Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)
The public security situation in Brazil is complicated, and particularly in Rio de Janeiro state, which has high levels of violence and criminality. The presence of multiple different criminal groups fighting for territory, coupled with abusive government measures to tackle criminal activity, has created a deadly, high-risk environment for civilians in the state. In 2021, Rio de Janeiro registered 27 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, a rate lower than states like Bahia and Ceará but significantly higher than the national average of 22. Rio de Janeiro also ranked first among Brazilian states in the number of deaths recorded during police interventions, with at least 1,356 people reportedly killed.1 In May 2021, for example, a police operation against drug traffickers in the Jacarezinho community in Rio de Janeiro city resulted in 29 reported fatalities. While authorities claimed that all those killed in the operation were linked to criminal groups, witnesses reported that police officers entered civilian houses and carried out extrajudicial executions.2 The Jacarezinho operation was the deadliest single event recorded by ACLED in Brazil in 2021. A year later, in May 2022, military and federal police forces clashed with the Red Command (CV) in the Vila Cruzeiro community in the Penha Complex, resulting in at least 26 reported fatalities, including civilians. These are not isolated incidents, but rather indicative of the increasing lethality of violence in Rio de Janeiro in 2021 and 2022, and the rising threat to civilians.
Crime, Elections, Violence, Civilians, Militias, Gangs, and Public Security
AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
To examine the challenges and risks arising from the Belt and Road Initiative, this article, in its initial section undertakes a case study of Venezuela in explaining the probable debt-trap situation arising in the Latin American region. Following it, the next section examines the risks arising from BRI from the perspective of dependency theory. It is observed that the US has taken the Latin American region for granted. However, China appears to encroach into what the US considers as its backyard. With this hindsight, China’s increasing involvement in the region is dichotomously analyzed to ponder whether it is a strategy to gain influence or an extension of peaceful rise in the third section. China’s post-pandemic investments in LAC have been analyzed to enhance the argument of a tussle between the US and China. This provides a clear picture of how the two global economic giants are scrambling their money to sustain their influence over LAC. Finally, digital geopolitics has also been considered in explaining the risks and challenges of BRI. It is observed that without any data regulation regime currently across the world, would end up LAC states into what we call data-trap. As all the above is considered, it cannot be ignored that the future of geopolitics is no more validly explained through hegemonic stability theory or hierarchical structures. It is either going to be a horizontally varied power poles anchored to the regional institutions or going back to the idea of sovereignty as the main concept
International Cooperation, Infrastructure, Hegemony, and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
Melina Risso, Carolina Andrade Quevedo, Lycia Brasil, Vivian Calderoni, and Maria Fe Vallejo
Environmental crime became the world’s third most lucrative illicit economy after drug trafficking and smuggling, with estimates of $110 to $281 billion in annual profits. Between 2006 and 2016, environmental crimes grew at a rate of 5% to 7% per year, a pace two or three times faster than that of global GDP growth. Money laundering is part of the criminal machinery that plunders the Amazon Rainforest.
The study “Follow the Money: connecting anti-money laundering systems to disrupt environmental crime in the amazon” reveals the need for systems, agencies, and institutions responsible for preventing money laundering to turn their attention to the connections between this illicit practice and environmental crimes.
The Igarapé study shows that the money laundering cycle follows three stages before the laundered funds can enter the financial system: placement, layering, and integration. However, not all proceeds from criminal activity are directly laundered into the formal financial system. Thus, informal diversification constitutes the process of moving illegal flows into the informal economy. It is estimated that 30% of the money to be laundered is used to pay the operating expenses of illicit economies. Cash transactions, divided into small amounts and deposited by “money mules,” are used to finance the hiring of precarious labor, accommodations, food, security, transportation, health services, leisure, and machinery, for example. The remaining 70% of illicit proceeds are formally inserted into the financial system. The study also recalls that the World Bank estimated in 2019 that governments lose between 6 and 9 billion dollars in tax revenue each year due to illegal logging. Similarly, other environmental crimes such as illegal mining, especially of gold and diamonds, generate between 12 and 48 billion dollars in revenue. In 2018, Interpol’s Global Illicit Flows Atlas found that illegal logging accounted for a percentage between 15% and 30% of the global timber trade, calculated between 51 billion and 152 billion dollars per year. The illegal logging industry is responsible for up to 90% of deforestation of tropical forests in African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Combating illicit financial flows is a powerful tool for dismantling illegal economies. It becomes even more relevant when it is identified that illicit financial flows fuel an ecosystem of environmental crime composed of a convergence of environmental and non-environmental crimes, such as corruption, fraud, tax evasion, and others.
Security, Environment, Financial Crimes, Money Laundering, and Illicit Financial Flows
Andrés César, Matias Ciaschi, Guillermo Falcone, and Guido Neidhöfer
Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
This paper investigates whether the impact of trade shocks on employment and wages persists across generations. Using an instrumental variable strategy on survey data with retrospective information on parental employment, we study the consequences of increased Chinese import competition in Brazilian industries on individuals with differently exposed fathers. Results show that several years after the shock, children of more exposed fathers have lower education and earnings, lower chances of formal jobs, and are more likely to rely on social assistance. These effects are substantial for children from disadvantaged background, indicating that the shock had a negative impact on intergenerational mobility.
Trade, Imports, Economic Competition, and Social Mobility
Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD)
“Energy poverty” is a multidimensional concept that reflects the need to achieve a variety of wellbeing outcomes, which has been scarcely studied and used in public policy agendas. Considering that the literature on energy poverty is still incipient in Bolivia, this paper’s objective is to generate evidence about energy poverty evolution in the country, approximating measures of incidence (risk) and severity for the period 2005-2019. The methodological approach follows the one proposed by Alkire & Foster (2011), with five equally weighted dimensions (energy expenditure, lighting, cooking fuel and indoor pollution, food equipment, and education and communication) and using different cut-off options, at the urban and rural levels. Also, Multidimensional Energy Poverty results are compared with a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based weight structure as a robustness exercise. Results show that the risk of being energy poor in Bolivia has decreased, but not structurally. Also, intensity has decreased in both urban and rural areas, but rural energy poor households continue to show at least 50% of deprivation in all dimensions evaluated.
During the reign of Forbes Burnham (1923-85), the South American republic of Guyana (formerly British Guiana) became one of North Korea’s greatest foreign policy success stories. Pyongyang not only acquired a new trading partner in the Americas but also gained a vocal advocate for its position on Korean unification on the international stage. These close ties grew in large part from Burnham’s admiration for North Korea, where he saw a highly disciplined citizenry united around the Great Leader, willing to work hard and sacrifice for the collective good. Guyana perhaps did more than any other single actor to help North Korea become viewed as an economic model for developing countries.
First elected Premier of the colony of British Guiana in 1964, Burnham became Prime Minister upon independence in 1966 and ruled until his death in 1985. A lawyer and trade unionist from the capital’s Afro-Guyanese middle class, his rise to power was backed by the United States, which viewed him as the only realistic alternative to the communists. While Burnham veered to the Left once in power and frequently irritated Washington, he was more or less tolerated because his pro-Soviet opposition would almost certainly fill his absence.
International Relations, Foreign Policy, Politics, and Bilateral Relations
The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)
The victory of opposition candidate Sergio Garrido in the governorship race in the state of Barinas on January 9 changes
the symbolic map of Venezuela’s internal diatribe.
The result barely affects the country’s political-territorial map; the governing party swept the regional elections on November 21
with 19 of 23 governorships and 210 of 335 mayoralties. However, it does mark a tremendous change in the sensibility with which the opposition and the government have participated in a political environment that is, if you will, hospitable—for the first
time in many years.
Government, Elections, Domestic Politics, and Opposition