Things That Matter

Using Social Media, Russia Is Accused Of Being Behind The Massive Protests Across Latin America

For months now, Latin America has been facing a political crisis as country after country has seen massive populist protest movements that have destabilized the region. From Chile to Puerto Rico, Bolivia to Ecuador, governments have struggled to respond to growing inequality – which has forced millions of Latinos to take to the street.

Many of these protest movements lack obvious leadership but they do share a few common threads. For one, they want to see more government accountability and actions against corruption. They also share a desire to fight growing income inequality which has stifled economic development for the region’s most vulnerable populations.

Now, a new report has tied many of these massive protest movements to Russian bots – which are seen as instigating and magnifying the region’s unrest.

The US has reportedly tied Russian bots to increased protest movements across Latin America.

Although the protest movements across Latin America share a few common threads, the majority of them are overwhelmingly different. In Chile, protests started over a planned increase in public transport fares. In Bolivia, it was against alleged voter fraud by then-President Evo Morales. In Puerto Rico, it was to fight back against alleged corruption and to hold leaders accountable for homophobic and misogynistic texts.

According to the US State Department, however, they’ve identified one theme they all seem to have in common: Russian interference.

In Chile, nearly 10 percent of all tweets supporting protests in late October originated with Twitter accounts that had a high certainty of being linked to Russia. While in Bolivia, tweets associated with Russian-backed accounts spiked to more than 1,000 per day – up from fewer than five.

And in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Chile over one 30-day period, Russia-linked accounts posted strikingly similar messages within 90 minutes of one another.

Senior diplomats from the US believe that Russia’s goal may be to increase dissent in countries that don’t support Maduro’s presidency in Venezuela.

Russia’s alleged campaign to help tap support for Maduro’s regime has resulted in mixed reviews. It’s not obvious how successful the campaign has been.

With the support of more than 50 other countries, the Trump administration has imposed bruising economic sanctions against Mr. Maduro’s government in Venezuela over the last year. The coalition is backing Juan Guaidó, the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, whom most of Latin America and the rest of the West views as the country’s legitimate president.

Russia is working to expand its presence in Latin America, largely at Washington’s expense.

The US State Department frequently keeps tabs on Twitter traffic worldwide to monitor for potentially dangerous activities, like the proliferation of fake pages and user accounts or content that targets the public with divisive messages

“We are noting a thumb on the scales,” said Kevin O’Reilly, the deputy assistant secretary of state overseeing issues in the Western Hemisphere. “It has made the normal dispute resolutions of a democratic society more contentious and more difficult.”

Souring attitudes toward the United States throughout the region over trade and immigration issues, the rise of populist candidates, and the deepening internal economic and social challenges facing many Latin American countries create favorable circumstances for Russia to advance its interests.

About a decade ago, it became obvious that Russia was launching an online campaign to destabilize the region using new technology and social media.

There are Spanish-language arms of two Russian-backed news organizations that have been found to spread disinformation, conspiracy theories and, in some cases, obvious lies to undermine liberal democratic governments.

According to one state-financed group, RT Español, they’ve reached 18 million people each week across ten Latin American counties and have more than a billion views on YouTube. This is huge liability for the truth.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

Culture

Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

Lute Castro / Getty Images

I guarantee that since Beyonce’s hit anthem ‘Formation’ hit the airwaves, we’ve all been wanting to channel our inner Bey and carry some hot sauce in our bags. But which one would you choose?  

Whether you prefer sweet and sour, ranch, spicy, or mild, when it comes to options, the possibilities are endless!

A sauce’s beauty is that every country has its famous creation that usually accompanies their traditional dishes. Every Latin American country has its mouth-watering sauce that was created using recipes passed down from ancestors.

AJILIMOJILI

In Puerto Rico, this sauce is quite popular because of its ají dulce flavor – a mix of sweet and sour notes. The green salsa is the Caribbean’s version of hot sauce and is added to recipes, such as seafood and boiled vegetables.

VALENTINA

Few of us don’t know about the magic that is Valentina. Pour that sauce all over your papas, pizza, jicama, elotes, and so much more. And it’s great because it’s available in a variety of heat levels so everyone can enjoy. 

TIÁ LUPITA HABANERO SAUCE

This Habanero Hot Sauce is an original family recipe of the brand and combines just the right amount of heat with each fruit’s natural sweetness. It is handmade in small batches, using only habanero peppers, dates, mangos, and spices. All ingredients are sourced from local farms and are non-GMO and gluten-free certified.

The sauce can be used as a condiment with breakfast burritos, eggs, sandwiches, tacos, pulled pork, steak, chicken, fish, quesadillas, and more.

CHIMICHURRI

Chimichurri is mostly tied to Argentina, even though other countries also serve the herb-based salsa. To achieve the perfect chimichurri, mix parsley, oregano, garlic, onion, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Pair with meat cuts like churrasco and watch the magic happen.

CHIRMOL

In Central America, chismol or chirmol is made of tomatoes, onion, peppers and other ingredients. It’s similar to pico de gallo and is used in a variety of dishes.

RICANTE

Sauce, dressing, dip, marinade… Ricante does it all and with no sugar or salt added and with just the right amount of approachable spice. Ricante is not only Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and Keto Friendly, but tiá approved!

Ricante launched with five incredibly unique hot sauces, marrying non-traditional essences like apples, mangos, carrots, and habaneros.

SALSA ROSA

Pastas are enjoyed all across Latin America, especially in Argentina and Uruguay, which pair the dishes with salsa rosa, a tomato-based sauce mixed with heavy cream. Together, they create a pink paste that blankets a variety of pasta dishes.

TACTICAL TACOS

Wait, so not all taco bases are citrus?! Tactical Tacos knows how to do taco sauce right with their notes of orange, lime, and cilantro to start your bite out just right, followed up with a perfect hint of Jalapeno and Cayenne pepper in the background. That’s just their mild sauce, Snafu. The Fire Fight and Ghost Protocol give you a similar ride with the citrus kick but with a much bigger spice hit for those that are brave enough to try it out!

MOLE

Mole is a spicy-and-sweet sauce made from chocolate that translates. The dark brown sauce gets its heat from chiles, but also has a touch of sweetness from the cacao, almonds, and peanuts often added. The sauce is topped with sesame seeds.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

All The Truly Surprising Starbucks Menu Items From Around Latin America

Culture

All The Truly Surprising Starbucks Menu Items From Around Latin America

Starbucks

There are some things you can count on at any American Starbucks location, like the uniform flavor of Pike Place Roast, a sub-par bagel, or the baristas’ inability to spell Jennypher correctly. Outside of the U.S., however, the chain must make some menu adjustments based on local tastes.

Although the term “unusual” is certainly relative, here’s a glimpse of Starbucks’ best international offerings.

Maracuya Frappuccino – Mexico

Transport yourself to the Riviera Maya with this one. The people of Mexico can taste the exotic fruity flavor of passionfruit (aka maracuya) in their frappuccinos and save themselves from an actual trip to the beach.

Ponche Navideño – Mexico

Starbucks México on Twitter: "Recárgate de buenos deseos con una bebida de  temporada (pst, nosotros te invitamos la segunda 😁). Del 20 al 24 de  noviembre de 3 a 5 p. m.… https://t.co/hB3ziwEuDp"

Although most of us think as ponche as being just a seasonal option, several Starbucks locations in Mexico carry the traditional tasty treat all year long.

Banana Split Frappuccino – Mexico

You can take this one with or without coffee. It has all the banana and chocolate flavor of the beloved dessert and is topped with crushed waffle cones.

Envuelto Poblano – Mexico

Starbucks México | Envuelto poblano, el sabor de México en Starbucks -  YouTube

Lucuma Crème Frappuccino – Peru

Too bad they don’t serve it in the United States but I can understand why. This frappuccino is made with Lucuma, which is a tropical fruit from Peru, so it would be problematic to export it to different parts of the world. On the other hand, it makes the drink exclusive and adds one more reason to go to Peruvian Starbucks.

The taste of the fruit can be compared to maple flavor or butterscotch and this frappuccino itself is creamy and sweet as a Peruvian treat should be.

Barrita Nuez – Chile

Meet the famous humble cookie with a Chilean spin. You can taste the Barrita Nuez in Chile and enjoy the stuffing which consists of dulce de leche, nougat and walnuts.

Brigadeiro Frappuccino – Brazil

This frappuccino was born to honor the love of dulce de leche flavored ice creams which all Brazilians share. Dulce de leche is a traditional Latin American dessert that is prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk until it changes its color and gets a flavor similar to caramel.

Mini Donuts Nutella – Brazil

18 International Starbucks Items You'll Want To Travel For

Mini fried donuts filled with Nutella. Why are there no Nutella-filled treats at an American Starbucks?!

Pão de Queijo – Brazil

Brazil is often associated with skewers of meat, but there’s certainly a lot more cuisine variation. The fluffy balls of gluten-free cheese bread known as pão de queijo is a good example. The use of sour cassava starch dates back to the 1600s, before cheese was even in the picture, but today they’re available everywhere you turn in Brazil, from beachside stands to grandmothers’ kitchens to the Starbucks pastry case.

Dulce de Leche Frappuccino – Argentina

This creamy Frappuccino flavored with dulce de leche is pretty much what dreams are made of.

Cafe Tinto – Colombia

Starbucks coffee couldn’t be further than the working-class style of Colombian coffee called tinto, but as part of an effort to blend into its surroundings, the chain sells short cups of the stuff. It’s served black, and has a slightly thicker consistency than your average joe.

Churro Frappuccino – Latin America

Churro Frappuccino served at Starbucks all over Latin America includes cinnamon sprinkling, whipped cream, white mocha syrup, and a churro. 

What’s your favorite Starbucks items from across Latin America?

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com