Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 65

Boletín Interamerican Watch

Inter-American Watch

Friday, March 4th, 2022

The Americas

What does Russia’s war in Ukraine mean for Latin America and the Caribbean?

Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has deep implications for Latin America and the Caribbean. First, it demonstrates the growing strategic challenge to the United States from the survival and proliferation of populist authoritarian regimes, such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, in the Western Hemisphere. All three vociferously supported Russia’s actions and the work of Russian-backed separatists, as they did when Russia invaded South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia in 2008 and when it illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.
Center for Strategic International Studies: https://www.csis.org/analysis/what-does-russias-war-ukraine-mean-latin-america-and-caribbean

What are Latin American leaders saying about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Latin American leaders, including the foreign ministers of Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay, signed a joint letter rejecting the Russian invasion. Other countries like Cuba, Venezuelan, and Nicaragua apparently blamed the United States for the war, with Cuba referring to “U.S. efforts to continue the progressive expansion of NATO.”
Remezcla: https://remezcla.com/culture/latin-american-leaders-saying-about-russia-invasion-ukraine/

Ukraine invasion raises questions for Fed policy and Latin America

As war continues in Ukraine, energy and food markets face novel shocks, creating fresh uncertainty as the Fed’s March monetary policy meeting approaches. That in turn is complicating the job of policy-makers in Latin America.
CentralBanking.com: https://www.centralbanking.com/central-banks/monetary-policy/7935026/ukraine-invasion-raises-questions-for-fed-policy-and-latin-america

Latin America split over response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

In the past, Cuba built a special relationship with Ukraine after opening its doors to help treat the ‘Children of Chernobyl’ exposed to radiation from the nuclear accident in northrn Ukraine. Today, Cuba sides with Russia.
https://www.univision.com/univision-news/latin-america/latin-america-response-putin-invasion-ukraine-cuba-chernobyl

Bolivia

Largest region of Bolivia goes on strike in protest of political persecution, political prisoners

Santa Cruz, the largest region in Bolivia and considered the country’s economic engine, confirmed the holding of a civic strike this Friday to demand changes in the judicial system, demonstrate against “political persecution” and defend “political prisoners.”
Swissinfo.ch, in Spanish: https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/bolivia-protestas_la-mayor-región-de-bolivia-va-al-paro-por-transformaciones-en-la-justicia/47401028

Parliamentarians will request a report on the commercial relationship between Russia and Bolivia

Deputy Miguel Roca pointed out that Bolivia has contracted the Russian company Rosatom for the Nuclear Technology Development Research Center (CIDTN) project in El Alto. He assured that this contract is for US $351 million but maintained that there is a lot of susceptibility due to the confidentiality agreement between Bolivia and the Russian state company.
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/economia/parlamentarios-pediran-informe-sobre-relacion-comercial-entre-rusia-y-bolivia_269329

Bolivia justifies abstention vote at the UN by saying resolution can add “more fuel to the fire”

The Bolivian Foreign Minister, Rogelio Mayta, justified this Thursday the country’s abstention in the vote to adopt a resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine in the UN General Assembly, assuring that the document can add “more fuel to the fire.”
Europapress: https://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-bolivia-justifica-abstencion-onu-diciendo-resolucion-ucrania-puede-anadir-mas-lena-fuego-20220303131417.html

The U.S. asks Bolivia for fair treatment of those accused of the 2019 chaos

The United States asked the government of President Luis Arce on Wednesday to carry out “fair and impartial” judicial processes for those accused of the violence that occurred in late 2019 in Bolivia, when that country descended into chaos after failed elections that precipitated the resignation of then President Evo Morales.
Santa Maria Times/AP: https://santamariatimes.com/espanol/noticias/nacional/eeuu-pide-a-bolivia-trato-justo-a-acusados-del-caos-de-2019/article_7d1f4778-34df-5b35-943c-be0fc93b00d1.html

Argentina

Ukraine, an uncomfortable war for Argentina and Brazil

Bolsonaro’s Brazil and Fernández’s Argentina try to stay in the field of neutrality. Both Latin American presidents then highlighted the good relations they maintain with the Kremlin. But the war has turned everything upside down. The diplomatic tension leaves little room for the grays, and both Bolsonaro and Fernández, located at the ideological poles, face domestic problems due to their international positioning.
El Pais, in Spanish: https://elpais.com/internacional/2022-03-02/ucrania-una-guerra-incomoda-para-brasil-y-argentina.html

Argentina reaches prospective deal to refinance $45 billion debt with the IMF

Argentina’s government has announced a deal with the International Monetary Fund to refinance some $45 billion in debt. Thursday’s development marks the potential end of two years of negotiations and an attempt to remove economic uncertainty that has hung over Argentina for nearly as long.
Associated Press/Krdo.com: https://krdo.com/news/ap-national-business/2022/03/03/argentina-reaches-prospective-deal-to-refinance-45b-debt/

How many millions is Argentina putting at stake for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

In 2021, the country had a trade surplus with both countries, but the war unleashed in Eastern Europe could restrict the exchange of goods.
Bloomberg Linea, in Spanish: https://www.bloomberglinea.com/2022/03/03/cuantos-millones-pone-en-juego-argentina-por-la-invasion-de-rusia-a-ucrania/

Opposition party UCR wants Argentina to stop military links with Russia

The Argentinian government is negotiating the purchase of warplanes and training by Russian officers. Opposition-linked Alem Foundation recommends the “suspension of any military ties” with the army of Vladimir Putin, whom they classify as an “aggressor”.
Infobae, in Spanish: https://www.infobae.com/politica/2022/03/03/la-ucr-quiere-que-la-argentina-interrumpa-la-relacion-militar-con-rusia/

Ecuador

Ecuador is a test case for how the US can counter Beijing’s influence in Latin America

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso’s dealings in China highlighted just how important it will be for the United States to nurture its ties with governments that have shown an interest in cooperating with Washington.
Atlantic Council: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/ecuador-is-a-test-case-for-how-the-us-can-counter-chinese-influence-in-latin-america/

Ecuador considers itself “directly affected” by the war in Ukraine, Ecuadorian foreign minister says

With one of the largest groups of Latin Americans in the Ukraine and with an important commercial exchange with Russia, which is around 1,600 million dollars a year, Ecuador considers itself “directly affected” by the war between these two countries.
Yahoo!/EFE, in Spanish: https://es-us.vida-estilo.yahoo.com/ecuador-afectado-directo-guerra-ucrania-004600861.html

Ecuador begins to feel the economic blow of the war in Ukraine

Ecuadorian exports to Russia, Ukraine and other countries in the Eurasian zone represent about USD 1,200 million a year, according to the Central Bank. A week after Russia invaded Ukraine, Ecuador is already beginning to feel the economic consequences of the conflict.
Primicias, in Spanish: https://www.primicias.ec/noticias/economia/ecuador-guerra-ucrania-rusia-comercio-combustibles/

Ecuador: not everything is happiness when oil rises, gasoline will be more expensive

Although the country receives more oil revenue, there is a negative effect that will fall on users: the rise in super or premium gasoline, which could exceed US$4.
Bloomberg Línea: https://www.bloomberglinea.com/2022/03/03/ecuador-no-todo-es-felicidad-cuando-sube-el-petroleo-la-gasolina-sera-mas-cara/

Peru

Peru condemns Russian aggression against Ukraine and expresses concern about the humanitarian situation

Peru participated in the urgent debate convened at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, to address the human rights situation in Ukraine as a result of Russian aggression, confirming its firm condemnation of the military offensive and demanding its immediate cessation of hostility.
El Peruano, in Spanish: https://elperuano.pe/noticia/140537-peru-condena-agresion-rusa-contra-ucrania-y-expresa-preocupacion-por-situacion-humanitaria

The Government of Peru rules out convening a constituent assembly to reform the Constitution

The Prime Minister of Peru, Aníbal Torres, has ruled out calling a constituent assembly to reform the Constitution and has insisted that the current Cabinet is far from being “communist”, as some critics claim.
EuropaPress: https://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-gobierno-peru-descarta-convocar-asamblea-constituyente-reformar-constitucion-20220303102828.html

Opposition Popular Force Party: President Castillo must resign but there’s no way Congress can revoke his mandate

The spokesman for the “fujimorista’ Popular Force bench, Hernando Guerra García, called for the resignation of President Pedro Castillo, but specified that the parliamentary mandate is five years and cannot be shortened, unless there is a dissolution of Congress
Peru21.com, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/fuerza-popular-pedro-castillo-debe-renunciar-pero-no-hay-forma-de-revocar-mandato-del-congreso-rmmn-karelim-lopez-sarratea-palacio-vacancia-presidencial-noticia/

Analysis

Ricardo Israel: And Ukraine?

Perhaps the Western coalition was once again wrong with the motivation behind Putin, who contrary to what is said does not seem to seek the recreation of the former Soviet Union but of Greater Russia, that is, closer to tsarism than to the communist hierarchy.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/and-ukraine/

The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global strategic environment and Latin America

Modern history is punctuated by decisive events that both directly impact the strategic environment and change the calculations of global actors. Russia’s February 2022 invasion of the Ukraine is arguably one such event. The impact of the invasion on the global strategic environment, including Latin America and the Caribbean will be profound and principally negative for Western democracies and the global institutional order that has prevailed since World War II. The interacting political, economic and other dynamics set into motion by Russia’s action may lead to a number of distinct paths, yet the implications of the likely outcome of events are disturbing.
Dialogo Americas: https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/the-impact-of-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-on-the-global-strategic-environment-and-latin-america/ – .YiE4KxNOkq0

Jose Azel: The know-it-alls

You know the type. They are those people who think they have all the answers and have never encountered a problem they did not know how to solve. They are the know-it-alls.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/the-know-it-alls/