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Dealflow.la #53 - 1/3 of CDMX marathon runners cheated 🇲🇽 , match-fixing in Bolivian pro-soccer 🇧🇴, Petrobras 🇧🇷 plans China subsidiary 🇨🇳, & Praso 🇧🇷 raises a $9.5 Million Series A.
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Syscap 🇲🇽 raised a $3 Million Seed round led by Redwood Ventures 🇺🇸 to build a financial platform dedicated to connecting the leaders of financial and real estate institutions with their funders. The company ensures the optimization of funding source management processes and offers tailored analysis and reporting along with timely monitoring of funds, enabling managers and funders to have an efficient administration and management of their funding sources.
Nuu 🇧🇷 raised a $4 Million Venture round led by EcoEnterprises Fund 🇧🇷, with funding from Newlin 🇺🇸, Gvangels 🇧🇷, and Gavea Angels 🇧🇷 to produce carbon-neutral food products intended to promote sustainable farming by introducing local seasonal ingredients to customers. The company's products are made without gluten, coloring, flavoring, and haste which helps to offer natural flavored food to people, enabling consumers to purchase their favorite food products at affordable prices.
Talana 🇨🇱 raised a $8 Million Venture round led by Venturance 🇦🇷, with funding from Altis 🇦🇺 to build software designed to reduce operating costs dedicated to the daily processes of human resources. The company offers people management, remuneration, organization development, recruitment, and digital signature services, thereby managing a large number of workers efficiently and without complications.
Praso 🇧🇷 raised a $9.5 Million Series A led by Valor Capital Group 🇺🇸 and NFX 🇺🇸 with funding from Iporanga Ventures 🇧🇷, Formus Capital 🇹🇷, Endeavor ScaleUp Growth Program 🇧🇷, and Base Partners 🇺🇸 to build a multi-grocery, e-commerce platform designed to disintermediate retail and industry relationships. The company's platform offers multi-category grocery supplies and products, including sugars, spice, flour, grains and cereals, dairy products, oils, olives, drinks, and beverages, enabling consumers to buy cheap and fast grocery supplies.
Amid skyrocketing inflation, Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei proposes full dollarization of the nation's economy, a move dividing public opinion. Critics argue it sacrifices financial autonomy, with many citizens fearing over-reliance on the US. Supporters believe it could stabilize the nation economically, addressing the current diminishing value of pesos. While some sectors of Argentina's economy are informally dollarized, the complete transition would be complex and unprecedented in scale. Citizens' trust in the government is fractured due to past financial crises, and many already safeguard their wealth in US dollars. (Reuters)
Bolivia's soccer federation canceled the nation's top two soccer tournaments following allegations of widespread match-fixing involving referees, players, and club executives. This decision, supported by most first-division clubs, comes after criminal charges were brought and calls for CONMEBOL to organize a replacement competition by year's end. (AP)
Bolivia acknowledges escalating cocaine production within its borders, signaling a shift from being a mere coca leaf grower and drug transit country. Government Minister Eduardo del Castillo reported the dismantling of numerous "mega laboratories" in 2023, especially in the coca-rich Chapare region. This new stance highlights internal tensions within the ruling MAS party and increasing pressure to address drug trafficking ahead of the 2025 elections. (Reuters)
Petrobras aims to establish a subsidiary in China to triple its share of China's oil imports over the next few decades, strengthening Brazil-China relations, says CEO Jean Paul Prates. This move, set to occur next year following official approval, aligns with President Lula da Silva's approach for harmonious ties with both China and the US. The subsidiary will facilitate Petrobras's participation in international projects, potentially rejuvenating Brazil's naval and oil refining industries through Chinese collaborations. (Reuters)
A cyclone hit southern Brazil, causing extensive flooding and destruction, particularly in Rio Grande do Sul. The death toll reached 27, displacing thousands. (Al Jazeera)
Brazil's government launches its largest operation yet, "Eraha Tapiro", to expel illegal cattle farms from the Amazon's indigenous territories. This aggressive action, involving federal agencies and armed forces, aims to restore control and curb environmental crimes, following the promises made by the current president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The operation faces resistance from criminal gangs, with repercussions expected on the local economic and political dynamics. (The Guardian)
Brazil's Supreme Court is likely to reject a proposal backed by the farm lobby to restrict Indigenous land claims to areas occupied before 1988, considering it unconstitutional. The ruling, expected to favor Indigenous groups and possibly propose compensation for unknowing settlers, could resolve around 300 pending land recognition claims. The current vote tally is 4-2 against the proposal. (Reuters/US News)
Despite initial economic concerns, Brazil's President Lula has strengthened his political position, with the economy showing significant growth, exceeding expectations. Official data indicates a GDP expansion of 0.9% in Q2 2023, bolstering Lula's popularity, now at 60%. This positive shift, credited partly to successful agriculture and financial reforms, enhances prospects for Lula's economic agenda, despite potential challenges from global economic trends and local policy implementations. (BATimes)
Brazil's Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira announced that Mercosur has sent the EU a response to their addendum on the pending trade agreement, addressing environmental concerns and seeking flexibility on potential sanctions related to deforestation standards. Negotiations continue this month in Brazil. (Reuters)
US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urges the US government to apologize to Latin American nations for past interferences, fostering instability in the region, and bolstering right-wing dictatorships. During her visit to Chile, she highlighted the need to reset relationships based on mutual respect and acknowledged the lingering mistrust stemming from historic US interventionism in the region. She emphasized the necessity of confronting past actions to rebuild trust and facilitate cooperation on contemporary issues like climate change and trade relations. (The Guardian)
Chilean retailer Falabella announces CEO Gaston Bottazzini's resignation amidst decreased profits due to slowed consumer spending; successor unidentified. (Bloomberg)
Colombia's Finance Ministry collaborates with prominent business groups, urging the central bank for swift interest rate reductions to boost the fragile economy amidst soaring inflation. (Bloomberg)
In 2023, the US inaugurated "Safe Mobility" migration processing centers in Latin American countries including Colombia, aiming to prevent perilous journeys to the US border. Despite facilitating asylum applications, critics warn these centers potentially expose migrants to unsafe conditions in foreign lands. Juan, a Venezuelan migrant in Colombia, recounts his distressing experience of continuous threats and obstacles in securing asylum through the program. Meanwhile, the centers anticipate expediting application processing, aligning with the Biden administration's pledge to resettle 20,000 refugees from the region in the next two fiscal years. However, concerns remain regarding the centers' efficiency and the necessity for immediate border asylum avenues. (Al Jazeera)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Intel plans to invest $1.2 billion in Costa Rica's semiconductor sector within two years, following US State Department's partnership announced in July. (Reuters)
Surging criminal gang activity in Ecuador has escalated to bridge bombings, seen as a retaliation against government efforts to regain control of prisons. Amid escalating violence, authorities struggle with increased gang dominance in correctional facilities and a rise in explosive incidents, hindering their reach to affected prisons. This surge in violence, largely attributed to battles over drug trafficking routes, has significantly increased Ecuador's homicide rate since 2016, shaking its previous reputation as a peaceful haven. The latest developments are set amidst a tense political landscape with recent high-profile political assassinations and an upcoming presidential run-off election. (Al Jazeera)
Ecuador faces escalating violence as over 50 prison guards and seven police officers are held hostage by gangs in jails amidst increasing drug-trafficking gang activity. Concurrent car bomb attacks targeted the national prisons authority in Quito. Officials link these incidents to a retaliatory wave against recent crackdown efforts in the overcrowded and under-resourced prison system, hubs for cartel and gang control centers. This surge in violence exacerbates concerns ahead of the impending presidential elections, amplifying fears of potential disruptions and violence. (BBC)
Ecuador's booming banana export industry, a global leader supplying about 30% of the world's bananas, is being exploited by drug cartels to smuggle cocaine internationally, particularly to Europe. Positioned between the largest cocaine producers, Colombia and Peru, Ecuador has become a focal point for drug trafficking, significantly heightening violence and crime in the country, especially in the banana hub, Guayaquil. Recent record cocaine seizures in Europe were found in banana shipments from Ecuador, revealing an alarming trend. Despite security measures by exporters, the infiltration persists, with traffickers establishing fronts as banana exporters and corrupting various stakeholders in the supply chain. This criminal encroachment has exacerbated violence in Ecuador, where incidents of homicides, kidnappings, and extortions have surged dramatically since 2021, inducing a pervasive climate of fear. (ABC)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Gilberto Hernández, a Panama national soccer team member, was shot and killed in Colon, marking the second such incident in six years. Amidst escalating violence, locals urge for intervention, with one stating, "We need to do something like Bukele", referencing El Salvador's strict anti-gang approach. (ABC)
Guatemala faces political uncertainty as President-elect Bernardo Arevalo's Seed Movement party is suspended hours post-election certification. Experts express concerns over potential impacts on democracy, fearing this may hinder Arevalo's governance, and await citizens' response to the constitutional crisis. (Al Jazeera)
Guatemala's Congress, controlled by the current governing party, denies recognition to seven lawmakers from President-elect Bernardo Arévalo's suspended Seed Movement party, labeling them independents. This action, amidst allegations of a government conspiracy against the party, hinders their influence in Congress, underscoring tensions following Arévalo's anti-corruption election victory. (ABC)
Over a third of participants (11,000 out of 30,000) at the Mexico City Marathon were disqualified for cheating, including skipping sections of the 26.2-mile race, often using vehicles or public transport. This cheating trend, highlighted by Marca, isn't new, with substantial disqualifications in previous years. (ESPN)
A gender reveal party in Sinaloa, Mexico turned fatal when a plane dropping colored dust had a wing break off and crashed, killing the pilot. This incident adds to a growing list of gender reveal stunts going tragically wrong in recent years, including previous events that resulted in fires and fatalities. (KTVU)
Xochitl Galvez, a former Mexican senator and prominent opposition figure, has secured her position as a primary candidate for the 2024 presidential race with significant endorsement, including from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) which withdrew support from its own candidate, Beatriz Paredes. Galvez, representing the National Action Party (PAN), is viewed as a potent challenge to the current ruling party, MORENA, led by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Galvez's candidacy brings Mexico closer to possibly having its first female president. (Al Jazeera)
Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum is leading the polls as the favored candidate to represent the MORENA party in the 2024 presidential elections, according to recent surveys. She surpasses former Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, although he has higher recognition nationwide. The MORENA party is set to announce its candidate soon, based on national polling that also considers the public's perception of the candidates' qualities and credibility. Sheinbaum has been a prominent figure and a close ally of the current president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. (Reuters)
The U.S. Consulate in Matamoros, a Mexican border town experiencing gun violence linked to drug trafficking, has instructed its staff to "shelter in place." This area, adjacent to Brownsville, Texas, has witnessed increasing violence in recent years, intensifying concerns and criticism from U.S. lawmakers regarding Mexico's approach to combating crime. (Reuters)
The soaring value of Mexico's peso, dubbed the "super-peso", is adversely affecting families and communities reliant on US dollar remittances for livelihoods and local projects. As the dollar loses value, it restricts their ability to afford necessities and stalls housing constructions, furthering economic strain in regions like Oaxaca. (LA Times)
China and Nicaragua finalized a wide-ranging free trade agreement, further cementing their economic relationship since Nicaragua severed ties with Taiwan in 2021. This deal, encompassing trade, investment, and digital cooperation, exemplifies China's expanding influence in Latin America, traditionally a US-centric trade region. (Reuters)
Prolonged drought has led the Panama Canal, a crucial conduit for global trade, to continue enforcing restrictions on vessel transits and drafts into 2024, according to the canal authority. The drought has considerably lowered the Gatun Lake's water levels, which supports the canal's operations, causing significant delays and forcing some ships to find alternate routes. Despite recent easing, the backlog and increased waiting times have escalated freight costs and disrupted maritime trade. These issues underline the growing challenges posed by climate change, with experts warning of potential worsening conditions in the coming dry season. (Reuters)
Record numbers of migrants are crossing the perilous Darién Gap between Colombia and Panama, overwhelming humanitarian organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and UN human rights entities stationed at the border. In August alone, 50,000 individuals traversed this route, facing dangers such as armed groups and harsh terrain, seeking asylum and better living conditions in the US. Current facilities and resources are strained, unable to provide adequate medical attention, water, and shelter for the influx of migrants, many of whom are fleeing deteriorating conditions in Venezuela and Haiti. Regional governments are urged to increase efforts in addressing this escalating humanitarian crisis. (The Guardian)
A "wall of shame" segregating affluent La Molina district from impoverished communities in Lima, Peru, is being dismantled following a constitutional court ruling. Established in the 1980s during the Shining Path's violent campaign, the barrier symbolized stark social inequality. While La Molina's residents worry about potential land encroachments, the court emphasizes the necessity of restoring neighborly dignity and free transit. The demolition marks the end of an era characterized by extreme disparity and social division. (Reuters)
Six killed in a confrontation between the Peruvian military and the Shining Path rebel group, now involved in drug trafficking, in the coca-producing region of VRAEM, Peru. This violent encounter underscores the ongoing battle for control of the drug trade in the area. President Dina Boluarte vowed to continue the fight against this "narcoterrorism" alliance in the VRAEM region. (Al Jazeera)
Venezuela's brief economic recovery due to de-facto dollarization has ended, faced with high inflation, increased taxes, and reduced purchasing power. Despite initial growth in 2021 and 2022 following relaxed currency controls, limited credit and a depreciating local currency have led to decreased economic activity and business closures. Analysts and business owners note that many Venezuelans are struggling with inadequate salaries, unable to afford basic necessities. (Reuters)
Venezuelan top officials visit China to negotiate potential energy investments and joint ventures with Petroleos de Venezuela SA, aiming to rejuvenate the economy before the 2023 presidential election. (Bloomberg)
Shell and Trinidad and Tobago's National Gas Company (NGC) are considering crediting Venezuela's PDVSA for its $1 billion investment in a joint gas field project, potentially accelerating a previously stalled development. Negotiations faced obstacles due to U.S. conditions excluding cash payments to Venezuela, with ongoing discussions exploring payment structures and logistical arrangements for the project. (Reuters)
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