Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 21

Interamerican Watch Newsletter

Inter-American Watch

Monday, November 22nd, 2021
(Casto Ocando, Editor)

Perú

Peru’s Castillo shut down 4 mines, citing ecological impact and local protests

Peruvian Prime Minister Mirtha Vasquez sparked a controversy with the key mining sector on Friday night, saying a group of four mines in the Andean Ayacucho region would not be allowed any extensions on their operational timelines.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/peru-pm-sparks-controversy-with-mining-sector-by-ruling-out-timeline-extensions-2021-11-20/

President Castillo’s Secretary resigns amid corruption scandal

Peru’s Presidential Secretary Bruno Pacheco has turned in his resignation claiming his decision was motivated “to avoid a smear campaign” against the head of state. The Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Crimes of Corruption submitted a new complaint to the Public Ministry on Thursday against Pacheco and those allegedly responsible for the crime of influence peddling. The Lima Gris website had published transcripts of Pacheco’s (full name Arnulfo Bruno Pacheco Castillo) chats asking other government officials to favor certain private companies.
Mercopress: https://en.mercopress.com/2021/11/19/peru-president-s-secretary-resigns-amid-corruption-scandal

Peru’s presidential palace searched by anti-corruption prosecutor

Anti-corruption investigators carried out a search in Peru’s presidential palace as part of a probe into alleged influence-peddling by a close aide of President Pedro Castillo. The prosecutor’s office said in statement that it initiated preliminary proceedings against Bruno Pacheco, who quit Friday as Secretary General of the Presidential Palace, a role that involves organizing the head of state’s agenda.
Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-19/anti-corruption-prosecutor-searches-peru-s-presidential-palace

Impeachment threat haunts Peru President four months into term

Peru’s President Pedro Castillo has been in office for less than four months and opposition lawmakers are already pushing for his ouster in the politically unstable Andean nation. Fuerza Popular, the party led by defeated presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, said Friday that its lawmakers would support a motion asking congress to debate Castillo’s impeachment for “permanent incapacity” to lead the country. Earlier, the conservative Renovacion Popular party also backed the idea. Together, those two groups have comfortably more than the 26 signatures needed for the petition to be presented to congress.
Bloomberg: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/impeachment-threat-haunts-peru-president-four-months-into-term-1.1684729

Peru Libre’s lawyer accused of bribing key government witness on criminal investigation involving high-ranking party’s leaders

According to an investigation conducted by El Comercio, Jhon Benites, lawyer for Castillo’s Peru Libre party, tried to bribe a key government witness to keep silent on the criminal investigation for terrorism against the party’s head Vladimir Cerrón, former Primer Minister Guido Bellido and congressman Guillermo Bermejo.
El Comercio, in Spanish: https://elcomercio.pe/politica/justicia/abogado-de-peru-libre-ofrecio-dinero-a-testigo-a-cambio-de-su-silencio-noticia/

Terrorist group Shining Path coordinates killing contracts from coca-growing area, arrested sicario revealed

Sicario Edgar Torpoco recounted how Shining Path’s operatives gave him weapons, money and detailed sketches to attack targets. They prepared him to assassinate. According to police sources, the terrorists seek to replicate the same scheme also in Lima. The sicario’s training was done in the so-called VRAEM, the largest coca-growing area in Peru.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/sendero-luminoso-del-vraem-coordina-reglajes-en-lima-para-aniquilamientos-quispe-palomino-noticia/

 

Argentina

Argentina’s prosecutors investigate an account in Uruguay of a former Chavista official for possible bribes from an Argentine businessman

Prosecutors in Buenos Aires investigate corruption behind millionaire sales of an Argentine businessman to Venezuela, involving a former Venezuelan Chavista official that send funds to Panamá, and then to Uruguay, with connections in the U.S. financial system.
Infobae, in Spanish: https://www.infobae.com/politica/2021/11/22/la-justicia-investiga-una-cuenta-en-uruguay-de-una-ex-funcionaria-chavista-por-posibles-sobornos-de-un-empresario-argentino/

Argentina to agree economic plan with IMF then present it to Congress

Argentina plans to agree a new long-term economic plan with International Monetary Fund staff before submitting it to Congress, a government source said, as talks continued to secure a deal to roll over $45 billion owed to the IMF.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/exclusive-argentina-agree-economic-plan-with-imf-then-present-it-congress-source-2021-11-19/

 

Ecuador

Ecuador’s president extends state of emergency to fight crime linked to drug cartels

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso has renewed a 30-day state of emergency in nine of the country’s 24 provinces, as his government seeks to curb crime it says is connected to drug consumption and trafficking. The renewal will keep military patrols on the streets in areas with high rates of homicide and other crimes associated with the drug trade.
Reuters/CBS News: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/ecuadors-president-extends-state-emergency-fight-crime-rcna6186

Colombia to give Ecuador advise on drug trafficking as both countries reopen border

Colombia, the world’s leading producer of cocaine, offered Ecuador advice on Sunday in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism, at a time when Quito faces ramping drug-related crime, and both countries reopen their border.
Infobae, in Spanish: https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2021/11/22/colombia-dara-a-ecuador-asesoria-sobre-narcotrafico-y-reabriran-frontera/

‘Correism’ squandered millions of dollars in events and consultancies in Spain, investigation reveals

At the Ecuadorian embassy and consulates in Spain, Rafael Correa spent $8.5 million in contracts that ranged from legal assistance to psychosocial studies. Also spent $2.4 million on public events and shows throughout Spanish cities, targeting the extended Ecuadorian population in that country. In Italy, Correa dedicated $1 million to pay for similar contracts. In both cases the former president of Ecuador used the money to prop up his propaganda machine in Europe.
Primicias, in Spanish: https://www.primicias.ec/noticias/politica/correismo-despilfarro-millones-eventos-espana-italia-corrupcion/

Special Report: Achievements, obstacles and crisis: 180 days of Guillermo Lasso’s presidency

On Wednesday November 24th, 2021, Ecuador’s Guillermo Lasso reaches six months into his presidency, crossed by administrative and political ups and downs. During this time, the President has resorted to 260 executive decrees, three states of exception with two renewals, nine presidential advisers and about seven changes of cabinet members.
Primicias, in Spanish: https://www.primicias.ec/noticias/politica/logros-crisis-seis-meses-presidencia-lasso/

 

Bolivia

Evo Morales to lead 5,000 ‘cocaleros’ in a march to Bolivia’s capital in support of Arce’s government

At least 5,000 coca leaf producers will participate in a 150 miles-march led by former president Evo Morales from Caracollo (Oruro) to the city of La Paz, informed MAS party senator Leonardo Loza, noting that the mobilization is to support the government of Luis Arce.
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/pais/unos-5000-cocaleros-participaran-en-la-marcha-del-mas_255924

Elections

Ex-protester, conservative lawmaker to meet in Chilean runoff

A conservative lawmaker with a history of defending Chile’s military dictatorship and a former student protest leader were headed to a polarizing presidential runoff after both failed to garner enough votes to win the South American country’s election outright. José Antonio Kast finished Sunday’s presidential election first with 28% of the vote compared to 26% for Gabriel Boric following a bruising campaign that laid bare deep social tensions in the region’s most economically advanced country.
Associated Press: https://apnews.com/article/business-elections-presidential-elections-south-america-chile-86e72bcd0193207f79479ce9cb726092

Venezuela’s ruling party unsurprisingly wins 20 governorships; opposition gets only 3

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) awarded victory to the ruling Socialist party in 20 governorships and three to opposition politicians in an initial announcement on Monday following local and regional elections.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/venezuelans-head-polls-regional-local-elections-opposition-returns-2021-11-21/

Cuba congratulates Venezuela on poll before result was out

In a move which reflected the predictable outcome, the Cuban president congratulated his Venezuelan counterpart before the electoral authorities had announced the results. Turnout was low at 41.8%. That is one of the lowest rates in the past 20 years.
BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-59331696