Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 13

Interamerican Watch Newsletter

Inter-American Watch

Wednesday November 3rd, 2021
(Casto Ocando, Editor)

Peru

Peru Interior Minister resigns after Halloween party that breached Covid rules

Peru’s Interior Minister resigned Tuesday following reports that he held a Halloween party at his home in violation of Covid-19 rules. Minister Luis Barranzuela faced a storm of criticism after less than a month in office following TV reports that he had held a Halloween party at his hom in the capital Lima on Sunday -the type of gathering prohibited by the government decree just days before. “I have received and accepted the resignation of Interior Minister Luis Barranzuela. In the next few hours I will take the oath of office of whoever will succeed him”, leftist president Pedro Castillo tweeted.
(AFP/Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/peru-minister-resigns-after-party-that-breached-covid-rules/articleshow/87506547.cms)

Peru’s armed forces to support police in controlling security in Lima

The government of President Castillo authorized the Peruvian Armed Forces to support the National Police in the control of internal security for 30 days, given the increase of organized crime in Lima and Callao, according to the highest resolution published on Tuesday.
The norm signed by the President and the Ministers of Defense and the Interior indicates that there is a significant increase in the crime rate in Lima and the neighboring port of Callao due to the presence of criminal organizations involved in illicit drug trafficking, illegal possession of weapons, robberies, and thefts.
(The Rio Times: https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-politics/society/perus-armed-forces-to-support-police-in-controlling-security-in-lima/)

Indigenous self-defense committees seized almost a ton of cocaine in the last seven days

In Río Tambo. Self-defense committees face the advance of drug trafficking in their ancestral territories. Experts points out the urgent need for Castillo’s government to guarantee the integrity of communities that fear reprisals.
(La Republica, in Spamish: https://larepublica.pe/sociedad/2021/11/02/ashaninkas-detienen-cerca-de-una-tonelada-de-cocaina-en-rio-tambo-durante-la-ultima-semana-comites-de-autodefensa/)

Peru’s largest copper mine halts operations due to peasants’ strike

Peru’s Antamina copper mine had to halt operations Sunday due to a strike by a rural community that decided to block one of the roads through which output is carried.
“We believe that there are no guarantees to carry out our productive work or to continue working on projects and works for development in our area of operational influence,” the multinational company announced on Twitter.
The company, under the control of the Australian BHP Billiton and the Swiss Glencore, urged the government “to restore order” to resume dialogue between the parties, and pointed out that for as long as “these conditions are not met, we cannot continue to operate.”
(Mercopress: https://en.mercopress.com/2021/11/02/peru-s-largest-copper-mine-halts-operations-due-to-peasants-strike)

Peru’s sol slips as mining protests dent sentiment

The sol fell 0.7% amid a wave a protests against Peru’s key mining sector, which central bank head Julio Velarde said were affecting the “country’s perception in terms of future
Investments”.
Peru’s largest copper mine, Antamina, suspended operations on Sunday following several days of roadblocks. The protests have caused supply disruptions in the global copper market, and have also damaged the sol this year by denting Peru’s copper exports.
(Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/emerging-markets-latam/emerging-markets-perus-sol-slips-as-mining-protests-dent-sentiment-idUSL1N2RT1R2)

Argentina

President Fernández: ‘Argentina can’t pay IMF US$19 billion next year’

President Alberto Fernández has declared that “Argentina cannot pay” the US$19 billion it owes the International Monetary Fund next year in debt repayments, adding that the terms of the 2018 credit-line agreed by former president Mauricio Macri are “impossible to fulfill.”
(Buenos Aires Times: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/economy/president-fernandez-argentina-cant-pay-imf-us19-billion-next-year.phtml)

Analysis: Argentina’s economic crisis is a cautionary tale for post-COVID US

To most people in the United States, Argentina is known for Lionel Messi, and the Patagonia region that inspired a domestic clothing brand. Most don’t know that Argentines are struggling, and their plight should be a warning sing for people in the U.S.
In September, consumer prices in Argentina rose 3.5%, exceeding expectations and marking a 52.5% increase since last year. Faced with growing inflation anxiety in the country, which I witness firsthand, the Argentine government is extending a price control program to more than 1,200 household items, from bread and flour to milk and rice.
(Washington Examiner: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/argentinas-economic-crisis-is-a-cautionary-tale-for-post-covid-us)

Ecuador

Ecuador balances relationship with China, protection of marine reserve

Maintaining the unique environment of the Galápagos Island and protecting the surrounding marine resources is testing Ecuador. China’s industrial fishing fleet threatens the island, but China is a key trading partner. (Video)
(Voice of America: https://www.voanews.com/a/ecuador-balances-relationship-with-china-protection-of-marine-reserve/6298084.html)

Three other prisioners die in a new shooting in the same jail where 119 inmates died in September

At least three prisoners died on Monday after a new alleged confrontation between enemy gangs at the Guayas No.1 Center for the Deprivation of Liberty in Ecuador, also known as the Litoral Penitentiary, near the Guayas Regional prison.
It is th “Once again, detonations were registered. Elements of the National Police entered the CPL Guayas N ° 1 (former Penitentiary) and reported, so far, three deceased inmates,” reported the National Comprehensive Care Service for Private Adults of the Freedom and Adolescent Offenders (SNAI) in a statement. Is the same prison where last September 119 inmates died.
“Once again, detonations were registered. Elements of the National Police entered the CPL Guayas N ° 1 (former Penitentiary) and reported, so far, three deceased inmates,” reported the National Comprehensive Care Service for Private Adults of the Freedom and Adolescent Offenders (SNAI) in a statement.
Market Research Telecast: https://marketresearchtelecast.com/three-other-prisoners-die-in-a-new-shooting-in-a-jail-in-ecuador-where-119-inmates-died-in-september/193317/)

President Lasso: former president Rafael Correa turned Ecuador over drug trafficking cartels

Ecuador’s president Guillermo Lasso said the increase in drugs is due to the last governments, especially that of Rafael Correa. Between 10 and 15 years it would take the country to recover from the impact of drug trafficking and crime, according to Lasso. “Let no one believe that we are going to solve this in a month or a year. I would say that we are not even going to finish fixing it during our administration. What we want is to start a public policy that hopefully remains stable and, in a horizon of 10 or 15 years, recover from the problem,” he said in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE.
(La Hora, in Spanish: https://www.lahora.com.ec/pais/narcotrafico-ecuador-guillermo-lasso-culpa-rafael-correa/)

Analysis: The transnational drug trafficking cartels on the prowl in Ecuador

The U.S. faces a priority in the Latin American region: make up for the time lost. Meanwhile, two problems emerge with urgency: democracy gives way in many countries (Nicaragua, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras) and drug trafficking extends its tentacles throughout the area, with a novel factor for those who have followed its evolution during The last decades: the cooperation among Cartels to extend global networks to increase penetration and blackmailing of governments in the hemisphere.
(La Prensa Gráfica, in Spanish: https://www.laprensagrafica.com/elsalvador/Los-narcos-transnacionales-al-acecho-20211031-0067.html)

Bolivia

Report detects corruption and political interference in Bolivian judicial system

There are two forms of judicial corruption: bribery and political interference. The second implies that “the organs of power such as the Legislative or Executive establish the lines of how judges should resolve cases. It is something that in our country has been repeated systematically ”, said Soraya Santiago, researcher for the most recent report on the state of the judicial system in Bolivia.
(Los Tiempos, in Spanish: https://www.lostiempos.com/actualidad/pais/20211103/informe-detecta-corrupcion-e-injerencia-politica-justicia)

Socialists pass Bill that, according to the opposition, will pulverize local autonomies

The Senate in full passed a Bill that makes viable the Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES) 2021-2025 “Rebuilding the economy to live well, towards industrialization with import substitution, ” introduced by the socialist government. The opposition protested and considered that this rule pulverizes the autonomies at all levels in Bolivia.
(El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/pais/senado-sanciona-un-proyecto-de-ley-que-segun-la-oposicion-pulverizara-la-autonomia_253336)

Analysis: Coca, drug trafficking and the role of Bolivia

Influence of the Evo Morales model to enhance coca crops, followed by congressmen supporting Peru’s leftist president Castillo, and allowing Brazilian drug cartels to operate in Bolivia, are raising concerns of the role the leftist Bolivian government is playing in South America to benefit, whether on purpose or not, the drug trafficking cartels.
(Pagina Siete, in Spanish: https://www.paginasiete.bo/opinion/editorial/2021/10/25/coca-narcotrafico-el-papel-de-bolivia-313150.html)