Legal Responses to COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean: From Argentina to México, From Barbados to Guatemala, From the Bahamas to Chile

Since March 2020, a group of law librarians have been monitoring and reporting on the legal responses to COVID-19 throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The main idea behind this project is to provide the most pertinent and precise amount of information concerning a situation in a particular country or a comparative report on various countries. Unfortunately, the rapidly evolving and tragic situation in the region has given us numerous topics and angles to pursue, learn from and write about. The more the health crisis becomes multiple crises: political, social, educational, humanitarian, financial and so on, the more we must rely on the multidisciplinary aspect of our expertise and backgrounds in our reports.

To this end, we have created a website in which you can find trustworthy sources of information for the entire region as well as specific countries, all our reports and consult our publications and conference presentations. If you would like to get updates on our project, please subscribe. We are in the process of writing reports for each of our sub-regions and hopefully by the end of March 2021, we will have a total of 30-35 reports. We are also planning to present our project and reports in multiple international conferences.

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Who are we?

Our project members come from all corners of our continent. Since the beginning of the project, it was important to reach out and invite contributors that brought with them a special attachment and expertise on the region or a particular country or countries. Earlier this year, our group was formed with the dedication and commitment of the following people:

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As the project evolved, we were honored to confirm the participation of librarians in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, Puerto Rico and Canada. Besides the geographical diversity of our group, we are also incredibly fortunate to count with a wide array of professionals, each bringing their own expertise. We are law librarians, academic librarians, lawyers, law professors, court librarians, information specialists, historians, etc. Both our personal backgrounds and professional knowledge enrich this project, and they contribute enormously to the multidisciplinary angles of our reports.

Covering stories from all corners of the region

The unique composition and background of our project members help us cover every single corner of the region, from Argentina to Mexico, from Barbados to Guatemala and from The Bahamas to Chile. I truly believe this is one of the reasons which makes our project unique. Most of the COVID-19 information found about the region arguably concentrates on the major countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru or Mexico, or countries which have had higher mortality rates such as Ecuador, Dominican Republic or Nicaragua. The reality is that the situation is a lot more complex than it looks like from the outside. By observing and reporting on countries or territories and even situations which are not receiving lots of media coverage such as Paraguay, Caribbean territories, Uruguay, Costa Rica or Haiti, to name a few, we are able to bear witness and share accurate and comprehensive information about the pandemic.

The storytelling nature of the reports allows us to help the readers navigate an unknown or highly complicated situation in just a handful of pages. The aim of these reports is not to mention every single detail. The main goal of our reports is to provide a brief and precise snapshot of a particular situation or country, and then guide the reader to other sources of reliable information if they would like to dig deeper. A few other projects and similar initiatives strive to provide raw data and trends based on how the situation has changed in the region. However, our reports seek to tell the story and connect the dots based on both the data and the local information available.

Evaluating our sources

Finding and evaluating sources of local information in these various countries and territories is crucial to our project. As most media outlets and international organizations have talked about, Latin America and the Caribbean is no stranger to the perils and consequences of widespread misinformation and attempts to obstruct the flow of accurate information. As legal information experts ourselves, we strive to corroborate and confirm our sources and the information they provide in the original language and context in order to provide the most factual and rigorous information possible. At times, this is an uphill battle and it requires a significant amount of time and work. However, our steadfast dedication to the project, local networks and personal attachment to the region give us the confidence to always provide the best information possible.

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