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Photo: Jorge Bernal/AFP via Getty Images

Latin American officials on Wednesday highlighted how the pandemic has exposed the dangers of the high dependence of the region on imports of health technologies from the international community.

What they're saying: "The region... must never experience the dependency that it experienced with COVID-19," Carla Vizzotti, Argentina's minister of health, said during a panel hosted by the Atlantic Council and Axios Latino. "We must altogether say 'never again."

  • “We need to accelerate our self sufficiency by mobilizing multi-sectoral and with the stakeholders participation," Vizzotti added.

Driving the news: A May 2020 study found that less than 4% of medical products essential to combatting COVID-19 were sourced from within Latin America and the Caribbean.

The big picture: To help provide the region and other low-income countries worldwide with the needed supplies and knowledge to develop affordable health technologies, the World Health Organization, in partnership with Costa Rica, last year launched the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) initiative.

  • The initiative calls on developers of COVID-19 health technologies to "share their intellectual property, knowledge and data" with quality-assured manufacturers.
  • But the initiative "has not advanced, as expected, particularly because large countries... have not joined," Costa Rica Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr said.
  • "It is insufficient if we feel like we can only work with countries that have more money and leave behind the poorer countries," she added.

Watch the full event here.

Get more news that matters about Latinos in the hemisphere, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sign up for the Axios Latino newsletter.

Go deeper

Exclusive poll: The wall divides Latino Americans

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos in partnership with Noticias Telemundo; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Opposition among U.S. Latinos to walling off the U.S.-Mexico border is being driven by Mexican Americans and Central Americans, while Puerto Ricans are more ambivalent and a majority of Cuban Americans support the idea, according to the inaugural Axios-Ipsos Latino poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo.

Why it matters: It's one striking example of the deep divisions among U.S. Latinos on a range of political and cultural issues that break down across geographic and generational lines.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.