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In the full eye of the hurricane sanitary, is Latin america is being hit hard by the Covid-19 . The pandemic has accelerated in a Region that now accounts for one out of every two deaths at the global level and already exceeds the 100,000 deaths. The impact on some economies that accumulated sensitive weaknesses prior will also be blunt. This week the IMF projected a contraction for the area of 9.4% for this year (vs. a decline of 4.9% of the global GDP), with a recovery of 3.7 per cent in 2021. The drubbing will not escape any of the large economies, with Mexico grabbing the worst predictions (a fall of 10.5%), but not very far from Argentina (-9,9%) or Brazil (9.1 in%). The inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in turn, estimated that you will lose around 12 million jobs in the formal sector , and that the informal will increase from 54% to 62%.

it Is difficult to find lights of hope in the midst of a perfect storm, but to turn on the beacons that can guide the way towards a new future recently met several former presidents of countries of the region and business figures and academics in a ceremony organised by the Ibero-american General Secretariat (SEGIB), the Council of Businessmen Latin American (CEIB), and the Iberoamerican Federation of Young Entrepreneurs (SET), in collaboration with the University Camilo José Cela , in the framework of a series of activities called “More Ibero-america”.

Under the motto “Reflections of the future from politics, business and the academy” , this forum served, from visions, sometimes complementary, and other matters, to define some of the key ports that should be touching on the complex journey of recovery. “The best recipe to deal with this situation has to be the bet for a Latin america more cohesive than ever , supported by pillars such as unity, solidarity, the promotion of intraregional trade and the digital agenda, sustainable development, education, training, retention of talent or the public-private partnership,” summed up Gerardo Cuerva , vice-president of the CEOE and president of Cepyme. In regards to this necessary sum of efforts between public and private institutions, Cave stressed that “we are before a historic opportunity to achieve agreements in different areas and sectors, not let us not waste it”.

Dialog from the respect

The scourge of the Covid will mark a before and an after, but all participants highlighted the error that would pick up old walls commercial or delve into ancient inequalities. In this regard, the secretary-general iberomaericana, Rebeca Grynspan , urged to achieve a new social contract “thinking in the strategic infrastructures; including digitization, innovation, green economy, sustainable and connected; and ensuring greater regional integration, which today is more important than ever. In short, think on how to better integrate them, creating spaces that multi-stakeholder and multi-level , where all can engage in dialogue with respect, equality and solidarity, on the basis of the implementation of agendas constructive and proactive”.

The union makes the force. “To build spaces of integration is now more necessary than ever, in order to establish a dialogue suitable as a bloc,” said Carlos Mesa , former president of Bolivia. The response of the EU to face the crisis, strong now unlike the warmth of 2008, was set as an example on several occasions. “ In Latin America there has not been any collaboration between the countries . For this reason, it is necessary to strengthen ties and forge partnerships,” stressed the former chilean Frei: . “In the EU was easier to reach agreements and collaborate between governments, business and society; in Latin america it was more complicated to control the situation, due to the strong presence of the informal sector,” he said Ernesto Samper , former president of Colombia.

The former panamanian Aristides Royo folded the mythical figure of García Márquez and said that Latin America has lived “200 years of solitude” , because he failed to build a united organization. “It is crucial to rethink the idea of reaching an integration that has, at least, half of the power and force and that of the EU,” he warned.

The multilateralism , touched before the crisis by the hurricane protectionist unleashed by Trump, now stands as an indispensable tool of recovery for the Region . “It is crucial to re-negotiate agreements, as was done long ago with the united states or Canada, to promote economic openness, multilateralism and free trade,” said Vicente Fox , former president of Mexico. is Luis Alberto Lacalle , former president of Uruguay, agreed that “the trade will remain no matter what happens, that is why there is that break down barriers, to preach the opening up of the economy, with the aim of achieving collective prosperity”. “We can’t let that shut down the engines of the economy,” he said.

As recalled by the secretary of State of Foreign Affairs for Latin america and the Caribbean, Cristina Gallach , in this way acquires a special relevance, the distance already walked with the EU-Mercosur agreement, “it is now more important than ever.” Gallach defended Spain will continue to be a key driver in Europe’s relationship with Latin america , and emphasized the role of “strong ally” in the Region that our country will continue to represented. “We are convinced that our economic relations are systemic, and, without the presence of Spanish companies in the Region, our economy would be much weaker and volatile, that’s why we trust in a deepening best of our bilateral relations,” he said. Closer and more united, Latin america looks for arguments to escape their darkest hours.