Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 18

Interamerican Watch Newsletter

Inter-American Watch

Monday November 15th, 2021
(Casto Ocando, Editor)

Peru

Pedro Castillo’s popularity drops dramatically: just 35% support his government, 57% disapproves

These figures represent a drop of up to seven percentage points compared to last October, when it was 42%, in the most recent poll by Ipsos-El Comercio newspaper. In addition, disapproval increased 9 points in the same period and went from 48% to 57%. Disapproval is higher in Lima (69%), compared to the rest of the country, where it is 50% in average. Castillo’s approval in the countryside fell from 62% to 51%. Appointing inexperienced people is considered his bigger mistake.
El Comercio, in Spanish: (https://elcomercio.pe/politica/gobierno/aprobacion-al-presidente-pedro-castillo-cae-siete-puntos-noticia/)

Peru Defense Minister resigns, in fresh blow to President Castillo

Peruvian Defense Minister Walter Ayala resigned this Sunday irrevocably from his post, amid the controversy that raged a week ago in the country over reports of pressure on the promotion of senior military commanders and the dismissal of the heads of the Peruvian Army and Air Force.
EFE, in Spanish: (https://www.efe.com/efe/america/politica/el-ministro-de-defensa-peru-renuncia-tras-polemica-por-ascensos-militares/20000035-4675546)

Peru, U.S. reaffirm high level of bilateral relations

The visit of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to Peru this week reaffirms the high level of bilateral relations between the two countries, the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affaris said on Sunday. The U.S. senior official not only had a long talk (although virtual) with President Pedro Castillo, but also met with Foreign Affairs Minister Oscadr Maurta and Congresss Chairwoman Maria del Carmen Alva. “The ties with the United States are very important to Peru, since the North American nation is our second trade partner, after China, and it is the main source of non-reimbursable cooperation due to the close friendship we maintain,” the ministry stated.
Agencia Peruana de Noticias – Andina: (https://andina.pe/Ingles/noticia-peru-us-reaffirm-high-level-of-bilateral-relations-869498.aspx)

Peruvian Jungle’s Indigenous peoples denounce expansion of drug trafficking in their territories

More than 24 thousand hectares have been invaded by coca growers in only three communities of the Kakataibo people, in the Huánuco jungle. Property Titles have been given irregularly by the Huánuc Regional Agrarian Directorate to presumed drug trafficking networks.
Peru21, in Spanish: (https://peru21.pe/peru/huanuco-pueblos-indigenas-narcotrafico-territorios-huanuco-pueblos-indigenas-de-la-selva-denuncian-la-expansion-del-narcotrafico-en-sus-territorios-noticia/)

Argentina

 

Argentina president suffers severe setback in midterm elections

Argentines dealt a severe blow to President Alberto Fernandez’s ruling coalition amid widespread discontent over the deepening economic crisis and spiraling inflation.
Deutsche Welle: (https://www.dw.com/en/argentina-president-suffers-severe-setback-in-midterm-elections/a-59817866)

Initial results in Argentina’s election show opposition winning key races across country

Opposition scores resounding victory in Buenos Aires city, while emerging with a lead in Buenos Aires province; preliminary results indicate that ruling Peronist coalition will lose majority in the Senate.
Buenos Aires Times: (https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/initial-results-in-argentinas-election-show-opposition-winning-key-races.phtml)

After losing majority in Congress, Government seeks dialogue with opposition

President Alberto Fernández will now likely be forced to make concessions to the opposition during the last two years of his mandate in order to pass laws or make key appointments, including to the Judiciary. “An opposition that is responsible and open to dialogue is a patriotic opposition,” he said, adding that he hoped for cooperation that would be “fruitful, for the general interests of the country.”
Buenos Aires Times: (https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/government-loses-congress-majority-seeks-opposition-dialogue.phtml)

Analysis: In Argentina, “People do not want to be Venezuela”

Former president of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in Argentina, Cristiano Rattazzi, made a double reading of the electoral results, in the short and mid term. For the businessman, the result keeps the country “from becoming Venezuela.” “People don’t want to be Venezuela. We must remember that Nicolás Maduro won the last elections, which makes this already an extraordinary achievement because Argentina wants to react,” he said.
La Nacion, in Spanish: (https://www.lanacion.com.ar/economia/la-gente-no-quiere-ser-venezuela-reacciones-reclamos-y-diferencias-entre-empresarios-tras-el-nid14112021/)

 

Ecuador

Battle among Ecuador prison gangs kills at least 68 inmates

A prolonged gunbattle between rival gangs inside Ecuador’s largest prison killed at least 68 inmates and wounded 25 on Saturday, while authorities said it took most of the day to regain control at the Litoral Penitentiary, which recently saw the country’s worst prison bloodbath. The killing erupted before dawn at the prison in the coastal city of Guayaquil in what officials said was the latest outbreak of fighting among prison gangs linked to international drug cartels. Videos circulating on social media showed bodies, some burned, lying on the ground inside the prison.
AP: (https://apnews.com/article/guillermo-lasso-ecuador-guayaquil-violence-crime-5ae3283e86d3f5326e9b598dc80c9d21)

Ecuadorian court freezes ex-President Rafael Correa’s bank account in corruption probe

Ecuador’s Attorney General’s Office said on Friday that through a local court it had frozen the bank accounts of many business leaders and former government officials, including former President Rafael Correa and members of his administration, who were sentenced last year for breaking campaign finance laws.
Reuters: (https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/ecuadorian-court-freezes-ex-president-rafael-correas-bank-account-corruption-2021-11-12/)

Drug trafficking cartels set base in Ecuador and create their own “Miami”

Ecuador’s Manta Bay, also known as “Little Miami”, has seen a boom in investment and real estate development in the last decade. The climate and location of the most populated city in the province of Manabí has captivated tourists, but also organized crime bosses, who operate from the coast of Ecuador.
Milenio, in Spanish: (https://www.milenio.com/internacional/el-pequeno-miami-refugio-para-narcos-en-ecuador)

Bolivia

Bolivia’s president repeals law that sparked six-day strike

Bolivia’s president announced Sunday the repeal of a law which sparked a six-day general strike, marches and blockades across the country by unions and civic committees. In a press conference Saturday night from the seat of government, Luis Arce announced the decision, saying “the country does not want more anxiety and uncertainty unnecessarily.”
EFE: (https://www.laprensalatina.com/bolivias-president-repeals-law-that-sparked-six-day-strike/)

Protests will continue until repeal of 1386 Act is made official

Organizations protesting the 1386 Act, also know as “Mother Law”, which critics say seeks to impose “economic and financial totalitarism”, will continue public demonstrations until the Bolivian government makes official a repeal of the law announce over the weekend.
El Deber, in Spanish: (https://eldeber.com.bo/edicion-impresa/arce-endurece-su-discurso-y-el-paro-sigue-hasta-que-abroguen-la-ley-1386_254965)

Chile

Chile conservative Kast maintains lead in final pre-election opinion polls

Chilean right-wing presidential front-runner, Jose Antonio Kast, has retained his grip on first place in pre-election opinion polls ahead of leftist Gabriel Boric, as pollsters go into a legal blackout period two weeks before the Nov. 21 election.
Reuters: (https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chile-conservative-kast-maintains-lead-final-pre-election-opinion-polls-2021-11-06/)