News from Latin America

Peru 1-20-2022 large oil spill is causing ecological damage

The country faces a major environmental disaster. The La Pampilla Refinery sits off the coastal town of Ventanilla. The town is in the Lima municipal area. The French energy company, Rspsol, owns and runs the facility. The recent volcanic eruption in Tonga produced a Tsunami that slammed against the coast. The waves damaged a tanker that raptured. Oil leaked into the sea. Authorities say that the leak is the worst environmental calamity in the Lima area in years. Prosecutors were quick to announce that they were opening an investigation into the matter. Politicians and government officials are demanding that Repsol pay damages for the cost of the cleanup. It is said that the company did not have a plan in place to contain a large oil spill. Company officials deny responsibility and say that the spill is contained.

Colombia 1-19-2022 Betancourt to run for president again

FARC was a Marxist group that waged a bitter insurgency against the Colombian government for over 50 years. The group laid down its arms pursuant to a ceasefire in 2016. Many Colombians believe that the former FARC rebels received a substantial financial and political payout in exchange for peace. The country continues to wrestle with the government’s decision to ignore the referendum and vote for peace along party lines. Gustavo Petro is a former guerrilla fighter who is running for president on a leftist plank. While running for president, Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by rebels. She was held hostage for more than six years. In a public announcement, Betancourt announced that she would be a candidate in the May election. Political scientists say that Betancourt portrays herself as a reconciliation candidate.

Argentina 1-16-2022 negotiates again with the IMF

The country is attempting to renegotiate its latest loan with the IMF. Over the decades the IMF has issued 22 loans to the country. The international lending organization is under intense pressure to explain why it has invested so much into Argentina. The country invariably fails to pay the loans as agreed. Local politicians negotiate the terms for the loans and then renege on the very terms the country had agreed to. President Fernandez and his economic minister have demanded of the IMF that it renegotiate its loan on terms that they propose. The two government officials warn that Argentina will not accept more austerity measures. Basically, the government wants the IMF to reduce and renegotiate its loan and allow it to spend the proceeds as it sees fit. Most experts in international finance do not believe that the two sides will reach an agreement subsequent to the country’s March payment.  

Colombia 1-17-2022 candidate proposes another energy model

According to the polls, Gustavo Petro is favored to win the country’s upcoming presidential election. He says that if he is elected to the country’s highest office, he would move the country away from fossil fuels. Oil and coal currently account for nearly half of Colombia’s exports. The front-leading candidate wants to transition the country to more environmentally friendly sources of energy. According to his numbers, in 12 years the economy can to be transitioned to a knowledge-based tourism economy. He offered these comments during an interview. Gustavo is calling on other left-leaning South American nations to support his vision of progress. The Colombian markets reacted negatively to the candidate’s comments.

Argentina 1-14-2022 the coronavirus is again infecting thousands daily

Argentines, like everyone else worldwide, are tired of the pandemic. People either refuse to abide by government-imposed restrictions or take to the streets to protest them. Recently, thousands of weary beach-going tourists descended on the Mar de Plata resort. The height of the summer is slowly fading. Residents are flocking to beaches, bars, restaurants, and other places where high volume social gather is popular. People want to return to some sense of normalcy. Argentina is currently the Latin American country with the highest number of new cases of Covid-19 contagion (more than 800,000 over the past week), but there is no steep rise in mortality and everyone is still heading to the coast. In 2020 the country imposed the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.