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Dealflow.la #28 - Tinder 🇺🇸 behind 90% of São Paulo 🇧🇷 kidnappings, Sabotage suspected in fire that caused major Argentine 🇦🇷 power outage, and Bukele 🇸🇻 to destroy gang affiliated tombstones.
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Amachains 🇧🇷 raised a $30,000 Pre-Seed Round led by Anjos do Brasil 🇧🇷 to build a blockchain carbon traceability and accounting platform.
Tobipets 🇨🇷 raised a $200,000 Pre-Seed round led by Leap Venture Studio 🇺🇸 to create a one-stop shop that connects pet parents with pet brands, services, and veterinarians.
Super Vegan 🇧🇷 raised a $300,000 Seed round led by Veg Capital 🇬🇧 and Vegan Business 🇧🇷 to offer alternative chocolate options to vegans. The company offers super cream, kits, combos, and chocolate bars that are made from vegetable milk, cocoa, oilseeds, and also from different flavors such as cookies, cream, vanilla, and white strawberry, providing vegan customers with bars of chocolate that are made from plant-based substitutes and are dairy free.
ContaFuturo 🇧🇷 raised a $3.8 Million Private Equity Round led by Empírica 🇧🇷 to offer financial solutions that focus on expense management.
Datamart 🇨🇱 raised a $6.3 Million Seed round with funding from Moonvalley Capital 🇨🇱, Falabella 🇨🇱, Banco Santander-Chile 🇨🇱, and Banco BICE 🇨🇱 to provide secure data management. The company's platform facilitates interactions that drastically reduce onboarding or financial product closing cycles, accelerating commercial, legal, and risk processes with results that impact the income statement, enabling users to exchange private information between people, companies with financial institutions following strict compliance principles, and secure data management.
HR Tech startup Rankmi 🇨🇱 has announced that it has closed a Series A funding round led by Softbank Latin America Fund 🇺🇸, marking Rankmi's first round of institutional capital. The funding round will be combined with a merger between Rankmi and Osmos 🇲🇽. Both transactions were valued at USD $48M.
The UK government on Thursday insisted the Falkland Islands remained British as Argentina walked away from a cooperation pact and demanded new talks over their sovereignty. Known as the Malvinas in Spanish, the UK-ruled islands were the subject of a short but brutal war after Argentina invaded in 1982. Britain drove out the invading force after dispatching a naval armada. In 2016, the two sides agreed to disagree about sovereignty, but to cooperate on issues such as energy, shipping, and fishing, and on identifying the remains of unknown Argentine soldiers killed in battle. But at G20 talks in New Delhi, Argentinian Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero informed UK counterpart James Cleverly that his government was abandoning the pact. In a series of tweets, he renewed Argentina's longstanding demands instead for negotiations about sovereignty of the islands at the UN in New York. "The Falkland Islands are British," Cleverly retorted on Twitter over Cafiero's thread. (France 24)
Sabotage suspected in fire that cut power to half of Argentina. More than 20 million people suffered an outage on Wednesday per lead government theory. (Bloomberg)
A major power outage crippled several of Argentina's provinces on Wednesday, including parts of Buenos Aires, plunging millions of people into darkness for at least two hours as summer temperatures soared, officials said. In the capital, the lights flickered back on at about 6:00 pm (2100 GMT) in the metro system, and public services were gradually restored. Reports of the first outages came in from 4:00-5:00 pm, with traffic lights out of order and Buenos Aires metro stations in total darkness. Argentina's undersecretary for energy Santiago Yanotti told the C5N network that power demand had soared due to the high temperatures. In Buenos Aires, it was 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday. The power cut is believed to have been caused by a fire in a field near high-tension lines connected to the Atucha 1 nuclear power plant, Yanotti said. (France 24)
For an Update: Power has largely been restored in Argentina after more than half of the country was left without electricity for several hours. Over 20 million people in major cities and large swathes of the countryside were affected on Wednesday. The blackout is believed to have been caused by a large fire in open fields west of the capital, Buenos Aires. The blaze brought down crucial power lines and forced a nuclear power station to be taken offline. (BBC)
‘Dolár Malbec’: Argentina plans yet another specialist exchange rate, this time aimed at its struggling wine producers. New ‘wine dollar’ set to join country’s alphabet soup of parallel exchange rates, confirms Sergio Massa; Measure set to kick in April 1, with value set to be defined in next 20 days. (BA Times)
Tinder robberies have men in Brazil on high alert. After a spate of violent crimes, men are questioning if their dating app matches seem a bit too eager. Police statistics show that nine out of 10 kidnappings in São Paulo in the past year have occurred after a date was arranged through Tinder and similar apps. (Rest of World)
Former President Bolsonaro says he intends to return to Brazil this month
Bolsonaro, speaking with NBC News at CPAC, refused to admit his election loss and said that he bore no responsibility for a Jan. 8 attack on government offices. He left Brazil in late December, after his defeat, and relocated to a community in Orlando, Florida, where he has remained as Brazil's Supreme Court said it agreed to include him in its investigation into who incited the riot. (NBC)
Bolsonaro denies illegal acts with seized jewelry. Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro says he did nothing illegal following reports that he tried to bring jewelry worth more than $3 million into the country in 2021 without declaring it to authorities. (ABC)
Brazil's central bank on Thursday approved Meta Platforms' payments launch for small and medium-sized businesses in Brazil via its messaging application WhatsApp, building on the app's existing local peer-to-peer payment system. The approval comes as Meta seeks to use the Brazilian market as a key test space for business messaging, an area that has assumed greater urgency as Meta's core advertising business has stalled. (Reuters)
Chile’s mining minister, Marcela Hernando, confirmed that the national lithium policy, to be presented this year, will remain in line with the government program. "We are clear that the State is the owner of lithium, and for the president, that [ownership] is not transferable. State companies will sign agreements with private parties," Hernando (pictured) told radio broadcaster Cooperativa on Monday. The draft policy involves consultations with indigenous communities, lawmakers and stakeholders and the creation of a national lithium company, for which the government is organizing a dialog as it prepares for difficult legislative negotiations, Hernando said. (BNA)
Colombia protests: Seventy-nine police officers freed after being taken hostage. A group of police officers and oilfield workers taken hostage during protests in Colombia's southern Caquetá province have been freed, President Petro says. Violence erupted on Thursday after residents blockaded an oil exploration company's compound. They were demanding its help to build roads in the area. Colombian leader Gustavo Petro had called for the 79 officers and nine Emerald Energy employees to be let go. A police officer and a civilian have already been killed during the unrest. (BBC)
Ecuador's National Assembly voted Saturday in favor of a report which recommends opening an impeachment process against President Guillermo Lasso, accusing him of corruption over dealings in public companies. The report, which is not binding, was approved by 104 of Ecuador's 137 lawmakers in an expected rejection of Lasso's leadership. Lasso, a conservative former banker, does not have a majority in the National Assembly and has repeatedly clashed with lawmakers, some of whom tried to oust him in 2022. The report was presented Wednesday by a commission of seven mostly opposition lawmakers who examined accusations that positions and contracts at Ecuadorean state companies had been exchanged for bribes. The report concluded Lasso could have been involved in possible crimes against state security and public administration, assertions rejected by the government. (VOA)
An Ecuadorian judge has approved prosecutors’ request to charge former President Lenin Moreno with bribery over a contract for a Chinese-built hydroelectric plant in the South American nation. The indictment, which includes 37 people in all, links Moreno to work on the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric project and states that the defendants received bribes of up to $76m as part of a corruption scheme that operated between 2009 and 2018. (Al Jazeera)
Students demonstrated in front of the Central University of Ecuador to demand the resignation of Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, amid an investigation into corruption cases in the country that link Lasso's government to corruption and drug trafficking. (TeleSur)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
El Salvador’s president is defending a policy to destroy tombstones that list gang member affiliations, likening it to Germany’s erasure of Nazism symbols following their defeat in World War II. Inmates were ordered to destroy tombstones that reference either the 18th Street Gang or La Mara Salvatrucha, otherwise known as MS-13, which is the latest leg of President Nayib Bukele’s nationwide crackdown on the criminal organizations. “Because [Germany] had to erase Nazism, and to erase Nazism, they had to be tough on Nazi ideology — not just arrest the Nazis,” the president said Thursday. “Here in El Salvador…we did have a gang problem,” he said. “It’s a similar issue, because they haven’t just done us so much harm, like the Nazis, they haven’t been just ruthless, like the Nazis, they haven’t just been cruel, like the Nazis, but they are also interwoven in Salvadoran society. They are everywhere, even in the cemeteries.” (Washington Times)
A Guatemalan judge ordered the investigation Tuesday of nine journalists from a newspaper whose president, a prominent government critic, has already been jailed on various charges since last year. Judge Jimi Bremer said that to find out whether the journalists from El Periodico newspaper were maliciously pursuing prosecutors, judges and other members of Guatemala’s justice system, thereby opening themselves up to criminal charges, they should be investigated. Top prosecutor Cinthia Monterroso had argued that El Periodico published stories about complaints, disciplinary processes and questioned decisions by justice officials, including herself. She said who ordered such stories and the sources of their financing must be investigated. It was the government’s latest move against the newspaper known for hard-hitting investigations of public officials and government wrongdoing led by José Rubén Zamora. (AP)
The US and Mexico are searching for four Americans who were kidnapped in north-eastern Mexico last week. The US citizens were driving through Matamoros in Tamaulipas state in a white minivan when a group of unidentified gunmen shot at them. They were then placed in a vehicle and taken away, the US government said. The US has not confirmed Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's statement saying that the Americans had crossed the border to buy medication. The missing Americans, who were kidnapped on 3 March, have not been identified. (BBC)
Mexican authorities have found 343 migrants, including 103 unaccompanied minors, in an abandoned freight truck container on the side of a highway, the authorities said Monday. The National Immigration Institute said the trailer was found Sunday night in the steamy Gulf coast state of Veracruz. It was on a route often used by smugglers to bring people from southeastern Mexico to the U.S. border. The migrants were well, and it was unclear why the driver fled, authorities said. (ABC)
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he will launch a plan to tame inflation with other Latin American governments. Lopez Obrador said he has already spoken with the presidents of Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and Colombia to join forces in a plan that seeks to remove tariffs to reduce the price of food items. "We are going to carry out an anti-inflationary plan of mutual aid and growth, for economic and commercial exchange between Latin American countries," the president said in a regular news conference. (Reuters)
Tesla will open a gigafactory in Mexico, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Wednesday, as the electric vehicle behemoth pushes to expand its global output. Mexico on Tuesday said Tesla had chosen the northern border state of Nuevo Leon for a new factory worth more than $5 billion, calling it the "the biggest electric vehicle plant in the world." (Reuters)
A businessman who was facing conviction on bribery charges linked to Venezuela’s state oil company killed his 3-year-old son before fatally shooting himself in a luxury condominium in Miami, police said. The bodies of José Manuel González Testino, 53, and his son, José Manuel González, were found Wednesday night at a Coconut Grove condominium during a wellness check. Police said a relative of the boy had contacted them after several unsuccessful attempts to contact the father. “It is being investigated as a murder-suicide by way of gunshot wounds,” Miami police spokesman Michael Vega told The Associated Press. González Testino controlled multiple international and U.S.-based companies, and in 2019 pleaded guilty in federal courts in South Texas for his role in a bribery scheme involving Venezuelan state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and its subsidiaries, according to the U.S. Justice Department. His sentencing was scheduled for the end of March in federal court in Houston. González Testino had been arrested in July 2018 at the Miami International Airport and was later released on bail. (AP)
Nicaraguan authorities closed down the country's largest business association on Monday, the latest blow in a years-long crackdown on any opposition to the government of President Daniel Ortega. Once a key business player and ally of the increasingly authoritarian Ortega, the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) has in recent years become a target of the former Marxist rebel's entrenched government. The government stripped COSEP of its legal status in resolutions published on Monday in the government's official bulletin, blaming bureaucratic shortcomings. "They did not complete the registration validation process, presenting inconsistencies in the information," the official bulletin said. An alliance between Ortega and Nicaragua's top business executives broke down after the government waged a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests in 2018, during which more than 360 people died mostly at the hands of police and other security forces, according to tallies by rights groups. (Reuters/US News)
More than 300 Nicaraguans, considered political opponents of President Daniel Ortega, have been stripped of their citizenship. Some were already out of the country but 222 were recently deported from Nicaragua to the United States and forced into exile. It is the latest move by Ortega to crack down on political dissent. (Al Jazeera)
Andean communities in Peru will resume a blockade of a crucial highway used by major copper producers next week, two local leaders said on Saturday, following a truce that had allowed mining companies to restart production. Peru, the world's second-largest copper producer, has been facing protests since the dismissal of former President Pedro Castillo on December 7, including blockades of roads through which the mining companies obtain supplies for their operations. The communities surrounding mining operations in the interior of Peru have been in conflict with the companies for years, demanding greater share of the profits from resource exploitation. But now they are also demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte following protests that left dozens dead. (Reuters)
Four Peruvian soldiers drowned while trying to swim across a river in the Andes to reach a town where protests demanding the resignation of Peru’s president have turned violent, military officials said Monday. Two soldiers also were missing and five suffering hypothermia following attempts to cross the Ilave River on Sunday, the Defense Ministry said, adding that the ministry lowered its flag to half-staff to mourn the deceased. The soldiers were trying to get to the Puno region town of Juli to help secure the area following protests Saturday that turned violent and left five civilians injured and a police station and courthouse on fire. The soldiers, based in the nearby town of Ilave, initially tried to cross the river using a bridge, but it was blocked by protesters, forcing the soldiers to try to swim across at another location in near-freezing temperatures. The ministry blamed the deaths in part on the “hostile attitude” of the protesters who blocked the bridge. (ABC)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
‘Hamilton’ will return to Puerto Rico and hopes to raise at least $2m. As part of a fundraiser, Miranda will reunite for their first public appearance together since 2017 with original cast members Renee Elise Goldsberry, Christopher Jackson, and Leslie Odom Jr. (NBC)
Venezuelan state-owned television station VTV has been using deepfake English-speaking hosts from a fictitious American news agency to share falsely positive news coverage about the country. The two anchors present false news stories about Venezuela and attempt to show that the country’s economy is not “really destroyed” as many other media outlets may suggest. (Washington Post)
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