Law Librarians Monitoring the Legal Response to COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean has unfortunately become the epicenter of COVID-19 over the last few months. The numbers speak for themselves. The entire region counts for a total of 4,364,705 confirmed cases and 183,481 deaths as of July 26 with countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Colombia and Argentina as among the most affected in the entire world. Despite the rapid and catastrophic impact of the pandemic in the region, a few countries have decided to continue their reopening plans and others have continued to completely ignore or deny the reality in their countries. The calamitous situation in the bigger countries eclipses the fact that some of the smaller countries, such as Uruguay, Paraguay and Costa Rica have to some degree managed to mitigate the impact of the crisis so far. Furthermore, some island nations in the Caribbean have claimed a certain degree of success against the pandemic which might be threatened with the upcoming hurricane season.

It is within this framework and state of mind that our project, Law Librarians Monitoring COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean embarks upon a new set of reports called COVID-19 Reports on Latin America and the Caribbean. Since mid-March, our project members have striven to provide a platform for snapshot reports on the situation, to identify trustworthy sources of information and to ignite a conversation with our colleagues throughout the world through our presentations and articles. This is the list of librarians in our project and the countries they are monitoring:

In this new round of reports, our project will count with the unwavering support and close collaboration of a group of steadfast librarians working throughout the region. It is our hope that these new law librarians will help us to provide an even more nuanced understanding of the complex crisis as well as insightful and unique perspectives which they are first hand witnesses to.

Marilia Mello
Marilia Mello

Marilia Mello, Library Director of the Federal Court 1st Region in Brasilia, Brazil

“This project is important because it disseminates reliable information collected by librarians with expertise and experience in their countries. In the world of blogs, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and many other social networks, there is no quality control on what is information and disinformation. This is an extremely dangerous situation especially when it comes to health issues. The main objective of our project is to provide information updates, without any bias, and related to legal aspects and other topics on the pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Jasmine Raymond

Jasmin Raymond, Librarian at the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago and Treasurer of the Caribbean Association of Law Libraries (CARALL)

“I am honoured as a Court Librarian to be part of this project and to be featuring what the “Small Island Caribbean States” and Latin America have been doing right to mitigate and battle the presence of COVID 19. I know this is important as we want today and future generations, to read and deeply understand the actions and policy initiatives taken by our governments and social institutions, by getting the perspective from “us” who are living the history and experiencing the highs, lows and dangers associated with COVID-19. We soldier on to capture accurate, and truthful information and to show a holistic picture of the impact of the pandemic in our space here in the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Maria Angelica Fuentes
María Angélica Fuentes

María Angélica Fuentes, Manager of Digital Resources at Chile’s Library of Congress and the Chair of IFLA – LAC

“The importance of this project is that it channels information about Latin American countries while it monitors important issues related to COVID-19, its implications and impact. It is crucial to be able to count with data and information to conduct comparative studies on the different responses and reactions from the government as well as health authorities in similar situations, in order to share both what worked and what didn’t and look at best practices.”

Please do follow, like and share our reports or you can also subscribe to our updates in our homepage. You can also use this subscription form to contact us with any questions, suggestions, ideas, etc. We are always eager to hear from you and any potential collaborations.

This pandemic does not know of political borders and it affects everyone in the world. The more we understand and learn from each other, the more we can strive for a solution to the crisis for the benefit of everyone.

Marcelo Rodriguez
Research & Training Librarian
Second Circuit Library Thurgood Marsall U.S. Courthouse
New York

This Blog contains entries by members of the International Association of Law Libraries on issues germane to the Association’s areas of focus. Views expressed in an individual entry only represent the views of the author.