Friday, July 29, 2005

Lula’s Depression

The Correio Braziliense of 27 July describes an obviously dejected Lula.

In a luncheon organized by Itamaray (Foreing Affairs Ministry)honoring visiting Botswana President, Festus Mogae, Lula looked “annoyed”, “had a lost look”, kept “a pensive air” and had “a very low tone of voice”. During his protocol speech: “Without raising his head, he hurried to finish and returned to his place, arousing discreet whispers.”

Lula is known for his high energy and charm. His party has been bombarded with corruption allegations during the last few months; allegations that are affecting both his behavior and popularity.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Chavez's Telesur Proposes Alliance to Aljazeera

The new Venezuela/Chavez-funded Latin American TV station Telesur is cooking an alliance with Aljazeera reports Aljazeera itself.

Andres Izarra, Former Communications Minister and current Telesur President, announced the potential alliance yesterday: "We may reach an alliance with Aljazeera, but our interest, more than anything, is in looking for greater diversity and deeper views on subjects." Izarra added that an agreement with Telesur would aim to "search for more material, to seek a deepening of information that we wouldn't obtain otherwise".

The United States legislature recently passed an amendment authorizing TV and radio broadcasts to offer Venezuelans a "precise, objective and complete news source," and to counteract the "Americanization" of Telesur.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Purged" Police is Back to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Police officers returned to the streets of Nuevo Laredo on the U.S.-Mexico border, almost six weeks after the entire force was pulled off the beat for drug testing and background checks in an effort to weed out corruption. About a third of Nuevo Laredo's 700 police officers were fired in the anti-corruption drive, most for failing to take drug tests. Tuesday, and 44 officers drove off in new patrol cars. The rest of the new force of 460 officers will go back to work as soon as Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Venezuela to Buy Ecuadorian Bonds

Ecuadoran TV channel Teleamazonas reported that six Economy Ministry officials traveled to Caracas on 19 July with the aim of finalizing this week the sale of Ecuadoran foreign debt bonds to the Venezuelan Government. Correa stressed that "repurchasing short-term debt so as to make use of medium-and long-term debt" would be good business. The interest on the country's internal debt, he stated, is 8.5 per cent; and it is short term, which creates liquidity problems for the treasury. By restructuring the debt via operations with Venezuela and other countries at reduced interest, therefore, "we reduce the cost of the debt and improve the payment profile," he stated.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Venezuela Could Buy Ecuadoria Debt

Ecuadorian newspaper El Universal reports a meeting between Presidents Chavez (Venezuela) and Palacios (Ecuador) following the Andean summit. A Venezuela's proposal to buy part of Ecuador's debt will be analysed. The meeting between the presidents of Ecuador, Alfredo Palacio, and Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, will be held this evening after the 16th Andean Presidential Summit in Lima.

Palacio (Ecuador's President), who arrived in the Peruvian capital at 1700 yesterday [local time], said that he has still not decided whether to agree to Venezuela's proposal to purchase part of Ecuador's foreign debt. He said that he would confine himself to listening to Chavez's proposals and that, after analysing them, he will make the decisions that will benefit the country.