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Latam Brief: Another Ecuadorean pol killed (August 15, 2023)

Latin America Daily Briefing:  Another Ecuadorean pol killed
Latin America Daily Briefing


  • A local Revolución Ciudadana leader, Pedro Briones, was assassinated in Ecuador yesterday, the latest in a spate of political killings that has claimed three lives in the past month. (Associated Press, Infobae)

  • “Family members of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio have raised suspicions of state involvement in Villavicencio’s assassination” last week, as he left a campaign rally, reports CEPR. “Others familiar with some of the details of the crime have also suggested there could be state involvement.”

  • Ecuadorian authorities have accused a group of Colombians of being behind the assassination, pointing to the alleged participation of Colombian mercenaries in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse two years ago, reports AFP.

  • Six Colombian men were arrested last week in connection with the fatal shooting, reports the Associated Press.

  • “Ecuadorians are expected to vote in favor of referendums (on Aug. 20) to order the closing of a major oil field and restrict gold and copper mining, potentially leaving the government with a large hole in its budget,” reports Bloomberg.


  • Libertarian Javier Milei’s electoral success in Sunday’s primaries overthrew traditional Peronist bastions around Argentina, including some of the country’s poorest urban districts, reports Infobae. (See yesterday’s post.)

  • Hawkish Juntos por el Cambio presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich is in tight spot in terms of messaging ahead of October’s general election: “if she goes further to the right, she risks losing moderate voters within her own coalition to the centrist (Sergio) Massa. And if she appears too conciliatory, she could be vulnerable to perceptions that she is part of the rot that Milei has vowed to eradicate,” writes Natalia Alcoba in Americas Quarterly.

  • Argentina’s government abruptly devalued the peso by 22 percent yesterday, reportedly in order to fulfill International Monetary Fund requirements to free a new disbursement of $7.9 billion. (Infobae)

  • The devaluation was made to proactively address currency pressures after the electoral upset for the governing coalition on Sunday, reports Bloomberg, which said Argentina intends to ask the International Monetary Fund to increase a disbursement planned for later this month by an unspecified amount.

Regional Relations

  • Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva blamed the IMF for Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa’s relatively poor showing in Sunday’s primaries. La Política Online reports the Brazilian government is concerned about a potential ultraliberal government led by an “Argentine Bolsonaro.”

  • Latin America’s efforts at integration have stirred skepticism that misunderstands the region’s motivations, argue David Adler and Guillaume Long in Foreign Policy. “Latin American regional bodies, including CELAC and UNASUR, were not designed as playpens for ideological allies. Rather, they reflect an autochthonous tradition of foreign policy—active, assertive, and autonomous—that has grown only more attractive amid the “global Zeitenwende,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s phrase for the geopolitical realignment that will define the era of pandemics, climate change, and rising tensions between great powers.”


  • The Guardian — inside Brazil’s operations against illegal mining camps.


  • More than 50 countries from around the world are interested in participating in Chile’s new public-private lithium model. “Countering opposition arguments that a state-led industry would erode competitiveness, the government says its model is the best way to boost sustainable production,” reports Bloomberg.


  • “With few job prospects, young men in the (Colombian) jungle borderlands with Brazil risk everything in a marijuana trade that ultimately bankrolls dissident armed groups,” reports the Guardian.

  • Members of the Wayuu Indigenous community in Colombia’s La Guajira province have opposed President Gustavo Petro’s efforts to spur renewable energy production, saying “companies and officials are not considering how proposed projects could affect their spiritual traditions, livelihoods and property rights – as well as the environment.” (Reuters)


  • An ongoing drought in Panama is creating long delays for commerical ships trying to pass through the country’s canal, reports the Guardian.

Culture Corner

  • For all of us who grew up watching Xuxa: “Brazil is in the midst of its own real-life Barbie reckoning of sorts — and Xuxa is at the center of it, thanks in part to a new documentary series about her that has become a national sensation and renewed questions over diversity, beauty standards and sexualization in her show,” reports the New York Times.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing

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