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Dealflow.la #42 - Trump 🇺🇸 offers ‘food for everyone’ at Cuban restaurant in Miami – then leaves without paying, Kanastra 🇧🇷 raises $13 Million Seed round, & USMNT 🇺🇸 stomps Mexico 🇲🇽 3-0.
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Airbag Technologies 🇲🇽 raised a $700,000 Seed round led by Impacta VC 🇨🇱 to build a SaaS solution to reduce transit accidents caused by texting and driving, fatigue, and drivers’ behavior. The company seeks to develop risk mitigation technology to reduce the risk before a fatigue or distraction-related accident happens and give instant feedback to their drivers to reward them for good performance, in addition tp creating personalized risk profiles for transportation and insurance companies
Movens 🇧🇷 raised a $900,000 Pre-Seed Round led by Astella 🇧🇷 to build a revenue-based financing platform for e-commerce brands. The company seeks to solve e-commerce brands’ working capital issues and cash flow fluctuations with affordable, flexible funding and insights with data intelligence.
Plurall 🇨🇴 raised a $1 Million Seed round from Arrebol Capital 🇨🇴 to offer micro and commercial lending products, mobile payment solutions and other financial services, technology, data science, and a hyper-focus on customers to deliver mission-critical financial services, helping entrepreneurs and small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) who are left out, through digital-first banking and financial services.
Track.co 🇧🇷 raised a $7 Million Venture round led by TM3 Capital 🇧🇷 and Green Rock 🇧🇷 to build a customer experience management platform intended to monitor client satisfaction in real time through digital channels. The company's platform provides customer satisfaction management by obtaining spontaneous feedback from customers and generating graphical reports in real time, enabling clients to easily know about their customer satisfaction worldwide.
Kanastra 🇧🇷 raised a $13 Million Seed round led by Valor Capital Group 🇺🇸 and Quona 🇺🇸, with funding from QED Investors 🇺🇸, Latitud, Endeavor 🇺🇸, Crestone Venture Capital 🇬🇧, Clocktower Technology Ventures 🇺🇸, and Actyus 🇪🇸 to build an asset management platform intended to solve the friction in the securitization market. The company's platform offers bank services, debt issuance, book-keeping, distribution, passive management, and mirroring, and gives access to real-time analytics and structured data, enabling investors and originators to invest with freedom and minimize the time spent.
Inflation is at more than 114 percent — the fourth highest rate in the world — and the street value of the Argentine peso has crumbled, dropping about 25 percent over a three-week period in April. Yet it is the peso’s downfall that is fueling the restaurant industry’s upswing. Argentines are eager to get rid of the currency as quickly as they can, and that means the middle and upper classes are going out to eat more often — and that restaurateurs and chefs are plunging their revenues back into new restaurants. (New York Times)
Bolivia’s Santa Cruz department is being battered once again by heavy rains that have caused damage to infrastructure and are expected to result in severe crop losses. (BNA)
At least one dead after school shooting in Southern Brazil. The perpetrator has been arrested and is a former student of the Professora Helena Kolody public school who entered its premises saying he wanted to request his school records, the government said. (Reuters)
The Brazilian men’s national team wore an all-black kit for the first time in its 109-year history during a friendly match against Guinea in Spain on Saturday as part of the team’s anti-racism campaign. Players from both teams either took a knee or sat down on the Espanyol stadium’s pitch and observed a minute’s silence prior to the match in Barcelona. Brazil played the first 45 minutes of the game wearing black shirts, shorts, and socks before reverting to its traditional yellow jersey after the break. The slogan of the campaign, “Com Racismo nao tem jogo,” meaning, “With racism, there is no game” was displayed on the front of the shirts. The slogan is part of the Brazilian Federation’s campaign, with the support of FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, to end racism in soccer and society, according to a statement from the Federation released on Saturday. One of the country’s best players, the Real Madrid forward Vinícius Jr., was subjected to persistent racist abuse during Real’s 1-0 defeat to Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium in May, making it the 10th incident involving the Brazilian forward that Spain’s LaLiga reported to prosecutors during the 2022-2023 season. (CNN)
A winter storm slammed the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul with torrential rain on Friday, killing 11 people, leaving 20 missing and prompting a helicopter search and rescue for victims wading in flooded neighborhoods, the authorities said. The storm system that struck the country was an extra-tropical cyclone. Such storms have cold air at their core and are typically associated with cold fronts, meteorologists with the National Weather Service said. (New York Times)
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Monday he expects to discuss the trade deal between Mercosur and the European Union with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron as they meet this week, including "tough" stances by France on it. Lula, who will travel to Europe on Monday and is scheduled to meet with Macron in Paris, has been criticizing the French National Assembly for passing a resolution against the approval of deal last week. French lawmakers have said the EU agreement with the Mercosur bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay could lead to increased deforestation in South America and hurt French and European farmers. "I'm having lunch with Macron and I want to raise the issue of the French parliament toughening the trade deal," Lula said in a weekly live broadcast on social media. "If we are strategic partners, then one cannot threaten the other." (US News)
One of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's closest aides sought legal advice for a military intervention that would have prevented the handover of power following last October's election, federal police said on Friday. Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid was one of Bolsonaro's personal assistants who stayed on as an aide after he stepped down. He is under arrest over allegations that he faked Bolsonaro's COVID-19 vaccination card. (Reuters)
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Friday threatened to use congressional appropriations to block funding for a U.S. visa waiver program for Chile, blaming rising criminal activity in the United States on the program. At a news conference in Santa Ana, California, McCarthy called on U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to suspend the program, a step that would allow law enforcement officials to run criminal background checks on those who have entered the country. McCarthy said people entering the United States through the program have joined organized crime organizations that he said have carried out raids on homes and businesses in California and elsewhere. (Reuters)
Mapping the search for Colombia's plane crash children. When four indigenous children went missing after their plane crashed in the Colombian jungle on 1 May, a massive search operation was launched to track them down. Forty days after the crash, a search team finally spotted the children, aged 13, nine, five, and one, after hearing one of them crying. All four were exhausted, malnourished, and dehydrated but alive. (BBC)
As Colombia’s Gustavo Petro reaches his first year as president, the country’s first leftist leader will confront an unprecedented anti-government demonstration on Tuesday: the formidable Marcha de la Mayoría (March of the Majority). Summoned by opposition parties and civic groups, citizens from all walks of life will pour into the streets of the nation’s largest cities, vocally expressing their discontent with an administration plagued by political scandals. Startling revelations by Semana magazine that suggest illicit funds may have infiltrated the 2022 Petro Presidente campaign have further fueled public outrage. (CPB)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica and the U.S. government have agreed to open potential legal pathways to the United States for some of the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan migrants among the 240,000 asylum seekers already awaiting asylum in the Central American country. The agreement – announced by Costa Rica Tuesday and the United States late Monday – appears aimed at reducing the pressure on Costa Rica’s overwhelmed asylum system and heading off asylum seekers who could give up on the slow Costa Rica process and instead set off for the U.S. border. In recent years, Costa Rica with a population of only 5 million has become one of the world’s leading receptors of asylum requests. In part, applying for asylum was a way for migrants to legalize their status and be allowed to seek work. (ABC)
The founders of a company called "Ethical Forestry Ltd" that operated tree plantations in Costa Rica were just charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and one count of fraudulent trading. (BBC)
Eight presidential candidates have registered to face off when Ecuadoreans head to the polls for early elections on August 20. The polls will cap an extraordinary series of events that saw President Guillermo Lasso dissolve the opposition-controlled National Assembly and cut his own term short instead of facing impeachment proceedings. (Al Jazeera)
Kidnappers use grisly tactics as Ecuador's crime spirals. Crime has taken a sadistic turn in Ecuador, where kidnappers now regularly amputate the fingers of their victims and send images to pressure relatives to pay higher ransoms. For decades, Ecuador was a refuge of peace wedged in a dangerous region. But these days, it increasingly resembles nearby Peru and Colombia, two huge producers of cocaine with violent criminal histories. In March, the wife of a businessman in the port city of Guayaquil received images of someone snipping two fingers off her husband's left hand, threatening to mutilate him further unless they were paid $100,000. At the end of 2022, police released a photograph of a member of the Chilean navy who'd had two fingers lopped off during a kidnapping while he was in the country visiting a girlfriend. (VOA)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele on Wednesday signed into law a bill to slash the country's 262 municipalities to just 44, a move the government says will cut spending but that the opposition decries as a power grab. El Salvador's Congress passed the bill late on Tuesday with 67 votes in favor and 15 against. Ruling party deputies, who hold a majority in Congress, said the move will trim public spending, generate more investment and help fight corruption - which Bukele vowed to do this month. The new municipalities are set to be governed in 14 departments. "This seeks to generate a more equitable distribution of wealth, which will be converted into opportunities for the Salvadoran people, improving their quality of life," said Elisa Rosales, a deputy from the ruling New Ideas party. (Reuters/US News)
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele on Thursday pledged to build a prison to hold white-collar criminals as part of a crackdown on corruption that he likened to his fight against criminal gangs. "Just as we fought the gangs head on with the full force of the state, we will launch a full-on war against corruption," he said during a national address to mark his fifth year of being in office. "Just as we built a prison for the terrorists, we will build one for the corrupt." (Reuters)
This has been one of the most turbulent election seasons in Guatemala’s modern history. Some of the most popular aspirants will be on the sidelines in Sunday's voting because electoral authorities and courts blocked some from running and canceled the candidacies of others who were initially allowed to enter the race. There is no re-election in Guatemala, so President Alejandro Giammattei is not among the 22 permitted presidential candidates. Guatemalans will also elect all members of Congress and hundreds of mayors across the country. (ABC)
Honduras’s men’s football team is at loggerheads with a Louisiana club after its players backed out of a friendly match hours before kickoff, citing poor field conditions. Honduras had scheduled the match against Barbados as preparation for this summer’s Gold Cup, CONCACAF’s regional championship, which will run from 24 June to 16 July in various US cities. The Baton Rouge Capitals Soccer Foundation, whose home state has a large population of Hondurans, had arranged the match and agreed to act as hosts at the municipally owned Olympia Stadium. But the pitch at the 7,000-seat venue, where high school American football teams regularly play, had several large patches covered with sand, while its stands have signs of deterioration. Some of the biggest names on Honduras’s roster told their federations that they would not play in the match after training at Olympia Stadium on Saturday evening, according to Honduran sports news outlet Diez. (The Guardian)
The US Men’s National Team dominated Mexico in a 3-0 win Thursday in front of a sellout crowd of 65,000 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. But this Concacaf Nations League semifinal – marred by dirty tackles, pushing and shoving, and even a torn jersey – ended in ugly fashion. The teams combined for 13 cards, including 12 in the second half. Two players on each team were sent off. In the 90th minute, the referee paused the match because of homophobic chanting. Twelve minutes of stoppage time was added, but the referee opted to end the game around four minutes early amid the discriminatory chants from the crowd. After the game, the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football, known for short as Concacaf, released a statement saying it “strongly condemns the discriminatory chanting by some fans” during the match. “Chants heard during the game led to the activation of the anti-discrimination protocol by the match officials. Additionally, security staff ejected several fans for engaging in unacceptable behavior in the stadium,” the statement said. “These incidents were extremely disappointing and tarnished what should have been a positive occasion to showcase high-quality football in our region.(CNN)
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday that he would sign an agreement this week with tortilla makers that ensures they only use non-genetically modified (GM) white corn. Lopez Obrador added that the agreement will include tariffs on imported white corn to promote the purchase from domestic producers. Mexico has been embroiled in a trade dispute with the United States over a decree to limit the use of GM corn, particularly for human consumption. (Reuters)
Two Americans whose bodies were found in their room at a resort in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur on 13 June died from inhaling toxic gas, according to officials’ preliminary findings. The couple – identified as 41-year-old John Heathco and 28-year-old Abby Lutz, of California – had reportedly been dead between 10 and 11 hours before being discovered in their room at the oceanfront Hyatt Rancho Pescadero Hotel in El Pescadero, Mexico. The cause of death was ruled as intoxication of an unspecified gas substance that local officials as of Saturday were still working to determine. In an interview with Good Morning America, one of the paramedics who arrived on the scene to treat Heathco and Lutz claimed he and a colleague immediately experienced dizziness after entering the room. The hotel manager claimed there was no gas leak of any kind in the hotel. (The Guardian)
Authorities in northern Mexico said Sunday they have destroyed 14 homemade armored cars of the kind used by drug cartels to fight land battles. The vehicles are usually adapted from commercial trucks, with steel plate armor welded on. Known in Mexico as “monstruos,” or “Monsters,” some of the vehicles junked were truly monstrous. Many had thick steel ramming prows welded to the front. Others had firing ports and gun turrets. At least one was painted in green camouflage to resemble a Mexican army vehicle. (ABC)
American Airlines adds 4 new routes, starts a turf war in Miami. Miami has historically been a fortress hub for American, acting as its key gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America with plenty of domestic feed for both the local and connecting markets. So, despite the new route being one of the longest coast-to-coast flights in the American network, it may not necessarily be surprising to see the airline adding a new 2,700-mile service from Miami to Portland. The airline shared in a statement that "American Airlines is pleased to announce new nonstop service from Miami (MIA) to Portland, Oregon (PDX) starting this November. The new nonstop service will complement American’s network of more than 140 destinations from MIA and opens convenient, one-stop access to the largest network of destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America from the United States.” However, keen aviation observers will remember that it was just days ago when Alaska Airlines, which operates a hub in Portland, announced plans to commence flights to Miami later this year. While American's new route announcement could purely be a coincidence, the timing of when the service starts makes it pretty clear that this move is targeted at Alaska. American's new Miami-to-Portland flight starts on Nov. 5, and Alaska's will commence less than two weeks later. (TPG)
Donald Trump headed to Miami’s famous Cuban restaurant Versailles after his arraignment at the city’s federal courthouse on Tuesday and is said to have declared to a crowd of admirers “Food for everyone!” after walking inside. It was a promise, though, that the former US president did not keep, according to the Miami New Times, despite supporters also wishing him a happy birthday, one day early. Former MMA fighter Jorge Masvidal hailed Trump as “everybody’s favorite president of all time” and a “glad-handing Trump was heard to declare, ‘Food for everyone’”, the paper reported.
The paper went on: “So, New Times wondered, did Trump – who famously fancies his chicken from KFC and his steaks well-done and slathered with ketchup but isn’t exactly known for picking up the check – treat his fan club to a spread of croquetas, pastelitos, and cubanos chased with cafecitos?” (The Guardian)
In his first visit to Latin America, Iran’s hardline president met Tuesday with his Nicaraguan counterpart and railed against a theme both leaders have in common: U.S. sanctions. President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Nicaragua is his second stop, after Venezuela. He is also scheduled to visit Cuba, Iran’s other ally in the region. Raisi spoke at a joint appearance in Managua with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. “The United States wanted to paralyze our people with threats and sanctions, but it hasn’t been able to do it,” Raisi said. Many top figures in Ortega’s government also face U.S. sanctions for crushing dissent and imprisoning or exiling opponents. (AP)
Mexico fans boycott the third-place game against Panama after their USMNT defeat. The Mexican fans showed their feelings towards the national team with an abysmal turnout for their third-place playoff against Panama. (AS)
A landmark ruling that an Indigenous community in the Peruvian Amazon could reclaim ancestral rainforests has been set aside by an appeals court in a move some legal experts called irregular. Kichwa tribes lived in the area of Cordillera Azul National Park for centuries before the park was founded in 2001 in what the Kichwa say was theft of their land. Major companies such as Shell and TotalEnergies have spent more than $80 million since then buying credits in the park to counter their carbon emissions. That money hasn’t helped the Puerto Franco community of Kichwa, who fell into food poverty after losing free access to hunt, fish and gather in the park area. The community celebrated a dramatic legal victory in April, when Judge Simona del Socorro Torres Sánchez ruled that creating the park without their consent had violated their rights. She ordered authorities to begin granting them title to the land, to ensure they benefit from conservation activities in the park and participate in its management. (NBC)
Two days after announcing a plan to turn a 700-pound Nazi sculpture of an eagle holding a swastika into a peace dove, the Uruguayan president, Luis Lacalle Pou, said that the project had been canceled after thousands signed a petition calling for it to go to a museum instead. Mr. Lacalle Pou said on Sunday that in the hours since he presented the idea at a news conference on Friday an “overwhelming majority” had objected to the plan to recast the eagle, which was found on a sunken German warship in Uruguayan waters in 2006. “If you want to generate peace, the first thing you have to do is to generate unity, and clearly this has not generated that,” he told reporters in Cerro Largo, Uruguay. Saying that he still thought it was a good idea, he nonetheless acknowledged, “It is up to a president to listen and to represent.”
The six-foot-tall eagle was on the stern of a German warship scuttled by its captain in the Plata River after it had been damaged in one of the first major battles of World War II. (New York Times)
The president of Venezuela's National Electoral Council Pedro Calzadilla on Thursday announced he would resign along with seven other members, ahead of a 2024 presidential election. The country's opposition has long alleged that the council is biased toward President Nicolas Maduro's ruling party. A majority of the council's 15 members, including Calzadilla and the seven others who resigned, are allied with the government, while just two are allied with the opposition. (Reuters)
Iran and Venezuela want to increase bilateral trade to $20 billion, up from $3 billion, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday during a visit to Caracas. During the visit the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to expand cooperation in petrochemicals with a view to carrying out joint projects, building on their already-close cooperation in oil. "We have decided to increase the cooperation between the two countries," Raisi said through translation in a statement with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after the petrochemical deal and a dozen other cooperation deals were signed. (Reuters)
Venezuela’s main opposition groups said they will organize their own presidential primaries independently of the electoral authority when they select a candidate to try to defeat President Nicolás Maduro next year. The decision to sideline the electoral body means the opposition will have to fund the process itself, and secure access to hundreds of polling centers across the country by October. They will also have to rely on paper ballots rather than on voting machines in the selection of their candidate. (Bloomberg)
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