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BRAZIL SUPREME COURT INVESTIGATING GOOGLE, TELEGRAM AND VULNERABLE FISHERMEN IN GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR

May 11-17, 2023 | Issue 14 - SOUTHCOM, Extremism

Hae Lim Park, Michael Grimaldi, Julia Tsarnas

Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Editor; Evan Beachler, Senior Editor



Map of Brazil[1]


Date: May 12, 2023

Location: Brazil

Parties involved: Brazil’s Supreme Court; Brazilian government; Brazilian federal police; Brazilian public; legislators; tech company Google; social messaging service Telegram; Brazilian users of Google and Telegram

The event: Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered an investigation into executives at Google and Telegram who are running a campaign criticizing its proposed Fake News Law bill. The bill requires internet companies, search engines, and social messaging services to identify and report illegal material on their platforms. Failure to do so will result in significant fines. The Brazilian government gave the federal police 60 days to investigate and take testimonies from anyone responsible for the companies' campaign against the bill. Google and Telegram removed the campaign posts on orders from Brazil’s Supreme Court.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Brazilian users of Google and Telegram will likely dispute the Brazilian government’s attempts to investigate the tech companies for their opposition as the original criticism campaign likely impacted them. Brazilian users likely experienced increased misinformation surrounding the bill during the campaign. As widespread opposition to the bill grows, the bill will likely struggle to pass. Because of the public's disapproval, legislators will likely become less willing to combat tech companies' criticism campaigns.

  • Brazilian users of Google and Telegram will likely view the bill’s proposal as an effort by the government to assign responsibility to tech companies for illegal content on their platforms. The increased opposition from Brazilian users of Google and Telegram will likely prompt the public to question the government’s intentions in the investigation, likely damaging the public’s perception of the investigation. Brazilian users of Google and Telegram will likely switch to other online platforms to avoid the detection of illegal activities during the highly publicized investigation.


Date: May 14, 2023

Location: Guayaquil, Ecuador

Parties involved: Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso; Ecuador; Ecuadorian government; Ecuadorian Navy; drug trafficking gangs; criminal organizations; Guayaquil fishermen; Guayaquil crabbers; residents living near the Gulf of Guayaquil

The event: Fishermen at the Port of Guayaquil are vulnerable to drug trafficking gangs exploiting their shipping route access. Criminal organizations extort the fishermen by demanding 20 to 30 USD a week for the fishermen to work in the area without interruption. Ecuador is a large cocaine producer, distributing drugs via ship at the Port of Guayaquil to the US and Europe. Since President Lasso designated criminal organizations as terrorists, he gave the Ecuadorian Navy the authority to police their waters at will and the residents to carry firearms for their self-defense. Residents are also taking part in countering criminal organizations through organized nightly watches.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Residents living near the Gulf of Guayaquil will likely protect themselves against criminal gangs navigating the commercial port to decrease violence against fishermen and crabbers. Organized nightly watches will likely deter criminal gangs, diminishing the possibility of violent clashes between fishermen and crabbers and criminal gangs in the short term. Civilian resistance against the robberies and extortions will likely encourage the government to extend the state of emergency, likely encouraging residents to gather for self-defense. Residents living near the port will likely continue to carry firearms for their defense, likely creating a perpetual cycle of armed conflicts between residents and criminal gangs in the area.

  • The local economy of Guayaquil and Ecuador's international trade will very likely be affected as trade vessels will unlikely navigate through a dangerous port. Drug gangs extorting local fishermen are very likely hurting the local economy, making fishing less safe and more expensive while creating risk for vessels passing through the port. The Ecuadorian Navy stopping vessels will likely cause unintentional harm to the economy, as inspections take time and make the region less attractive for local fishermen and foreign vessels. The damage to the economy will likely cause people to lose income and diminish their ability to afford essential goods.

 

[1] Brazil by Google Maps

[2] Brazil Supreme Court justice orders investigation into Google, Telegram execs, Reuters, May 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/brazil-supreme-court-justice-orders-investigation-into-google-telegram-execs-2023-05-12/

[3] Ecuador fishermen increasingly fall prey to drug gangs, France 24, May 2023, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20230514-ecuador-fishermen-increasingly-fall-prey-to-drug-gangs

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