Discover more from Dealflow.la
Dealflow.la #29 - Deadly $32.5M Santiago Airport 🇨🇱 heist, AMLO 🇲🇽 says Mexico is safer than United States 🇺🇸, & Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 goes blonde.
Latin America is rising. Subscribe to Dealflow.la to keep up.
Palomma 🇨🇴 raised a $500,000 Pre-Seed round led by YCombinator 🇺🇸 to allow users to make payments securely with their bank account with just one click. The company's platform enables merchants to save on processing costs and increase conversion.
Eu Entrego 🇧🇷 raised a $950,000 Debt Financing round with funding from Nilla Capital 🇧🇷 to build an online platform for booking crowdsourced shipping services. The company offers same-day delivery services, reverse logistics, and consolidated collection where verified crowdsourced delivery personnel pick up a package from the sender's location and delivers it to the required destination.
77 Sol 🇧🇷 raised a $2.67 Million Venture Round with funding from EDP Ventures 🇵🇹 and Crescera Capital 🇧🇷 to offer solar energy equipment, and financing services. They also provide services such as sizing systems, product quotations, preparation of proposals, sending offers, integrated payment terms, and complete management which enable clients to make sustainable projects to generate energy.
Barte 🇧🇷 raised a $3 Million Seed round led by NXTP Ventures 🇦🇷 and Force Over Mass Capital 🇬🇧 with funding from VentureFriends 🇬🇷 to optimize cash flow management for small and mid-size enterprises through automated payments and revenue-based financing, enabling users to get easy access to financial metrics and credit payments.
ECSA 🇧🇷 raised a $3 Million Seed round led by Y Combinator 🇺🇸 with funding from Arca 🇺🇸 to allow easy conversion of Brazilian Real to BRLe, a fully collateralized stablecoin. The company's platform offers market-making APIs that enable real-time swapping of BRLe to USDC, allowing investors and exchanges to access the BRLe yield without worrying about liquidity issues, and enabling clients to store tokens on the ECSA platform or in a personal wallet.
Blipay 🇧🇷 raised a $6.67 Million Debt Financing round from SRM Asset 🇧🇷 to offer salary anticipation solutions for employees with zero interest.
Destácame 🇨🇱 raised a $10 Million Private Equity round led by Santander X 🇪🇸 with funding from Kayyak Ventures 🇨🇱 and Fen Ventures 🇨🇱 to allow management of past-due debt repayment, credit history, consumer loans, credit cards, savings, and other financial health tools, enabling individuals to thoroughly handle and enhance their financial wellbeing.
Clara 🇲🇽 raised a $90 Million Debt Financing round from Accial Capital 🇺🇸 to continue expanding their spend management platform intended for companies in Latin America. The company's end-to-end solution includes locally-issued corporate cards, bill pay, and financing solutions.
Argentina's annual inflation rate is expected to surge past 100% in February, a Reuters poll on Monday showed, underscoring the challenge for the ruling Peronist government as it battles to rein in spiraling prices ahead of elections late this year. The Consumer Price Index will rise some 6.2% after jumping 6% in January, according to the median forecast of surveyed analysts, taking annual inflation above three figures for the first time since the 1990s. (Reuters)
The fierce drought punishing Argentina's farm sector since last year is seen shriveling an already ailing economy this year by three percentage points, a local grains exchange said on Friday, compounding sky-high prices and a weakening peso currency. Rosario Grains Exchange estimates that extremely dry conditions will clip the country's gross domestic product in 2023 by $19 billion, compared to last year, as crop forecasts for the nation's main grains harvests have been repeatedly cut back in recent weeks. (Reuters)
This week, the Argentinian government revoked the decree that allowed LATAM Brasil to operate flights between São Paulo, Córdoba, and the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. The Brazilian carrier first launched the route in 2019, although due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was forced to pause it, with the intention of retaking it at some point. Now, it will not happen. In a decree published this week, the Argentinian government announced that it is crucial to the air connectivity of the Falkland Islands to have scheduled passenger flights from the “continental Argentinian territory.” Therefore, the government decided to overrule the authorization LATAM Brasil had received in 2019 to operate flights to Mount Pleasant Airport. This announcement was made the same week of the tenth anniversary of a referendum in which the Falkland Islands decided to be a British Overseas Territory. (Simple Flying)
Argentina’s president said Tuesday he will send hundreds more federal security forces to the central city of Rosario where drug violence has drawn international attention due to a recent threat against soccer star Lionel Messi.
The death of an 11-year-old boy over the weekend added alarm and anger in Argentina over the city’s escalating violence, following the written threat left last Thursday when assailants opened fire on a supermarket owned by Messi’s in-laws. It was unclear why Messi and his relatives were targeted, but officials speculated publicly at the time that it was an attempt by drug traffickers to intimidate the entire community. On Sunday, the 11-year-old was killed and three other children, including a 2-year-old, were injured in a shooting that officials said was related to turf wars among rival gangs. (AP)
Two of the world's biggest cocaine suppliers, Colombia and Bolivia, want the U.N. to remove the coca leaf from its list of dangerous drugs. They argue the leaf has many uses unrelated to narcotics. (NPR)
Bolivia's government is battling to calm fears among savers and businesses about a shortage of dollars in the country, which has led to long lines outside banks, rattled local bonds, and pushed up the price of US Dollars in informal markets. High global prices, falling gas exports, and state spending to prop up the economy has led some currency exchanges to run out of dollars, sparking panic and further fanning concern. (Reuters)
The administration of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has ordered a police investigation into allegations that government staff under his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, tried to bring millions of dollars worth of jewelry into the country. Justice Minister Flávio Dino announced the probe on Monday, calling on police to explore whether Bolsonaro’s staff tried to cross the border “without complying with legal procedures” for government gifts or high-value items. The announcement follows a report in the O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper that a former aide tried to bring $3.2m of jewelry into the country without declaring it, as a gift from the Saudi Arabian government to Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle. Customs officials allegedly confiscated the jewelry from the backpack of a government staffer returning from Saudi Arabia in October 2021, while Bolsonaro was still in office. According to Friday’s newspaper report, the backpack contained a diamond necklace, a ring, a watch, and earrings designed by Chopard, a luxury Swiss jeweler. On Saturday, Bolsonaro denied any involvement in illegal activity. He told CNN Brazil he was being “crucified” for a gift he neither requested nor received. (Al Jazeera)
The Brazilian president's top foreign policy adviser has met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the first outreach by Brazil's new leftist administration to both the government and its opposition. The visit to Maduro on Wednesday by adviser Celso Amorim was organized in secrecy by Brazil and only became public when Maduro posted photos on Twitter. On Thursday Amorim, a former foreign minister who advises President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on international affairs, met with opponents of Maduro, including Gerardo Blyde, a lawyer who leads the opposition's negotiations with the Venezuelan government, sources in Brasilia told Reuters. The sources, Brazilian government officials with knowledge of the Venezuelan mission, said the trip was kept secret to avoid speculation about its goal: to establish dialogue with both sides before Venezuela's general elections next year. (Reuters)
An airport shootout in Chile's capital killed a security officer and an alleged robber Wednesday in what authorities said was an attempted heist of $32.5 million in cash aboard a plane from Miami. Around 10 heavily armed robbers were able to skirt security measures to reach the runway at the Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, where a Latam airlines aircraft had $32.5 million in cash that was being transferred to an armored truck. There was a shootout between the would-be robbers and security officials that killed an employee of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, or DGAC, as well as an alleged assailant. (NPR)
President Gabriel Boric shook up his Cabinet on Friday, replacing five of his 24 ministers on the eve of beginning his second year in power, announcing the change two days after Chile's lawmakers rejected a proposed tax overhaul for financing most of his government program. It was the second time Boric has carried out a major Cabinet reshuffle. The previous overhaul came in September when 62% of voters rejected a new constitution that had been championed by the president. (ABC)
Colombian President Gustavo Petro has accused the Gulf Clan criminal group of violating a ceasefire agreement by attacking an aqueduct during protests by illegal gold miners in the country’s northwest. Roadblocks connected to the demonstrations affected up to 300,000 people across 12 municipalities in Colombia’s Antioquia and Cordoba provinces, resulting in shortages of fuel, food, and medicine, the government said. (Al Jazeera)
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the lawsuit by Relevant Sports, controlled by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, after the USSF refused to sanction a league match between Ecuador’s Barcelona and Guayaquil in Miami Gardens, Florida. In its refusal, the USSF had cited a 2018 FIFA policy that its ruling council “emphasized the sporting principle that official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association.” (AP)
Women's rights activists in Honduras are celebrating a major victory, after President Xiomara Castro announced that her government will lift its near-total ban on the emergency contraception pill. (NPR)
Hundreds of people near an El Paso, Texas, border crossing who tried to enter the US from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on Sunday were met with physical barricades erected by shield-wielding authorities. A spokesperson for CBP, Roger Maier, said the group of migrants posed a “potential threat to make a mass entry”, according to the Associated Press. Physical barricades were also implemented at two other bridges, Maier reportedly said. Many of the migrants who tried crossing the border were reportedly exhausted both by the difficulties of living in Juárez as well as by an immigration smartphone app which has been criticized as having numerous shortcomings. One woman told the Texas Tribune that she and her partner have been trying to get permission to come to the US but have been unable to set an appointment using the US government’s mobile app despite their daily attempts. The woman, who like many was frustrated by the app’s difficult user interface, said they were motivated to see whether the bridge was open without restrictions after coming across a Facebook post. (The Guardian)
Mexico is a safer country than the United States, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador argued on Monday, weeks after the high-profile kidnapping of four Americans drew global attention to the country’s security crisis. “Mexico is safer than the United States. There is no issue with traveling safely through Mexico. That’s something the US citizens also know, just like our fellow Mexicans that live in the US,” he said during his daily morning press briefing. The kidnapped Americans were traveling in the Mexican border city of Matamoros in early March when they came under attack by gunmen believed to be linked to the Gulf cartel. Two of the Americans and a Mexican bystander died in the incident. (CNN)
The Texas Department of Public Safety has urged residents to avoid spring break travel to Mexico, warning that drug cartel violence and other crime pose a significant safety threat. "We have a duty to inform the public about safety, travel risks, and threats," said DPS Director Steven McCraw in a statement on Friday. "Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there; we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time." U.S. citizens who decide to travel to Mexico are encouraged to register with an embassy or consulate before they go, the Texas agency said. (NPR)
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has ordered the closure of the Vatican Embassy in Managua and that of the Nicaraguan Embassy to the Vatican in Rome, a senior Vatican source said on Sunday. Nicaragua signaled that the move, which came a few days after Pope Francis compared the Nicaraguan government to a dictatorship, was "a suspension" of diplomatic relations. The Vatican source said that while the closures do not automatically mean a total break of relations between Managua and the Holy See, they are serious steps towards that possibility. (Reuters)
At least six people have died in Peru over the last few days as a powerful cyclone unleashed torrential rains, battering hundreds of homes and causing major disruptions in northern areas of the Latin American country, authorities said. The government has declared a state of emergency as it seeks to bring relief to regions of Peru hard hit by the cyclone known as Yaku, which include Lambayeque, Piura, and Tumbes. (Reuters)
After years of relative economic prosperity and hope for the future, Peru has been shaken by months of social unrest and political instability that seem to have no end. Thousands of protesters continue to take the streets in Lima and in the south of the country, particularly in Puno where citizens are outraged by decades of marginalization, inequality, allegations of corruption, and stagnating living standards. Peru’s latest protest wave has seen at least 66 people killed, in a brutal series of deaths that highlight the country’s deep divisions dating back to colonial times. (CNN)
After political violence, Peru reckons with the economic fallout. Peru’s economy re-opens after three months of violent protests, damage has been inflicted on mining, tourism, and key areas. The anti-government protests that killed dozens and dealt a body blow to some of Peru’s most critical sectors are starting to wane but they have left their mark on the country’s economy. Operations in the country’s copper-rich south are steadily ramping up and the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu, the nation’s crown jewel, are once again open to foreign tourists. (Al Jazeera)
A judge in Peru has lengthened the duration of former President Pedro Castillo’s pre-trial detention from 18 months to 36, as the disgraced head of state faces charges stemming from his attempt to dissolve Congress and rule by decree in December. Judge Juan Carlos Checkley handed down the decision on Thursday in the wake of an additional investigation announced in February. Prosecutors at the time formalized plans to probe Castillo’s short tenure in office on charges of influence peddling, organized crime, and acting as an accomplice to collusion. (Al Jazeera)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico on Friday broke the Guinness World record for the most hair dyed, with 192 men going blond to support the U.S. territory’s team that is vying to win the World Baseball Classic after finishing twice as runner-up. The team's players first dyed their hair blond ahead of the 2017 World Baseball Classic as a joke, unexpectedly unleashing a dyeing craze in Puerto Rico that left pharmacies and beauty supply stores bereft of hair dye. The tournament is usually held every four years, but the pandemic delayed it by two years, so after six years of no dye jobs and no “Team Rubio!” cheers, many Puerto Ricans were eager to see if the trend would continue. The players obliged and repeated the tradition this year, and people in the island of overwhelmingly dark hair once again responded via platinum blond, dirty blond, and even burnt orange locks and beards to show their support.
Teachers are going hungry on $20 monthly salaries in Venezuela. Protests led by public school educators over low pay and poor working conditions have emerged as a threat to President Nicolás Maduro. (Bloomberg)
The United States is not discussing a prisoner exchange as described in a letter and video appeal addressed to President Joe Biden by an American detained in Venezuela, according to two U.S. officials. Eyvin Hernandez was "quite possibly coerced" into appealing to Biden to swap him and seven other U.S. detainees for Alex Saab, a Colombian-born businessman facing trial in Miami, said one of the U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. Saab is charged with siphoning around $350 million out of Venezuela through the U.S. in a bribery scheme linked to Venezuela's state-controlled exchange rate. He denies the allegation. No date has been set for his trial. (Reuters)
If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it, make sure to subscribe at Dealflow.la :)