Today in Latin America
Top Story — South American leaders met in Quito, Ecuador Tuesday to create a $300 million fund to aid Haiti in the country’s recovery process. The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) plans to ask the Inter-American Development bank for a $200 million loan and hopes to raise another $100 million from individual nations.
Haitian President René Préval was on hand at the conference and asked for help in “refounding” the country. Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa called for a committed response from South American nations and added that anything less could leave “weak and with serious distortions.”
Also attending the conference was Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who made his first visit to Ecuador since the two countries broke diplomatic relations in 2008 after a border dispute.
Absent from the meeting was Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who canceled his trip due to his country’s current electricity problems.
Spanish speakers can view the text of the declaration at Cuba Debate, where it has been reprinted.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Failing to reform immigration policy may affect mid-term elections by angering Latino voters in U.S., according to a report by immigration reform group America’s Voice.
- An earthquake measuring 5.7 magnitude hit southern Mexico Monday along the Oaxaca coast.
- Nicaragua plans to increase coffee production by 22 percent from 2009.
- After a ransom was paid Somali pirates released a Panama-flagged cargo ship that had been held captive since October of last year.
- Along with electing the country’s first female president on Sunday, Costa Rica elected its first Jewish vice president, Luis Lieberman.
- A woman in Eastern Cuba held her 125th birthday celebration, though the press is still trying to verify her age. Fifteen great-grand children attended.
- The Haitian government has raised its estimate of the death toll from the Jan. 12 earthquake from 212,000 to 230,000.
- Colombian police arrested 20 people allegedly involved in drug trafficking after a series of raids throughout the country.
- Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez declared that the country was in an “electricity emergency” during a radio program Monday.
- A Peruvian court cleared a former mayor of ordering the killing of a journalist who accused him of cocaine trafficking in 2004.
- Approximately 5,000 people are expected to attend a 3-day climate forum in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba in April, according to the Bolivian government.
- Chilean President-elect Sebastián Piñera announced his 22-member cabinet.
- Brazil’s Congress debates financing for infrastructure projects for Petrobras, the state-run oil company, amid accusations of financial irregularities.
- Flooding in central Uruguay has caused 5,000 people to evacuate.
Image (Miguel Romero): Courtesy of Presidencia de Ecuador @ Flickr.