On Sunday, the Brazilian offshoot of the online news site the Intercept disclosed old private messages between now-Justice Minister Sérgio Moro and the task force of “Operation Car Wash,” the wide ranging corruption probestarted in 2014 that led to the conviction and jailing of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, among many other high-profile figures. The messages show clear collusion between a judge and prosecutors to convict those involved in the operation. Beyond the immediate implications — such as the possible reversal of convictions and the political impact to Moro and to President Jair Bolsonaro’s plans to appoint him to the Supreme Court — it remains to be seen how Brazilians will react.
Bolivia and Paraguay focus their attention on the Bi-oceanic corridor and the waterway Paraná-Paraguay
Bolivia and Paraguay will install on Wednesday, in La Paz, the first binational cabinet to deal with the Bi-oceanic train project and the waterway Paraná-Paraguay, as well as defence and security issues. It is a public and private mission. “We are in a new phase of a fruitful and positive relationship with Bolivia and this relationship have to take advantage of our peoples, so we are here,” said Paraguay’s Foreign Minister, Luis A. Castiglioni.
Bolivia’s Central Bank warned that the global uncertainty provoked by US-China trade war will impact on the prices of raw material in Latin America. One of the most impacted commodities by the US-China trade conflict has been the soybean, which has seen a sharp drop in price to $290 per tonne, one of the lowest levels in recent years.
The excess of rainfall and the high concentration of magnesium and potassium in brine are two of the challenges for efficient exploitation of lithium in Bolivia, according to the Earth Observatory, an institute dependent on the National Administration of the Space and Aeronautics (NASA). According to the institute, these two factors added costs to the exploitation of lithium and make it less competitive to the lithium produced in Argentina and Chile.
The management of alternative ports such as Ilo in Peru and those over the Tamengo channel on the Paraguay-Parana waterway begin to impact on the cargo flow over the Chilean port of Arica. According to PortalPortuario.cl, Arica managed 103.688 tonnes less of Bolivian cargo in the first quarter of 2019. According to Empresa Portuaria Arica, the Chilean port managed 470,227 tonnes in the first three months of 2019, while in the same period of 2018 it mobilised 573,915 tonnes.
Oil prices increased to its highest level in six months after the US Government announced the end of the exemptions that allowed eight countries to buy oil from Iran. In New York, the light sweet crude (WTI) barrel reached $65.7 while in London the Brent barrel reached $74.04. The price of the WTI barrel is a reference for Bolivia where the government drafted the General Budget (PGE) for 2019 with revenues based on a price of $50.25 per barrel.
Bolivia and Argentina aimed to strengthen their ties in the gas and electricity sectors. In an official visit to Argentina, president Evo Morales and his counterpart Mauricio Macri signed various agreements to increase investments on the hydrocarbons and electricity sectors as well as increase the use of Paraguay-Parana waterway to allow Bolivian exports through the Argentinian port of Rosario. Both countries also agreed to strengthen their scientific cooperation to develop biofuels.
Six samples of Bolivian cacao will participate in the International Cacao Award 2019 (ICA, for its acronym in English), which will take place in October in Paris, France, where producers and buyers from around the world will meet. This global competition is held every two years and in the previous five versions, Bolivia reached the top positions with high-end ecological cacao and this year aims to achieve more.
Lima will host the third meeting of the countries part of the bi-oceanic train project encouraged by Bolivia, to advance in its concretion to unite the Atlantic-Pacific oceans. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, Benjamin Blanco, reported the next appointment but did not give details about the date or month. The project of the Bioceanic Railway Integration Corridor (CFBI) is encouraged by Bolivia and it plans to link the ports of Santos, in the Atlantic (Brazil), and Ilo in the Pacific (Peru) through a railway line, with an eye on the Asian markets. Uruguay and Paraguay are part of the mega project and will be united from the Paraguay-Paraná waterway. Germany, Switzerland and Spain are interested in participating in the financing of the enterprise that, in Bolivia’s opinion, is viable. President Evo Morales encourages the project to make Bolivia a kind of commercial hub between both oceans.
Organisations from France, Russia, China, Spain, South Korea, Japan and India expressed their interest in building a prospecting satellite for Bolivia. Within this context, the head of the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) affirmed that India would be a “good” partner to develop technological entrepreneurship. He added that President Evo Morales has a “keen” interest for Bolivia to having a satellite to prospect natural resources.