Interamerican Watch Newsletter – Issue 72

Boletín Interamerican Watch

Inter-American Watch

Monday, March 28th, 2022

The Americas

Why does Latin America dominate the World’s most violent cities list?

Much like in recent years, the 2021 ranking of the world’s 50 most violent cities is littered with urban centers in Latin American and the Caribbean. The top eight are all in Mexico, and the region posted a total of 38 cities on the list, compiled each year by Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice. But not everywhere in Latin America is at risk.
Insight Crime: https://insightcrime.org/news/latin-america-stranglehold-world-most-violent-cities-list/

Understanding Chinese engagement with Latin America and its effects on the region

Chinese support to authoritarian regimes contributes to a region that is ever less democratic and ever less disposed to cooperate with the United States in security and other areas.
Indastra: https://www.indrastra.com/2022/03/Chinese-Engagement-with-LATAM.html

Panamá: The new battlefield between the U.S. and China?

Panama’s maritime business is being transformed by the complex interaction between multiple factors. These include the growing economic and political power of China and U.S.-China competition.
Dialogo-Americas: https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/panama-the-new-battlefield-between-the-us-and-china/ – .Yj-woBApAq0

Senators call for increased funding for poorly resourced U.S. Southern Command

Senators called for increased funding for U.S. military operations in Central and South America to counter illicit drug trafficking and rising influence from China and Russia, as the White House prepares to release a defense budget plan next week.
Stars and Stripes: https://www.stripes.com/theaters/americas/2022-03-24/southcom-funding-senators-china-russia-defense-budget-5465561.html

U.S. General: Russia has more spies deployed in Mexico than in any other country

General Glen D. VanHerck, commander of the U.S. Northern Command Glen VanHerck told a Senate hearing this week that the Kremlin is seeking to access the US from the neighboring country. Meanwhile, the American ambassador has objected to a Mexican-Russian “friendship committee’.
El País: https://english.elpais.com/international/2022-03-26/us-general-russia-has-more-spies-deployed-in-mexico-than-in-any-other-country.html

Peru

Peru’s Congress to debate Castillo’s impeachment today

President Castillo will have 60 minutes to make his presentation before Congress in full. Approval of the motion of impeachment requires 87 votes to pass.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/vacancia-presidencial-bancadas-aun-no-fijan-postura-sobre-eventual-remocion-de-pedro-castillo-de-la-presidencia-congreso-de-la-republica-noticia/

New Poll: almost 70% of Peruvians disapprove Castillo’s administration

The huge disapproval of president Pedro Castillo in the country side is due to the fact that the people is already feeling the impact of the economic crisis, unemployment and rising prices.
Panorama, in Spanish: https://panamericana.pe/panorama/politica/345266-exclusivo-encuesta-cpi-68-4-desaprueba-gestion-pedro-castillo

Controversial Peru’s Attorney General to step down

Zoraida Ávalos’ mandate comes to an end this Tuesday. A three-year term marked by the absence and silence of the highest authority of the Prosecutor’s Office. An authority that is afraid of cameras and microphones, and that avoids by all means participating in public events just so as not to be exposed to questions, to transparency.
Peru21, in Spanish: https://peru21.pe/politica/zoraida-avalos-deja-a-la-fiscalia-de-la-nacion-bajo-la-incertidumbre-y-la-desconfianza-ministerio-publico-noticia/

Fresh scandal: Pedro Castillo’s niece-in-law wins government contracts

Accountant Fany Oblitas Paredes, niece-in-law of President Pedro Castillo, got contracts with the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) and the Superintendence of Land Transport of People, Cargo and Goods (Sutran) last February, revealed ” Panorama” this Sunday.
(Video) Panorama, in Spanish: https://panamericana.pe/panorama/politica/345264-exclusivo-sobrina-presidente-gano-ordenes-servicio-mtc-s-18-000-mes?

Ecuador

Drug gangs begin to increase presence in Ecuador’s capital

The dispute between drug gangs, which began in prisons and moved to the streets of Guayaquil and other towns on the coast, is now expanding to the streets of Quito, according to anti-narcotics authorities.
Primicias, in Spanish: https://www.primicias.ec/noticias/en-exclusiva/bandas-lobos-tiguerones-quito/

Ecuador’s Lasso ask the Attorney General’s office to investigate five leftist congressmen, for reported corruption

President Guillermo Lasso revealed the names of five congressmen from leftist party Pachakutik who would have requested him supposed “economic benefits” in exchange for supporting the Investment Law project, which he refused. Lasso brought the fact to the attention of the Attorney General’s Office so that it initiates investigations.
El Universo: https://bit.ly/36Aq54X

Ex president Rafael Correa to give advice to Honduras’ Xiomara Castillo

The former president of Ecuador, who was condemned by an Ecuadorian tribunal, will talk about economic issues and how a correct integration in Latin America can be carried out after the arrival of Xiomara Castro to the government of Honduras.
Milenio, in Spanish: https://www.milenio.com/internacional/latinoamerica/xiomara-castro-reunira-expresidente-ecuador-rafael-correa

Argentina

Confrontation between President Fernandez and his vice-president Cristina Kirchner paralyzes Argentina

The power struggle between the president and his vice president opens a political crisis that threatens to further complicate the delicate economic situation of the South American country.
El Pais, in Spanish: https://elpais.com/internacional/2022-03-27/el-divorcio-de-los-fernandez-bloquea-argentina.html

Argentina’s Supreme Court to decide on “kirchnerismo” corruption cases with sensitive political implications

The Supreme Court of Justice has analyze and decide about at least 53 appeals filed by Kirchner officials and businessmen in 17 cases of corruption, some of which include Vice President Cristina Kirchner and former Minister Julio de Vido, according to survey carried out by LA NACION of those files.
La Nacion, in Spanish: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/mas-de-50-planteos-buscan-frenar-en-la-corte-suprema-las-causas-de-corrupcion-del-kirchnerismo-nid28032022/

IMF board signs off $44 billion Argentina debt deal, warns on risk

The board of the International Monetary Fund approved on Friday a new program with Argentina for about $44 billion, the IMF said, but acknowledged that it comes with “exceptionally high” risks.
Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/imf-board-decide-argentinas-key-45-bln-program-2022-03-25/

China will promote financial support to Argentina for the payment of imports

The Chinese ambassador in the country stated that the use of the swap for commercial exchange in renminbi will be expanded. On the program with the IMF, he said that “it is consistent with the expectation of the international community for financial stability, trade and investment.”
Ambito, in Spanish: https://www.ambito.com/economia/china/xiaoli-promovera-apoyo-financiero-la-argentina-el-pago-importaciones-n5402923

Bolivia

38 drug-traffickers arrested, 66 small planes and large-caliber firearms seized, as a criminal investigation focuses on Bolivian anti-narcotic police

A police mega-operation carried out yesterday at the La Cruceña airport, in the municipality of Cotoca, left 38 people arrested, 66 small planes seized and 29 hangars sealed; In addition, drums of precursors for the manufacture of cocaine, large-caliber firearms and satellite communication equipment were seized.
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/santa-cruz/hay-38-detenidos-66-avionetas-incautadas-y-29-hangares-precintados-en-aerodromo_272437

Armed groups with links to socialist party MAS seize land in ‘strategic’ sites for drug trafficking

In the last six months, the provinces of Chiquitos, Velasco and Guarayos in Santa Cruz have been affected by illegal seizures of productive lands in “geostrategic” areas that are close to drug trafficking routes, and to properties where cocaine factories and helicopters used to transport the drug have been found.
El Deber, in Spanish: https://eldeber.com.bo/pais/grupos-armados-toman-tierras-en-sitios-estrategicos-para-el-narcotrafico_272405

Bolivia abstains from signing OAS resolution asking Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine

The resolution also establishes “to demand respect for human rights and the immediate cessation of acts that may constitute war crimes.”
Pagina Siete, in Spanish: https://www.paginasiete.bo/nacional/2022/3/25/bolivia-se-abstiene-de-firmar-resolucion-de-la-oea-que-pide-rusia-retirar-sus-tropas-de-ucrania-326839.html

Analysis

Carlos Sánchez Berzain: We must separate crime from politics by prosecuting the heads of narco-states (now is Honduras, but Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua should follow)

To control political power to pursue narcotics’ trafficking activities has become the deplorable reality in the Americas of this 21st century with rulers that have transformed their countries into narco-States. The security these rulers pursue, as heads of narco-States in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua is to have impunity and to end democracy in order to indefinitely hold power. However, when democracy grants the alternation of political power -such it was shown in Honduras- we can separate crime from politics by prosecuting the heads of narco-States.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/we-must-separate-crime-from-politics-by-prosecuting-the-heads-of-narco-states-now-is-honduras-but-venezuela-bolivia-cuba-and-nicaragua-should-follow/

Carlos Alberto Montaner: the idiot Vladimir Putin

I don’t think that Ukraine can enter NATO. It’s sad but true. The idiot Putin prevents it. Why “idiot”? It’s a very strong word. “Idiot”, because the former KGB agent is chained to a geopolitical perception prior to supersonic aviation and rocketry. His vision of him belongs to the time when the world was divided into zones of influence and it made sense to surround nations with a seemingly impenetrable shield. Today supersonic rocketry and nuclear weapons, besides international trade (because of “sanctions”), make the old vision of international relations obsolete.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/the-idiot-vladimir-putin/

Beatrice Rangel: Madam Secretary!!

Madeleine Albright was prophetic when in an article written for the New York Times on February 23 of this year (24 hours before Vladimir Putin had that idea) she stated that if Russia invaded Ukraine it would be “a bloody and catastrophic war that would drain Russia of resources and would cost many lives while creating a strong incentive in Europe to substitute other fuel for Russian gas. This is precisely what is happening.
Interamerican Institute for Democracy: https://intdemocratic.org/madam-secretary/