Discover more from Dealflow.la
Dealflow.la #56 - Cargill 🇺🇸 fined for child labor in Brazil 🇧🇷, Albo 🇲🇽 raises $40 Million Series C, & Chevron 🇺🇸 plans to boost Venezuela’s oil output 🇻🇪.
Latin America is rising. Subscribe to Dealflow.la to keep up.
Bondy 🇧🇷 raised a $740,000 Seed round led by Smart Money Ventures 🇧🇷 to build an HR automation platform intended for clients to focus on their employee experience. The company's platform offers tools that allow connections between systems already used by companies such as CRM, employee support, requesting and sending documents, registration changes, communication, onboarding and offboarding, timesheets, and performance evaluation, enabling clients to eliminate multiple logins and passwords for different accesses.
Sempli 🇨🇴 raised a $6 Million Debt Financing round led by Citibank 🇺🇸 to grow their online lending platform intended to help small and medium-sized businesses access capital to become prominent companies. The company's platform transforms the access to capital of small and medium enterprises, making it efficient and convenient way through technology and information, enabling small and medium entrepreneurs to get help in their process of growth and value generation.
Gringo 🇧🇷 raised a $30 Million Series C led by Valor Capital 🇺🇸, with funding from Kaszek 🇧🇷, ONEVC 🇧🇷, VEF 🇸🇪, and Piton Capital 🇬🇧 to continue building a driver's app designed to make it easy to buy or sell, finance a vehicle or obtain contract insurance. The company's app offers real-time alerts on fines, annual taxes, points, and license expiration, and also aims to build a community around the issues it addresses via social networks, helping drivers monitor to perform services related to their documents and vehicles.
Albo 🇲🇽 raised a $40 Million Series C led by Morpheus 🇺🇸, with funding from Valar Ventures 🇺🇸 and Nazca Ventures 🇨🇱 to continue building their financial platform intended to simplify the process of receiving and transferring money. The company's platform offers an application with a card to track monetary movements in real-time as well as to make purchases online and in stores, enabling clients to manage their money with categorized expenses and income reports.
Argentina risks hyperinflation post-October election, due to economic decisions by Sergio Massa and candidate Javier Milei's dollarization pledge. Massa’s populist measures and spending spree, involving cash handouts and income tax scrapping, financed by money-printing, escalate inflation risks. The IMF emphasizes these heighten Argentina’s economic challenges. Milei leading polls intensify inflation fears, with his commitment to replace the peso with the dollar, lacking a clear implementation plan, causing uncertainty and potentially accelerating peso disposal post-election. (FT)
Rising inflation over 100% in Argentina escalates poverty, with 40.1% living in poverty in the first half of the year. Citizens struggle with surging prices and devalued peso, losing purchasing power and shelter. The government’s interim measures and potential dollarization, aimed at economic stabilization, offer scant relief to the populations struggling to afford basic needs and grappling with decimated purchasing power. The unfolding crisis underscores Argentina's prolonged economic turbulence and escalating social distress. (AP)
Evo Morales, Bolivia’s former leader, amid strained political relationships, aspires to return to presidency, reflecting endeavors by Latin America's leftist leaders to regain and reshape political landscapes in the region. (Bloomberg)
Bolivia is grappling with severe water shortages due to a prolonged drought and record winter heat, affecting glaciers and water availability, particularly in high-altitude areas like El Alto. The extreme temperatures and climate shifts are causing water rationing, impacting residents' daily lives and farming, with further concerns due to the anticipated arrival of the El Niño weather pattern in December, potentially exacerbating conditions and affecting the climate in vast regions for an extended period. (Reuters)
Bolivia’s dollar bonds have experienced a significant drop, with concerns amplifying as former socialist President Evo Morales intends to run in the 2025 elections, adding instability to a nation already anxious about diminishing gold reserves. This political development has intensified uncertainties, further weakening investor confidence in a strained economic environment. (Bloomberg)
Brazil is grappling with an unprecedented drought in the Amazon, impacting rivers and wildlife, and leading to emergency aid being sent to aid inhabitants in the region. Low river levels and warm waters have resulted in mass fish deaths and affected water quality, disrupting life and livelihoods for the local population, with potential ramifications for up to 500,000 people. The government has initiated emergency measures, allocating resources and support to navigate this crisis attributed to the collision of El Niño and global warming-induced changes. (Reuters)
Cargill Inc. has been fined $120,185 by a Brazilian court for purchasing cocoa from farms utilizing child or forced labor. The court also mandated the addition of clauses in contracts with suppliers to terminate relations if such labor conditions are found, and ordered Cargill to undergo due diligence to ensure no child labor is in its supply chain and to initiate an anti-child labor campaign. Cargill, disagreeing with the ruling and the fine, intends to appeal. (Reuters)
Russia has approached Brazil to resume a bilateral dialogue forum, a day after Brazilian President Lula met with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy. Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed Russia's interest in revitalizing the Russian-Brazilian High-Level Commission on Cooperation, inactive since 2015, to discuss various bilateral issues. Brazil has expressed neutrality between Russia and Ukraine, seeking to maintain ties with both nations, but has faced skepticism regarding its stated neutrality from Ukraine and its Western allies. (Bloomberg/Yahoo)
The NFL is investigating venues in Spain and Brazil for future regular-season games, seeking to expand its international reach. NFL officials have explored possibilities in Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. The NFL executive VP, Peter O'Reilly, highlighted the robust interest in NFL in these countries and the eagerness of renowned soccer clubs to host NFL games. The league is also considering Australia for potential games. This international expansion aligns with the NFL's strategic priority to cultivate global fandom. (ABC)
Luis Roberto Barroso, the new Chief Justice of Brazil's Supreme Court, is anticipated to face disputes with the conservative-led Congress, which has accused the court of judicial overreach. Known for his liberal stance, Barroso has been an advocate for legalizing abortion and criminalizing homophobia. He promises to maintain dialogue and harmony with the legislature amid potential conflicts over social and human rights issues. Congress aims to curb the court's influence, proposing constitutional amendments due to ideological differences with the judiciary. Barroso's role includes overseeing trials of Bolsonaro's supporters. (Reuters/US News)
Chilean authorities raised the alert level for the active Villarrica volcano due to increased activity. Residents within an 8km radius are evacuating, nearby schools are closing, and access to the area, including a national park, is blocked. The volcano last erupted in 2015. (BBC)
Chile's President Gabriel Boric plans a 3.5% increase in public spending for 2024, prioritizing public security, health care, education, and housing. This comes as the government aims to navigate political tensions and fulfill key policy proposals, seeking economic stabilization post-pandemic with a projected 4% inflation rate for the year. (Bloomberg)
IKEA is set to open its largest South American store in Bogota, Colombia, part of a $600 million expansion plan in the region, which includes establishing nine stores in Chile, Colombia, and Peru over the next decade. The expansion will see two more stores in Colombia next year. (Reuters)
Thousands of Indigenous protesters, part of the “Minga” collective, have rallied in Bogota, Colombia demanding action against the rising violence impacting Indigenous communities across Colombia. The protests occurred during the administration of President Gustavo Petro, who has pledged to attain “total peace” in the country. Despite a six-month ceasefire with the National Liberation Army (ELN), informal ceasefires with other groups have failed, continuing the violence, especially in rural areas. Colombia remains a high-risk area for land defenders and environmental activists, with Indigenous communities being disproportionately affected. (Al Jazeera)
The Colombian government is accused of manipulating a video to exaggerate the applause President Gustavo Petro received at the United Nations General Assembly, incorporating applause meant for U.S. President Joe Biden. The Associated Press confirmed the alteration. The misrepresented video, contradicting official U.N. broadcasts and photographs, raised doubts among viewers and media, particularly noting several empty seats during Petro's speech. The Colombian presidential office has not responded to requests for comment on the issue. (ABC)
Colombia's ruling party, allied with President Gustavo Petro, is predicted to face defeats in upcoming regional elections in the nation's five largest cities due to widespread dissatisfaction with his government, an Invamer poll reveals. (Bloomberg)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica's president, Rodrigo Chaves, has declared a state of emergency due to a surge of migrants, from various global regions, traversing the nation aiming to reach the United States. Over 84,490 people entered Costa Rica in August, a 55% increase from July, with many facing dire conditions and perils on their journey. The International Organization for Migration urges Central American and Mexican governments to cooperate to meet immediate humanitarian needs and find long-term solutions, warning that current aid resources are strained. (CNN)
Costa Rican prosecutors are investigating allegations from a Mexican newspaper, El Universal, claiming government and drug traffickers had discussions to reduce rising murder rates. This year has recorded the highest homicides in Costa Rica, surpassing last year's all-time high. President Rodrigo Chaves dismissed the report as an "absurd hoax," intending to tarnish the nation's and his administration's image. The article suggests Costa Rican officials liaised with networks connected to major Mexican cartels to quell violence. The Security Minister has filed a criminal complaint regarding the revelations. (Reuters)
Costa Rica, typically known as a peaceful country, faces its deadliest year with over 656 homicides recorded and expectations of the toll surpassing 900 by year-end. Last year's record was 654. Most provinces, especially the capital San Jose, witnessed a surge in homicides. Authorities attribute two-thirds of the killings to gangs battling over drug trafficking operations. The violence, likened to that by Mexican cartels, poses a national emergency threat to foreign investment and tourism. Security measures are being intensified, but officials warn combating international crime organizations will be time-consuming. (Reuters)
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
Haitian migrants are leaving the Dominican Republic amid rising tensions and border closures due to a dispute over canal construction on the shared Massacre River. Many Haitians have reported intimidation and pressure from Dominican security forces, prompting their voluntary return to Haiti, a nation struggling with food shortages and instability. The Dominican government's hard stance has impacted both nations' economies, raising questions over President Luis Abinader's future actions ahead of his reelection next year. The tense situation, fueled by disparities and national pride, forewarns prolonged hardships for both countries. (Al Jazeera)
The US has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of the orchestrators of the assassination of Ecuadorean presidential candidate, Fernando Villavicencio, killed in August. The candidate was known for campaigning against corruption and organized crime. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the reward, emphasizing the US's commitment to supporting Ecuador and combating organized crime, as the investigation sees support from the FBI. Ecuador has witnessed a surge in crime, attributed to the infiltration of Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. (BBC)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
After a prolonged gang crackdown in El Salvador, a confidential police report reveals that nearly 43,000 people allegedly connected to gangs are still at large, with over 20,000 being active members. This crackdown, initiated by President Nayib Bukele, involved suspending several constitutional rights, leading to the arrest of over 72,000 suspected gang affiliates, raising questions about the government’s methodology and intentions, as it now holds the world’s highest incarceration rate. Rights organizations are concerned about ongoing human rights violations under the pretext of gang suppression. (Reuters)
A Santander US Capital Markets report attributes the tourism growth in El Salvador to enhanced security and the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021. Despite concerns from the Biden administration, the emergency state decreed by President Nayib Bukele in 2022 has seen positive outcomes, with a 30% surge in tourism and a substantial drop in homicides. The nation is becoming a favored destination for Bitcoin enthusiasts and U.S. citizens, with companies like Strike and Fold expressing business interests, and a rising interest among Salvadorans to return to their country. (Forbes)
Heavy rains in Guatemala City caused the Las Vacas river to overflow, killing at least six people, including a young girl, and leaving 13 missing. Six homes were swept away, and President Alejandro Giammattei expressed concern and solidarity with the affected families. This incident adds to the growing number of fatalities, with at least 29 people killed due to flooding this rainy season in Guatemala. (ABC)
The mutilated remains of around a dozen people were discovered across seven sites in Monterrey, the business capital of Mexico. Messages at the sites suggest gang-related internal purging. Monterrey has been a battleground for drug cartels, notably the Northeast Cartel, whose leader was deported to the U.S. in March 2022, triggering attempts by rival gangs to infiltrate the cartel. This incident follows a period of reduced violence in the area. (BBC)
A U.N.-supported pilot program in Tapachula, Mexico aims to integrate refugees by offering employment, healthcare, and housing, potentially easing U.S. border crossings. The initiative, mainly for Latin American migrants, is funded by Mexico, cooperating with the UNHCR and the U.S. Since 2016, around 31,000 refugees have been placed in jobs with housing, education, and health services. The program plans expansion amid rising migrant numbers but faces challenges, including overwhelmed centers and skeptics doubting its capacity to deter U.S.-bound migration. Deeper regional cooperation is needed to address migration's root causes. (CBS)
Mexico's army dispatched troops and vehicles to towns near Guatemala, recently isolated by cartel blockades. Cartels, vying for lucrative smuggling routes, cut off electricity, creating substantial local disruption. President López Obrador considers it a localized issue, accentuated by political rivals, while critics argue it underscores deeper national security flaws. The government intends to sustain presence until normalcy is restored, but locals remain skeptical about enduring peace. Guatemalan forces are on high alert, responding to potential spillover of cartel activities across the border. (ABC)
Elon Musk visited the Texas-Mexico border to assess the immigration situation, meeting local officials and emphasizing an "expedited legal approval" process. He advocated for reforming laws to welcome “hard-working and honest” migrants and preventing illegal entries to avoid a collapse of social services, highlighting his pro-immigrant stance. His involvement in political discourse, including discussions on free speech and immigration, marks his expanding influence in American politics. (NBC)
African migrants, seeking to avoid the hazardous Darien Gap, are flying into Nicaragua as an alternative route to the US. The data reveals a significant decrease in Darien crossings and a corresponding increase in African migrants crossing Honduras. These migrants are often fleeing violence, economic instability, and climate impacts. The shift underscores the changing patterns in migration routes amid escalating global crises, and Nicaragua's role as a new hub in the evolving landscape of international migration to the United States. (Reuters)
Paraguayan President Santiago Pena has warned that if no deal is reached between Mercosur and the European Union by December 6, he will cease negotiations. Pena has been critical of the progress of talks and has indicated a preference to explore trade agreements with other regions, mentioning Singapore and the United Arab Emirates as potential partners. The EU-Mercosur negotiations had previously faced obstacles over requirements for environmental safeguards. (Reuters)
Venezuela claims to have dismantled the Tren de Aragua gang and regained control of the gang-run Tocoron prison in Aragua state, which housed restaurants, bars, and pools, serving as the gang's operating center. The government deployed 11,000 soldiers and police for the operation. However, civil society groups question the operation's success, stating that the gang's leader, Hector Guerrero, was forewarned and escaped along with other leaders before the raid. The government denies these allegations. (Al Jazeera)
Chevron plans to boost Venezuela’s oil output by 65,000 bpd by 2024, marking its major drilling move since U.S. sanctions were imposed. The U.S. has granted a six-month license to Chevron for this initiative. The firm’s venture aims to help Venezuela achieve oil production of over 1 million bpd and facilitate Chevron in recouping $3 billion from its Venezuelan projects. The operations are in compliance with U.S. laws and regulations, and new drills won't require additional U.S. approvals. (Reuters)
If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it, make sure to subscribe at Dealflow.la :)