Discover more from Dealflow.la
Dealflow.la #38 - Congressman George Santos 🇺🇸 charged for fraud in Rio de Janeiro 🇧🇷, Ecuador President dissolved legislature 🇪🇨, & innocent foreigners caught in El Salvador mass arrests 🇸🇻.
Latin America is rising. Subscribe to Dealflow.la to keep up.
MeuChapa 🇧🇷 raised $202,000 in Debt Financing led by Yunus 🇩🇪 to bridge the gap between the supply of loading and unloading jobs and the professionals who can fulfill them. The company's services include connecting self-employed professionals with hundreds of drivers in the cities where it operates, thereby improving productivity, reducing risk, generating profits, stabilizing full-time labor costs, and assisting business leaders in planning and managing labor usage through their app-driven scheduling features. This approach enables clients to scale, hire, and retain a professional workforce through their cutting-edge technology and costing methodologies.
HARTB 🇧🇷 raised a $6.1 Million Seed round from undisclosed angel investors to provide data and artificial intelligence services that transform raw data into actionable knowledge and valuable information. The company specializes in big data analytics, artificial intelligence, innovation, the internet of things, and data science. They implement technological solutions for businesses and guide decision-making by managers, aligning business objectives and customer expectations.
Leasy 🇵🇪 raised a $25 Million debt funding round led by Lendable 🇬🇧 to develop car subscription services aimed at helping customers own their dream cars. The company uses its proprietary algorithm and trustworthy evaluators to analyze users' profiles and find suitable cars for them. This approach enables customers to enter into a contract to own a vehicle.
Argentina raises interest rate to 97% as it struggles to tackle inflation. (CNN)
Javier Milei, the libertarian candidate for president who has become a political sensation in Argentina, has a characteristically radical proposal for addressing the country’s runaway inflation, which reached almost 110% last month: Argentina should ditch its ever-shrinking peso and replace it with the US dollar. The proposal may be tempting — and there is the example of Ecuador, which made the dollar legal tender in 2000 and achieved price stability — but the option is neither feasible nor desirable for South America’s second-largest economy. There are far more effective (and, frankly, more straightforward) ways to bring economic stability to Argentina.(Bloomberg)
Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said on Tuesday she will not run for president in the elections scheduled for October, claiming that the country's judicial system would disqualify her after her high-profile corruption case. In a post on her blog, Fernandez de Kirchner, who served as president for two terms between 2007 and 2015, said she would not enter into a "perverse game" or a "democratic facade" that would result in the judicial system disqualifying her. Late last year, Fernandez de Kirchner - who commands rock-star crowds of supporters - was sentenced to six years in jail on corruption charges, disqualifying her from holding public office. She has temporary immunity due to her current role and is expected to appeal the sentence. (Reuters)
Protesters in the Bolivian province of Santa Cruz have blocked highways in and out of the region as tensions continue to build following the arrest of opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho last week. “We have a mandate from our assembly that nothing leaves Santa Cruz and that is what we are going to do,” Romulo Calvo, head of the powerful Pro Santa Cruz civic group, said on Monday of the blockades. (Al Jazeera)
Bolivian EV startup hopes tiny car will make it big in lithium-rich country. (AP)
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's focus on foreign policy and a relentless schedule of trips abroad risks distracting him from tackling thorny domestic issues, two senior allies of the leftist president told Reuters. Their frank comments, expressed on condition of anonymity, hint at growing discomfort within Lula's camp at his pace of travel and his commitment to brokering peace between Russia and Ukraine at a time when there is great pressure to quickly deliver results or risk handing an advantage to former President Jair Bolsonaro and his right-wing supporters. (Reuters)
Republican congressman George Santos has admitted to theft and signed a deal with Brazilian authorities to drop the criminal charges in a 2008 case. As part of the deal, Mr. Santos has been given 30 days to pay restitution and fines for the case to be dropped. There were allegations that Mr Santos spent about $700 (£560) using a false name and stolen cheques in the city of Niterói, near Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, to buy items at a shop including a pair of trainers in 2008, when he was 19. The case had been suspended because Brazilian authorities were unable to locate him, but it was revived after Mr. Santos took office in the US. On Thursday, Mr. Santos confessed to the theft in a virtual appearance before a Brazilian criminal court. He was given 30 days to pay $2,000 (£1,600) in fines and $2,800 to the shopkeeper, according to local news outlets. In exchange, the fraud charges against Mr. Santos in Brazil would be dropped. (BBC)
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has decreed six new indigenous reserves, banning mining and restricting commercial farming there. The lands - including a vast area of Amazon rainforest - cover about 620,000 hectares (1.5m acres). Indigenous leaders welcomed the move, but said more areas needed protection. (BBC)
Brazilian state oil company Petrobras approved a new fuel pricing policy for gasoline and diesel that will sharply lower costs for motorists, it announced on Tuesday, ditching a more market-based policy in favor of greater flexibility to smooth price swings. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrated the new policy for Brazil's millions of motorists in a post on social media later on Tuesday, declaring it "a victory for the people." (Reuters)
Travellers to Chile will no longer need a PCR test or Covid-19 vaccination certificate upon entry as part of a full lifting of pandemic travel curbs. Inbound arrivals in the country will no longer be subject to random Covid-19 testing. (Travel Weekly)
An imminent Colombian government tally of the nation’s oil reserves is expected to show a decline, putting pressure on President Gustavo Petro to reconsider his ban on new fossil-fuel contracts. A National Hydrocarbons Agency report scheduled for release later this month is expected to show the reserves shrank last year from the previous assessment of 7.6 years and 8 years, respectively, of crude and natural gas output, analysts said. (Bloomberg)
After a recent trip to Washington where Colombian President Gustavo Petro was hosted in the Oval Office by his North American counterpart Joe Biden, the U.S administration issued a stern recommendation to citizens considering travel to Colombia’s given the country’s security situation. According to the updated Colombia Advisory, released by the Department of State, U.S citizens should “reconsider travel due to crime and terrorism.” The Level 3 ranking also recommends travelers “exercise increased caution due to civil unrest and kidnapping.” (City Paper Bogotá)
Ecuador’s president, facing looming impeachment vote, dissolves country’s national assembly. (CNN)
Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso is facing an uphill battle against impeachment after a political adversary was reelected as head of the opposition-controlled congress. Virgilio Saquicela, who supports the ouster of the market-friendly president, won reelection in a 96-22 vote on Sunday. He received the backing of Revolucion Ciudadana, the left-wing party of self-exiled former President Rafael Correa, as well as the conservative Social Christian Party. (Bloomberg)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
‘They found hell’: innocent foreigners caught in El Salvador’s mass arrests. Rights groups say thousands of innocent people are being caught up in gang crackdown. (The Guardian)
El Salvador has deployed at least 5,000 soldiers and 500 police to surround a town in the northwest of the country in a push to arrest those responsible for the suspected gang killing of a police officer, President Nayib Bukele said on Wednesday. (Reuters/Yahoo News)
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele on Thursday claimed the Central American country known for its sky high levels of violence has accumulated 365 days without murders since he took office in 2019. Just over a year ago, Bukele declared a "war" on organized criminal gangs and declared a state of emergency that allowed police to round up more than 68,000 suspected gang members without a warrant. "We ended May 10, 2023 with zero murders at a national level. With that, it has been 365 (days) without a murder, an entire year," Bukele said on Twitter. A source from the presidency's communications team explained to AFP that this was "the total number of days without murders since 2019" rather than consecutive days. (France24)
Guatemala's ElPeriódico shutters amid government crackdown. One of Guatemala's oldest news outlets, known for its investigations into government corruption, is ceasing operations Monday amid what it described as a campaign of government persecution. The shuttering of ElPeriódico is the latest in a sweeping crackdown on journalists, human rights activists, opposition leaders and other critical voices in Guatemala. (VOA)
ervice was temporarily halted on a line of Mexico City’s subway system after a chicken got loose on the tracks. Video distributed by the city’s Metro system Monday showed the electricity cut off at a station near the city’s center on Sunday. The video showed maintenance personnel and civil defense officers in hard hats chasing the elusive bird around the tracks with brooms, gloves and a trash bag. The chicken eluded several attempts to capture it before one worker tossed his coat over the bird. Mexico City's subway system has been plagued by a series of incidents that city officials had claimed were sabotage. Earlier this year a woman was arrested, but later released, after bits of a plastic washing machine agitator fell on the subway tracks at another station. It was later determined the incident was accidental. Accidents on the subway have been a recurrent embarrassment for Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who is considered the most likely candidate of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party to succeed him in the 2024 presidential election. (ABC)
A luxury presidential plane which Mexico had been trying to offload for more than four years has finally arrived in its new home - Tajikistan. President López Obrador made the sale of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner one of his campaign promises, calling it a symbol of previous governments' excesses. But the specially-outfitted plane proved hard to shift and an attempt to raffle it off failed. It was finally sold to the Tajik government for $92m (£73.7m). The jet took off from California, where it had been in storage, and arrived in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, early on Monday. (BBC)
House prices in Mexico rose by nearly 12% over the last year, the biggest annual increase on record. (MND)
Mexico's public prosecutor has blocked the release from jail of notorious drug lord Héctor Palma, hours after a judge ordered that he should be freed.
Palma, 63, founded the powerful Sinaloa cartel with Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and has spent the past 28 years in jails in the US and in Mexico. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in 2005. However, a judge said on Tuesday there was not enough proof to hold him on separate charges of organized crime. Palma's criminal career was portrayed in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico. (BBC)
Nicaragua orders closure of Red Cross in an ongoing crackdown. The administration of President Daniel Ortega has been accused of shuttering over 3,000 nongovernmental groups. (Al Jazeera)
Peru’s economy returned to growth in March after two consecutive months of contractions, but expanded much less than analysts had forecast. The country’s economic activity rose by 0.22% from the same time last year, according to statistics agency INEI. The median forecast of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected growth of 1.3%. Peru’s finance ministry and central bank had separately forecast a return to growth in March. (Bloomberg)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
The federal government has directed billions of dollars to repair Puerto Rico’s troubled energy grid. But not everyone’s happy with how it’s being spent. Gov. Pedro Pierluisi’s plan to allow middle-class residents to access solar incentives is sparking fears that the move would eat up funds designed to help lower-income residents join in the territory’s renewable energy transition. Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has come under legal fire for what critics say is a focus on fossil fuel infrastructure at the expense of the territory’s green goals — and in direct contradiction to President Joe Biden’s environmental justice decrees. (Politico)
Marcelo Bielsa was confirmed as the new Uruguay coach on Monday to the end of the 2026 World Cup. The Uruguayan Football Association celebrated the arrival of 67-year-old Bielsa with a video and a series of memes mimicking the Argentine’s renown as a great tactician. “Our public demands gameplay and emotions. The time has arrived,” the association said on Twitter. Bielsa’s first matches are likely in June, when Uruguay is scheduled to play friendlies against Nicaragua and Cuba. South American World Cup qualifying will begin in September. Bielsa coached Argentina from 1998-2004. His team was eliminated at the group stage of the 2002 World Cup and won the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He left the job for personal reasons. Bielsa also coached Chile from 2007-11. (AP)
Venezeula's political opposition - recognized by the U.S. as the country's legitimate government - was asked by a key creditor group on Monday to back the suspension of a statute of limitations on repayments for defaulted government bonds. President Nicolas Maduro's government in March proposed a five-year suspension through 2028 or until the United States lifts sanctions that impede a debt restructuring. (Reuters)
Venezuelan state energy company PDVSA's new management expects to boost the country's oil production to 1.17 million barrels per day (bpd) by year end while increasing refining and exploration activities, an internal planning document showed. Venezuela's monthly crude output in April surpassed 800,000 bpd for the first time since December 2021 following a company shake up triggered by an anti-corruption probe that demanded an audit of all its operations, subsidiaries and joint ventures, uncovering some $21 billion in accounts receivable. (Reuters)
If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it, make sure to subscribe at Dealflow.la :)