This essay compares the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America with two long-lasting
crises (the Great Depression and the debt crisis) and two more recent and shorter
ones (the 1997 Asian crisis and the 2008–2009 North Atlantic crisis). The analysis
indicates that almost all external shocks, whether associated with external financing,
the terms of trade, trade volumes or remittances, have been weaker during the
current crisis. What has mainly been lacking is international financial cooperation.
The severity of the crisis has therefore been due more to domestic factors: the
fact that the region was the global epicentre of the pandemic for several months
and that the crisis has come on top of five years of poor economic performance
and three decades of slow growth. For this reason, the region needs to change its
development patterns on top of implementing policies to overcome the crisis.