The Alianza Regional para la Expresión e Información has come out with a timely and useful document called “Acceso a la Información de la Salud de los Jefes de Estado.” (It’s not available in English yet but can be accessed in Spanish here.) In it they look at the tension between two basic principles: public figures’ right to privacy and citizens’ right to know about the health of their leaders.

The authors look at several recent cases in Latin America (Paraguay, Venezuela, Argentina, and Colombia) and how they were handled. They conclude that both rights can be respected. “The public does not need to know the embarrassing details of the sickness, but does need to know a realistic prognosis since this can directly influence in the management of state affairs, and for this reason, in [the public’s] quality of life” (p.25).