Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 61

Boletim Informativo Interamerican Watch

Inter-American Watch

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

The Americas

Organized crime destroys Latin America forests

Drug trafficking, illegal mining, and illegal logging in Latin America not only fuel violence, but also destroy the environment. In Latin America, narcotrafficking organizations are the “vanguard of deforestation.” It is estimated that up to 60 percent of the logging in the region is “narco-deforestation.”
DialogoAmericas: https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/organized-crime-destroys-latin-american-forests/ – .YhVPT5NOlqs

How the US Space Force is using satellites to track criminals in Latin America

Here’s how the U.S. Southern Command in Doral is using satellites to fight drug trafficking here and overseas. That includes being able to see what’s happening in places like Colombia and Venezuela, where intelligence experts fear drug traffickers and terrorist groups will join forces.
NBC Miami: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/exclusive-look-how-the-u-s-space-force-is-using-satellites-to-track-criminals/2696585/

“SwissLeaks’ probe says Credit Suisse bank handled dirty money over decades

Credit Suisse bank, still reeling from losing billions of dollars last year, faced a fresh challenge Sunday: allegations from an international investigation that it had handled dirty money for decades.
France24: https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220221-swissleaks-probe-says-credit-suisse-bank-handled-dirty-money-over-decades

Dominican Republic starts building Haiti border wall

The wall will cover almost half of the border between the two countries. Dominican president Luis Abinader said the border wall would reduce the smuggling of commercial goods and weapons and human trafficking, as well as help fight organized crime in the two countries. The wall will be 3.9 meters high and will be complete with fiber optics, movement sensors, cameras, radars and drones. The wall will be made from 20-centimeter (7.8-inches) thick concrete and topped by a metal mesh.
Deutsche Welle: https://www.dw.com/en/dominican-republic-starts-building-haiti-border-wall/a-60851233

Mexican president López Obrador goes on the offensive over son’s use of luxury home

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who built his career as an anticorruption crusader and champion of an austere lifestyle, is at the center of a scandal over his eldest son’s use of a luxury Houston house then owned by an oil executive for a top contractor of Mexico’s state-run oil firm.
Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/mexican-president-lopez-obrador-goes-on-the-offensive-over-sons-use-of-luxury-home-11645531201

Peru

Between oil spill and political crisis, Peru’s economy weakens

While thousands of fishermen and victims seek to make a living on the affected coast, economic activity falls nationwide.
El Pais, in Spanish: https://elpais.com/economia/2022-02-22/entre-el-derrame-y-la-crisis-politica-la-economia-de-peru-se-debilita.html

Corruption trial against former (socialist) President gets under way in Peru

The trial against former Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, his wife Nadine Heredia, and other defendants in the local version of the Lava Jato case started in Lima Monday. The charges include irregular handling of funds from Brazil’s Odebrecht and OAS companies as well as other financial resources supplied by the Venezuelan Government of then President Hugo Chávez.
MercoPress: https://en.mercopress.com/2022/02/21/corruption-trial-against-former-president-gets-under-way-in-peru

Former president Manuel Merino: “In Peru there’s no desire to fight against corruption”

“Castillo has to make important changes. If he is not in a position to do so, he should step aside. Thus, we Peruvians can choose people who are not involved in these high-corruption issues and give hope to the youth of a better country.”
Expreso, in Spanish: https://www.expreso.com.pe/politica/manuel-merino-aca-no-hay-ningun-deseo-de-luchar-contra-la-corrupcion/

President urges Parliament to approved bill banning corrupt ones from running from office

Peru’s Castillo called on Congress to prioritize the debate on the bill submitted by the Executive Branch to prevent people with pending issues, linked to corruption, from participating in elections.
Andina News Agency: https://andina.pe/agencia/noticia-president-urges-parliament-to-approve-bill-banning-corrupt-ones-from-running-from-office-881985.aspx

Argentina

Suisse Secrets: the millionaire movements of the lobbyists who mediated between Argentina and Venezuela

Palmat, the company owned by Venezuelan Francisco Carrasquero and Argentine Roberto Wellisch, which charged 15% commissions to local businessmen, managed US$3 million at Credit Suisse; the final destination: real estate in Miami.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/suisse-secrets-salen-a-la-luz-los-movimientos-millonarios-de-los-lobistas-que-intermediaron-entre-nid21022022/

Argentina avoided condemning Putin’s advance in Ukraine and asks to resolve the conflict through dialogue

The response chosen by the government of Alberto Fernández had been silence before the entry of Russian troops into eastern Ukraine, criticized by the United States and countries of the European Union.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/el-gobierno-no-condenara-el-avance-de-putin-en-ucrania-y-pide-dialogo-constructivo-nid22022022/

Conflict between Russia and Ukraine will have more costs for Argentina than benefits, experts say

Experts estimate that the price of grains will rise, but oil and gas, resources that the country imports, will also become more expensive; meanwhile, the improvement in agricultural commodities could increase inflationary pressures; In addition, international capital will target less risky markets.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/economia/preven-que-el-conflicto-entre-rusia-y-ucrania-tendra-para-la-argentina-mas-costos-que-beneficios-nid21022022/

Things are looking bleaker for Cristina Kirchner

Cristina evidently fears that the austerity programme the government will have to press on with no matter what happens in the coming weeks will cost her the support of the millions of men and women who still kid themselves that she is on their side.
Buenos Aires Times: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/opinion-and-analysis/things-are-looking-bleaker-for-cristina.phtml

Argentina redraws marijuana maps after massive seizure

A colossal seizure of more than 10,000 cannabis plants in the western provinces of Salta and Jujuy in Argentina provides evidence that marijuana growers are trying to spread the illicit crop to new parts of the country. In early February, security forces conducted a multi-pronged operation in the provinces of Salta and Jujuy, where they seized 10,000 cannabis plants and seeds. The plants ranged from seedlings to 2,500 plants that were over two meters in height.
Insight Crime: https://insightcrime.org/news/argentina-redraws-marijuana-maps-after-massive-seizure/

Bolivia

“In Bolivia justice is far from the people”: UN rapporteur presents his preliminary observations

“In Bolivia, justice is far from the people, to the extent that it is seen that there is an urgency in Bolivian society for justice to respond to daily dramas, the understandable and legitimate reaction that there has been to releases through corrupt means,” said UN rapporteur Diego Garcia-Sayan.
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/pais/en-bolivia-la-justicia-esta-lejos-de-la-gente-relator-de-la-onu-presenta-sus-observaciones-prelimina_268415

Bolivian bishops call for judicial reform after muders, rapists freed

The bishops of Bolivia are calling for an urgent reform of the justice system, after a series of protests over the release of rapists and murderers rocked the country. “It is urgent to have suitable and impartial judicial system that restores confidence and hope to so many people who are victims of the manipulation of justice,” reads the statement released by the bishops.
Crux: https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2022/02/bolivian-bishops-call-for-judicial-reform-after-murders-rapists-freed

Internal dictatorship, corruption and obsolete leadership in Evo Morales’ MAS party is denounced

The deputy of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) Rolando Cuéllar denounced an “internal dictatorship” within the party, controlled by “obsolete” leaders as vice president Gerardo García, who has remained in that position for seven years and has been linked to corruption
Pagina Siete, in Spanish: https://www.paginasiete.bo/nacional/2022/2/22/diputado-oficialista-estamos-viviendo-una-dictadura-interna-en-el-mas-la-direccion-ya-esta-obsoleta-324101.html

Ex-Bolivia interim president Añez gets 3 more months’ prison

Former Bolivian interim president Jeanine Anez, imprisoned since March 2021 for her alleged role in a coup d’etat, will remain in detention for at least three more months, a court ruled Monday.
France24: https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220222-ex-bolivia-interim-president-anez-gets-3-more-months-prison

Ecuador

Ecuador’s Lasso calls for “greater support” from the US in the fight against drug trafficking

“It is essential to have greater support from the United States to guarantee success in the fight that my government is leading head-on and relentlessly against this global scourge,” said Lasso during a virtual press conference together with the leader of the US Senate Foreign Committee, Bob Menéndez, who is promoting the bill to strengthen democracy, the environment and the fight against corruption and crime in Ecuador.
Yahoo!, in Spanish: https://es-us.vida-estilo.yahoo.com/lasso-pide-apoyo-ee-uu-010734691.html

Ecuador and Chinese firm Sinovac will define this week the vaccine factory roadmap

Ecuador and the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac will sign an agreement this week to define the roadmap for the installation of a vaccine factory in the Andean country, confirmed the Minister of Health, Ximena Garzón.
EFE, in Spanish: https://es-us.vida-estilo.yahoo.com/ecuador-sinovac-definirán-semana-hoja-000409753.html

Computer attack leaves the Ecuadorian Navy blind

The National Directorate of Aquatic Spaces (Dirnea) confirmed that the computer system that controls the Ecuadorian maritime space was violated by hackers. According to Dirnea, there was a software breach of a system which contains 100 gigabytes of data.
Primicias in Spanish: https://www.primicias.ec/noticias/en-exclusiva/ataque-informatico-marina-ecuatoriana-ciegas/

Analysis

Carlos Alberto Montaner: Trust… but verify

“Trust, but verify,” says a Russian proverb that Ronald Reagan used to reiterate. Day after day, US intelligence reports that the preparations for the invasion continue. It is very difficult to hide the movement of troops and equipment. Not even at night. The “hard” data comes from the observation of satellites and from Russian military paid by the CIA. The British say that there is a point of no return determined by the immense cost of preparation. I don’t believe it. War is much more expensive and unpredictable. It may cost Putin himself his head.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/trust-but-verify/

What is Argentina’s position in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine?

Brazil asked for a negotiated solution. Mexico asked to put a stop to the actions that aggravate the crisis. Argentina issued a brief statement calling for diplomatic negotiation.
Bloomberg Linea, in Spanish: https://www.bloomberglinea.com/2022/02/22/cual-es-la-posicion-de-argentina-ante-el-conflicto-entre-rusia-y-ucrania/

Possible Russian interference in Colombia’s elections

The problem of Russian interference in Colombia’s upcoming elections (March and May 2022) has become even more alarming for many Colombian and international political analysts.
Dialogo Americas: https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/possible-russian-interference-in-colombias-elections/ – .YhWtb5NOlqs