While some presidents have failed to take early action to limit the spread of the coronavirus, others have demonstrated their leadership by implementing measures to ensure their communities remain safe and are prepared to face what lies ahead. Here is a list of some Latinx leaders around the world who have shined for their leadership during the pandemic.
In March the U.S. became the country with the most confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide. While President Donald Trump assured citizens that coronavirus was a hoax, then suggested the U.S. would go back to normal by Easter and even speculated that health workers were stealing masks and other medical supplies, he sent confusing messages regarding the pandemic. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has questioned the actions of the current administration and advocated for low-income Americans who are amongst the most vulnerable due to the pandemic. Among other things, the congresswoman has asked for rent suspension and the end of preferential treatment for the wealthy. As she normally does, she has also taken advantage of social media platforms to keep Americans informed about the country’s current situation. On March 29, for example, the congresswoman participated in a stimulus package Q&A to answer questions regarding the COVID-19 stimulus package, which will benefit millions of Americans.
El Salvador was one of the last countries in Latin America to report cases of COVID-19. However, Bukele was one of the first Latin American leaders to announce ambitious measures to ensure that Salvadorians remain safe and do not suffer economical concerns due to the pandemic. Among other things, Bukele announced the suspension of utility bills such as water, electricity and even the internet. Furthermore, Salvador’s president also announced that hundreds of thousands of people would receive a $300 bonus to compensate for their lack of income during the crisis. The news was received with a lot of praise, both from Salvadorians and from many other people across the world. A video showing Bukele announcing the measures went viral on various social media platforms.
As of April 3, Mexico has confirmed more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19. While President Andres Manuel López Obrador has been criticized by many for not taking the new coronavirus seriously. Alfaro, Jalisco’s governor, has taken measures to limit the spread of the virus in the state. On March 31 the governor announced the state of Jalisco would be implementing security filters for those entering the state. The governor also asked the population to practice social distancing and to stay home unless absolutely necessary.
Currently, Jalisco is the third most affected state by the coronavirus in Mexico with almost 100 confirmed cases. However, Alfaro said the rate of spread of the new coronavirus has shown a significant decrease compared to other places, such as Mexico City or the State of Mexico because of the measures implemented. The governor has worked closely with the University of Guadalajara and followed their recommendations to ensure Jalisciences’ safety.
While President Jair Bolsonaro keeps accusing the media of provoking nationwide hysteria in Brazil due to the coronavirus, Amaral, 24, known as the “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of Brazil,” has shined because of her leadership during the pandemic. Amaral has continuously highlighted the importance of social isolation to stop the propagation of the virus, and she is currently working on a project to prohibit Brazilian companies from suspending healthcare during the coronavirus crisis. Moreover, just like El Salvador’s president did in his country, Amaral has asked the government of Brazil to prohibit the suspension of water and electricity in households that can’t pay these bills due to the pandemic. As of March 2, there were almost 8,000 cases of COVID-19 registered in that country.
The first female and openly gay mayor in the capital of Colombia has shined since her inauguration in January. She is active in social media and has a hands-on approach to dealing with the city’s biggest issues. Her Instagram videos show her going around the city, talking to people in a colloquial way and explaining her every move. But one of her most important accomplishments, some say, has been the handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Since the first COVID-19 case in Colombia was confirmed in early March, she has stepped up to tighten the restrictions to limit movement in the city. She has also put up reassuring videos on social media where she addresses challenges in a calm and compassionate manner. She also has secured a little bit of money for some of the poorest families in Bogotá and has pledged to give more. It’s been reported that her leadership and tenacity is inspiring people to follow her example and to help in whatever way they can.