In her first foreign trip as vice president, Kamala Harris promoted economic development and anti-corruption efforts, trying to stem the northward flow of migrants.
A stark reality faces the vice president as she visits the region: Expanding aid programs have failed to stem migration.
Border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico should return to normal status, with normal rules for asylum seekers.
Just about every week there’s a blockbuster round coming out of South America, but in next door Central America, which mostly is less affluent, things have been more hush hush. However, Kushki, a Quito, Ecuador-based fintech, is bringing attention to the region with today’s announcement of a $86 million Series B and a $600 million valuation.
“We never thought that we would return home [from the U.S.] and build a company that was more valuable in Ecuador than we had built in the U.S.,” said Aron Schwarzkopf, CEO and co-founder of Kushki.
Schwarzkopf and his business partner, Sebastián Castro, had previously built and sold a fintech called Leaf in the U.S. in 2014. The two are originally from Ecuador but moved to Boston for college, where they met watching soccer.
Unlike many other fintechs in Latam that are out to help the unbanked, Kushki works behind the scenes building the tech infrastructure that companies like Nubank use to transfer money. Some of the functionalities they build enable both local and cross-border payment players in credit and debit cards, bank transfers, digital cash, mobile wallets, and other alternative payment methods.
“We realized there was a gigantic opportunity to democratize and create infrastructure to move money,” Schwarzkopf told TechCrunch.
The company, which was founded in 2017, already has operations in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. The Series B will be used to accelerate growth and expand to Brazil and nine other markets in Central America.
Generally, expanding to Brazil is an expensive proposition, and therefore not a path that all companies can take, even though it can be an extremely profitable move if done right. Some of the challenges include the need to translate everything into Portuguese followed by the varying financial regulations.
That’s why Kushki’s approach has to be somewhat custom in each country.
“We focus on going into the markets and we basically rebuild an entire infrastructure, so we put everything into one API,” said Schwarzkopf.
To build all this infrastructure, Kushki, which means “cash” in a native Andes dialect, has raised a total of $100 million from SoftBank, an undisclosed global growth equity firm, as well as previous investors including DILA Capital, Kaszek Ventures, Clocktower Ventures, and Magma Partners.
“From now until 2060, people will need servers and ways to move money, and we knew that the existing payment infrastructure couldn’t support that,” said Schwarzkopf.
The number of immigrants detained at the southwestern border has risen for 12 straight months, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
New government statistics show a backlog of migrant children being held at Border Patrol facilities contrary to law has greatly diminished.
It’s time to take them down from their pedestals.
Immigration is America’s lifeblood, so we can’t risk losing it.
The administration is under intensifying pressure to expand its capacity to care for as many as 35,000 unaccompanied minors, part of a wave of people crossing the border.
Roberta S. Jacobson’s departure comes amid the administration’s efforts to reduce the flow of immigration from Central America.
… Or the next Trump will.
Blaming the increase in arrivals on current immigration policy only papers over harder truths, experts say.
The U.S. immigration system doesn’t reflect its own needs or those of its southern neighbors.
No one is holding American employers to account for their willingness to hire millions of unauthorized immigrants.
The president gave the vice president a prominent role in the politically charged issue at a time when thousands of children are being detained in facilities along the border.
Until we address what motivates vulnerable people to leave their home countries, they will continue to come.
The trek from Central America to U.S. soil has always been perilous, but a massacre with many victims from one corner of Guatemala has shaken that country.
When 149 migrants were escorted onto a bridge by U.S. Border Patrol agents, they had no idea where they were being taken. Many collapsed, crying, when they learned they were back in Mexico.
The announcement came at a time when the Biden administration has been quietly pressing Mexico to ramp up its efforts to limit the flow of migrants.
The Biden administration has been quietly pressing Mexico to ramp up its efforts to limit the flow of migrants, clinging to a Trump policy of relying on southern neighbors to enforce America’s immigration agenda.
The White House also revived an Obama-era policy that allows Central American children to apply for admission to the U.S. from their home country.
In “Ancestor Approved” and “The Sea-Ringed World,” sacred stories provide comfort by bringing people together.
The new administration will have trouble finding partners to defend democracy in the region.
The storms displaced hundreds of thousands of people, creating a new class of refugees with more reason than ever to migrate north and setting up an early test for the incoming Biden administration.
China, which has been expanding its presence in the region, is likely to beat the United States in its own backyard with vaccine diplomacy as Washington looks “at taking care of the U.S. first.”
The storm is barreling across parts of Central America that are still reeling from Hurricane Eta’s impact less than two weeks ago.
There have been 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes this year, the most active Atlantic season on record.
The storm will be the second hurricane to strike the region in two weeks.
The storm is expected to make landfall along the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras as a Category 4 hurricane by Monday night.
A Category One storm, Iota was expected to strengthen into a major hurricane by Monday as it approached the coast of Central America, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Iota is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane this weekend as it approaches the coast of Central America, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Another 23 people across Central America have died or are missing as a result of a vast storm system dumping heavy rainfall across the region.
Eta, the 28th named storm of the active 2020 hurricane season, was expected to strengthen as it approached the Florida Keys after bringing catastrophic rainfall to Honduras and Nicaragua.
Forecasters warned of “catastrophic” damage in the region, with winds up to 150 miles per hour and severe flooding expected as the Category 4 storm prepares to make landfall on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.
The storm was expected to strengthen before making landfall on Tuesday, producing as much as 35 inches of rain.
When these mammals are ill, they have fewer interactions with family and friends, new study suggests. “It’s like us,” said one researcher.
Although the ban remains in place for now, the ruling is a legal setback for one of the government’s most important policies aimed at slowing immigration.
Poaching of the big cats is on the rise, and a new study links their slaughter to corruption as well as investment from Chinese companies.
The Mayan culture built city-states across Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize for centuries, but we’re only starting to appreciate how extensive Maya civilization was and how drastically Maya farmers and engineers reworked the Mesoamerican landscape. Over the last few years, lidar surveys have revealed an ancient landscape previously hidden beneath vegetation and features that are too large-scale to recognize from the ground. Aguada Fenix, a newly discovered monument site, is the latter.
“A horizontal construction on this scale is difficult to recognize from the ground level,” wrote University of Arizona archaeologist Takeshi Inomata and his colleagues. The earthen platform is 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles) long and 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) tall, with raised earthen causeways connecting it to groups of smaller platforms nearby. Based on excavations at the site, it served as a ceremonial center for the Maya.
Inomata explained further, “This area is developed—it’s not the jungle; people live there, but this site was not known because it is so flat and huge. It just looks like a natural landscape. But with lidar, it pops up as a very well-planned shape.” The team first noticed the platform in a set of low-resolution lidar images collected by the Mexican government, and they followed up with higher-resolution surveys and then excavations at the site.
The country is one of the last to reject the strict measures introduced globally to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Families say they are paying the price.
As the United States reckons with its decline, it should understand where its power came from in the first place.
Baseball and soccer leagues carry on in Nicaragua, whose public health officials report relatively few coronavirus cases. Many others have doubts.