Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 43

Boletín Interamerican Watch

Inter-American Watch

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

The Americas

Cocaine worth $20 billion seized in ports of Belgium and the Netherland in 2021, from Central and South America

Shipments totalling 89 tons were intercepted in Antwerp in 2021, a one-third increase on 2020, with 70 tons seized across the border in Rotterdam, almost three quarters more than the previous year. Another 160 tons were intercepted in Central and South America before transportation. The volume being intercepted has more than doubled since 2017.
The Times: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cocaine-worth-18bn-seized-in-antwerp-and-rotterdam-last-year-vkm2933wr

Iran’s ayatollahs threaten the US in Latin America

Iran and Hezbollah have established an elaborate regional and global infrastructure of terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, counterfeiting, fundraising, training, Islamic proselytizing, recruitment and media centers. They also use the region to test advanced military systems. They forged strategic alliances with anti-U.S. regimes like the ones of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia.
Jewish News Syndicates: https://www.jns.org/opinion/irans-ayatollahs-threaten-the-us-in-latin-america/

From opportunity to disruption: What is next for Latin America?

The Western Hemisphere has emerged at the forefront of the accelerating global competition between governance systems, and Latin America’s future direction is now open for discussion in a way not seen since the last inflection point toward the end of the Cold War.
The National Interest: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/opportunity-disruption-what-next-latin-america-199231

China’s new friend in Central America

On Dec. 30 Mr. Bukele announced the start of construction on a new 50,000-seat national stadium in San Salvador. “This is a collaboration granted directly by President Xi and a token of the friendship between the peoples of China and El Salvador,” Mr. Bukele tweeted. The stadium is part of a larger set of infrastructure projects backed by Beijing, including a new national public library.
The Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-new-friends-in-central-america-bukele-el-salvador-honduras-nicaragua-influence-taiwan-fmln-la-union-tom-shannon-11641759240?mod=opinion_featst_pos2

Opposition candidate wins in Venezuela’s cradle of Chavismo

Sergio Garrido defeated former foreign minister Jorge Arreaza in Barinas, the home state of the country’s late president, Hugo Chávez.
NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/opposition-candidate-wins-venezuelas-cradle-chavismo-rcna11601

Argentina

A ton of cocaine valued in $60 million seized in Paraguay passed through the port of Buenos Aires

In an operation carried out by the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (Senad) of Paraguay, Fernando Enrique Balbuena Acuña, son of former Paraguayan deputy Elvis Balbuena, was arrested as responsible for the cocaine shipment, who a few years ago promoted a marijuana legalization project in that country.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/seguridad/cargamento-millonario-secuestraron-947-kilos-de-cocaina-que-iban-a-ser-transportados-por-la-hidrovia-nid09012022/

Perú

Peru: almost 8,000 public officers linked to corruption in 2021

Peru’s comptroller general said Tuesday that his office found that 7,740 officials committed alleged acts of corruption in 2021 with a preliminary damage to the state of $625 million.
San Diego Tribune, in Spanish: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/en-espanol/noticias/story/2022-01-11/peru-casi-8-000-funcionarios-ligados-a-corrupcion-en-2021

Peru’s mining investment reached over US$4.45 billion until November 2021

Peru’s mining investment amounted to more than 4.452 billion until November 2021, up 21.6% compared to the same period in 2020 (US$3.663 million), the Ministry of Energy and Mines (Minem) reported.
Andina News Agency: https://andina.pe/Ingles/noticia-perus-mining-investment-reached-over-4452-billion-until-november-2021-876432.aspx

Conviction of investigative journalist generates rejection

Judge Raúl Jesús Vega sentenced investigative journal,ist Christopher Acosta, author of the book “Plata como cancha”, and Jerónimo Pimentel, director of the publishing house, to two years in suspended prison. The decision generated a unanimous rejection.
El Comercio, in Spanish: https://elcomercio.pe/politica/christopher-acosta-juez-fallo-a-favor-de-cesar-acuna-en-querella-a-periodistas-atentado-contra-la-libertad-de-expresion-jeronimo-pimentel-noticia/

House where Peruvian President Castillo held un-official meetings, raided by authorities for possible corruption case

The property, located in a Lima suburb, was reportedly used by president Castillo to meet with businessmen outside the official agenda. It was raided in order to obtain evidence of a possible case of corruption.
Ambito.com, in Spanish: https://www.ambito.com/mundo/lima/allanaron-la-casa-donde-el-presidente-peru-tuvo-reuniones-fuera-la-agenda-oficial-n5350325

Bolivia

In 2021, 46 clandestine airstrips used by drug trafficking networks were seized in Bolivia

Of those, 22 were in Santa Cruz and 17 in Beni. Five were found in La Paz, one in Cochabamba and another in Tarija. The route to Paraguay is consolidating.
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/pais/el-84-de-pistas-destruidas-a-narcos-operaba-en-beni-y-santa-cruz-tarija-es-otra-ruta_262884

Thousands march in Bolivia against mandatory vaccination card

Several thousand people marched this Monday in the city of La Paz in rejection of a decree, currently suspended for a few days, that requires them to carry a vaccination card against covid-19 to go to public places in Bolivia, the AFP found.
AFP, in Spanish: https://www.jornada.com.mx/notas/2022/01/10/mundo/marchan-miles-en-bolivia-contra-el-carnet-de-vacunacion/