Peruvian Past, Stay Away from Belarus, Iran Elections, Not Havana Nights, and the Week in Review

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Peruvian Past, Stay Away from Belarus, Iran Elections, Not Havana Nights, and the Week in Review

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The Not So Shining Past. Peru’s Ministry of Defense accused the Shining Path of carrying out a brutal attack in a small village called San Miguel Del Ene, executing 18 people, including two children. According to authorities, MPCP left pamphlets at the scene of the crime decrying everything from drug use, homosexuality, and voting for Keiko Fujimori in the upcoming elections. For in-depth analysis on issues like this three times a week, check out

What it means: The Shining Path was a violent breakaway faction from the Communist Party of Peru that waged a guerilla war against the Peruvian government in the 1980s and 1990s that claimed the lives of over 69,000 people. The group has been mostly dormant since its founder Abimael Guzmán, aka Comrade Gonzalo, was captured and put in prison for life by Keiko’s father, Alberto Fujimori. The only faction still active is a violent fringe group located deep in the Peruvian jungle where the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro rivers meet – and where 75 percent of Peru’s cocaine is produced. This doesn’t look like a Shining Path resurgence to us – it looks like an isolated incident that the Peruvian Defense Ministry is playing up ahead of contentious elections in two weeks’ time.

Don’t fly over Belarus. A Belarusian fighter jet intercepted a Ryanair passenger flight from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania, forcing the plane to land in Minsk. Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko attributed the grounding of the Ryanair to a credible bomb threat received from the Palestinian military group Hamas. The bomb threat, however, turned out to be bogus, and Belarus’s intentions more sinister: six people, including a dissident journalist and his girlfriend, were detained during the involuntary Minsk stopover.

What it means: Don’t fly over Belarus if you can help it! In all seriousness, two things to watch here. First, the EU is reportedly considering sanctions on Belarusian potash (an important fertilizer) – Belarus is the third-largest exporter of potash in the world, accounting for 18.2 percent of exports last year. Second: this is what the emergence of a multipolar world where power becomes more important than previously established international norms looks like. Get in touch with us if you’re worried about what this means for operating in Eastern Europe or in Russia – and if you’re not worried, may we kindly suggest you wake up.

Apex of the Iranian Leviathan. Iran’s Guardian Council – its main electoral body – released the slate of approved Iranian presidential candidates. The Guardian Council disqualified a number of high-profile candidates, including reformist-minded Ali Larijani and former IRGC chief Saeed Mohammad. The current favorite to win is now Ebhrahim Raisi – a rather uncharismatic senior cleric thought to be in line for Supreme Leader whenever Ali Khamenei passes away. Meanwhile, U.S.-Iran negotiations over a return to the Iran nuclear deal continue to progress in Vienna.

What it means: We are not as pessimistic about this news as some other media outlets. The Guardian Council did not bar only moderate candidates even if it left Raisi, a conservative-minded cleric, as the frontrunner. That negotiations in Vienna continue to progress signal to us that perhaps the Supreme Leader wants a more conservative president to be able to take credit for successful negotiations with the U.S. If the JCPOA does to back into force eventually (and we think it will), there will be big implications for oil markets and the balance of power in the Middle East. As above, if you’re involved in the Middle East and aren’t thinking about that that might change things for you – drop a line.

No Havana Nights in Our Future. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken certified to the U.S. Congress that Cuba still belonged on the state sponsors of terrorism list – along with such illustrious compatriots as Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela.

What it means: Fun fact: U.S. relations with Cuba used to be so important that former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge made Cuba the only foreign country he visited during his entire presidency from 1923-1929. We’d be the first to point out that the Cuban government isn’t exactly the greatest friend to freedom and democracy in the world…but does it really belong on the same list as North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela? It doesn’t really matter what we think, of course: what’s important here is that the prospect for any improvement in U.S.-Cuba relations looks grim, which also means any potential of change in Cuba looks equally unlikely.


Honorable Mention

China’s banking regulator has ordered lenders to cease selling investment products linked to commodities futures to individual buyers in order to curb investment losses.

U.S. President Joe Biden called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Japan would no longer limit defense spending to less than 1 percent of GDP and that Japan “must increase our defense capabilities at a radically different pace than in the past.”

Top U.S.-China trade negotiators held their first official talks during the Biden presidency. According to both sides, the talks were “candid” and “pragmatic.”

In Chile, Plaza Pública Cadem released a new poll that put Communist Party member and Mayor of Recoleta Daniel Jadue as the leading vote-getter in the first round of presidential elections with 20 percent.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry laid out a number of conditions for improving bilateral relations with Turkey.

Malian Colonel Assimi Goïta carried out a military coup d’etat for the second time in 10 months.