05-2020 Latin American Economy & Business Report
Economy & Business Report
China’s ‘face mask diplomacy’ tests geopolitical ties
The old adage that a day in politics is a long time was borne out in Chile on 14 June. President Sebastián Piñera delivered a national broadcast celebrating the signing of an accord with the bulk of the political opposition, sealing support for a US$12bn fund to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and attenuate its impact on the economy. Less than 24 hours earlier, Piñera had been rocked by the departure of his health minister, whose position became untenable after a major disparity in reported fatalities from Covid-19 emerged. The pressure on Piñera remains unrelenting, however, as Chile’s infection rate per capita soars higher than in any country other than Qatar, compelling him to extend the country’s state of exception for a further 90 days to try and flatten the curve of the pandemic, compounding its economic difficulties.
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