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Dealflow.la #37 - Fake Coca-Cola in CDMX 🇲🇽, Lula 🇧🇷 asks to free Assange 🇦🇺 while in London 🇬🇧 for coronation, and Liquido 🇧🇷 raised a $26M Venture round led by Index Ventures 🇺🇸.
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Magroove 🇧🇷 raised a $1.52M Seed round led by DOMO Invest 🇧🇷 to build a digital music distribution platform intended to help artists monetize their work. The company's platform allows the distribution of music on various music streaming platforms, enabling artists to reach new audiences and find new listeners.
Eyecare Health 🇧🇷 raised a $2.47M Seed round led by Vox Capital 🇧🇷 to build digital eye healthcare technology intended to change the way ophthalmology is done. The company offers products for the entire ophthalmology ecosystem, encompassing management, and data, and also provides access to essential care with its product intended for companies, enabling ophthalmologists to make eye health accessible and easy.
Seeri 🇨🇴 raised a $2.7M Seed round led by H20 Capital Innovation 🇺🇸, with funding from Redwood Ventures 🇺🇸 to build a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace platform intended for buying and selling products online. The company's product and technology-focused platform operates on an asset-light approach and offers lending, factoring, advertising, data, and working capital, enabling small and medium-sized businesses with brands to benefit from an improvement in productivity, value chain, and logistics.
Noodle 🇧🇷 raised a $3.23M Seed round led by SRM Ventures 🇧🇷, with funding from Honey Island Capital 🇧🇷 and EBANX 🇧🇷 to build a financial platform intended to accelerate careers and expand businesses. The company's platform offers money and intelligence by giving access to fair credit, cheap exchange, and ultra-fast split in a free unlimited digital account, enabling music creators and the music industry to access capital.
Cubo 🇸🇻 raised a $3.5M Seed round with funding from Soma Capital 🇺🇸, Simma Capital 🇨🇴, Seedstars 🇨🇭, Latin Leap 🇨🇴, IDB Lab 🇺🇸, and Amador Holdings 🇵🇦 to build payment services platform intended to empower businesses. The company's platform offers affordable and easy-to-use technology suited for small and medium businesses, starting with the point-of-sale systems that make payment accessible for merchants so that they can charge it directly from the customer, enabling businesses to grow by charging payments through digital mode.
Arado 🇧🇷 raised an $11.4M Series A round led by Acre Venture Partners 🇺🇸, with funding from Valor Capital Group 🇺🇸, Syngenta Ventures🇨🇭, SP Ventures 🇧🇷, MAYA Capital 🇧🇷, and Globo Ventures 🇧🇷 to build an online fruit and vegetable marketplace platform designed to bring buyers closer to the field of the city. The company's platform connects producers to restaurants and retailers, which allows restaurants and retailers to access a large catalog of vegetables, customize maturation, packaging, and product quality, as well as allow producers to sell direct to retailers and restaurants, enabling sellers and buyers to reduce dependency on intermediaries and bringing transparency in the transaction.
Liquido 🇧🇷 raised a $26M Venture round led by Index Ventures 🇺🇸, with funding from UpHonest Capital 🇺🇸, Restive 🇺🇸, MANTIS Venture Capital 🇺🇸, and Base Partners 🇧🇷 to build an online payment platform designed to offer turn-key mobile payment solutions. The company's platform offers instant transactions, cross-border technical support, and pay-in, and pay-out solutions, enabling clients to make payments hassle-free.
It's an election year in Argentina, and politics could be shifting toward the right. A tanking economy and voter disillusion could lead to a shift to the right in Argentina, in an election year that's looking increasingly competitive. (NPR)
Soaring prices hammer Argentinians and businesses. Spiraling inflation and a plummeting peso have left the economy unraveling at an accelerating pace. (Al Jazeera)
Chileans and Uruguayans cross the border to take advantage of Argentina’s low prices. Citizens from neighboring countries cross borders to go shopping; Increased visitor numbers seen in Mendoza, Río Negro, and Entre Ríos as day-trippers cash in on currency woes. (BA Times)
Argentina drops 11 places in Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking. Reporters Without Borders calls out the consolidation of media ownership, polarization, gaps in public policy, and low pay as primary threats to press freedom in Argentina. (BA Times)
On Tuesday, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez accused the Supreme Court of meddling in the gubernatorial elections in the provinces of San Juan and Tucuman, which were scheduled for Sunday. "In a clear interference in the democratic process and in the autonomy of the provinces, the Supreme Court aligned itself with the opposition to anticipate what was foreseen as possible triumphs of Peronism," the Argentine Presidency said. Previously, the Supreme Court suspended the elections in Tucuman and San Juan after accepting unconstitutionality appeals filed by the right-wing opposition against the candidacies of the current governors. (TeleSUR)
"Sofi" and "Naty" are some of the many pseudonyms for the so-called ‘viudas negras’ ("black widows") haunting the streets of Buenos Aires. These women — responsible for a string of attacks in Palermo and one in San Isidro — remain anonymous, despite the fact that their faces can be found with a simple Google search. (BA Times)
After a 10-hour debate, the Bolivian Senate on Friday approved the "Law for the purchase of gold to strengthen the International Reserves". The purpose of the bill is to strengthen the Net International Reserves (NIR) and open the possibility for the BCB to properly manage its assets, buying gold from national producers and not only from state-owned companies, Montenegro said, adding that the BCB must maintain at least 22 tons of non-monetized gold. During the debate, Cecilia Requena, an opposition senator from the Community Citizen party, questioned the bill arguing that it will give the BCB powers to buy gold from informal, small producers and sell it without congressional approval. Her remarks, however, did not influence the majority of Senators. (TeleSUR)
Brazil’s Federal Police searched former President Jair Bolsonaro’s home and seized his phone Wednesday in what they said was an investigation into the alleged falsification of COVID-19 vaccine cards. Several other locations also were searched and a half dozen people faced arrest, police said. (AP)
After attending the coronation of King Charles III in London, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva denounced the lack of concerted efforts to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent four years in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison. “It is an embarrassment that a journalist who denounced trickery by one state against another is arrested, condemned to die in jail and we do nothing to free him. It’s a crazy thing,” Lula told reporters. “We talk about freedom of expression; the guy is in prison because he denounced wrongdoing. And the press doesn’t do anything in defense of this journalist. I can’t understand it.” (AP)
After his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 1, Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva walked up the ramp to the presidential palace arm in arm with Indigenous leader Raoni Metuktire, instantly recognizable by his yellow headdress and wooden lip plate. But a major railway that would accelerate deforestation in Metuktire’s ancestral land risks souring relations between the leftist leader and the chief of the Kayapó people. And it’s just one of several mega-projects that activists and experts say would devastate the natural world — and seriously dent Lula’s newfound image as a defender of the environment — if they proceed. Others include an oil drilling project near the mouth of the Amazon River; a highway that would slice through some of the Amazon rainforest’s most protected areas; and the renewal of a giant hydroelectric dam’s license. (AP)
As deadline passes, Brazil aims to seize unregistered guns. Over four years in office, former President Jair Bolsonaro tried to convert a country with few weapons into one where firearm ownership and lack of regulation meant personal freedom. Now, his successor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been moving to undo Bolsonaro’s pro-gun policies, and that started with requiring gun owners to register their weapons with police. After initial resistance, he started seeing success. More than 6,000 restricted-use guns previously registered with the army, which include assault rifles, were not presented to police by the May 3 deadline, Justice Minister Flávio Dino told reporters Thursday. Those are likely to have been diverted to criminals, and are now targets for investigation and potential seizure, he said. (AP)
The global boom in electric vehicle production has sent demand for lithium-ion batteries soaring. That’s turned Chile’s vast, lithium-containing salt flats into a vital national resource. In Chile’s Salar de Atacama, near the border with Argentina and Bolivia, close to one-third of the world’s lithium is produced from brines. But South America’s fifth most-populous country is losing market share on the world stage to Australia, which in 2017 leapfrogged Chile to become the largest producer of lithium. Argentina is also gaining momentum thanks to increased international investment. With increasing pressure to ramp up production, Chile’s leftist president Gabriel Boric recently announced a state-led plan for the development of the country’s lithium industry. The policy, disclosed in April, requires private companies to partner with the government for the development of all future lithium mines. (NBC)
The far-right Republican party has finished first in an election to choose the members of the body tasked with drawing up Chile's new constitution.
The Republican party won 22 out of the 51 seats, with right-wing parties winning another 11 seats. The constitutional assembly is to come up with a new constitution to replace the one brought in during the military rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet. A draft by a previous assembly was rejected in a referendum last year. The first assembly had been dominated by progressive members and many Chileans found their proposals too radical.
The constitution they had proposed would have changed many of the country's institutions, such as replacing the Senate with a Chamber of Regions. It also would have declared Chile a "plurinational state", recognizing the rights of Chile's indigenous groups - which make up about 13% of the population - to their lands and resources. The failed proposal - which had the backing of left-wing President Gabriel Boric - also included improved social benefits and environmental rights. (BBC)
Colombia doubles down on shift away from oil and mining. The new finance minister says the country wants to restore the manufacturing of textiles, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals. (FT)
To rephrase a well-known saying, "What goes around, comes around." This is especially relevant in the case of Colombian President Gustavo Petro. Throughout most of his predecessor's presidency, Petro, a leftist opposition leader, criticized Iván Duque's low approval ratings on social media. Currently, nine months into his administration, Petro's approval rating is at 30% - based on Monday's Datexco poll - which is two percentage points lower than the 33% recorded by the same company when the conservative president was concluding his four-year term. (CPB)
Colombia’s migration agency has announced that flights would resume next week carrying citizens deported from the United States border, a day after the South American nation said it would temporarily suspend the expulsion program over allegations of “cruel and degrading treatment”. (Al Jazeera)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s days of living beyond its means and running up reckless amounts of debt are over, said the nation’s president, whose fiscal turnaround is winning over currency and bond traders. “There’s a new sheriff in town,” President Rodrigo Chaves said Monday, in an interview in the presidential palace. “Our country isn’t going to take on excessive amounts of debt with irresponsible deficits, as it did for the last 40 years.” (Bloomberg)
Ecuador’s president Guillermo Lasso could face an impeachment trial in the coming days after the country’s national assembly voted on Tuesday to advance proceedings against him. The opposition-controlled legislature voted in favor of moving ahead with proceedings by a simple majority of 88 votes out of 116 present. A supermajority of 92 out of 132 total seats would be required to secure Lasso’s removal. The vote deepens a long-simmering political crisis as Lasso appears set for a showdown with an increasingly hostile Congress. The opposition and Lasso’s defense team will be able to present evidence before congress. Lasso, a millionaire, and former banker, is accused by opposition lawmakers of corruption related to contracts signed with state oil transport company Flopec. He has denied the charges and described them as politically motivated. The contracts in question were signed in 2018, three years before he took office. (FT)
Mexico City authorities have uncovered what appears to be a crime ring involved in the manufacture, bottling, and distribution of fake Coca-Cola.
Ulises Lara, a spokesman for the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office (FGJ), announced that police last week raided a property in the eastern borough of Iztapalapa and discovered hundreds of bottles of “possibly cloned” cola. (Mexico News Daily)
The United States on Tuesday sanctioned a son of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, three members of the powerful Sinaloa cartel and two Mexican-based firms, alleging they trafficked fentanyl and other drugs into the U.S. The sanctions came the day Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador talked with President Joe Biden by phone about immigration and the fentanyl crisis. A White House readout of the call said the two presidents recognized their nations’ recent efforts to counter fentanyl and arms trafficking “by dismantling criminal networks.” (AP)
Mexican officials celebrated Wednesday the announcement that the country finally developed its own COVID-19 vaccine, more than two years after inoculations from the U.S., Europe, and China were rolled out. It was unclear what use would be made of the vaccine, named “Patria” or “Motherland,” developed in a joint effort between the government and a Mexican company, Avimex, which previously did work on animal vaccines. (AP)
Mexico President Andres Manuel López Obrador has again complained to the United States that the U.S. government is funding organizations opposed to his administration, this time in a letter to President Joe Biden.
The letter was dated Tuesday, the same day López Obrador met with a White House official. The president made a similar complaint in a diplomatic note two years ago, just before a virtual meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris. In the letter, López Obrador states that the United States Agency for International Development for some time has funded “organizations openly opposed to the legal and legitimate government,” an act he described as “interventionist.” “I am sure that you do not know about this issue and for that reason I respectfully request your appreciated intervention,” read the letter, which López Obrador read at his morning news briefing Wednesday. (AP)
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday defended one of his sons against corruption allegations, rejecting a media report that his son had used his position to help friends win millions of dollars worth of contracts. This week Mexican news outlet Latinus published a report alleging that Andres Lopez Beltran, a son of the president, had helped friends snare public contracts worth over $5.6 million. (Reuters)
The third-place finisher in Paraguay’s presidential election arrested
Paraguayo Cubas Colomés was broadcasting on Facebook Live when he was detained for allegedly ‘breaching the peace’. (Al Jazeera)
Rights commission says Peru crackdown may qualify as a ‘massacre’
A new report says that the killing of protesters amid widespread unrest may constitute ‘extrajudicial executions’. (Al Jazeera)
Bodies of all 27 workers killed in Peru gold mine fire recovered. Blaze sparked by short circuit engulfed one of the tunnels at remote La Esperanza 1 mine in southern Peru. (Al Jazeera)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
May Day Protests in Puerto Rico Show an Economy Still on the Brink
Protesters last week lamented shrunken pensions, the displacement of locals by foreign investors, and the challenges facing doctors and university students. (New York Times)
Chevron Corp's renewed oil operations in Venezuela begin a new phase next month that will boost production with the goal of accelerating a plan to recover all of the $3 billion of debt owed by the OPEC member by the end of 2025, four people close to the matter said. Washington in November issued a six-month, automatically renewing license to the U.S. oil company to revive largely dormant operations in Venezuela and resume crude exports to the U.S. under an exemption to sanctions on the South American country.
To back up its license application, Chevron last year signed an oil-for-debt swap with Venezuela's state-run PDVSA. Under the deal, Chevron aims to recover some $750 million in unpaid debts and dividends by year-end, and all $3 billion outstanding by the end of 2025, one of the people said. So far, it has recovered some $220 million, the source said. The plan shows both Chevron and PDVSA are getting what they wanted from the agreement: Venezuelan oil flowing to the U.S. and the OPEC nation getting royalties, worker benefits, and a chance for future profits. (Reuters/Yahoo News)
Venezuelan opposition party Voluntad Popular on Friday named a new candidate for a key presidential primary in October, replacing formerly anti-government leader Juan Guaido who left Venezuela unexpectedly in late April.
At a news conference, Voluntad Popular named political coordinator Freddy Superlano, a 46-year-old engineer and critic of President Nicolas Maduro, as its nominee, explaining Guaido could not represent the party from "exile." (Reuters)
Venezuela’s opposition has regained control of the nation’s bank accounts in the US, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. The decision by the US State Department ends a lockout caused by a void in the opposition’s leadership. The accounts hold approximately $347 million, the people said. (Bloomberg)
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