- Macroeconomic Events -
Venezuela's Former Treasurer Exposed
Ex-Venezuelan government official, Alejandro Andrade, has been sentenced in a West Palm Beach court to 10 years in US prison after pleading guilty for taking part in a $1 billion illegal bribing scheme.
He is among a small group of Venezuelans that have made untold fortunes during the Chavista regime. Known as the “boligarchs”, it includes government officials, well-connected businessmen, and military leaders who have siphoned off billions of dollars from the oil-rich country.
Mr. Andrade had been President Chávez’s bodyguard before rising to prominent positions in the government. Between 2007 and 2010, he was president of both the National Treasury and the National Bank of Economic Development, granting him unwarranted access to exclusive funds and business ties.
Alongside Raúl Gorrín, another “boligarch”, Andrade built a complex scheme of bribes, embezzlement and money laundering. It is estimated that he amassed a $1.1 billion fortune before moving to South Florida in 2014 after Chávez’s death.
Andrade has forfeited his assets — including real estate, aircraft, horses and bank accounts — and faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Gabriel Jiménez, a Venezuelan in Chicago who owned a bank used to pay the bribes, also pleaded guilty, American officials said. Andrade is set to begin his sentence on February 18th, 2018.
Sources: Miami Herald | NYT
Since October 12, large migrant caravans have emerged from the NTCA (Northern Triangle of Central America), mainly composed by Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The main migrant caravan started the “Viacrucis” process on October 23rd and it is composed of approximately 7000 people.
The recent migration burst have been caused by the lack of political stability in the region. The main driver has been the authoritarian measures of president Ortega in Nicaragua, who has violently repressed the student social mobilizations. Nevertheless, skepticism over the new Mexican president, Manuel Lopez Obrador, has strongly devalued the peso and has therefore increased the incentives for crossing the American border.
The response of the United States government have been direct opposition to the illegal migration. The border has been “hardened” with 5200 soldiers plus the current 2100 current National Guards Troops. This militarization has been accompanied by strong policies as treating anyone who promotes violent behavior as a combatant and allowing the American troops to shoot in response to any type of aggression.
Foreign Aid has been severely cut by the Trump administration to Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras as an ultimatum for strengthening their border policies and preventing the exodus process.
Source: CBS | BBC
U.S. Midterm Elections
Midterm elections happened this past month on November 6th, when American voters elected members to both houses of Congress. Before the midterms, both were controlled by the Republican party.
This year, a staggering number of voters turned up at polls all over the country. According to NPR, more than 47% of the voting-eligible population voted in the midterms, a record high from the usual 36-41% seen. Part of the reason why there was such a huge turnout of voters for midterms this year is because many Americans view this as their last hope to create change within our current day government.
With all the results in, Democrats have taken back the power of the House (234 seats for Democrats while 200 to Republicans) while Republicans kept a majority in the Senate (47 Democrats and 53 Republicans). Additionally, over 100 women were elected to the House and a record-high of 23 female members will be joining in the Senate starting January of next year.
There is now only about a month before the newly elected Congress take their seats on Capitol Hill, and the America people are ready for what is to come.
Sources: NYT | CNN | NPR
- Sports -
After defeating Brazilian clubs Gremio and Palmeiras in the semi-final round, Argentine clubs Boca Juniors and River Plate both qualified for the cup final. Given Argentina holds the most tournament victories, with Boca holding 6 and River 3, this is not a surprise.
The rivalry between both Buenos Aires clubs has spanned for over 100 years. Commonly known as the Superclásico, the derby is regarded by many as the fiercest in the soccer world. The first leg of the final stage was played on November 11that Boca’s home stadium “La Bombonera”. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, with a 50/50 possession throughout most of the game. The second leg was to take place on November 23rd at River’s home stadium “Monumental”. However, as Boca players traveled to the stadium, their bus was met by violent River fans at an open intersection who managed to injure at least 2 players and the bus driver.
The country’s security forces were highly criticized by national and international media. President Mauricio Macri condemned the event, with pressure stemming from the G20 Summit which was being held in Buenos Aires from November 30thto December 1st.
Boca Juniors President Daniel Angelici demanded CONMEBOL to post-pone the match and asserted that his team would not play until players were fully recovered. The match date and venue have now been changed 3 times, as pleas from both teams continue to reject CONMEBOL decisions. As of December 1, the match is set to be disputed on December 9that Real Madrid’s “Santiago Bernabéu” stadium in Spain. River Plate management has rejected this decision.
Source: ESPN | The Guardian
- Culture & Markets -