Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 64

Interamerican Watch Newsletter

Inter-American Watch

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

The Americas

China in Latin America: The Western Hemisphere Security Strategy Act

Latin America and the Caribbean, to which the United States is intimately linked by ties of geography, commerce, and family, currently faces an unprecedented confluence of challenges potentially affecting our security and prosperity, as well as those of our neighbors.
The Diplomat: https://thediplomat.com/2022/03/china-in-latin-america-western-hemisphere-security-strategy-act/

Long under threat, Latin American journalists confront a new era of risk

More than a year before learning his iPhone was infected with the invasive Pegasus spyware, Carlos Dada, founder of the Salvadoran news site El Faro, had two separate close encounters with drones that flew into his apartment through a window. The same thing happened to other journalists in El Salvador, including some of his staff, Dada said in a recent interview with palabra, recalling the incidents from early 2020. After nearly 30 years as a journalist, Dada knows the threats and potential for spying that come with reporting and writing about autocratic governments who view the press with distrust and disdain.
Palabra/NAHJ: https://www.palabranahj.org/archive/an-intensifying-danger

Authoritarian Latin American countries stand with Putin after Ukraine invasion

While countries like Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua have been vocal in their support of President Vladimir Putin.
“The peace of Russia is the peace of the world, and we will defend the world’s peace,” Maduro said. Ortega said, “We expressed to the people of Russia, we expressed to President Putin, our solidarity and our encouragement in this struggle.”
Ksat.com: https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2022/03/01/authoritarian-latin-american-countries-stand-with-putin-after-ukraine-invasion/

Lessons from Russia’s Latin America engagement over Ukraine

Russia’s engagement with Latin America after its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the Latin American response to the invasion, illustrates the growing strategic challenge to the U.S. from the survival and proliferation of populist authoritarian regimes in the Western Hemisphere.
The Hill: https://thehill.com/opinion/international/596392-lessons-from-russias-latin-america-engagement-over-ukraine

U.S. and Colombia conduct anti-submarine warfare exercise in Caribbean Sea

The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783) and the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Billings (LCS 15) conducted a bilateral anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training exercise in the Caribbean Sea with the Colombian navy, Feb. 27-28. Minnesota and Billings were joined by Colombian navy submarine ARC Pijao (SSK 28), frigates ARC Independiente (FM 54) and ARC Almirante Padilla (FM 51), and Colombian helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).
Dvids: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/415459/us-and-colombia-conduct-anti-submarine-warfare-exercise-caribbean-sea

Daniel Ortega, the “anti-imperialist”, surrenders to Russian interests

The cybersecurity agreement, accepted by Nicaragua, empowers Russia under the concept of mutual collaboration to respond with joint measures to eventual international information security threats to the Central American country (Article 1, paragraph 3), one of them foreign interventionism, disturbing public order and the strange concept of harm being caused to the “spiritual environment of other states” by disseminating information.
Confidencial: https://www.confidencial.com.ni/english/ortega-the-anti-imperialist-surrenders-to-russian-interests/

Bolivia

How Brazil’s largest crime syndicate built a global drug empire with the help of Bolivian cocaine

The crime syndicate known as PCC forged commercial ties with the region’s underworld, striking deals with Bolivian farmers to supply cocaine paste and ex-Farc guerrillas in Colombia to provide training and arms, among other alliandes.
Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/20fb5c77-baf1-45ab-a886-51cac68cfd4e

Opposition will investigate Bolivia’s economic and contractual relationship with Russia

el intercambio comercial con Rusia es casi nulo, sin embargo, Bolivia ha contratado a la empresa rusa Rosatom para el proyecto del Centro de Investigación de Desarrollo en Tecnología Nuclear (CIDTN) en El Alto.
Indicó que ese contrato es de 351 millones de dólares, para el cual incluso se gestionó un préstamo con la CAF que ayuda con parte del financiamiento. Observó, además, que existe una opacidad respecto a este tema, porque existiría confidencialidad en el convenio con la empresa estatal rusa.
Erbol.com, in Spanish: http://www.erbol.com.bo/economía/oposición-indagará-la-relación-económica-y-contractual-de-bolivia-con-rusia

Evo Morales has not left the country since his former drug Czar fell

The former director of the Felcn was arrested on January 22. Morales has not left Cochabamba since then, with the exception of February 24, when he went to the Anata Andino de Oruro, where he was seen safely.
Pagina Siete, in Spanish: https://www.paginasiete.bo/nacional/2022/3/1/evo-no-sale-del-pais-desde-que-davila-cayo-si-viaja-debera-ir-acompanado-324650.html

Peru

Peru: Congress approves investigating Pedro Castillo for treason

The parliamentary subcommittee on Constitutional Accusations approved this Monday to investigate the president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, for the alleged crime of treason due to his declarations of giving Bolivia an outlet to the sea.
El Tiempo, in Spanish: https://www.eltiempo.com/mundo/latinoamerica/peru-aprueban-investigar-a-pedro-castillo-por-traicion-a-la-patria-655030

Peru continues in a political quagmire and opponents ask for the president to leave

The political crisis in Peru has entered a point of uncertainty after President Pedro Castillo dodged attempts to request his removal after being implicated in an alleged case of corruption, although a sector of the opposition insists that it will seek to bring him before the plenary congressional.
El Nacional/EFE, in Spanish: https://elnacional.com.do/peru-sigue-en-un-atolladero-politico-y-opositores-piden-salida-del-presidente/

Peru’s transport minister resigns amid censorship debate

The Minister of Transport and Communications (MTC) Juan Silva, was harshly questioned throughout his administration for controversial appointments and indications of an alleged mafia within MTC
Bloomberg Linea, in Spanish: https://www.bloomberglinea.com/2022/03/01/juan-silva-ministro-de-transportes-de-peru-renuncia-en-medio-de-debate-de-censura/

Argentina

Argentina to send IMF deal to Congress this week – president

Argentina’s government will this week send an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to delay debt repayments to the South American country’s Congress for approval, President Alberto Fernandez said on Tuesday. The South American country reached an understanding with the IMF in late January over a new deal to help push back over $40 billion in debts the country owes and cannot pay.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/markets/rates-bonds/argentina-send-imf-deal-congress-this-week-president-2022-03-01/

Argentina once again condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the UN

The Argentine representative to the United Nations, María del Carmen Squeff, called on the secretary general and all multilateral bodies to cooperate to de-escalate the conflict. In the morning, President Alberto Fernández referred to the armed conflict and asked “to give peace a chance.”

Ecuador

The brutality of the Narco corners Ecuador

“Drug trafficking has gained space in Ecuadorian society,” acknowledged conservative President Guillermo Lasso, impressed with the cruelty of recent crimes. In January and February, 468 people were killed, 277 more than the same period in 2021
France24/AFP, in Spanish:

Albanian Drug Traffickers Compete for Position in Ecuador

The murder of an alleged member of the Albanian mafia in Ecuador is once again a reminder of the growing presence of Balkan trafficking groups in the South American country.
Insight Crime: https://es.insightcrime.org/noticias/narcotraficantes-albaneses-compiten-posicion-ecuador/

Dozens of Ecuadorian students do not want to leave Ukraine, according to the Government of Ecuador

The Ecuadorian authorities confirmed this Monday that 257 of its citizens have left Ukraine and are in Poland, awaiting the humanitarian flight that will take them back to their country.
CNN in Spanish: https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2022/02/28/estudiantes-ecuatorianos-ucrania-orix/

Ship from Ecuador is detained in Panama with 570 packs of cocaine

Panamanian authorities reported this Tuesday the seizure of 570 drug packages hidden in a container from Ecuador and bound for Belgium.
Swissinfo.ch/EFE, in Spanish: Panamanian authorities reported this Tuesday the seizure of 570 drug packages hidden in a container from Ecuador and bound for Belgium.

Analysis

Carlos Sanchez Berzain: Castrochavism, the partners in the Americas of Russia’s crimes against Ukraine and humanity

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “war crime of aggression or crime against peace” determined by customary international law, the Nuremberg and Tokyo international tribunals, based on the Charter of the United Nations and established in article 5 of the Statute from Rome. This red-handed crime aggravated by crimes against humanity committed by the holders of Russian power has confessed partners in the Castrochavism of the Americas, the dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua and the governments of Argentina and Mexico.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy, in Spanish: https://intdemocratic.org/castrochavismo-los-socios-en-las-americas-de-los-crimenes-de-rusia-contra-ucrania-y-la-humanidad/?lang=es

Editorial: Again, Peru does not deserve something like this

Today it is clear that the country did not deserve the punishment that Castillo is. He does not deserve his refounding rant, ignorant of the history of the country and the national identity forged with the sacrifice of thousands of Peruvians. He doesn’t deserve his contempt when it comes to appointing unsuitable senior officials.
Caretas, in Spanish: https://caretas.pe/politica/editorial-otra-vez-el-peru-no-se-merece-algo-asi/

In Bolivia, drug trafficking supplanted politics

Reality shows that in the Bolivian dictatorship crime has supplanted and controls politics.
Panampost, in Spanish: https://panampost.com/hugo-balderrama/2022/02/14/en-bolivia-el-narcotrafico-suplanto-a-la-politica/

The underlying problem of Argentina

“We would not be discussing the new agreement with the IMF if Cristina Kirchner had preserved the fiscal surplus with which she took office in December 2007.
La Nación, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/economia/el-problema-de-fondo-de-la-argentina-nid01032022/