Skip to main content
Support
Blog post

Plague in the Palace: Political Elites Catch COVID-19

Image - Lucy Hale
Image - Plague in the Palace: Political Elites Catch COVID-19

Plague in the Palace: Political Elites Catch COVID-19

As Latin America’s governments have struggled to control COVID-19, political elites have fallen ill throughout the region: six presidents, at least 63 ministers and scores of lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus, a toll that has doubtlessly disrupted pandemic response. This latest video from the Latin American Program explores the impact of the virus on political leadership and the region’s public health response.

WATCH
Plague in the Palace
By Lucy Hale

Over a year since COVID-19 made landfall in Latin America, total infections have topped 22 million and fatalities exceed 700,000. As Latin America’s governments have struggled to control the virus, political elites have fallen ill throughout the region: six presidents, at least 63 ministers and scores of lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus, a toll that has doubtlessly disrupted pandemic response. Among those infected include the presidents of the region’s largest countries, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico. Colombia’s defense minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, died of COVID-19 in January.

Fortunately, vaccine distribution throughout the hemisphere is picking up, and public officials are typically first in line for the jab. President Alberto Fernández was the first Latin American president to be vaccinated publicly, receiving the Sputnik V vaccine on January 21. President Sebastián Piñera of Chile followed afterward, when he was administered the Sinovac vaccine on February 12.

Meanwhile, not all Latin American political elites have publicized their inoculation, and privileged access to vaccines has scandalized the region. The governments of PeruArgentina and Ecuador have all faced public uproars over line jumping.

About the Author

Image - Lucy Hale

Lucy Hale

Intern
Read More

Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

Argentina Project

The Argentina Project is the premier institution for policy-relevant research on politics and economics in Argentina.   Read more