Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 55

Boletim Informativo Interamerican Watch

Inter-American Watch

Wednesday, February 9th, 2022

 

The Americas

The Economist: How drug trafficking is (and isn’t) to blame for violence in Latin America

n 2018 latin america was home to 8% of the world’s population but 37% of its murders. Lockdowns at the start of the covid-19 pandemic briefly pushed homicides down in much of the region, but they quickly rebounded. Most countries in Latin America saw a rise in murders in 2021
The Economist: https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2022/02/08/how-drug-trafficking-is-and-isnt-to-blame-for-violence-in-latin-america

US reveals former Honduras President’s place in Central America Corruption list

Officials in the United States have revealed that former Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández is included on a US government list of corrupt actors in Central America. However, it remains unclear if this will lead to formal criminal charges.
Insight Crime: https://insightcrime.org/news/us-honduras-former-president-corruption-list/

Russia says military aid to Venezuela will not be used to attack Colombia

Russia has promised that military equipment given to Venezuela will not be used to attack Colombia, destabilize Latin America or end up in the hands of illegal armed groups, Colombia’s Foreign Minister and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez said.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/russia-says-military-aid-venezuela-will-not-be-used-attack-colombia-2022-02-08/

Peru

Peru’s president swears in 4th Cabinet in half a year

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo swore in the fourth Cabinet of his half year in office Tuesday amid criticism for his poor previous choices for ministers and even calls by his rivals to step down.
AP/ABC News: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/perus-president-swears-4th-cabinet-half-year-82760432

Peru’s Castillo names loyalist as PM amid recurring cabinet crises

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo swore in his fourth cabinet in just six months in office on Tuesday, picking a loyalist as prime minister, in a bid to end his administration’s recurring crises. Castillo, a former schoolteacher and member of a Marxist-Leninist party, handed the premiership to Anibal Torres, the justice minister in the previous cabinet.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/perus-castillo-names-loyalist-pm-amid-recurring-cabinet-crises-2022-02-09/

Misruled Peru

The almost weekly changes in the governments of President Castillo plunge the country into chronic instability
El Pais, in Spanish: https://elpais.com/opinion/2022-02-08/peru-desgobernado.html

The promising trade relations between Peru and Russia

Los datos del Servicio Federal de Aduanas de Rusia, publicados el 7 de febrero, muestran que el comercio de Rusia y Perú entre enero y diciembre de 2021, se incrementó un 49,5% en términos anuales
Sputnik Mundo, in Spanish: https://mundo.sputniknews.com/20220208/las-prometedoras-relaciones-comerciales-de-peru-y-rusia-1121349243.html

Bolivia

Narcos operate in Bolivia through clans and emissaries of the cartels, including the “Chapare’ cartel

Bolivian authorities do not recognize the presence of drug cartels in Bolivian territory, such as the Brazilians Primer Comando Capital and Comando Vermelho, the Mexicans Sinaloa, Jalisco Nueva Generacion and Tijuana, and the Colombians Medellín and Norte del Valle. “Here there is a megafactory that is the ‘Chapare cartel’ and there are drug traffickers who circulate, come, go, and finally just as the drug is exported, there are also people who come to buy it,” said Manuel Morales, expert with the National Committee for the Defense of Democracy (Conade).
Los Tiempos, in Spanish: https://www.lostiempos.com/actualidad/pais/20220206/narcos-operan-bolivia-traves-clanes-emisarios-carteles

Evo: US Embassy is Targeting Bolivian Union Leaders

Evo Morales warned the Bolivian government that the United States is spying on and targeting him and other union leaders of the 6 Federations of the Trópico of Cochabamba, referring to the prosecution of former Morales’ anti-drug czar Maximiliano Davila in US courts, after a thorough investigation led by DEA agents in Bolivia that may incriminate Morales himself.
Kawsachunnews.com: https://kawsachunnews.com/evo-us-embassy-is-targeting-bolivian-union-leaders

Genoa police seize 400 kilos of cocaine reportedly produced in Bolivia

The drugs in the shipment are believed to come from Brazil, and though the specific port of origin was not disclosed, MSC Adelaide previously called at Santos – a critical hub for cocaine exports for drugs produced in Bolivia.
The Maritime Executive: https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/genoa-police-seize-400-kilos-of-cocaine-from-msc-container

Bolivia received $1.4 billion in remittances in 2021 mainly from Spain, Chile and the U.S.

The Bolivian economy received 1,398.7 million dollars in remittances during the 2021 administration, the majority from Spain, the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB) reported on Tuesday. Spain ranks first as the country of origin of remittances, with 34.2% of the total. In second place is Chile with 20.9%, followed by the United States (20.6%), Argentina (4.9%), Brazil (4.5%) and the remaining 14.9% came from other countries.
Swissinfo.ch, in Spanish: https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/bolivia-remesas_bolivia-recibió-1.398-7-millones-de-dólares-en-remesas-en-2021/47332194

Ecuador

U.S. Senate proposes new legislation to bolster U.S.-Ecuador relationship

The bill – introduced by Democrats and Republicans as United States-Ecuador partnership Act of 2022- recognizes Ecuador “as a key democratic partner whose economic growth, democratic resilience, and ability to address security challenges and malign foreign influence are vital to the U.S. national interest.”
U.S. Ssenate Committee on Foreign Relations: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/menendez-risch-kaine-rubio-unveil-new-legislation-to-bolster-us-ecuador-relationship_

Insecurity in Ecuador locks up citizens at home and takes the military out on the streets

Crime in Guayaquil, the economic capital of Ecuador, has reached such a level that it has locked up citizens in their homes. The country began the year with a record 329 murders counted as of February 4, which far outpaced the already inflated number of violent deaths in 2021.
El Pais, in Spanish: https://elpais.com/internacional/2022-02-08/la-inseguridad-en-ecuador-encierra-en-casa-a-los-ciudadanos-y-saca-a-los-militares-a-las-calles.html

Argentina

UK rebukes China for supporting Argentina’s Falklands claim

Britain has firmly rejected a statement from China that affirmed Beijing’s support for Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands, as relations between London and Asia’s leading power remain strained.
ABC News: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/uk-rebukes-china-supporting-argentinas-falklands-claim-82718977

U.S. congressman: “Argentina has lashed itself to the Chinese Communist Party’

Commenting on the confirmation that Argentina signed up to Beijing’s global Belt and Road initiative, representative for Florida Matt Gaetz accused Biden’s government of failing to respond to Chinese incursions into the Americas and of being more interested in events in Eastern Europe than closer to home. In a heated speech, the Republican lawmaker and Donald Trump loyalist described the news as “a threat to the national security” of the United States.
Buenos Aires Times: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/us-congressman-argentina-has-lashed-itself-to-the-chinese-communist-party.phtml

‘No to the IMF’: thousands protest in Argentina against debt deal

Thousands of Argentines marched through the streets of Buenos Aires on Tuesday to protest against a likely deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to revamp more than $40 billion of debt the country cannot pay back. The protesters paraded through the capital with banners saying “no to paying the IMF” and “no to an IMF deal”, a sign of rising tension in the South American nation over the tentative agreement struck late last month.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/business/no-imf-thousands-protest-argentina-against-debt-deal-2022-02-09/

Analysis

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín: From narcotics’ trafficking as an antiimperialist weapon to narco-state dictatorships in the Americas

The dictatorship from Cuba always used anti-imperialism to justify the violation of human rights, state-sponsored terrorism, and the misery that it produces. The past century presented narcotics’ trafficking as an antiimperialist weapon to attack the United States with the intent to destroy its youth. In the 21st century, with the expansion of dictatorships in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, it applied the same criminal doctrine and Castroism, turned into 21st Century Socialism, has gone from not being a narcotic trafficking participant as an antiimperialist alibi, to nowadays become the organization of dictatorships and narco-states in the Americas.
InterAmerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/from-narcotics-trafficking-as-an-antiimperialist-weapon-to-narco-state-dictatorships-in-the-americas/

Editorial: Last opportunity for Peru’s Castillo

The keys to a change of direction in the government of Pedro Castillo that will turn this fourth cabinet into his opportunity – the only lifeline he has at the moment to continue in office – and not into the ejector chair that will fly him out of power , will reside in the fact that certain central points are clear.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/ultima-oportunidad-noticia/

The smuggling boom in Bolivia, thanks to the government

From and editorial publish by El Deber newspaper: “Bolivia is probably living through the era of the greatest smuggling in its entire history due to several factors, among them the permissiveness (allowed by the government) with sectors of merchants who dedicate themselves to this trade with whom they have political affinity, and the fixed exchange rate in Bolivia that favors the introduction of products from neighboring countries at lower prices.”
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/opinion/el-auge-del-contrabando-en-bolivia_266766