates biosafety protocols for those who much be in the workplace or conducting personal activities in public. Public gatherings remain prohibited, and casinos, bars, dance halls, and other such entertainment establishments remain closed.
Mexico began a partial reopening of its economy this Monday, with sectors such as construction and manufacturing returning to work, but which coincides with health authorities warning that the country is at peak risk of contagion from Covid-19. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Monday that if there is a surge in new cases the country would once again shut down. The start of the country’s “new normality” must take place with discipline, by maintaining a safe distance and only leaving home for essential reasons, he said. The death toll from Covid-19 is currently 9,930, with more than 90,000 confirmed cases.
Peru recorded a sharp fall in output across its productive sectors in April, with cement consumption dropping by 98.5%, compared with the same month of 2019, as a result of the suspension of construction activities amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the country’s statistics agency (INEI). The mining sector saw a contraction of 42.3%, with metallic mining production down by 47.2%, with iron ore production down by 100%, zince by 86.3%, silver by 73.6%, gold by 53.5% and copper by 10.7%. And Peru’s hydrocarbons sector registered a 13.4% year-on-year reduction in production in April, with crude production down by 14.8% and natural gas by 29.4%. The fisheries sector suffered a 57.8% fall in production, according to INEI