05/24  Closing Prices / revised 05/24/2024 21:59 GMT 05/23    OPEC Basket  $82.41  -$0.86 cents     | 05/24    Mexico Basket (MME) $73.35  +$0.89 cents   | 04/30 Venezuela Basket (Merey)   $74.91   +$3.93 cents | 05/24   NYMEX WTI Texas Intermediate June CLM24   $77.72   +$0.85 cents  | 05/24    ICE Brent July  BRNN24     $82.1     +$0.76 cents    | 05/24    NYMEX Gasoline June RBM24     $2.48  +0.6%    |  05/24   NYMEX  Heating Oil June  HOM 24     $2.41   +0.1% | 05/24     Natural Gas June NGM24  $2.52     -5.2%   | 05/24    Active U.S. Rig Count (Oil & Gas)    600  -4  | 05/24   USD/MXN Mexican Peso  16.6948  (data live)  | 05/24   EUR/USD    1.0847 (data live)  | 05/27   US/Bs. (Bolivar)   $36.51290000 ( data BCV)  

Latam Brief: Head of Uruguayan president’s personal security implicated in falsified documents scheme for Russians (September 29, 2022)

This week, the head of personal security for Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou, Alejandro Astesiano, was arrested on charges of allegedly taking part in a criminal ring that falsified documents in order to help Russians get Uruguayan passports. The ring created fake birth certificates to claim that Russian citizens had Uruguayan parents, providing documentation to hundreds of Russians seeking to exit the country at a rate of US$ 10,000 per passport. Astesiano was allegedly a member of the group since at least August 2021, with investigators finding 77 pages of chats and audios revealing his participation. He additionally reportedly met with other group members in the presidential office on multiple occasions to discuss business. President Lacalle Pou has denied any knowledge of the criminal ring or Astesiano’s participation and has promised that the investigation will remain independent. (El ObservadorReutersMercoPress)

More Uruguay

  • “Ukrainian officials have pointed fingers at Uruguay for allegedly participating in a “collective crime” by supporting President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to annex occupied regions,” reports MercoPress. The response comes after comments from Frente Amplio lawmaker Sebastián Hagobián, but both the party and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have “disassociated themselves” from him and his remarks.


  • Argentina’s nationalized airline, Aerolineas Argentinas, has been in a near-constant deficit, reports Bloomberg Línea. The airline, criticized for unnecessary spending, is likely to be a topic of discussion ahead of the 2023 presidential elections as the country struggles to tamp down inflation and boost its currency reserves. 

  • Poverty in Argentina reached 36.5% of the population, affecting 17.3 million people, reports Infobae.  


  • Tensions between La Paz and Santa Cruz are growing due to the delay of a national census which would inevitably grant more political power to the latter because of demographic shifts, writes Thomas Graham at Americas Quarterly


  • Last night, “Bolsonaro’s political party released a document that claimed, without evidence, that a group of government employees and contractors had the “absolute power to manipulate election results without leaving a trace.” It was among the most significant attacks yet against Brazil’s election system,” reports The New York Times.

  • Polls show that Lula is highly likely to win, but two-thirds of Brazilians do not have confidence in their elections and Bolsonaro and his supporters will very likely claim fraud if he does not win, write James Bosworth and Lucy Hale at the Latin America Risk Report.

  • The Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine-backed resolution in the US Senate to support Brazilian democracy passed last night, reports Common Dreams (see 9/23/22 LADB). Across the Atlantic, 50 representatives of the European Commission have signed a letter asking that the EU reject any threats made by Bolsonaro against the Brazilian electoral system, reports UOL.

  • Bolsonaro is fighting hard for the evangelical vote after struggling to win the same overwhelming support from the bloc that helped fuel his victory in 2018. (APReuters


  • In Foreign Affairs, Andrés Velasco analyzes the root causes of Chile’s widespread 2019 social protests and highlights how electoral logistics and the role of constitutional delegates, among others, led to the failure of the country’s constitutional referendum. 

  • The US needs to ramp up a forward-thinking approach to Latin America, and Chile is the place to start, writes Steve Liston at WPR, explaining that advancing the long-pending US-Chile bilateral income tax agreement offers an opportunity: “Without the treaty, U.S. companies will be disadvantaged against Chinese and other global competitors that already have bilateral tax treaties with Chile. Once ratified, the treaty will ensure that U.S. companies continue to invest in mining projects and other significant ventures in Chile to the benefit of both Chileans and Americans.” 


  • Around 5,000 protesters marched in Bogotá on Monday against President Gustavo Petro’s planned economic and social reforms, meant to combat inequality, reports Reuters


  • A new InSight Crime investigation explores illegal logging along the Guatemala-Mexico border. 

  • “The people who historically have been condemned to the effects of general vulnerability and deprived of basic rights are the first and most affected by the impacts of climate change,” writes Plaza Pública. In Guatemala, these effects, in addition to inequality, discrimination, and others, have caused a violation of human rights. 


  • “Members of the United Nations Security Council appear poised to support a U.S.-backed resolution to sanction Haiti’s gang leaders and those arming and financing them, but warned that such measures must not have adverse humanitarian consequences on the population, which is already facing “an alarming situation,”” reports Miami Herald.

  • “Hospitals that rely on fuel-powered generators for electricity in Haiti’s capital have warned they could be forced to close, as a gang blockade on the main fuel terminal in Port-au-Prince worsens insecurity in the Caribbean nation,” reports Al Jazeera


  • A new report by the Atlantic Council, Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness, and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte finds that reducing wait times at the US-Mexico border by ten minutes could be greatly beneficial for the Mexican economy. It “would promote the creation of nearly 18,700 direct and indirect jobs in Mexico, increase labor income per sector by an average of $254,000, and boost growth for various Mexican economic sectors, particularly manufacturing, wholesale trade, and mining.” 


  • European Union Ambassador Bettina Muscheidt was declared a “persona non grata” by the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry and asked to leave the country, following a statement from the EU at the United Nations that criticized Ortega’s regime and called for democracy and respect for human rights, says Reuters


  • Paraguayan president Mario Abdo Benítez has requested that Taiwan invest $6 billion in Paraguay in order to maintain the country’s continued recognition of Taiwan over China, notes the Financial Times.


  • A rupture in a Peruvian oil pipeline has caused the country to declare a 90 day state of emergency, with an estimated 2,500 barrels of crude oil being spilled into local rivers, harming the Peruvian Amazon and affecting at least six indigenous communities, according to the Brazilian Report


  • The Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization, has about 400 operatives in Venezuela in charge of Maduro’s security circle, reports Infobae. Venezuela receives security support in terms of personnel, arms, and technology, and Russia, in turn, receives rewards relating to mining and oil exploitation. 

  • A police operation in pursuit of “El Wilexis” in Petare left six dead and 22 arrested, says Efecto Cocuyo. 

Arianna Kohan y Jordi Amaral / Latin America Daily Briefing

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