Discover more from Dealflow.la
Dealflow.la #45 - Neymar 🇧🇷 fined $3.3M USD for illegal artificial lake at Rio mansion, Mexico's Navy 🇲🇽 to run all CDMX airports to combat corruption, & Uruguay's 🇺🇾 drinking water emergency.
Latin America is rising. Subscribe to Dealflow.la to keep up.
Muta 🇨🇴 raised a $180,000 Pre-Seed round led by SOSV 🇺🇸 and Orbit Startups 🇮🇪 to offer environmental recycling services intended to transform waste into opportunities for growth and development. The company specializes in the collection and recycling of waste such as used vegetable oil, glass, plastic, metal, cardboard, and household appliances, helping society to contribute to a more sustainable planet.
Celes 🇨🇴 raised a $1 Million Seed round led by Primeline Group 🇳🇱, with funding from Rockstart 🇮🇪 and MatterScale Ventures 🇺🇸 to build an AI-powered solution intended for retailers access to adequate stocks, optimal prices and customer retention. The company aims to become an authentic operating system that analyzes and manages the vast data in the retail sector, enabling clients to get a source of cash flow rather than a technical challenge for businesses.
Bipa 🇧🇷 raised a $1.6 Million Seed round with funding from New Form Capital 🇺🇸 and Hivemind Ventures 🇺🇸 to build a SaaS-based software designed for buying and selling bitcoin. The company offers features like creating and paying invoices, transferring sats from the Bitcoin network, and no withdrawals fees, providing users with financial information and services with improved technology, and selling securities easily.
Regcheq 🇨🇱 raised a $2 Million Seed round led by Taram Capital 🇨🇱 to build software as a service compliance software intended for anti-money laundering regulatory compliance management. The company offers a digital solution for AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) purposes such as digital onboarding, database check, smart policies, due diligence, client management, and reporting, enabling clients to digitize, centralize and automate the prevention of money laundering and comply with the regulation.
Shinkansen 🇨🇱 raised a $3 Million Seed round led by ALLVP 🇲🇽, with funding from Salkantay Ventures 🇵🇪 and Chile Ventures 🇨🇱 to help start-ups to move money at the speed of the internet. The company's platform allows businesses to automatically move their money to customers, suppliers, banks, and traditional networks by automating treasury and lowering the costs of making transfers, enabling companies to simplify their operations and reduce the cost of the transfer.
Argentina inaugurated on Sunday the first stage of a gas pipeline that will carry natural gas from the Vaca Muerta formation in western Argentina to Santa Fe province by way of Buenos Aires province, an essential work to reverse the country's significant energy deficit. Vaca Muerta, a massive shale formation the size of Belgium located in Patagonia, is seen as key to boosting the South American country's gas supplies and lessening the need for pricey imports. It has the second unconventional gas reserves worldwide and the fourth in oil. (Reuters)
$10,000 for a candidacy. For the most coveted ones, up to 100,000. Justice is investigating whether the ultra-right candidate for the presidency of Argentina, Javier Milei, has sold places in the electoral lists of his political space, La Libertad Avanza (LLA). Businessmen, lawyers and politicians have denounced that the economist’s entourage requests large sums in U.S. currency in exchange for giving their name for the ballots and have been summoned to testify in the investigation opened against him. Milei denies all the accusations, but the scandal has dealt him a new blow that leaves him even further behind the candidates of the conservative coalition Together for Change (JxC) and the Peronist Union for the Fatherland (UP) in the October electoral race. (El País)
Argentina Economy Minister Sergio Massa isn’t sure if he’ll remain in his role as he runs for president in this year’s election. Massa, the ruling coalition’s top candidate in the October contest, said in a Monday radio interview that he will discuss any possible changes with President Alberto Fernandez and Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. (Bloomberg)
Brazilian soccer star Neymar was fined more than $3.3 million for violating local environmental rules during renovations at his mansion in the city of Mangaratiba outside Rio de Janeiro. The Mangaratiba city hall said in a statement Monday night it had issued four fines totalling about 16 million Brazilian reals after Neymar was accused of illegally building an artificial lake at his mansion. “Among the dozens of infractions that were noticed at the player’s property are the start of an unauthorized construction which requires environmental control; capture of a river course and detouring it without authorization; moving rock and sand; supressing vegetation without authorization and non-compliance of an embargo,” the statement said. (AP)
Brazil has appointed a new national team coach. Sort of. Fernando Diniz has been hired as head coach of Brazil’s national team on a 12-month contract that will be due to expire when Carlo Ancelotti’s deal with Real Madrid ends. Executives at the Brazilian soccer confederation have indicated the intention is to wait a season and then bring in Ancelotti, the 64-year-old Italian coach, to lead the team into the 2026 World Cup. (AP)
The company announced today that it’s launching a new subscription-only music streaming service called “TikTok Music” in Brazil and Indonesia. TikTok Music lets users sync the service to their existing TikTok accounts and listen, download and share songs. The service includes the catalogs of major record companies, including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music. TikTok Music lets you play full versions of viral TikTok songs, discover personalized music recommendations, access lyrics in real time, create collaborative playlists with friends, import your music library and find songs via lyrics search. The service also includes a Shazam-like feature that can identify music that you’re listening to. Like Spotify Premium, TikTok Music lets users download songs for offline listening. The service also includes social features, as TikTok notes that users can express themselves through comments and connect with other music lovers. (TechCrunch)
Two years after Brazil began emerging from its pandemic horror show thanks to a massive immunization campaign, officials face a paradoxical predicament: vaccination rates have plunged, and not just for COVID-19. The troubling trend has left millions exposed to once-eradicated diseases. Doctors, public officials and UNICEF have sounded the alarm over collapsing immunization rates in Brazil, where overall vaccination coverage has fallen from an impressive 95% in 2015 to just 68% last year, according to official figures. For polio, the figure fell from 85% to 68%, triggering warnings that the disease could make a comeback in Brazil, where it was eradicated in 1989. (VOA)
Colombia's government and the country's last active rebel group have agreed a truce - their latest step towards peace after almost 60 years of conflict.
The National Liberation Army (ELN) said it would stop fighting from Thursday, ahead of a full ceasefire in August. Colombia's defence minister confirmed the armed forces would also be told to halt offensives from that time. However, the ELN said it would defend itself from any attacks by the military or other armed groups. The announcement comes after the six-month ceasefire was agreed last week. This is due to come into force on 3 August. If it holds, it would be the longest halt in the conflict the ELN has agreed to since first taking up arms against the Colombian state in 1964. But there is scepticism about it succeeding. ELN members killed three policemen in north-eastern Colombia on the day the ceasefire was announced. And a week earlier, government forces killed six soldiers from the group in the east of the country. Colombian President Gustavo Petro - himself a former member of the now-defunct M-19 rebel group - promised to bring "total peace" to the country during his presidency when he took power last year. (BBC)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica said on Thursday it has charged former President Luis Guillermo Solis with corruption, accusing him of involvement in a 2017 improper transfer of government funds to state-owned Bancredito. The transfer was made to give the impression that the bank "would appear to have sufficient liquidity" to the benefit of the government's image, the attorney general said in a statement. Solis, who governed between 2014 and 2018, denied the charges.\"I categorically reject the charges that have been brought against me," the former center-left leader said in a video posted on Twitter. "We always acted in accordance with the law, seeking the benefit of the country, as well as the protection of Bancredito's creditors and the rights of its workers." (US News)
Peruvian authorities Sunday rescued 23 Afghans from migrant traffickers along the border with Brazil, the attorney general's office said. The migrants, who were trying to get to Ecuador, paid money to people smugglers to transport them across the nation and to the northern border, prosecutors said.
But they were cheated out of their money and crowded into a house without food in the village of Inapari in the Madre de Dios department along the Peru-Brazil border, a statement from the prosecutor's office said. Among the victims were "four children, including a two-month-old baby," it said. Prosecutors did not say how much the migrants had paid the smugglers.
The Afghans were led to believe they would be transferred to a regional city, then on to the capital Lima before heading to Tumbes, a city near Peru's northern border with Ecuador. (VOA)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
President Nayib Bukele was officially nominated by his New Ideas party Sunday to run for reelection next year, brushing aside objections from legal experts and opposition figures who say El Salvador’s constitution prohibits his candidacy. New Ideas also announced that current Vice President Felix Ulloa would run for reelection in the ballot scheduled for Feb. 4, 2024.
Bukele is highly popular among Salvadorans because of his harsh crackdown on street gangs, but he is considered controversial internationally. He announced in September that he planned to seek a second five-year term. (AP)
The struggle to certify the results of Guatemala’s first-round presidential election suffered what experts called another setback Saturday after the chief justice of the Supreme Court issued an order blocking the certification. Chief Justice Silvia Valdés Quezada issued the unusual order late Friday. She stipulated the process could not go forward until the electoral authorities who conducted a review of precinct vote tally sheets from the June 25 election reported back to her on their methods and any inconsistencies found.
Valdés Quezada said they had to do that within 12 hours. (AP)
After an unexpected finish to the first round of Guatemala’s presidential election, the country’s Constitutional Court has suspended its certification of the results, citing complaints from rival political parties. But the temporary suspension has raised fears the court might overturn the outcome of the vote, threatening Guatemala’s already fragile democracy. “This is unprecedented,” said Edgar Ortiz, a constitutional lawyer with the Guatemalan think tank Fundación Libertad y Desarrollo. “Never in history has there been a problem with the vote count, much less one where the Constitutional Court — which has nothing to do with this — has intervened in the system.” (Al Jazeera)
The Honduran government on Friday told Chinese officials it is seeking investors to help fund construction of a proposed $20 billion rail line connecting the country's Atlantic and Pacific coasts, part of a binational trade and investment push. Honduras and China have been negotiating a first-ever free trade pact linking their economies. Fredy Cerrato, the Honduran economic development minister, told reporters officials from both countries also discussed infrastructure projects relating to dams and power generation. (Reuters)
Nuevo León governor Samuel García recently announced that the local authorities had cleared all paperwork, meaning Tesla will likely commence construction of Gigafactory Mexico very soon. Gigafactory Mexico will reside outside Monterrey, a sizable city in the Northeastern portion of the country. This comes after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on February 28th that Tesla selected Nuevo León for its upcoming manufacturing site. The following day was March 1st, or Tesla's 2023 Investor Day, and Musk revealed further plans for Gigafactory Mexico. Musk said that the firm's next-generation vehicle will be produced there, alluding to Tesla's next entry-level EV. (IEVs)
The Mexican ilitary Is Taking Control Of The Country's Airports. Mexico will trust its Navy to solve corruption, smuggling, and mismanagement practices at several airports.
Mexico’s president has vowed to continue campaigning against the opposition front-runner for the 2024 presidential elections, breaking a longstanding tradition of Mexican presidents keeping out of the race to succeed them. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's target is Xóchitl Gálvez, a plain-talking senator and former indigenous affairs official. Gálvez hasn’t been nominated yet by opposition parties, but has been gaining momentum. Parties are still in primary season and the official campaigns do not formally start until September, so López Obrador’s criticism of Gálvez’s potential candidacy may not be technically illegal. But López Obrador suggested last week that he may continue even after campaigns start in September. “The electoral process doesn’t start until September, in September we’ll see what we can say,” the president said. “Clearly, if justice and democracy are at stake, we’ll have to continue speaking out.” That could violate Article 134 of the Constitution, which says government media, advertising and public relations must only be used for informative or educational purposes, not for or against any politician. (Independent)
Mexico’s armed forces are taking control of the capital’s main airport, and the government plans to give the military control of nearly a dozen more across the country as the president takes aim at corruption and mismanagement. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been setting the armed forces to a wide range of nontraditional tasks since he was elected in 2018, creating concerns about the separation of the military from civilian life. A new airport was built by the army outside Mexico City a year ago at a cost of $4.1 billion. It is run by the military but little used. López Obrador says the old airport, the country’s busiest, will be run by the navy. (AP)
Catholic priests report beatings, surveillance by Nicaragua government. Vatican officials told Reuters privately they see the Nicaragua conflict as one of the worst since the Cold War, when some European communist countries persecuted the church. (NBC)
“We go where no one goes,” is Wandermut’s tagline, but one of the German tour agency’s packages has left people asking whether some places are better left unexplored. The travel startup’s 10-day Panama Jungle Tour has been criticised across Latin America in recent weeks for offering tour packages in a region which is home to one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes. The agency markets its trek through the Darién Gap as a chance to see the unique natural beauties of one of the world’s most pristine tropical forests – and the ultimate survival test for the intrepid. “Reaching our destination and the course of the entire tour are uncertain,” Wandermut says in its edgy promotional material. The Darién, a 100-mile swath of jungle between Colombia and Panama, is home to incredible natural beauty, including cascading waterfalls, myriad endemic species and crystal-clear streams. But its inaccessibility and lack of development have also turned it into a haven for drug trafficking militias, armed bandits and one of the world’s most desperate migrant crossings. Tourism in any part of the Darién is reckless due to the treacherous terrain, lack of state presence and pervasive organised crime, said Giuseppe Loprete, the International Organization for Migration’s chief of mission in Panama. (The Guardian)
Paraguay's president-elect, Santiago Pena, will visit Taiwan this week and meet "great friend" President Tsai Ing-wen, he said on Sunday, shoring up a relationship at a time China is working to entice the island's dwindling allies.
Paraguay is the last South American country with formal relations with Taiwan. The island, claimed by China as its own, has lost support from other Latin American nations in recent years, including Honduras, which this year ended decades of ties in favour of Beijing. (Reuters)
Disgraced former CONMEBOL president Juan Ángel Napout arrived in his native Paraguay on Friday after he was released from a United States federal prison and deported. The 65-year-old Napout, with his wife, carried a Paraguayan flag at Silvio Pettirossi Airport in the capital Asuncion. Napout, also a former FIFA vice-president, served 5 1/2 years of a nine-year sentence in Miami after being convicted of racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. Napout was banned by FIFA in 2019 after its ethics committee found him guilty of bribery in years that overlapped him bossing Paraguay’s soccer body from 2007-14 and South America’s governing body from 2014-15. (AP)
So many former presidents in Peru have run afoul with the law that the country has set up a special penitentiary for them — and it's full. The Barbadillo prison is located on the grounds of a police academy in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Lima. Due to violence and overcrowding at Peru's standard prisons, part of the police compound has been converted into a kind of VIP jail with three custom-built cells that are more like small apartment units. Barbadillo's first inmate, former President Alberto Fujimori, arrived in 2007. He is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses. Former President Pedro Castillo arrived last December after he was arrested for trying to dissolve congress and rule by decree. Alejandro Toledo, who faces charges of money laundering from his time as president in the early 2000s, arrived at the prison in April. (NPR)
Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou met with U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday, and the two leaders explored ways to expand bilateral trade and economic ties, the White House said. Lacalle Pou stopped in Washington for the previously unannounced meeting on his way to New York, where he was scheduled to attend an event in his honor hosted by the Americas Society, an education group. Biden lauded Uruguay as a regional and global model for democratic governance and congratulated Lacalle Pou for receiving the Gold Insignia award from the Council of the Americas, the White House said.
He noted Uruguay's support for Ukraine and Lacalle Pou's "principled defense" of fundamental freedoms in Venezuela, as well as his efforts to work on regional integration, inclusive economic prosperity, and sustainable trade and investment. (VOA)
Uruguay’s capital is days away from running out of drinking water amid the nation’s worst drought in 74 years. The government has told locals in Montevideo, a metropolis of more than 1.3 million people, that they have seven to ten days of drinking water left. It follows a multi-year drought and high temperatures which have drained the city’s reservoirs. Officials announced that reserves are at 1.8 per cent of their capacity. The state’s water company has begun drilling wells in the centre of the capital to reach the water beneath the ground, while protests have erupted over shortages.
Uruguay is the only country in Latin America to have achieved quasi-universal access to safe drinking water – meaning almost everyone has easy access to water free from contamination – after enshrining access to water as a fundamental right in a 2005 constitutional amendment. However, locals have already been forced to turn to bottled water after the state-owned water company, Obras Sanitarias del Estado (OSE), began mixing salty water with fresh water to stretch supplies in June. (Telegraph)
Venezuela's opposition is crafting a proposal for the country to redirect about 200,000 barrels per day of its oil exports to a trustee to pay creditors with claims on the nation's foreign assets. Venezuela is battling in U.S. court against bondholders and creditors claiming more than $20 billion from defaults and expropriations, an amount that surpasses the value of its foreign assets. The latest proposal to be discussed with the Venezuelan government would see a trustee created that would redirect to the United States a portion of Venezuela's oil exports currently being sold at a discount to China, said Horacio Medina, chief of a board supervising Venezuela's oil-related foreign assets. (Reuters)
Caribbean leaders on Friday denounced U.S. economic sanctions against oil-rich Venezuela, saying they’ve been forced to buy costlier petroleum elsewhere as they struggle with tight budgets. Members of a Caribbean trade bloc known as Caricom called for removal of the sanctions, which prevent them from purchasing oil at a discounted rate as part of a deal with Venezuela known as Petrocaribe. “We in the Caribbean are suffering immensely,” Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said at the close of a three-day Caricom conference on Wednesday. “People should be allowed to go about their lives, especially in these difficult times. (AP)
If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it, make sure to subscribe at Dealflow.la :)