Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Iranian oil minister meets with Venezuela’s Maduro (May 3, 2022)

Iranian oil minister Javad Owji met with Tareck El Aissami, his Venezuelan counterpart, during a rare visit to Caracas, reports Reuters. The Iranian official also met with Nicolás Maduro, where the two discussed “strengthening ties of brotherhood and cooperation in energy matters,” wrote Maduro on Twitter. Though exact details of the meeting are unknown, Bloomberg reported the expected signing of energy cooperation deals.

Energy-related commitments between the two countries in recent years,  including fuel shipments from Iran to Venezuela, have grown increasingly more common as both attempt to work around US sanctions. Notably, however, US senior officials visited Caracas in early March 2022 - the highest-level visit in years - as part of an effort to drive a wedge between Russia and one of its key allies and to discuss “energy security”. Though Reuters reported little concrete progress towards reaching a deal, some US politicians and analysts had expressed disapproval over the potential for lifting sanctions on Venezuela to import the country’s oil following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent disruption of global oil supply. Others, however, viewed it as a welcome step towards negotiations and easing the country’s dire humanitarian situation.

Venezuela’s latest meeting with Iranian officials has sparked alarm in the US, with Iran another one of Russia’s key allies. Considering Iran’s expansion in the crude oil market, as evidenced by its talks with South Korea earlier this year, the US hopes to break the global network of oil trade from and between US-sanctioned countries. As the West continues to try and isolate Russia from its global allies, Venezuela could play a key role in shaping US sanctions policy towards Russia and even Venezuela itself.

News Briefs


  • Americas Quarterly released key indicators for 10 countries in the region ahead of the Summit of the Americas. 


  • VICE News recently obtained complaints filed against US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) filed on behalf of thousands of migrant children. Abuses included verbal and physical abuse, routine denial of medical care, and prolonged detainment in ice boxes, among others.


  • Banco Galicia, Argentina’s largest private bank, reported on Monday that it now allows buying and selling cryptocurrencies. It is the first bank to offer these services in the country. (Bloomberg Linea)

  • A community of nuns in the northern province of Salta have accused an archbishop and other church officials of gender-based psychological and physical violence. The court date, originally set for today, was cancelled yesterday due to the defendant being out of the city, Independent reports.

  • Ambassador Javier Figueroa, Argentina’s Ambassador to the UK, said that the Falklands War is an “open wound” for Argentina, reports MercoPress.


  • Several measures aimed at curbing energy price hikes, with a focus on electricity, kerosene, and LPG, were announced by Chile’s Ministry of Energy. (BN Americas) $40 million will be added to the country’s fuel stabilization fund, according to President Gabriel Boric. (Bloomberg)

  • The Indigenous Selk’nam community, long said to be extinct in Chile, may be about to be legally recognized following an opportunity offered through Chile’s redrafting of its constitution, reports The Guardian.

  • Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service (SEA) formally rejected the environmental permit application from global mining company Anglo American, who wanted to expand existing activities at Los Bronces mine, out of potential risk to public health. (Mining Weekly)


  • Former president and current presidential candidate Lula Da Silva would push for a regional currency if he wins the elections in October, reports MercoPress. The move, argued Lula and his economic advisors, would seek to stabilize the regional economy and reduce dependence on the US dollar. 

  • The Washington Brazil Office released a new report last week ahead of Brazil’s elections in October. The report touches on 4 major themes: democracy and human rights; the Amazon, environment, and climate change; socio-economic issues and challenges; and the role of social movements. 


  • Presidential frontrunner Gustavo Petro canceled his scheduled campaign events on Monday following an alleged plan of attack from La Cordillera gang, say Reuters and Colombia Reports.

  • South African mining company AngloGold’s permit request for a Quebradona copper-gold project was rejected by Colombian authorities. (El Colombiano, Mining.com)


  • ​​”Today’s Haitian peasants are the descendants of a population of former slaves who fought for the country’s independence, but soon afterward were marginalized for refusing to return to the plantation system and work for miserable wages,” writes Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis at Americas Quarterly, recommending that international development aid create a new focus on small-scale farmers and micro-loans. 

El Salvador

  • Human Rights Watch reports growing evidence of serious violations of human rights by Salvadoran authorities following the administration’s enactment of emergency powers in late March. 


  • Starbucks opened its 12th coffee shop in Guatemala and its 1,500th branch in the region as Antigua becomes the latest city to host the coffee shop chain. (Bloomberg Linea)



  • The Latin America Risk Report covered the outrage in Mexico sparked by a young woman’s disappearance and murder in Monterrey. The report also addressed the growing rates of femicide in the country, particularly in the state of Nuevo León, in comparison to declining homicide rates country-wide.

  • Rising demand for electric vehicles has led to a boom for the lithium market, and Mexican lithium has “untapped potential,” according to Andrew Rudman and Cecily Fasanella of the Wilson Center in a new article for Innovation News Network. The country’s 36 lithium mining concessions are all held by foreign companies, but the potential of the sector is hindered by AMLO’s energy reform and agenda, as well as insecurity, technical barriers, and environmental concerns. 

  • AMLO promised lower medication prices on the campaign trail, but his administration has instead overseen dramatic shortages in medication. One in ten prescriptions goes unfilled in public hospitals, a nearly tenfold increase since when AMLO took office, reports the Wall Street Journal


  • At first, Pedro Castillo’s presidency brought hope to rural, indigenous, and poor sectors in Peru, but thus far it has yet to materialize in real change. Government mismanagement, multiple cabinet restructurings, protests, and more have led to crisis in the country, writes Alejandra Dinegro Martínez at NACLA.  

Jordi Amaral is a freelance researcher and writer currently working as a Research Analyst at Hxagon and as an independent consultant with the Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative at the Migration Policy Institute

Arianna Kohan is a Research Analyst at Hxagon and a current M.A. student in International Relations at the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She previously worked as a Program Coordinator with the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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