Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 50

Interamerican Watch Newsletter

Inter-American Watch

Friday, January 28th, 2022

The Americas

Honduras’ next president sworn in amid uncertainty

Xiomara Castro has been sworn in as Honduras” first female president, facing high expectations to turn around the deeply troubled country amid uncertainty about whether an unfolding legislative crisis will allow her the support she needs.
U.S. News and World Report: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-01-27/honduras-next-president-to-be-sworn-in-amid-uncertainty

Why the United States is keen to court Honduras’ new president

Castro”s November 28 landslide win, followed by a quick concession by the incumbent National Party candidate, had been hailed as proof that democracy in one of Latin America”s poorest countries was alive and kicking. But excitement over the country”s first female head of state has dampened considerably as she has faced both a severe political crisis within her own party that risks overshadowing her inauguration and the uphill battles of combating corruption and organized crime.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: https://carnegieendowment.org/2022/01/27/why-united-states-is-keen-to-court-honduras-new-president-pub-86293

Biden in Latin America: a modest start

Latin America and the Caribbean has not been a priority for President Biden”s foreign policy team. Nor could it be: the region has no front-burner inter-state conflicts, no nukes (¡Gracias a Dios!), no threatening international terrorist organizations. China and Russia are distant rivals. Even so, Latin America impacts the United States more directly and tangibly than any other region of the world.
The Global Americans: https://theglobalamericans.org/2022/01/biden-in-latin-america-a-modest-start/

Political risk to increase in Latin America in 2022

The “Political Risk Latin America 2022” index of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Center for International Studies (CEIUC) yielded a clear conclusion: political risk will increase in the region this year. We must prepare for another year of cloudy times, characterized by high levels of uncertainty, volatility, polarization and, indeed, political risk.
The Global Americans: https://theglobalamericans.org/2022/01/political-risk-to-increase-in-latin-america-in-2022/

According to interpol and DEA, mafias from 12 countries operate in Mexico

A DEA report revealed that the Mexican Caribbean is one of the “favorite spots” for organized crime, from the Russian and Italian mafias, to Eastern Europe criminal gangs, to set up drug distribution bases, which have the United States as their point of arrival.
The Yucatan Times: https://www.theyucatantimes.com/2022/01/according-to-interpol-and-dea-mafias-from-12-countries-operate-in-quintana-roo/

Leftist front-runner presents challenges to Colombia”s oil and gas sector in 2022

Colombia”s presidential elections in 2022 may shift the country”s direction in oil and gas development, as leftist front-runner Gustavo Petro has been running on a platform that includes curtailing extractive projects. Petro is looking to raise taxes on the wealthy, implement the 2017 peace deal with Colombia”s main rebel group, and has spoken of increased public sector participation in the economy and replacing oil profits with tourism. His sharpest critics claim he will send Colombia into an economic tailspin by implementing socialist policies similar to those that failed in Venezuela. His supporters say the changes are necessary.
SP Global: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/blogs/oil/012522-fft-colombia-elections-gustavo-petro-oil-gas

Peru

Peru imposes state of emergency for Lima and Callao because of increase in crime

The Council of Ministers of Peru approved this Wednesday the state of emergency for Metropolitan Lima and the Province of Callao for 45 days due to the increase of crimes and criminal acts in the middle of the pandemic caused by Covid-19.
The Rio Times: https://www.riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/mercosur/peru/peru-imposes-state-of-emergency-for-lima-and-callao-because-of-the-increase-in-crime/

Pedro Castillo willing to satisfy the maritime whims of Evo Morales

Peru”s Castillo revealed his intentions to cede Peruvian territory to Bolivia so that it has access to the sea. The president of the Chamber of Deputies, an ally of Castillo”s, celebrates. If the revelation is confirmed, Congress could take action against the president.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/pedro-castillo-bolivia-mar-para-bolivia-presidente-dispuesto-a-satisfacer-los-caprichos-maritimos-de-evo-morales-cnn-en-espanol-fernando-del-rincon-cnn-noticia/

Poll: 63% consider that President Castillo does not tell the truth when he speaks

In a study conducted by Ipsos, 66% consider that most of Castillo”s decisions are wrong., as in the appointment of officials. 72% consider that most of the president”s designations are wrong.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/pedro-castillo-ipsos-un-63-considera-que-el-presidente-castillo-no-dice-la-verdad-cuando-habla-noticia/

Peru seeks travel ban for oil company execs amid spill probe

Prosecutors want to bar Repsol SA local refinery executives from leaving Peru as probe into enormous oil leak continues.
Al Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/27/peru-seeks-travel-ban-oil-company-execs-amid-spill-probe

Bolivia

Government of Bolivia: former anti-drug chief Maximiliano Dávila protected drug trafficking network

The former head of the Bolivian Anti-Drug Police Maximiliano Dávila, arrested on January 22 when he tried to cross into Argentina, was the “protector” of a network of drug traffickers required by the US Justice, assured this Wednesday (01.26.2022) the Minister of Government (Interior), Eduardo del Castillo.
Deutsche Welle, in Spanish: https://www.dw.com/es/gobierno-de-bolivia-maximiliano-dávila-protegía-red-de-narcotráfico/a-60568927

More questions than clarity following former anti-drug chief”s arrest in Bolivia

Prosecutors charged Dávila, who served atop the FELCN in 2019 under former President Evo Morales, with illicit enrichment and for allegedly having “certain links” to drug trafficking. They did not provide any further information about what those links might be, nor to whom.
Insight Crime: https://insightcrime.org/news/more-questions-clarity-bolivia-anti-drug-arrest/

Argentina

Argentina faces $1.1 billion debt repayment deadline as IMF protests simmer

Argentina is facing deadlines for nearly $1.1 billion in debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by Tuesday amid uncertainty over whether the South American country will pay and tense talks to revamp around $40 billion in loans. The grains-producing country, which has been battling currency and debt crises for years, is due to pay back $730 million to the IMF on Friday and another $365 million on Tuesday though officials have not confirmed plans to pay.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/argentina-faces-billion-dollar-imf-trip-wire-protests-simmer-2022-01-27/

Argentina drops 18 places in 2021 global corruption ranking

VIP vaccine scandal and the stabs at judicial reform among the causes cited for Argentina”s drop in the annual Transparency International (TI) index, which declares fight against graft has “stagnated” over past decade.
Buenos Aires Times: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/argentina-drops-18-places-in-ngos-2021-global-corruption-ranking.phtml

Cristina Kirchner”s hug with Hugo Chávez”s daughter María Gabriela in Honduras: “I love you, Cris”

The Argentine vice president had a meeting with María Gabriela Chávez in Tegucigalpa, while attending the inauguration of Xiomara Castro as the new president of Honduras.
Infobae, in Spanish: https://www.infobae.com/america/venezuela/2022/01/27/el-abrazo-de-cristina-kirchner-con-la-hija-de-hugo-chavez-te-quiero-cris/

The Economist: Argentina”s economic outlook “is grim”

The British publication criticized the government”s negotiation with the IMF; the minister of Economy, Martin Guzmán “seems to spend more time trying to convince the powerful Peronist vice president, Cristina Kirchner, of the need for an agreement than writing a credible program,” the publication criticized.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/economia/el-panorama-es-sombrio-duro-editorial-de-the-economist-sobre-la-negociacion-argentina-con-el-fmi-nid27012022/

Ecuador

U.S., Colombia, Israel and United Kingdom to support Ecuador”s fight against drug trafficking

Colombia, the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom are supporting Ecuador”s “frontal fight” against drug trafficking, President Guillermo Lasso said Tuesday after ordering the military to patrol Guayaquil (southwest) due to a high level of drug crime. “We will fight and fight head-on. We have the support of the United States, Colombia, the United Kingdom and Israel,” the president said in an interview with local media.
Infobae, in Spanish: https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2022/01/25/colombia-eeuu-israel-y-reino-unido-apoyan-lucha-de-ecuador-contra-narcotrafico/

Ecuador asks Peru and Colombia for cooperation against arms trafficking

Ecuador asked its neighbors Peru and Colombia for cooperation to deal with arms trafficking, a growing phenomenon in the Andean country, as explained by the Minister of Government, Alexandra Vela. The minister explained that, together with the Ministry of Defense, information is being compiled on the weapons that legally circulate in the country, as well as the more than 7,000 retained by the security forces. , to form a database that allows locating and identifying those of illegal origin.
La República, in Spanish: https://www.larepublica.ec/blog/2022/01/25/ecuador-solicita-a-peru-y-colombia-cooperacion-contra-el-trafico-de-armas/

Analysis

Luis Fleischman: The crisis over Ukraine presents unusual opportunities

A successful multi-dimensional Russian-American negotiation can set a precedent to resolving future conflicts and crisis. We live in a multipolar world reality. The world presents a multiplicity of problems and conflicts that could potentially be resolved through negotiations and guarantees provided by world powers. Ukraine is an important part of a long list of such problems.
IDD: https://intdemocratic.org/the-crisis-over-the-ukraine-presents-unusual-opportunities/

What makes Putin fear Ukraine?

The Kyiv-based journalist Nataliya Gumenyuk says that the country”s embrace of democracy and anti-corruption efforts makes it a threat to the Russian leader (Interview).
The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/what-makes-putin-fear-ukraine

Haiti: tiredness or abandonment of the international community?

There is disinterest also in other countries and in international organizations, except for the usual pressure exerted on the neighboring Dominican Republic, mainly because it shares the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola. The question is whether what there is tiredness or abandonment.