There’s a story circulating today in which it is alleged that Guatemala does not appear on the official Russian register of countries it is assisting via distribution of Sputnik V and that a substantial amount of the monies apparently paid for that vaccine by the government here were transferred to a broker with a Russian name who is now not answering his calls.
Instinct and experience tell me that this story is almost too juicy to be true.
Yet they also tell me that this individual need not be Russian at all, and could well be in the employ of another state actor — of the sort that might have a vested interest in undermining Putin’s vaccine diplomacy in the region and might also not mind at all if the population of Guatemala were to remain un-protected in a manner that would make migration policy decisions politically more easy to enforce in the medium term. That's how I'd write it up as an espionage thriller anyway.
In the same way there were those taking advantage of 9-11 or Brexit for reasons that had little much to do with the prevailing terror threat the UK’s relationship with the EU, there will be those with plans already in place to leverage the pandemic for purely political ends.
In the UK for example, such people will know well that ‘protect the NHS’ is a mantra that will achieve a broad mandate for state action that might otherwise not appeal to the majority.