Discover more from Dealflow.la
Dealflow.la #24 - Judge 🇨🇴 used ChatGPT 🇺🇸 in ruling, Bukele 🇸🇻 unveils new 40,000 person prison, JOKR 🇧🇷 raised $50 Million in star-studded Series C, and Maduro 🇻🇪 backs spy balloon 🇨🇳.
Latin America is rising. Subscribe to Dealflow.la to keep up.
Nippy 🇦🇷 raised a $1 Million Pre-Seed round led by the Inter American Development Bank 🇺🇸 with funding from Venture Do 🇩🇴, Enlaces 🇩🇴, and Boost VC 🇺🇸 to connect independent workers with services, benefits, and opportunities to impact productivity and improve their quality of life.
Diferente ≠ 🇧🇷 raised a $3 Million Seed round led by Caravela Capital 🇧🇷 with funding from Valor Siren Ventures 🇺🇸, South Ventures 🇺🇸, and Collaborative Fund 🇺🇸 to democratize healthy eating while fighting food waste in Brazil. The company works in partnership with local organic producers to rescue 'non-standard' food from traditional markets that would be thrown away and deliver it to subscribers, providing customers with a more affordable, convenient, and sustainable way to shop for fresh organic products.
Pulppo 🇲🇽 raised a $5 Million Seed round led by DAAL 🇸🇦 with funding from Y Combinator 🇺🇸, Boost Capital 🇸🇬, and 1984 Ventures 🇺🇸 to improve the way brokers sell homes through their real estate technology platform. The company specializes in connecting agents with high-profile properties, and gives them technological tools, and logistical and legal support, providing brokers and customers with simplified and frictionless buying processes.
Michroma 🇦🇷 raised a $6.4 Million Seed round led by Supply Change Capital 🇺🇸 with funding from IndieBio 🇺🇸, Be8 Ventures 🇩🇪, Boro Capital 🇺🇸, Fen Ventures 🇨🇱, GridX 🇺🇸, Groundswell Ventures 🇺🇸, HackCapital 🇨🇭, New Luna Ventures 🇺🇸, Portfolia 🇺🇸, Siddhi Capital 🇺🇸, and The Mills Fabrica 🇭🇰 to build a fungal food platform intended to produce natural colorants. The company's platform uses a fermentation process and colorful strains to provide a wide range of colors, enabling clients to produce pH-stable and heat-stable natural heat.
Minu 🇲🇽 raised a $10 Million Convertible Note with funding from Salkantay Ventures 🇵🇪, QED Investors 🇺🇸, FinTech Collective 🇺🇸, Enea 🇸🇪, Coppel Capital 🇲🇽, and Besant Capital 🇪🇸 to offer micro unsecured loan services intended to change the financial health of Mexican employees. The company's services offer early access to salary by co-coordinating with companies human resource department with no change to finance or change the dates of court or payroll, enabling employees to gain access to their earned wages whenever they need, instead of having to wait for payday.
Beek 🇲🇽 raised a $13 Million Series A with funding from Accel 🇺🇸, Greylock 🇺🇸, Co-Founder & CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman 🇺🇸, Co-Founder & CEO of Nowports Alfonso De los Rios 🇲🇽, Co-Founder & CEO of Figma Dylan Field 🇺🇸, and Co-Founder & President of Rappi Sebastian Mejia 🇨🇴 to help readers to consume books in an audio format. The company's platform helps readers and other users to discover multiple audiobooks from several genres and consume them simply through listening, enabling readers to discover various book reviews and also go through books without any physical purchase.
JOKR 🇧🇷 raised a $50 Million Series C round led by G Squared 🇺🇸 with funding from Tiger Global 🇺🇸, HV Capital 🇩🇪, and GGV Capital 🇺🇸 to offer hyper-local product delivery service intended to minimize waste and support small businesses. The company's services include delivering an assortment of all-time favorite global products and hyperlocal brands through a network of micro fulfillment centers, allowing customers to receive faster delivery of goods. JOKR delivers orders within a few minutes of purchase and offers a smooth, frictionless, and nearly instant experience. This includes all sorts of products such as supermarket and convenience products, pharmaceuticals, and exclusive local products that are not available in regular supermarkets – basically anything people use frequently and need in an instant, with a strong focus on groceries.
Argentina issues new 2,000-peso banknote worth $11 as inflation soars. The BCRA will issue the new note – worth $11 – as customer prices jumped by nearly 95 percent in the past year, marking the fastest pace of inflation in the country since 1991. The largest peso bill is currently 1,000 pesos, with just a $2.75 value in the international markets. The BCRA said in a tweet that the new banknote would “commemorate the development of science and medicine in Argentina”. (Independent)
U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board teams have been sent to Argentina to help investigate a string of incidents involving the death and injury of U.S. citizens on foreign-flagged passenger vessels in Antarctic waters. The incidents took place between November 15 and December 1 of last year. The Coast Guard and NTSB have sent teams to Ushuaia, Argentina, which serves as homeport for Antarctic expedition cruises, to work alongside international flag administrations and partners in investigating the accidents. (GoCaptain)
A 42-year-old Pakistani man who spent nearly half his life in U.S. custody — first in a secret CIA prison where he was tortured, then at the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — has been released after suing the Biden administration for unlawful imprisonment. He was resettled in the small Central American country of Belize. (NPR)
Newly elected Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is considering an income tax exemption for workers who earn two times the minimum wage, or just over 2,600 reais ($504.64) a month from 1,903 currently, two sources with knowledge of the negotiations said on Saturday. The idea, still under review, is to at least partially fulfill one of Lula's campaign promises – to raise the exemption even further to cover workers earning the equivalent of 5,000 reais, a move that would increase the disposable income of those who earn less in the country, said the sources anonymously. (Reuters)
A Brazilian senator said on Thursday that a close ally of former President Jair Bolsonaro tried to persuade him to join a conspiracy to overturn the far-right leader's electoral loss last year. Senator Marcos do Val told a news conference that he had been invited to a meeting on Dec. 9 with then-President Bolsonaro by his associate, former lawmaker Daniel Silveira. At the meeting, Silveira asked the senator to try to get the head of the electoral court to make compromising comments in a taped conversation that could lead to the judge's arrest, do Val said. (Reuters)
Former president Jair Bolsonaro should be investigated for genocide, Brazil’s environment minister, Marina Silva, has said, as she prepares an operation to drive illegal gold miners from the site of a humanitarian disaster on Indigenous land. (The Guardian)
Chile’s President Gabriel Boric declared a state of catastrophe in a third region ravaged by wildfires with the death toll in the South American country climbing to 22. The fires in the south and central parts of the country have been fanned by a severe heat wave and dry winds, officials said. Boric said on Saturday he requested more help fighting the blazes from the neighboring countries of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. He also thanked Argentine President Alberto Fernandez for pledging aid. (Bloomberg)
A day before a U.S. military jet shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the country's Atlantic Coast on Saturday, Colombia's military confirmed a sighting of an airborne object similar to a balloon flying over its territory. Colombia's air force issued a statement on Saturday providing limited details concerning a possible balloon its air defense system had located Friday morning. U.S. military officials on Friday said another Chinese balloon was spotted somewhere over Latin America but did not specify its location. (Reuters)
Colombian judge says he used ChatGPT in a ruling. Juan Manuel Padilla asked the AI tool how laws applied in the case of an autistic boy’s medical funding, while also using precedent to support his decision. While the judgment itself did not cause much fuss, the inclusion of Padilla’s conversations with ChatGPT in the ruling has been more contentious. (The Guardian)
Colombia has pledged to pay reparations to victims after the inter-American court of human rights (IACHR) concluded the state allowed the systematic extermination of the leftwing Patriotic Union (UP) party in the 1980s and 90s. The UP was a political party created out of a peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Farc) guerrillas in 1985 but 6,000 of its members were wiped out by rightwing paramilitaries, narcos and the Colombian military. The eradication of the movement prompted the Farc to retake arms, perpetuating Colombia’s deadly conflict, which spanned six decades, killing 450,000 people and displacing 8 million. (Most Farc fighters eventually laid down their weapons after a new peace process in 2016.) (The Guardian)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica's Congress on Wednesday blocked the country's ratification of a UN-backed environmental treaty named after one of the Central American country's municipalities, after it lost support from the administration. The treaty, known as the Escazu Agreement, was signed in the Escazu area west of Costa Rica's capital in 2018, when Carlos Alvarado was president. He was succeeded in May by Rodrigo Chaves, who opposed the agreement, arguing Costa Rica already has sufficient regulations on environmental matters. (CNA)
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
A 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck south of the Dominican Republic early Wednesday morning, jolting people from their beds. The quake occurred in waters southwest of the capital of Santo Domingo at a depth of 28 miles (45 kilometers), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (ABC)
Polls close and counting begins in Ecuador’s elections. (TeleSur)
Ecuadoreans looked likely to reject a government-backed referendum to allow extraditions for drug crimes and other charges, preliminary results on Monday showed, while voters in the country's two largest cities backed mayoral candidates from embattled former President Rafael Correa's political movement. The results reinforced a difficult scenario for current conservative President Guillermo Lasso, who has struggled to contain rising insecurity, protests by indigenous groups that have hurt the economy, and widespread violence in prisons. The extradition referendum, one of eight reforms on the ballot, would have allowed Ecuadorean suspects to be sent abroad for trial on drugs and weapons charges, among others, a strategy touted by Lasso to reduce crime which his government has blamed on the trans-national narcotics trade. Though the practice would be new for Ecuador, it is common for Latin American countries like Colombia and Mexico to accede to extradition requests from the United States and other nations. (US News)
Ecuador plans to vaccinate more than two million birds against bird flu to control an outbreak in the Andean nation, the Minister of Agriculture said on Wednesday. The South American nation declared an animal health emergency at the end of November due to the first infections on a farm in the central province of Cotopaxi, and there are currently outbreaks in three other provinces. The poultry vaccination process will begin in the next two months and Ecuador will import four million doses through a Mexican-Ecuadorian partnership, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Bernardo Manzano told a press conference. (Reuters)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
El Salvador opens one of Latin America's largest prisons. The 40,000-capacity Terrorism Confinement Center was inaugurated as President Nayib Bukele's crackdown on criminal gangs has caused the prison population to soar. With nearly two percent of its adult population behind bars, El Salvador has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The rising inmate population as a result of the anti-gang measures, which the vast majority of the population supports, has stretched the country’s already overwhelmed prison system. El Salvador’s largest prison, La Esperanza, currently holds 33,000 people despite having a capacity of 10,000. (NBC)
For another perspective: El Salvador bets safety on incarceration; unveils new prison. (AP)
A former Guatemalan police chief has been found guilty of lying on his U.S. immigration papers about a prior conviction for killing two political activists in his country, U.S. authorities said Monday. Catalino Esteban Valiente Alonzo, an 82-year-old resident of Fontana, California, was convicted last week of using a green card obtained by making a false statement, U.S. prosecutors said in a statement. (AP)
Mexico’s president is probably the most powerful political figure the country has had in decades, but he said Thursday that after his term ends in September 2024, he will totally withdraw from politics. There had been speculation that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would remain a power behind the scenes in his now-dominant Morena party. But the president vowed at his daily press briefing Thursday that he would not mix with politicians, speak about politics or appear at political events. López Obrador had previously said he would retire to a ranch he inherited in southern Mexico and write books. But Thursday’s declaration was far more categorical than what he has said before. (AP)
Why Chinese companies are investing billions in Mexico. Alarmed by shipping chaos and geopolitical fractures, exporters from China are setting up factories in Mexico to preserve their sales to the United States. (New York Times)
Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers. Avocados sell for as much as $2.50 apiece in the United States, so a single crate holding 40 is worth $100, while an average truckload is worth as much as $80,000 to $100,000. Mexico supplies about 92% of U.S. avocado imports, sending north over $3 billion worth of the fruit every year. But it’s often not just the load that is stolen. “They would take away our trucks and the fruit, sometimes they’d take the truck as well,” a truck driver said. “They would steal two or three trucks per day in this area.” It happened to him years ago. “We were coming down a dirt road and two young guys came out and they took our truck and tied us up.” Such thefts “have gone down a lot” since the police escorts started, Quintero said. “They have stolen one or two, one every week, but it’s not daily like it used to be.” State police officer Jorge González said the convoys escort about 40 trucks a day, ensuring that around 300 tons of avocados reach the packing plants each day. (AP)
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration quietly ousted its former top official in Mexico last year over improper contact with lawyers for narcotraffickers, an embarrassing end to a brief tenure marked by deteriorating cooperation between the countries and a record flow of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl across the border. (AP)
The government of Peru on Sunday expanded and prolonged a state of emergency to deal with a two-month-old revolt against President Dina Boluarte that has claimed 48 lives in clashes between protesters and security forces. (VOA)
Explainer: Why are there protests in Peru and what comes next? (Reuters)
Peru’s inflation spike offers a glimpse of the damage from unrest. Peru’s inflation is forecast to have jumped to the highest level in a quarter century as official data start to reflect the damage wrought by two months of social unrest and highway blockades. The January report, due to be published Wednesday by the national statistics agency, is attracting greater-than-usual interest as economists try to gauge the impact of the most destructive protests to hit the copper-producing nation in decades. (Bloomberg)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
Three U.S. tourists were stabbed in Puerto Rico early Monday after police said someone told them to stop filming in a renowned seaside community known as La Perla which is popular with visitors. The confrontation began when one of the tourists, who lives in South Carolina, began filming a mobile hamburger cart and was told to stop and leave the area, police said. Two of the tourists remain hospitalized, including one who was stabbed six times, police said. No one has been arrested. The attack happened nearly two years after a tourist from Delaware was killed and set on fire after police said he was warned not to take pictures while buying drugs in La Perla. A friend of his also was beaten but survived. (ABC)
Venezuela condemns US for shooting down Chinese balloon. Venezuela backs Chinese calling the device ‘civilian aircraft.’ Venezuela condemned what it called an “attack by the United States against an unmanned civilian aircraft of Chinese origin,” taking a clear side in the growing international dispute after a similar balloon was reported over Latin America. (Bloomberg)
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday lashed out at U.S. licenses barring companies doing business with sanctioned Venezuelan state firms from paying cash to his administration. Washington last year authorized U.S. and European firms to resume taking Venezuelan crude oil on the condition no funds be paid to Venezuela. Last week, the United States authorized Trinidad & Tobago to import gas from a Venezuelan offshore field and barred cash from changing hands. (Reuters)
State firms from Iran and Venezuela will start in the coming weeks a 100-day revamp of the South American nation's largest refining complex to restore its crude distillation capacity, four sources close to the plan said. The effort by state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela and the state-owned National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company to boost fuel output at the Paraguana Refining Center marks a step toward ending Venezuela's reliance on U.S. refinery technology, the sources said. (Reuters)
A group of investors is pressing the Biden administration to lift a ban on the trading of defaulted Venezuelan bonds, arguing that the US is at risk of losing leverage over President Nicolas Maduro’s regime in the event of a debt restructuring. (Bloomberg)
If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it, make sure to subscribe at Dealflow.la :)