Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 71

Boletim Informativo Interamerican Watch

Inter-American Watch

Thursday, March 24th, 2022

The Americas

Nicaragua’s ambassador to the OAS denounces Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship

Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Organization of American States, Arturo McFields Yescas, has launched an extraordinary verbal attack on the authoritarian government he is employed to represent, castigating Daniel Ortega’s “indefensible” dictatorship for its assault on human rights and democracy.
The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/23/nicaragua-ambassador-oas-denounces-daniel-ortega

Anti-corruption Guatemalan judge resigns and flees to the U.S.

A Guatemalan judge considered key in fighting corruption announced her resignation on Monday and that she has decided to leave the Central American country. Judge Erika Aifán has presided over corruption cases against businessmen, officials, judges and lawmakers, and she was recently overseeing an investigation about alleged irregularities during current President Alejandro Giammattei’s campaign. She has been pursued by her own colleagues and she faces at least 20 legal complaints for allegedly overstepping, something she denies.
Wtop News/AP: https://wtop.com/latin-america/2022/03/anti-corruption-guatemalan-judge-resigns-and-flees-to-the-us/

Another conflict is brewing in the Caribbean

A powder keg much closer to the United States could be one of the world’s next tests: the Guyana-Venezuela border, where the two countries have been embroiled in a bitter fight over a contested regions known as the Essequibo.
Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/22/venezuela-guyana-essequibo-maduro-opposition-oil/fraude

Mexican drug cartels want to negotiate peace in Colombia

The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel are pressing to end the armed conflict between Colombian guerrillas and the Venezuelan Army that, in recent years, has displaced thousands of people from communities such as Apure and Arauca
Independent, in Spanish: https://www.independentespanol.com/noticias/america-latina/mexico-colombia-carteles-droga-guerra-b2042626.html

Ex-president Uribe denounces Venezuelan infiltration “to contribute to electoral fraud in Colombia”

Uribe warned about a Venezuelan intervention in the Colombian electoral process, citing as proof a document prepared, reportedly, by the ‘General Directorate of Counterintelligence’ of the Venezuelan Army, which details a plan to intercede in upcoming May national elections in Colombia.
Periodista Digital, in Spanish: https://www.periodistadigital.com/pd-america/20220322/uribe-denuncia-infiltracion-venezolana-elecciones-contribuir-fraude-electoral-colombia-noticia-689404630554/

Latin America’s IT brain drain a regional challenge

In Latin America, like elsewhere, demand for software engineers, developers and programmers has exploded. But companies face an “enormous” deficit in skilled IT professionals, according to experts.
Buenos Aires Times: https://batimes.com.ar/news/latin-america/latin-americas-it-brain-drain-a-regional-challenge.phtml

Argentina

Drugs, drug trafficking and pandemic in Argentina

Contrary to what was assumed at the beginning of the pandemic, drug trafficking in Argentina found a profitable situation for expansion in various regions of the country, especially in the conurbano bonaerense, the suburbs or Greater Buenos Aires, considered to be the poorest area of the capital, and the city of Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe.
Small Wars Journal: https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/drugs-drug-trafficking-and-pandemic-argentina

Poll: Confidence in the Government fell 20% in one year

The Confidence in Government Index (ICG) carried out since 2001 by the Torcuato Di Tella University (UTDT) shows the government of Alberto Fernández at its worst and with the most deteriorated values since 2011. The indicator takes into account different variables: honesty , government, efficiency and interest. For the second consecutive month, the Fernández administration has less confidence than the worst moment of Mauricio Macri, in 2018.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/la-confianza-en-el-gobierno-cayo-un-20-en-un-ano-segun-una-encuesta-nid23032022/

Argentine volunteers enlisting to join International Legion to defend Ukraine

Although the street barricades of Kyiv have been set up 8,000 miles away from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, hundreds of volunteers from across the nation have applied to join the International Legion, a military organization set up by the Ukrainian government three days after Russia’s invasion.
Courthouse News: https://www.courthousenews.com/argentine-volunteers-enlisting-to-join-international-legion-to-defend-ukraine/

IMF admits Ukraine war will impact targets in Argentina’s new programme

“The programme seeks to begin to reduce persistent high inflation,” said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice. “This, of course, will be a challenging task. In light of the evolving global conjuncture, as rising commodity prices are impacting inflation throughout the world.” Rice said Argentina is already feeling the economic impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which was launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24.
Buenos Aires Times: https://batimes.com.ar/news/economy/imf-admits-ukraine-war-will-impact-targets-in-argentinas-new-programme.phtml

Argentina raises key rate to 44.5% as inflation heats up

Argentina’s central bank raised its benchmark rate Tuesday for the third time this year as inflation continues to speed up.
Yahoo! Finance/Bloomberg: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/argentina-raises-key-rate-44-233011018.html

Bolivia

Arce challenges Evo Morales, and meets with a deputy expelled from the MAS party

Bolivia’s Luis Arce met this Wednesday with Rolando Cuellar, congressman recently expelldd from the socialist MAS party after demanding new leadership and criticizing Evo Morales’ leadership and demanding renewal of the party’s leadership.
El Deber in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/politica/arce-desafia-la-decision-de-expulsion-del-mas-y-recibe-a-cuellar-en-su-despacho_271978

Argentine deputy asks to investigate if Diosdado Cabello was in Bolivia

The Argentine deputy of Together for Change, Gerardo Milman, said that Diosdado Cabello, one of the most influential men in Venezuelan politics and in the Nicolás Maduro regime, arrived in Bolivia “incognito” on March 11 in order to enter to Argentina.
Los Tiempos, in Spanish: https://www.lostiempos.com/actualidad/pais/20220323/diputado-argentino-pide-investigar-si-diosdado-cabello-estuvo-bolivia

Drug Trafficking: Experts ask for more actions due to the increase in cocaine production in Bolivia

Between 2020 and 2021, an increase in cocaine trafficking and seizures from Bolivia and Peru was reported, mainly by sea and air, according to a study published by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Analysts regret that the report does not detail the causes of the growth in drug production and note the lack of government action to curb this illicit act.
Los Tiempos, in Spanish: https://www.lostiempos.com/actualidad/pais/20220321/narcotrafico-piden-mas-acciones-aumento-produccion-cocaina-pais

Russia, Ukraine and the Bolivian economy

This crisis generated by the Russia invasion to Ukraine has already produced some inadequate economic policy responses from the Bolivian regime, such as more restrictions on exports, which is why the eventual positive trade effects of the war -increase in commodities’ value- would be smaller for Bolivia.
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/opinion/rusia-ucrania-y-la-economia-boliviana_271987

Peru

New Pedro Castillo’s Secretary accused for domestic violence

Congresswoman Norma Yarrow asked President Castillo to reassess the appointment of Jorge Alva Coronado, an officer who joins the list of accused of violence against women in the professor’s government.
Caretas, in Spanish: https://caretas.pe/politica/nuevo-secretario-presidencial-jorge-ricardo-alva-cuenta-con-denuncias-por-violencia-domestica/

Castillo’s minister proposes new project for general elections if the president is impeached

The Minister of Labor, Betssy Chávez, proposes a constitutional reform project that seeks to establish that, in the event that a president resigns or is impeached, general elections be called immediate. The initiative reaches Congress days before the debate on the vacancy motion against President Pedro Castillo, scheduled for Monday, March 28.
El Comercio, in Spanish: https://elcomercio.pe/politica/congreso/betssy-chavez-congresistas-cuestionan-proyecto-de-adelanto-de-elecciones-presentado-por-betssy-chavez-cual-es-el-camino-que-debe-seguir-noticia/

Ecuador

U.S. Senators Menéndez, Risch, Kaine and Rubio celebrate committee approval of U.S.-Ecuador Partership Act

The bipartisan proposal, which now moves on to the Senate Floor for a final vote, is the first legislative proposal in the U.S. Congress to focus exclusively on U.S.-Ecuador relations. Recognizing Ecuador as a key democratic partner in Latin America, the legislation lays out a comprehensive diplomatic strategy to strengthen U.S.-Ecuador cooperation on issues as strengthening democratic institutions, and expanding capabilities to address corruption, crime, and malign foreign influence, among other goals.
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/menendez-risch-kaine-rubio-celebrate-committee-approval-of-us-ecuador-partnership-act

Ecuador’s fishermen face death of despair from constant pirate attacks

Rampant piracy along Ecuador’s coastal provinces is forcing hundreds of fishermen to leave their profession and the sea out of fear for their lives. Many of the attacks have taken place in the northern province of Esmeraldas, a hotspot for cocaine trafficking near the Colombian border.
Insight Crime: https://insightcrime.org/news/ecuadors-fishermen-face-death-despair-from-constant-pirate-attacks/

Ties between Mexican cartels and local gangs increased murders in Ecuador

Esmeraldas and Sucumbíos are the provinces with the highest rate of violent deaths in 2022. An Ecuadorian intelligence report details the links between the cartels and the gangs.
El Universo, in Spanish: https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/seguridad/los-lazos-entre-carteles-mexicanos-y-bandas-locales-elevaron-los-asesinatos-en-esmeraldas-y-sucumbios-nota/?modulo=destacadas-uno&plantilla=home

Analysis

Carlos Sánchez Berzain: Third World war or first global war?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with crimes of a “war of aggression” and “against humanity” has produced a confrontation in which no one is left on the fringes and not impacted by it. In our capitalist, globalized world in the midst of a 21st century technological revolution, while this war has a front of armed combat in Ukraine’s territory, it is a conflagration -without exceptions- throughout the world that has the characteristics of the Third World War, or the first Global War.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/third-world-war-or-first-global-war/

José Azel: Does everyone want Democracy?

Does everyone want democracy? This is a thought-provoking question, and the title of a book by political anthropologist Paula L. W. Sabloff, where professor Sabloff offers her insights on the transition from Soviet-style communism to democracy in Mongolia. Her work de ella advances some well documented answers to one of the most relevant policy questions of our times: Is democracy a universal good desired by all cultures?
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/does-everyone-want-democracy/

Ricardo Israel: Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s philosopher

I discovered Ivan Ilyin years ago and by chance. I was teaching at Wheaton College in Massachusetts as a Fulbright visiting professor, and in the library, I was looking for another book and another author for a Political Science Handbook in preparation. His text by him on The Essence of the Consciousness of Law was not useful to me, since his mixture of tsarism and orthodox religion was not suitable for what I was looking for in the relationship between law and politics.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/ivan-ilyin-putins-philosopher/

Opinion: If Biden really wants to lower gas prices, he should talk to Guyana, instead of Venezuela

President Biden recently sent a team of senior U.S. officials to Caracas for talks with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro about a possible oil deal to help bring down gas prices in America. But Biden should instead be sending his envoys to a Venezuelan neighbor that could become a much more promising U.S. oil supplier: Guyana.
The Miami Herald: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article259702385.html – storylink=cpy