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Dealflow.la #33 - Permanent NBA G league team now in CDMX 🇲🇽, Bitcoin rallies but El Salvador 🇸🇻 still down 29%, and Chile’s Congress 🇨🇱 cuts work week from 45 to 40 hours.
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Vendah 🇧🇷 raised a $500 Pre-Seed round led by Y Combinator 🇺🇸 to create an e-commerce platform intended for reselling products in a single application. The company's platform offers unique opportunities with wholesale prices and free shipping, enabling customers to earn commissions on the products they sell and its customers gain access to products at reasonable prices.
Ruuf 🇨🇱 raised a $500 Pre-Seed round led by Y Combinator 🇺🇸 to create a solar marketplace intended to connect homeowners with solar installers and lenders. The company's platform provides customized design, low-cost financing, and competitive offers from local installers, providing homeowners with financially accessible solar energy.
PoloPay 🇲🇽 raised a $500 Pre-Seed round led by Y Combinator 🇺🇸 to build a restaurant menu and payment software designed to provide help to restaurants, hotels, and social clubs for bookings. The company's platform helps restaurants by using unique QR codes at tables and rooms, guests can easily browse, order and pay for food, drinks, and services, helping restaurants in obtaining insights and analytics, enabling them to make data-driven decisions.
Holacasa 🇲🇽 raised a $500 Pre-Seed round led by Y Combinator 🇺🇸 to provide comprehensive, white-label mortgage solutions designed to assist real estate brokers in offering their customers a seamless and efficient experience. With Holacasa, clients can access instant quotes, pre-qualify, and apply for mortgages quickly and easily. They also empower real estate companies with advanced tools such as customizable dashboards, real-time status updates, and lead ranking capabilities, enabling them to effectively manage and prioritize their potential leads.
AgriAcordo 🇧🇷 raised a $1.6 Million Seed round led by Xperiment Ventures 🇦🇷 with funding from Primary Ventures 🇦🇷, and Pampa Start 🇦🇷 to create the first electronic agriculture market with a focus on cooperative resellers and industries. The company's portal lets sellers find the product and the price that they can offer, click, and their offer will reach the buyers and lets buyers publish their budget request which will be automatically sent to the entire network, enabling users to publish their surplus stock before it's too late, offer products quickly and easily, request quotes from the entire network and respond to requests for quotes made by other users.
Assis 🇧🇷 raised a $5 Million Seed round led by Costanoa Ventures 🇺🇸 with funding from Norte Ventures 🇧🇷, MAYA Capital 🇧🇷, Latitud 🇧🇷, K50 Ventures 🇺🇸, FJ Labs 🇺🇸, Canaan Partners 🇺🇸, and 1616 Ventures 🇧🇷 to create a virtual assistant with a bot integrated with AI platforms as well as provides various services in customer relationships, payments, automatic charges, receipts tracking, and so on, helping digital businesses with various company functions.
Argentina's economy will grow by just 0.2% this year, says IMF as they lower the 2023 global growth forecast to 2.8% and warns of a looming half-decade of low growth. IMF predicts that the Argentine economy will hardly grow this year and warns high inflation will continue. (BA Times)
Buenos Aires airport turns into an unofficial homeless shelter. Jorge Newbery International Airport, known colloquially as Aeroparque, has practically become a homeless shelter at night. Once passengers start arriving, some of the overnighters head off to spend the day at soup kitchens, though others hang around the airport grounds begging for change at traffic lights and some stay seated in chairs blending in with the travelers. (AP)
A pair of back-to-back court losses stand to push Argentina’s already precarious finances to the brink. The country’s dollar bonds are sinking Wednesday after courts in the US and UK sided with investors in a series of lawsuits — which separately enforce payouts tied to growth-linked securities and the nationalization of an oil company a decade ago. (Bloomberg)
Financial chaos at 12,000 feet: Dollars are vanishing in Bolivia. Reserves are plummeting as Bolivia’s bond yields soar. Savers line up to buy hard currency as worry sets in. The line starts forming outside the central bank in downtown La Paz in the dead of the night. Hunkered down under blankets and sipping hot chocolate to fend off the chill at 12,000 feet up in the Andes, they wait for hours and hours for a chance to get their hands on what has perhaps become the hardest thing to find in all of Bolivia: dollars. There are few, if any, at commercial banks or currency-exchange houses or even in the black market, where traders work from corner kiosks in the shadow of the central bank. (Bloomberg)
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is headed to China, as the left-wing leader hopes to bolster economic ties to Brazil’s largest trading partner and re-establish the South American nation’s role in global diplomacy. (Al Jazeera)
Former President Jair Bolsonaro promises to be many things in the coming years: a leader of Brazil's political opposition, a thorn in the side of leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and a kingmaker in right-wing politics.
But a presidential candidate? Not even Bolsonaro's most powerful allies are banking on that. The ex-president is facing more than a dozen cases in electoral court due to his conduct in last year's campaign when he repeatedly attacked the legitimacy of Brazil's electronic voting system while running for re-election. Legal experts and two senior judiciary sources told Reuters they expect him to lose at least one of those cases, which would bar him from running in the 2026 presidential campaign. (Reuters/US News)
In Brazil, grief-stricken parents bury their children killed in an ax attack. The country is reeling after a man with a hatchet jumped over a wall and burst into the Cantinho do Bom Pastor children’s center in southern Brazil, killing four children. (NBC)
Chile’s Congress on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to reduce the work week from 45 to 40 hours over five years, a decision hailed by the left-wing government as a breakthrough for workers’ rights. The measure passed the lower house 127-14, after being unanimously approved by the Senate three weeks ago. President Gabriel Boric, who took office in March 2022 after making the measure a campaign promise, was expected to sign it into law before May 1. “Yes, changes can be made to advance workers’ rights,” Labor Minister Jeannette Jara said after the vote, which came six years after the law was initially presented. It was the second time Chile has reduced its work week. The first was in 2005 when it was cut from 48 to 45 hours. (Reuters/US News)
A 62-year-old woman was convicted of discrimination and harassment on Monday for making racist comments about Colombia’s first Black vice president during an antigovernment protest last year. The woman pleaded guilty to the charges and will be sentenced by the judge on May 30. In Colombia, acts of discrimination are punishable with up to three years in prison. The small business owner from Bogotá went viral in September after she railed against Vice President Francia Márquez on a video published by a local news site. Rubiano was protesting in front of Colombia’s congress and responded to a question from a journalist by hurling insults against Márquez and Afro Colombians. (NBC)
Three individuals have been arrested in connection with the mysterious death of a California man who was last seen on a Tinder date in Medellin, Colombia, last November. Paul Nguyen, 27, was found dead beside a garbage dump on Nov. 10, 2022, after going out with a woman he had met on the dating app. They first met the day before, with Nguyen taking a Snapchat photo of the woman. Nguyen was last seen with the same woman at around 2 a.m. Two hours later, his credit cards made several odd transactions, including at a pharmacy whose cashier claimed that the buyer “was not Asian.” (Yahoo News)
Protesters in Colombia's northern La Guajira province have lifted a four-day blockade of a rail line and the entrance to an export terminal used by coal miner Cerrejon, the company said on Friday. The blockade, which was affecting operations, was led by residents from three communities in Media Luna, the company had previously said. Blockades of roads, the rail line, and other Cerrejon facilities are common and regularly result in losses for the company. Wayuu indigenous communities have had a long-running dispute with Cerrejon, which is owned by Anglo-Swiss commodities giant Glencore, over water use and pollution, dust, noise, and health issues. (Reuters)
On Monday afternoon, the Ecuadorian Congress' Oversight Commission met to start the first stage of the impeachment process against President Guillermo Lasso. If 92 of 137 lawmakers vote against Lasso, the Ecuadorian President would be immediately removed from office. For now, Lasso and his lawyer can present exculpatory evidence until April 16. (TeleSUR)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Bitcoin may be at a nine-month high, but El Salvador’s total holdings are still worth 29% less than what the government paid for the world’s largest digital currency. El Salvador purchased 2,546 Bitcoin at a cost basis of roughly $108 million, according to calculations by Bloomberg. At Tuesday’s prices, those tokens are worth just $77 million. (Bloomberg)
Campaigning began in earnest last month for Guatemala’s general elections, with political messaging filling the streets, local broadcasts, and social media. But less than three months before the June 25 vote, concerns are mounting among national and international observers over the integrity of the process. “There is a lot of distrust in the environment around the election,” Gabriela Carrera, a political science professor at Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City, told Al Jazeera. “This is the result of the incapacity of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal … combined with a series of arbitrary decisions that the magistrates have been taking.” At least 30 political parties are set to contest the upcoming elections, with more than 22,000 candidates registered to run for the presidency, congress, regional parliament, and councils across the country. But Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which governs elections, has blocked several opposition candidates from running on “dubious grounds”, according to Human Rights Watch. Observers say this raises a red flag. (Al Jazeera)
Honduras’ government on Friday extended until late May emergency powers that suspend some constitutional rights, part of an anti-gang push implemented by leftist President Xiomara Castro in the Central American country’s largest cities. Earlier this week, Castro’s government deployed soldiers across the nation to fight violent criminal groups. This is the third extension — this time by another 45 days — of the so-called state of exception that is now set to expire on May 21, the government said in a statement. (NBC)
When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver visited Mexico in December, he said the first international NBA G League (NBA’s secondary player development league) team; the Mexico City-based “Capitanes” would give the league a great opportunity to see if Mexico could be considered for a franchise in the future. Following their inaugural G League season in Fort Worth, Texas, due to the pandemic, the Capitanes settled into the state-of-the-art Arena Ciudad de Mexico — a glass-clad facility located in the north part of the city that cost $300 million to build and opened in 2012. Attendance was a concern, but team president Rodrigo Serratos said the Capitanes top the G League in selling individual tickets and rank fifth in total attendance despite their home arena not being located near downtown Mexico City. Alfonzo McKinnie, who played for four NBA teams before coming to the Capitanes, had said before the season ended that he feels comfortable in the city. “Everybody I know from players to family and friends asked me about safety, but we live in Polanco one of the nicest parts of Mexico City and I tell them we are as safe as one can be,” McKinnie said. Several players live in Polanco, one the wealthiest neighborhoods in Mexico City with some of the best restaurants, luxury hotels and expensive condos. The area is also one of the safest in the capital, with a strong police presence day and night. It is where NFL, MLB and NBA teams stay whenever they visit Mexico to play regular season games. Despite the early success of the Capitanes, fans should not expect to see an NBA expansion team in Mexico City anytime soon. The last time the league expanded was in 2004 with a franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina. Before that, the league expanded in 1995 with two teams in Canada.
Other cities, including Las Vegas and Seattle, also could be ahead of Mexico City when and if the NBA considers an expansion in the future. (AP)
The 40 migrants who died in a fire at a detention center in Mexico last month were unable to escape because the person with the key to their locked cell was absent, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday. Mexican authorities have said the blaze began when one or more migrants lit alight their mattresses in protest at their imminent deportation, but have provided few other details about how the March 27 incident claimed so many lives, becoming one of Mexico's deadliest migrant tragedies.In an interview with Reuters last month, a security guard at the center said the migration officer supervising the men's unit where the fire began had left the building shortly before the incident. (Reuters)
Members of Mexico's security cabinet will be in the United States this week to meet with U.S. officials about the trafficking of synthetic opioid fentanyl, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday. The meeting's agenda will include other topics, including arms trafficking, the president said, without providing details on which U.S. officials would participate. Some U.S. lawmakers have been calling on the Biden administration to take a harder line and ratchet up pressure on Mexico to crack down on fentanyl trafficking. A handful of Republican legislators have even called for the U.S. military to bomb Mexican cartels and their labs inside Mexico. (Reuters)
Roman Catholics in Nicaragua had to hold traditional “Stations of the Cross” and other Holy Week processions on church grounds or inside churches Friday amid a ban on public demonstrations. Relations between autocratic President Daniel Ortega and the church have frayed to near non-existence since Nicaragua's government proposed severing relations and sentenced a bishop to 26 years in prison. Earlier this week, the government expelled a Panamanian parish priest, Donaciano Alarcón, who police accused of holding an Easter-week procession and attempting to “stir up the people.” Since anti-government street protests broke out in 2018, President Ortega has banned all opposition demonstrations in Nicaragua and has also restricted Catholic activities. He says Catholic figures sympathetic to the opposition are “terrorists.” (ABC)
Peru ex-leader Toledo wins reprieve in extradition from US. Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo Manrique has been granted two more weeks to fight his extradition from the United States on corruption charges, halting extradition proceedings that had been set to start Friday. Late Thursday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered a 14-day stay on Toledo’s extradition to Peru. The stay allows the 77-year-old former leader time to ask a three-judge panel to reconsider its decision denying him a stay or petition the full court to review his appeal. Toledo is accused of taking $20 million in bribes from Odebrecht, a giant Brazilian construction company that has admitted to U.S. authorities that it bribed officials to win contracts throughout Latin America for decades. Toledo is one of four of Peru’s ex-presidents implicated in the corruption scandal. He denies the charges.
The judge in the extradition case, Thomas Hixson, ordered Toledo to turn himself over to U.S. marshals Friday after a three-judge appeals court panel this week denied his appeal to stop his extradition. But Hixson reversed his order after Toledo’s last-ditch effort was granted. (AP)
On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published the most recent edition of the World Economic Outlook (WEO), a report that anticipates that Venezuela will be among the Latin American countries with the best macroeconomic performance in the next two years. Despite the U.S. sanctions against the Bolivarian revolution, the Venezuelan gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow 5 percent in 2023 and 4.5 percent in 2024.
In the rest of the Latin American countries, however, the macroeconomic situation will not be as good as the regional growth average will decrease.
Compared to the version of the WEO published in January, the IMF downgraded the prospects for the Latin American average growth from 1.8 percent to 1.6 percent. (TeleSUR)
The United Nations’ highest court ruled Thursday that it can hear a case between South American neighbors Guyana and Venezuela about a border dispute that dates back to 1899. The decision to reject Venezuela’s challenge to the case’s admissibility means it will go ahead at the International Court of Justice, though will likely take years to resolve. The ruling was a second defeat for Venezuela’s attempts to have the case tossed out. It came more than two years after judges rejected a challenge by Caracas to the world court’s jurisdiction. (AP)
The number of people arrested as part of a corruption investigation at Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA has risen to 34, Attorney General Tarek Saab said on Wednesday. "We are waging a hard and historic battle against the scourge of corruption," Saab said during a news conference. "We have 34 people detained just in this case." Those arrested are officials and financial operators, he said, adding the case includes people connected to the government's crypto-currency entity. Fifty-one people have been detained overall in the various corruption investigations, he added. (Reuters)
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