Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 62

Boletim Informativo Interamerican Watch

Inter-American Watch

Friday, February 25th, 2022

The Americas

Different reactions in Latin America to Russia’s actions in the Ukraine conflict

The escalation of the conflict between Russia and the West regarding Ukraine, has exposed different reactions in Latin America, as well as President Vladimir Putin’s influence in the region. While Venezuela and Cuba have openly supported Putin, after he ordered the military deployment in regions of east Ukraine, other Latin American countries have questioned Russia’s moves and have called for dialogue and respect for UN principles, while at the same time minimizing criticisms of Moscow.
MercoPress: https://en.mercopress.com/2022/02/24/different-reactions-in-latin-america-to-russia-s-actions-in-the-ukraine-conflict

Some Latin American nations call for Russian withdrawal from Ukraine

Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile on Thursday called for swift withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, as other Latin American countries rejected the use of force but stopped short of calling for a Russian exit.
Nasdaq.com: https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/some-latin-american-nations-call-for-russian-withdrawal-from-ukraine

As the U.S. and Europe impose sanctions, some in Latin America applaud Russia’s Ukraine moves

And as expected, leaders in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua — all antagonists to the U.S. with authoritarian, socialist regimes — have been quick to express support for Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.
Politico.com: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/global-insider/2022/02/23/as-the-u-s-and-europe-impose-sanctions-some-in-latin-america-applaud-russias-ukraine-moves-00010924

The world, Latin America became less democratic in 2021: Freedom House

Countries that saw declines in their democracies outnumbered the number of countries that saw improvements in 2021, according to the report by Freedom House, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights.
US News and World Report: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2022-02-24/democracy-declined-worldwide-in-2021-report-finds

China expands influence in Central America

With a library here, a power station there, China is using aid and investment to increase its presence in Central America, posing a challenge to the United States’ 2-century-old diplomatic dominance in the region.
Voice of America: https://www.voanews.com/a/china-expands-influence-in-central-america/6456733.html

Charting the collapse of Latin America’s largest oil nation

Venezuela, which possesses the world’s largest crude oil reserves totaling 304 billion barrels, was once heralded as Latin America’s wealthiest and most stable democracy. After more than two decades of authoritarian government, democracy, the rule of law, government institutions, and the economy have disintegrated leaving the all-important petroleum industry in inexorable decline and Venezuela teetering on the brink of collapse.
Oil Price: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Charting-The-Collapse-Of-Latin-Americas-Largest-Oil-Nation.html

Bolivia

Bolivian cocaine feeds a massive transatlantic ring with connections in Paraguay, Brazil and Dubai

The network moved cocaine from production regions in Bolivia through Paraguay and Brazil. The drugs were then dispatched in shipping containers to Spain and distributed around Europe. A command center in Dubai coordinated the entire operation.
Insight Crime: https://insightcrime.org/news/paraguay-brazil-and-dubai-figure-into-massive-transatlantic-cocaine-ring/

Former Evo Morales’ drug czar accused by the DEA, under investigation in Bolivia

Colonel Maximiliano Dávila, former head of the Special Force to Fight Drug Trafficking (Felcn) who is in preventive detention accused of legitimization of illicit profits, is already being investigated in Bolivia for his links with drug trafficking, the director of the Felcn, José María Velasco, informed.
Pagina Siete: https://www.paginasiete.bo/seguridad/2022/2/24/davila-ya-es-indagado-en-bolivia-por-narcotrafico-324261.html

Evo Morales’ party MAS fractures in Santa Cruz; “Evismo’ accussed of “internal dictatorship’

Regional leaders accuse Evismo of wanting to divide the organizations, looking for implanting an “internal dictatorship”, to exclude those who oppose Morales.
Pagina Siete: https://www.paginasiete.bo/nacional/2022/2/24/mas-se-fractura-en-santa-cruz-el-evismo-apunta-la-directiva-324222.html

Ecuador

Ecuador seizes assets of former president Rafael Correa

The Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office reported on Wednesday that it seized assets from former President Rafael Correa and seven other people — including former ministers, high-ranking state officials and sentenced businessmen — as part of a million-dollar corruption network during that government (2007-2017).
San Diego Union-Tribune, in Spanish: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/en-espanol/noticias/story/2022-02-24/ecuador-decomisa-bienes-de-expresidente-rafael-correa

Ecuador ask the EU for help for 1,500 nationals currently in Ukraine

Ecuador reported this Thursday that it has 702 nationals located in Ukraine, mostly students, and more than 700 on the Russian side of the border, while it has asked the European Union (EU) for humanitarian gestures to be able to bring them back to the country.
Swissinfo.ch/EFE, in Spanish: https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/ucrania-guerra-ecuador_con-más-de-1.500-nacionales-en-zona-de-conflicto–ecuador-pide-ayuda-a-la-ue/47378044

Argentina

The pro-Russian wing of the Argentinian government remains silent and exposes internal divisions

Cristina Kirchner, Kicillof and La Cámpora did not condemn the invasion of Ukraine ordered by Vladimir Putin; president Alberto Fernández strikes a balance between them and another sector more akin to the US.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/el-ala-pro-rusa-del-gobierno-se-mantiene-en-silencio-y-expone-la-division-interna-del-oficialismo-nid24022022/

Russian invasion to Ukraine complicates negotiations between Argentina and the IMF

The confrontation between Russia and Ukraine raises the costs of oil and gas at a time when Argentina needs to allocate fewer dollars to agree with the IMF.
Clarin, in Spanish: https://www.clarin.com/economia/suba-precios-petroleo-gas-complica-negociacion-fmi_0_I1MtAJIqam.html

Argentines can leave Ukraine by land through Poland and Romania

Those Argentine citizens who want to enter Poland must have a valid passport, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
https://www.pagina12.com.ar/403837-conflicto-rusia-ucrania-i-los-argentinos-pueden-salir-de-ucr

Peru

Latest Poll: 70% of Peruvians do not trust president Castillo

Ipsos survey for Lampadia reveals that 57% of respondents consider that Castillo should leave power. 61% of young people between 18 and 25 years old believe that the president is involved in acts of corruption.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/ipsos-lampadia-corrupcion-pedro-castillo-peru-libre-el-70-de-los-peruanos-desconfia-del-presidente-de-la-republica-noticia-encuesta-noticia/

Peru plans to evacuate more than 300 Peruvians from Ukraine

Up to 320 Peruvians that reside in Ukraine will be moved to neighboring Poland, and eventually traveled to Lima because of the Russian invasion, informed Maria Antonieta Masana García, ambassador of Communities Abroad of the Foreign Ministry of Peru.
Sputnik, in Spanish: https://mundo.sputniknews.com/20220224/el-gobierno-de-peru-preve-evacuar-a-mas-de-300-personas-de-ucrania-1122241749.html

Interamerican Press Society (IPS) rejects discriminatory use of state advertising in Peru

The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) rejected the irregular and illegal use of state advertising by the government of Peru, according to what was denounced by an official who was pressured to resign.
Gestion, in Spanish: https://gestion.pe/peru/sip-rechaza-uso-discriminatorio-de-la-publicidad-oficial-en-peru-noticia/

Analysis

Russia already is destabilizing Latin American democracy – without military might

Vladimir Putin has long taken advantage of regional political dynamics to destabilize what Russia considers an American “sphere of influence.” The Kremlin has proven to have a range of options to accomplish this, including espionage, cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns, military assistance and even enabling irregular channels to launder illicit financial assets.
The Miami Herald: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article258732498.html – storylink=cpy

Opinion: Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela have totally pathetic response to Putin’s attack on Ukraine

Instead of condemning Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for his unjustified attack on Ukraine, Mexico and some other Latin American countries made insipid calls for peace on Earth. Ironically, by not condemning Russia by name, they are tacitly accepting Putin’s view of the world, one in which superpowers have the right to have “spheres of influence” around their borders, effectively controlling neighboring countries.
The Miami Herald: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article258734338.html – storylink=cpy

As Russia expands into Ukraine, the U.S. shrinks from the world’s stage

Vladimir Putin and Russia have ended the Pax Americana by calling what turned out to be America’s bluff. The proof? Russian tanks are moving deeper into Ukraine.
The Week/Yahoo! News: https://news.yahoo.com/russia-expands-ukraine-u-shrinks-154015208.html

The dictator’s new playbook: why Democracy is losing the fight

Around the world, from the richest countries to the poorest, a dangerous new crop of leaders has sprung up. Unlike their totalitarian counterparts, these populists entered office through elections, but they show decidedly undemocratic proclivities. They propagate lies that become articles of faith among their followers.
Foreign Affairs: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2022-02-22/dictators-new-playbook