Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 59

Boletín Interamerican Watch

Inter-American Watch

Friday, February 18th, 2022

The Americas

How Biden can get the Summit of the Americas right

The upcoming Summit of the Americas, which will gather leaders from across the hemisphere in Los Angeles in early June, comes at an opportune time. The meeting will occur as Latin America faces its darkest hour in decades, including a profound crisis of democracy, an uneven economic recovery, two destabilizing migration crises and an ongoing pandemic. But for the gathering to succeed, the host, President Joe Biden, will need to overcome a series of hurdles.
https://americasquarterly.org/article/how-biden-can-get-the-summit-of-the-americas-right/

Russia’s influence in Latin America grows while US focuses on Ukraine

Russia is attempting to play the Latin American card with the United States as tensions between the two countries escalate over Putin’s threats against Ukraine
The Miami Herald: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article258451498.html – storylink=cpy

In Latin America’s new Cold War, will China lift up autocrats?

A new Cold War is brewing in Latin America between the US and China amid a shifting global order driven more by economics and technology than by politics and ideology.
Los Angeles Times: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-02-17/as-china-encroaches-on-latin-america-what-happens-to-democracies

The Moscow Times: Bolsonaro’s Moscow visit win-win opportunity

In a world of international affairs heavily marked by ideological divides, the relationship between Russia and Brazil has always been a bit strange — but ideally suited to both nations’ interests.
The Moscow Times: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/02/16/bolsonaros-moscow-visit-win-win-opportunity-a76411

El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele told US lawmakers: “We are not your colony”

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has hit out at three US senators -Jim Risch, Bob Menendez and Bill Cassidy- after the lawmakers introduced a bill to mitigate any financial risks to the US from the Central American country’s adoption of bitcoin as legal tender.
Markets Insider: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/currencies/bitcoin-el-salvador-crypto-president-nayib-bukele-us-senators-law-2022-2

Alex Saab: the DEA’s “Cooperating Patriot’

On Wednesday, it was revealed that Alex Saab was an informant for the DEA and told them about bribes he paid to Venezuelan officers. AP journalist Joshua Goodman describes the hearing as “heated,” because Saab’s lawyers said that his family could be in danger if the regime found out about his ties with the U.S.
Caracas Chronicle: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2022/02/17/alex-saab-the-deas-cooperating-patriot/

Peru

Pedro Castillo: “If they show that I have stolen a penny from this country, I ask for life imprisonment”

The Peruvian president pointed out that there is a sector that seeks to “break” democracy. “They have their own agenda and we have ours that the country has entrusted to us,” he said.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/vacancia-presidente-corrupcion-pedro-castillo-pide-cadena-perpetua-para-si-mismo-si-se-demuestra-que-ha-robado-al-pais-noticia-noticia/

President Castillo met five times with a lobbyist investigated for corruption

President Pedro Castillo met with lobbyist Patricia Sovero, investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly corrupt contracts in the Police during the pandemic, and General Javier Gallardo Mendoza on August 6 of last year.
Gesetion, in Spanish: https://gestion.pe/peru/politica/presidente-castillo-se-reunio-cinco-veces-con-lobista-investigada-por-corrupcion-noticia/

Bloomberg: Peru displaces Chile as the most stable economy in Latin America

Peru achieved 56.28 points in the agency’s country risk rating, while Chile stood at 52.79 points.
Infobae, in Spanish: https://www.infobae.com/america/peru/2022/02/17/bloomberg-peru-desplaza-a-chile-como-la-economia-mas-estable-de-america-latina-y-el-caribe/

Bolivia

New judge arrested in the worst scandal of corruption in the Bolivian judiciary

A third judge was arrested in Bolivia for freeing prisoners allegedly in exchange for money in the country’s biggest judicial scandal and in the midst of the visit of the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
Santa Maria Times, in Spanish: https://santamariatimes.com/espanol/noticias/mundo/apresan-a-otro-juez-en-el-peor-esc-ndalo-judicial-en-bolivia/article_2418d0e8-7800-5043-bf4c-017914b3e90e.html

Former president of Bolivia almost collapses during court hearing

The former interim president, Jeanine Áñez, a political prisoner of the Luis Arce government since March, completed nine days on Thursday on a hunger strike.
Deutsche Welle, in Spanish: https://www.dw.com/es/expresidenta-de-bolivia-se-descompensa-durante-audiencia-judicial/a-60821656

Ucrania and its interest for Bolivia

It is in Bolivia’s interest that in handling the crisis in Ukraine the abuse and unilateral will of the nation with the strongest army does not prevail, but rather that the principle of territorial integrity of States is respected.
Correo del Sur: https://correodelsur.com/opinion/20220217_ucrania-y-su-interes-para-bolivia.html

Military Officers: The Arce Government broke the hierarchy in the Armed Forces

Three violated laws and three types of crimes, attributed to the Commanders-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (FFAA), are part of the arguments that the specialists and military of the active service took into account to point out that in the Government of Luis Arce ” broke” the discipline and the military hierarchy.
Pagina Siete, in Spanish: https://www.paginasiete.bo/seguridad/2022/2/17/militares-el-gobierno-de-arce-quebro-la-jerarquia-en-las-ffaa-323682.html

Ecuador

This is Álex Saab’s money route, which passed through Ecuador

The alleged figurehead of Nicolás Maduro would have laundered some USD 350 million in the United States, the result of contracts for the construction of social housing in Venezuela. The revelation that Álex Saab worked as a collaborator of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) since 2018, opened a new chapter in the investigation of the Colombian businessman.
Primicias, in Spanish: https://www.primicias.ec/noticias/en-exclusiva/ruta-dinero-alex-saab-paso-ecuador/

Ecuadorians in Ukraine remain calm in the face of tensions between that country and Russia

The tension between Ukraine and Russia remains, although there seems to be a de-escalation decision, but it does not convince everyone. In the middle of this scenario are the Ecuadorians who live in the Ukraine and who affirm that things are relatively normal in their day to day life.
El Universo, in Spanish: https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/internacional/ecuatorianos-en-ucrania-se-mantienen-tranquilos-frente-a-tensiones-de-ese-pais-con-rusia-nota/?modulo=destacadas-tres&plantilla=home

Argentina

Cristina Fernández indicted in case of alleged bribes

The Federal Criminal Chamber had opposed the pre-trial detention originally imposed on the defendant, but today rejected her efforts to overturn the trial, concluding the charges against the acting vice president by two votes to one, according to La Nación newspaper.
Merco Press: https://en.mercopress.com/2022/02/16/cristina-fernandez-indicted-in-case-of-alleged-bribes

Argentina’s president struggles to sell IMF deal to a sceptical Congress

Argentina’s agreement with the IMF to restructure $44.5bn in debt is being threatened by a rupture within the government’s own ranks just weeks ahead of a looming deadline for finalizing the deal.
Finantial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/1f4ddbe3-bd20-48d6-a97c-153ff2c5e15c

Argentine Jesuit provincial says Pope Francis has been “coopted’ by politics of hate

Pope Francis’ homeland is becoming “sick with hatred”, and his figure and message have been coopted, says father Rafael Velasco, the man who today leads the Jesuits of Argentina, much like the pontiff did back in the 1970s.
Crux Now: https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2022/02/argentine-jesuit-provincial-says-francis-has-been-coopted-by-politics-of-hate

Analysis

Washington Post: Governance must trump ideology in Latin America’s elections

Outsiders are besting incumbents at the ballot box across Latin America. In a region where the establishment has long held a strong electoral advantage, those running against the political status quo have won more than half of the last 15 presidential elections. More important than the ideological direction of these new leaders is whether they have the ability to govern.
The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/governance-must-trump-ideology-in-latin-americas-elections/2022/02/17/f4373d20-8fe9-11ec-8ddd-52136988d263_story.html

What an ex-president’s arrest says about US-Latin America relations

The dramatic arrest and likely extradition of former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández is a stunning fall from grace for a leader once embraced by American authorities desperate to stem migration to the U.S.
Axios: https://www.axios.com/honduras-hernandez-arrest-extradition-request-25d0b3bd-d4c1-4480-aa2d-bd74d0d19fdc.html

Argentina: Weariness, resignation and conflict on the rise

Most polls reflect that negative outlook. And some warn that the depth of despair is more intense and extensive: “What many think is not only that in 2023 we are going to be worse off, but that their children’s generation is going to be worse off,” says Pablo Knopoff, director of isonomy.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/hastio-resignacion-y-conflictividad-en-alza-nid18022022/

Cuba as the ship of Theseus

Theseus was the mythical king and founder of Athens. Many myths surrounding Theseus and his journeys are recounted by the Greek historian Plutarch. Among them is the legend of Theseus slaying the half-man half-bull Minotaur, and the thought experiment we now know as the ship of Theseus
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/cuba-as-the-ship-of-theseus/