Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 66

Interamerican Watch Newsletter

Inter-American Watch

Monday March 7th, 2022

The Americas

Hundreds of Latin Americans return from Ukraine after invasion

Close to 250 Ecuadoreans, many of them university students, arrived in the country on Friday after fleeing Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, joining hundreds of other Latin Americans who have evacuated. Latin American countries have been coordinating flights from Ukraine’s neighbors like Romania, Poland and Hungary.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/hundreds-latin-americans-return-ukraine-after-invasion-2022-03-04/

U.S. officials travel to Venezuela, a Russia ally, as the West isolates Putin

The trip is the highest-level visit by American officials to Caracas in years, driven by a desire to separate Russia from its remaining Latin American allies.
The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/05/world/americas/venezuela-russia-usa.html

The convergence of illicit networks on social media: the human smuggling-drug trafficking nexus in Latin America

Mexican drug cartels have a strong social media presence. Social media is a tool that provides benefits and strengthens drug cartels by enhancing their organizational and operational capabilities. These communication outlets provide major opportunities for drug cartels, not only to engage in public relations strategies, gain legitimacy, to incite fear, and ease their recruitment tactics; but also, it has facilitated the diversification of criminal activities online, involving extortion, drug sales, and human smuggling.
Small Wars Journal: https://smallwarsjournal.com/index.php/jrnl/art/convergence-illicit-networks-social-media-human-smuggling-drug-trafficking-nexus

Mexico Attorney General taped in corrupt dealings

A shocking, newly released series of recordings appears to show Mexico’s attorney general cursing about a Supreme Court justice who won’t agree with his demand to keep the prosecutor’s in-laws locked up in prison. A voice identified as that of Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero is heard on the audio, posted by newspapers Friday, calling his niece an “asshole” and asking an assistant how they can use appeals to avoid her being released.
wtpo.com/Associated Press: https://wtop.com/latin-america/2022/03/mexico-prosecutor-apparently-recorded-trying-to-jail-in-laws/

6 countries in Latin America and Spain ‘failed’ preventing money laundering with cryptocurrencies

The U.S. Department of State presented a global evaluation of countries that do not have rigorous laws and authorities that determinedly pursue money laundering through the use of cryptocurrencies in 2021. Among the countries that stand out there are six in Latin America: Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, while Spain stands out in Europe.
Criptonoticias, in Spanish: https://www.criptonoticias.com/comunidad/6-paises-latinoamerica-espana-reprobados-lavar-dinero-criptomonedas/

Prostitution to forced labour: what human trafficking looks like in Trinidad and Tobago

Lured by the promise of work and an opportunity to earn US currency, Lucia* left her home in Venezuela for TT and claimed she was tricked into prostitution. The victim of human trafficking victim said she managed to escape her captors. Lucia said she responded to advertisements in newspapers in Caracas and on social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp groups offering jobs in TT.
Newsday: https://newsday.co.tt/2022/03/06/prostitution-to-forced-labour-what-human-trafficking-looks-like-in-trinidad-and-tobago/

Inside Florida’s “Little Moscow’, where Russian money flows thanks to “rich daddies’ snapping up real estate

Russian money has brought a real-estate boom to South Florida, especially over the years, but now these power players are afraid they might not be able to enjoy the Miami sunshine much longer. As Entin reported, they’re worried the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict will blacklist them from buying American real estate, although Bell said it hasn’t been a problem so far.
Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/florida-little-moscow-sunny-isles-miami-russian-money-real-estate-2022-3

Ecuador

The second humanitarian flight with 209 evacuees from Ukraine lands in Ecuador

A second humanitarian flight chartered by the Government of Ecuador left Warsaw this Friday and landed Saturday in Quito with 209 Ecuadorians evacuated from Ukraine after the war broke out due to the Russian invasion.
Swissinfo.ch/EFE, in Spanish: https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/ucrania-guerra_aterriza-en-ecuador-el-segundo–vuelo-humanitario-con-evacuados-desde-ucrania/47405850

Ecuador: Authorities seize almost two tons of cocaine headed to the Netherlands

So far in 2022, more than 25 tons of drugs have been seized. Last year Ecuador broke a record with the seizure of 210 tons. Only in Guayaquil, the main commercial port of Ecuador, 96 tons were found according to official data from the National Police.
rpp.pe, in Spanish: https://rpp.pe/mundo/latinoamerica/ecuador-autoridades-incautaron-mas-de-una-tonelada-de-cocaina-que-tenia-como-destino-a-paises-bajos-noticia-1390825

Mutilates bodies, gang wars shock once-peaceful Ecuador

A headless body discarded in the street. Two corpses dangling from a bridge. An intensifying drug war has shocked once-peaceful Ecuador with scenes of horrific violence.
Buenos Aires Times: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/latin-america/mutilated-bodies-gang-wars-shock-once-peaceful-ecuador.phtml

Peru

Thousands march in favor of impeachment of Pedro Castillo

Collectives, political leaders and citizens in general expressed their rejection of the Peru Libre government of Pedro Castillo and called for his resignation, accussing him of lying and being corrupt. In Arequipa, Junín, Cusco, Lambayeque, Piura and other regions there were also protests.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/vacancia-presidencial-miles-marchan-a-favor-de-la-vacancia-de-pedro-castillo-noticia/

Peru’s Castillo accumulates hundreds of questioned officer appointments

Throughout seven months of administration, the government of Pedro Castillo appointed more than a hundred officials that have been questioned, including ministers, deputy ministers, advisers and directors.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/pedro-castillo-acumula-mas-de-un-centenar-de-designaciones-cuestionadas-cpa-mtc-juan-silva-noticia/

Peru’s National Police seizes more than 200 kilos of cocaine in the Amazon region

The National Police seized 203 kilos of the alkaloid in the district of Santa María de Nieva, in the province of Condorcanqui, Peru’s Amazonas region.
El Popular, in Spanish: https://elpopular.pe/actualidad/2022/03/06/amazonas-policia-nacional-peru-decomisa-200-kilos-alcaloide-cocaina-nos-dejamos-vencer-narcotrafico-114844

Bolivia

Bolivia is awash with contraband cars from Japan

Six days a week not much happens in Challapata, but every Sunday the town’s main square fills with Japanese cars. Few, if any, have licence plates. They are chutos, or contraband cars. Most have been shipped from Japan to Chile, and then smuggled in.
The Economist: https://www.economist.com/the-americas/2022/03/05/bolivia-is-awash-with-contraband-cars-from-japan

In Bolivia, drug trafficking reach national parks

After an operation carried out by the Special Force to Fight Drug Trafficking (FELCN), it was possible to disrupt two cocaine factories in which at least 240 kilos of drugs were produced per day. Four people were arrested, two Bolivians, one Colombian and one Brazilian.
Opinion/Bolivia, in Spanish: https://www.opinion.com.bo/opinion/editorial/narcotrafico-parques-nacionales/20220305122237857649.html

Argentina

Protests in Argentina, Mexico and Ecuador against invasion in Ukraine

Hundreds of people demonstrated on Sunday in Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Quito to call for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With Ukrainian and Argentine flags, hundreds of people, most of them members of the Ukrainian community in Argentina, paraded from the Plaza de Mayo to the Obelisk, in the heart of Buenos Aires, under the slogan “Enough of war.”
Deutsche Welle, in Spanish: https://www.dw.com/es/protestas-en-argentina-méxico-y-ecuador-contra-invasión-rusa-en-ucrania/a-61036437

Argentina secures $45 billion debt deal with IMF

Agreement will now be put to Congress for its approval as key repayment deadline looms
Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/cba161e7-8778-42d9-8cea-148fa303d1d1

Analysis

Carlos Sánchez Berzain: Castrochavism, Russia’s partner and accomplice in the Americas of crimes against Ukraine and all minkind

The invasion of Russia into Ukraine is a “war crime of aggression against peace” determined by international common law, the international tribunals of Nuremberg and Tokyo, based in the United Nation’s Charter and established in Article 5 of the Rome Statute. This flagrant crime, aggravated by crimes against humanity that is perpetrated by Russia’s holders of political power, has confessed accomplices in Castrochavism’s regimes in the Americas, namely the dictatorships from Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and the governments from Argentina and Mexico.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/castrochavism-russias-partner-and-accomplice-in-the-americas-of-crimes-against-ukraine-and-all-mankind/

How Russia ‘buys’ the silence of Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia

Former President Evo Morales had a very close relationship with Putin and a very distant relationship with the White House and signed numerous cooperation agreements in commercial, energy and military matters that were inherited by the current president, Luis Arce.
France24, in Spanish: https://www.france24.com/es/programas/aquí-américa/20220306-cómo-compra-rusia-el-silencio-de-cuba-nicaragua-venezuela-y-bolivia

Bolivia, the time of the International Criminal Court?

The International Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) finally presented the report on the events that occurred in Bolivia in 2019, before and after the October elections, where the government of Evo Morales and his party committed electoral fraud duly denounced by the Mission of Observation of the OAS, whose report was endorsed, among others, by the European Union.
Infobae, in Spanish: https://www.infobae.com/america/opinion/2022/03/03/bolivia-la-hora-de-la-corte-penal-internacional/

Impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war conflict in Peru

We have a first negative impact due to the fact that some Russian banks have been excluded from the SWIFT system; consequently, payments from Russia to Peruvian exporters and from Peru to Russian exporters are blocked, where small companies will be the most affected.
Expreso, in Spanish: https://www.expreso.com.pe/opinion/impacto-del-conflicto-belico-rusia-ucrania-en-el-peru/