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Dealflow.la #48 - Colombian President's son 🇨🇴 arrested for ML, Mombak 🇧🇷 raises $49M to reforest Amazon, & Yuan 🇨🇳 is threatening Dollar 🇺🇸 dominance as 🇦🇷, 🇧🇷, & 🇧🇴 increasingly adopt.
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Apprenty 🇧🇷 raised a $1.6 Million Seed round led by Canary 🇧🇷 with funding from Potencia Ventures 🇺🇸, Positive Ventures 🇧🇷, Latitude Ventures 🇺🇸 to build an education and apprenticeship program intended for the training and development of young adults and teenagers. The company's platform provides a virtual boot camp, mentorship program, and networking platform, enabling young people to develop skills, connect with professionals, and succeed in the technology industry.
NG.CASH 🇧🇷 raised a $1.6 Million Seed round with funding from Monashees 🇧🇷, 17Sigma 🇦🇷, and Scale-Up Ventures 🇧🇷 to build a digital bank built for GenZ teenagers to teach them in making financial decisions with their cash.
Licify 🇨🇴 raised a $3.4 Million Seed round led by Brick & Mortar Ventures 🇺🇸 and Accion Venture Lab 🇺🇸, with funding from G2 Momentum Capital 🇲🇽, Dash Fund 🇺🇸, and Columbia University 🇺🇸 to build a procurement management platform designed to help construction companies bid items for their projects as well as find suppliers and contractors. The company's platform connects the builders and suppliers which helps increase the efficiency of the purchasing team and also to control project expenses, enabling clients to get a standardized proposal and a comparative table for their operations and to get simplified information for making informed purchasing decisions.
Culttivo 🇧🇷 raised a $14.8 Million Corporate round from FIAgro 🇸🇻 to continue building their digital agricultural credit financing platform. The company provides credit lines, allowing the customer to keep their products in storage, aiming to sell them under better market conditions or use them as a resource for acquiring inputs, improvements in the field, and liquidity.
Mombak 🇧🇷 raised a $49 Million Venture round led by AXA Investment Managers 🇫🇷 to continue building their environmental service company intended to improve forestry and carbon markets. The company specializes in cultivating native, biodiverse forests that remove carbon from the atmosphere in the highest-integrity way possible, the projects have high additionality and durability and low leakage in addition to removing carbon, enabling people to enhance biodiversity and foster socioeconomic development in local communities.
Argentina's Economy Minister and presidential candidate, Sergio Massa, stated that the country will not use any of its own reserves for a $2.7 billion repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due this week. Instead, the repayment will be covered by a $1 billion bridge loan from the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and $1.7 billion from a swap deal with China. Argentina is currently facing an economic crisis with high inflation and dwindling central bank reserves, and is striving to avoid a default with the IMF. (Reuters)
Argentina's Economy Minister Sergio Massa has solidified financial ties with China to protect Argentina's shrinking dollar reserves. He secured $3.05bn for infrastructure, increased exports to China, and activated a currency swap line, permitting Argentina to pay for Chinese imports with yuan. This move to yuan highlights Argentina's strategic pivot amid financial difficulties and debates over the dollar's international dominance. The growing China-Argentina relations have raised US concerns. However, Argentina's international debt significantly outweighs the Chinese loan. (Al Jazeera)
Bolivia is using the yuan for its financial transactions, challenging the US dollar's dominance. Transactions worth 278 million yuan ($38.7 million) were carried out from May to July. Sectors like banana, zinc, and wood export, and vehicle and capital goods import are using yuan. This move aligns Bolivia with Brazil and Argentina, which are also using the yuan. However, experts say that a large-scale shift from the dollar is unlikely in the short term. (Time)
More than 2,250 police officers are involved in a manhunt for alleged drug smuggler Sebastián Marset in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Marset, who is wanted in multiple countries, is accused of trafficking tons of cocaine from South America to Europe and ordering the murder of an anti-drug prosecutor. After tracking him down to a luxury home, police believe Marset escaped with his family. He has a history of evading capture and has traveled extensively using false identities. (BBC)
At least eight people died and 11 were injured due to multiple explosions at a grain silo in Parana, Brazil. One person remains missing following the blasts at the C Vale cooperative. The cause of the explosion, which produced a large column of smoke and caused damage to nearby homes, is yet to be determined. (Al Jazeera)
Brazil has rejected a US extradition request for Sergey Cherkasov, a Russian accused of spying, who is currently in Brazilian custody. This could impact potential prisoner exchanges between the US and Russia. Brazil is still investigating Cherkasov's case and is also processing a Russian extradition request for him. Cherkasov, under charges of using falsified documents, has been held by Brazil for over a year. He is also accused by the US of spying and visa fraud. His extradition requires the approval of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. (New York Times)
Petrobras, the Brazilian state-run oil company, plans to reduce dividends under a new policy. The firm's new policy, approved by its board of directors, requires a quarterly dividend to be at least 45% of free cash flow, a decrease from the current 60%. The policy change also permits the company to buy back shares. This shift aligns with a broader strategic adjustment led by CEO Jean Paul Prates, with a focus on future investments. (Reuters)
The Chilean band, Hacia La Victoria, comprising members blinded during anti-government protests, uses their music as a protest against police violence. They are critics of the Naín-Retamal law, which allows security forces to use their weapons more freely. Few police-involved human rights violations from the protests have led to convictions, contributing to feelings of abandonment among survivors. (BBC)
Nicolas Petro, son of Colombia's President Gustavo Petro, has been arrested on charges of money laundering and illicit enrichment. Allegedly, he received funds from drug traffickers to bolster his father's peace efforts and election campaign, a claim both Petros deny. Nicolas Petro's ex-wife, Daysuris del Carmen Vásquez, is also implicated in the investigation and has been arrested. The charges hinge on accusations of illegal funds being funneled from Gustavo Petro's election campaign last year. (BBC)
Three Colombians promoting support for Ukraine in South America narrowly escaped a deadly missile strike in Ukraine. Despite South American leaders' reluctance to take sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict due to economic and political considerations, these individuals continue to advocate for greater regional involvement. (New York Times)
Colombia's government has proposed a record-breaking budget of 502.6 trillion pesos ($127.8 billion) for 2024, marking a 19% increase from this year. The proposal, which includes 94.52 trillion pesos for debt servicing and 97.75 trillion pesos for investment, must receive approval from Congress by October 20. The budget would also allocate significant funds for education, health, and the state pension system. However, the Autonomous Fiscal Rule Committee has expressed concerns that the proposed social and economic reforms could strain public finances. (Reuters)
Following days of unrest, Ecuadorian police and soldiers have discovered dozens of bodies during a sweep in a prison in Guayaquil. Officials reported 31 inmate deaths since a gang fight broke out on Saturday, leading to violence spreading across multiple prisons and prison guards being taken hostage. The majority of the casualties were from a gang housed in a specific wing of the prison. The unrest is thought to be a result of overcrowding, rival gang conflicts, and possibly unintended consequences of transferring gang leaders to different prisons. (BBC)
Following a wave of violence in Ecuador, including the assassination of Manta's mayor and prison riots, President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency and night curfews in three provinces. The emergency will last for 60 days. The president acknowledged the permeation of organized crime into the state and society, an issue brewing for over a decade. The prison system in Ecuador, facing structural problems for decades, has seen an increase in violence since 2021. (NBC)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador has implemented a law permitting mass trials of up to 900 individuals simultaneously, if they are from the same region or accused of belonging to the same criminal organization. The move is part of a broader crackdown on the country's gangs, which has seen 2% of the adult population jailed and the largest prison in the Americas built. Critics argue that the policy is eroding the rule of law, leading to wrongful imprisonment and deteriorating conditions in overcrowded jails. (The Guardian)
Bernardo Arévalo, the presidential candidate for Guatemala's Seed Movement party, is focusing on themes of renewal and anti-corruption as he faces a runoff election on August 20, 2023. Despite receiving only 11% of the vote in the first round, Arévalo surprised many by securing the second slot in the runoff, where he will face conservative candidate Sandra Torres. With a support base mostly composed of urban youths, Arévalo is now seeking to expand his appeal in rural and indigenous communities. He has consistently positioned himself against corruption and painted himself as an alternative to traditional candidates. However, critics warn that his progressive leanings could lead to the liberalization of social norms in the conservative country. In response, Arévalo insists that private property rights will not be endangered under his leadership. (AP)
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has defended the country's armed forces after an independent panel, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), accused them of complicity in the disappearances of 43 student teachers in 2014. AMLO refuted the accusation that the military hindered the investigation, arguing that they have cooperated and have contributed to progress in the case. He reported that 115 people, including two generals and a former top prosecutor, have been detained, breaking the "pact of silence" surrounding the crime. GIEI, however, had argued that Mexican security forces withheld key information and obstructed investigative efforts. The missing students' parents have called on the president to exert more pressure on the military. The case is one of the most notorious human rights cases in Mexico's history. (Al Jazeera)
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has refuted estimates provided by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chief Anne Milgram concerning the strength of Mexican drug cartels, stating that the US lacked "good information". Milgram testified to Congress that the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) have over 45,000 members globally and a presence in many Mexican states. López Obrador questioned these figures and called for the DEA to provide more details, marking the latest in ongoing tensions between the Mexican government and the DEA. (NBC)
President-elect of Paraguay, Santiago Pena, expects talks with Brazil over the financial agreement for the Itaipu hydroelectric dam to start on August 13. Both countries aim to reach an agreement on the energy tariff generated by the binational company. Pena expects to continue selling energy from the plant to Brazil at cost price, hoping to finalize a deal by year-end. (Reuters/Yahoo News)
In her Independence Day address, amidst ongoing protests in Lima, Peru's President Dina Boluarte called for a "great national reconciliation". She also appealed to Congress to extend legislative powers to the executive branch for 120 days to better handle crime and delinquency. Her administration has been marked by intense protest, with demands for her resignation, the dissolution of Congress, and scheduling of early elections. Boluarte has unveiled several policy proposals to boost her approval ratings, including infrastructure investments and six new hospitals, mainly in rural areas. She also suggested the addition of a second chamber to the legislative body, a move that drew divided reactions. (Al Jazeera)
Uruguay plans to build a specific prison for transgender inmates, aiming to address the needs of this vulnerable population within the penitentiary system. The new facility, which is expected to be ready in less than two years, will be part of a broader prison planned for Montevideo. Uruguay, which has the highest per capita incarceration rate in South America, currently has a prison population that includes 28 trans women and nine trans men. (MP)
The case against former Congressman David Rivera, who is accused of lobbying for Venezuela without registering as a foreign agent, has been delayed due to a dispute over asset seizure. Prosecutors' attempts to seize Rivera's properties have been criticized by judges, with one accusing them of gamesmanship. Rivera maintains his innocence, asserting his work didn't require foreign agent registration. (AP)
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