Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 68

Interamerican Watch Newsletter

Inter-American Watch

Monday, March 14th, 2022

The Americas

Biden names Colombia “major non-NATO ally’, countering Putin’s influence in Latin America

The designation provides Colombia with certain trade benefits and boosts opportunities for security cooperation between the two countries— including Colombia’s potential eligibility to purchase depleted uranium ammunition, according to the State Department.
Los Angeles Times: https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-03-10/biden-colombia-major-non-nato-ally-ukraine-russia-invasion-latin-america

“Further conversations’ needed around Latin America sanctions against Russia – Tánaiste

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says “further conversations” are required to turn widespread condemnation by Latin American nations of the invasion of Ukraine into sanctions by the region against Russia. Mr Varadkar was speaking after attending the inauguration of Chile’s new president Gabriel Boric on behalf of Ireland and the European Union.
Irish Times: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/further-conversations-needed-around-latin-america-sanctions-against-russia-tánaiste-1.4825678

How cryptocurrencies are empowering transnational criminal organizations and countries in Latin America

The pandemic has empowered transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) to establish new virtual markets for their drug, human, arms, and contraband trafficking and money laundering with cryptocurrencies.
Dialogo-Americas: https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/how-cryptocurrencies-are-empowering-transnational-criminal-organizations-and-countries-in-latin-america/ – .Yi8jARCM5qs

Mexican cartels turn to bitcoin, internet, e-commerce

Drug cartels in Mexico like the Jalisco New Generation cartel and the Sinaloa cartel are increasingly turning to the internet, bitcoin and e-commerce to launder money and sell drugs, according to a report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Wtop/AP: https://wtop.com/latin-america/2022/03/mexican-cartels-turn-to-bitcoin-internet-e-commerce/

How Latin American drug runners use “narco submarines’ to traffic cocaine, money and more

Drug subs are stealth vessels favored by smugglers to discreetly move tons of cocaine, marijuana, heroin and ill-gotten cash. Loaded up with millions of dollars in contraband, these cobbled-together vessels, with their sky-colored tops and noise mufflers, cruise just below the water’s surface, hoping to stay beyond sight lines of the Coast Guard, naval forces and international drug enforcement agents.
New York Post: https://nypost.com/2022/03/12/how-drug-runners-use-narco-submarines-to-traffic-cocaine/

Chile swears in former protest leader as president

Former student leader Gabriel Boric was sworn in Friday as Chile’s new president, vowing to oversee a political and economic renovation of a nation shaken by repeated protests over inequality in recent years despite a relatively vibrant economy.
Arkansas Democrat Gazette: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/mar/12/chile-swears-in-former-protest-leader-as-president/?latest

Peru

Peru’s Congress approves Castillo’s cabinet, simultaneously considers impeaching him

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo’s cabinet was approved by the country’s Congress on Wednesday. The same Congress will consider a motion to impeach him this Monday, March 14. In what some media described as a potentially short-lived vote of confidence, lawmakers approved the embattled president’s latest team by a vote of 64 to 58 with two abstentions. Mr. Castillo has now proposed four different cabinets since assuming office in July 2021.
Peru Reports: https://perureports.com/perus-congress-approves-president-pedro-castillos-cabinet-simultaneously-considers-impeaching-him/9214/

Castillo’s former Secretary to cooperate in anti-corruption probe against the president, after receiving death threats

Castillo’s former right-hand man, who had to leave office at the end of last November after the scandal that unleashed the discovery of US$20,000 in the bathroom of his office, assured that, in addition to the “outrage and discredit” against him and the of his family, now he has also been the object of “death threats”.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/pedro-castillo-bruno-pacheco-declarara-manana-ante-la-fiscalia-de-lavado-de-activos-noticia/

Castillo’s Chief of Intelligence fired after refusing to suspend investigation against former presidential assistant

Luis Flores Solís, General Director of Intelligence of the Ministry of the Interior (Digimin), refused to stop the corruption investigation against the former secretary of Castillo, and was removed from his position this Friday.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/investigacion/jefe-de-inteligencia-fue-retirado-del-cargo-por-negarse-a-suspender-pesquisa-contra-bruno-pacheco-digimin-roger-arista-luis-flores-solis-noticia/

Bolivia

A huge cocaine lab was found inside a World Heritage site in Bolivia

A cocaine laboratory capable of producing two tons of the drug a week was discovered by police inside one of the largest protected wildlife areas in the world. “This is one of the biggest cocaine-refining structures ever dismantled in the region,” said Brazil’s Federal Police in a statement about the lab.
Vice: https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3n8zy/bolivia-world-heritage-site-cocaine-lab

Presidents of Bolivia and Peru address bilateral issues in Chile

The presidents of Peru -Pedro Castillo Terrones- and Bolivia -Luis Arce Catacora- held a private meeting in Santiago de Chile in parallel to the inauguration of Gabriel Boric Font to analyze the possibility of supplying LPG to Peru, among other issues.
MercoPress: https://en.mercopress.com/2022/03/14/presidents-of-bolivia-peru-discuss-bilateral-issues-while-in-chile

Argentina

Federal Judge in Argentina orders arrest of US-sanctioned Venezuelan politician Diosdado Cabello

The arrest warrant arose as a result of the knowledge that he would travel to the Argentine Republic on approximately March 11, 2022, and that he would enter the national territory through the Province of Jujuy.
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/mundo/jueza-federal-de-jujuy-ordeno-la-detencion-del-politico-venezolano-diosdado-cabello_270729

Argentina’s Congress approves $45 billion debt deal with IMF

Government’s win removes threat of imminent default on $19bn of repayments due to the fund this year
Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/4a59f631-7a86-49f2-9081-0b08d0407243

War in Ukraine: tension, shifts and retaliations in the Foreign Ministry for the position of Argentina against Russia

The government’s condemnation of Putin left officials who advocated strengthening that link unsettled; Tettamanti and Nicolini, two of those affected by the position finally adopted by President Fernandez.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/guerra-en-ucrania-tension-corrimientos-y-pases-de-factura-en-cancilleria-por-la-posicion-de-la-nid13032022/

Ecuador

Arms and ammunition trafficking has four routes in Ecuador

In the first two months of 2022, the Police have seized 355 firearms in Guayaquil, Durán and Daule. The gangs obtain them through the southern border, couriers, drug planes and assaults on police warehouses.
Primicias, in Spanish: https://www.primicias.ec/noticias/en-exclusiva/el-trafico-de-armas-y-municiones-tiene-cuatro-rutas-en-ecuador/

Ecuador loses $2.5 billion a week due to the war in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine takes its toll on Ecuador’s exporting companies. The country loses USD 2.5 million per week by not selling its products to that Eurasian nation that has been invaded by Russia since February 24.
El Comercio, in Spanish: https://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/negocios/ecuador-exportaciones-guerra-ucrania-rusia.html

Guayaquil among the 50 most violent cities world-wide

The war between drug gangs placed Guayaquil on the world map of urban violence for the first time.
Seguridad, Justicia y Paz, in Spanish: http://www.seguridadjusticiaypaz.org.mx/sala-de-prensa/1603-ranking-2021-de-las-50-ciudades-mas-violentas-del-mundo

Analysis

Carlos Alberto Montaner: The Venezuelan consequences of the Russian war against Ukraine

It’s the “globalization”. The entrails of the planet’s interconnection have been seen again. This time it was the sanctions against Moscow during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the Venezuelan consequences of that atrocious military operation.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/the-venezuelan-consequences-of-the-russian-war-against-ukraine/

The meaning of the Ukrainian war for Argentina

As Russia becomes more and more of a political and economic pariah, it will redefine the world economy creating situations that will present challenges for Argentina but also create opportunities.
Clarin: https://www.clarin.com/opinion/guerra-ucrania-argentina_0_gLRQ8NyCyJ.html

The new Cold War and Latin America

The growing penetration and presence of the Chinese and Russian autocracies in the region is part of their global geopolitical strategy of challenging the world of democracies; and constitutes a potential threat to democracies.
Clarin, in Spanish: https://www.clarin.com/opinion/nueva-guerra-fria-america-latina_0_a9RUGTx9dn.html

Colombia: does the Colombian Center stand a chance?

Many Colombians, tired of the country’s prolonged period of polarization, hoped this would be the year things changed. Ahead of presidential elections in May, efforts by erstwhile centrist rivals to unite behind a single candidate looked uniquely promising. The Center Hope Coalition – an alliance of centrist and center-left politicians from different parties and independent movements formed last June – have touted their “strength through differences” and made rejecting the extremes a campaign platform.
Americas Quarterly: https://www.americasquarterly.org/article/does-the-colombian-center-stand-a-chance/

The challenges new Chilean president will face

Boric will have to overcome a series of challenges that will test his political capital from the beginning of his government. Here the 5 most important challenges.
BBC, in Spanish: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-60464367