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Latin American and Caribbean Regionalism during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Saved by Functionalism?


Covid-19 arrived in Latin America in a context of ideological polarisation among national governments and internal socio-political turmoil, which bode badly for its numerous and overlapping regional groupings. However, in a manner suggested by functionalist theories, some of them have “found refuge” in technical/expert cooperation and side-stepped political paralysis with different degrees of success. With institutions and previous experience in health issues, CARICOM and SICA had a significant role in the management of the pandemic, while CELAC revived by promoting technical cooperation. In contrast, MERCOSUR failed to overcome the political rift among its members, so technical cooperation occurred, yet remained limited.
Keywords: Latin America and the Caribbean; regionalism; Covid-19; neo-functionalism; cooperation