Top Story — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited earthquake-ravaged Chile on Tuesday morning, bringing 25 satellite phones and promising United States assistance during a news conference with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
“We’ll be here to help when others leave,” Clinton said, “because we are committed to this partnership and this friendship with Chile.”
President Bachelet said Chile needs field hospitals, portable dialysis machines, temporary bridges, plastic tarps, water desalination systems and communications equipment among other items. The United States is preparing eight water-purification units, a field hospital, temporary bridges and other medical supplies to send to Chile, Clinton said.
Clinton’s visit comes as President Bachelet faces criticism that her administration did not react fast enough in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake nor ask for foreign assistance as quickly as it should.
Tens of thousands of people remain homeless and there is widespread looting in the cities and towns most effected by the earthquake, including Concepción. There are now 14,000 Chilean troops in the region to quell looting and prevent violence.
On the issue of the cost of recovery, Bachelet said she does not have an exact number, but some projections range around $30 billion.
“All I can say is it’s going to be a lot,” she said.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Mexican city of Cancún is once again a top spring break destination for college students after facing declining numbers in 2009 due to worries over drug violence, the H1N1 virus and the global economic crisis.
- Mexican federal police arrested a man in central Mexican state of Tlaxcala wanted for sex-trafficking by the FBI.
- An independent assessment faulted the U.N. for failing to coordinate with Haitian groups and provide security in the aftermath of Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake.
- The U.S. government criticized Jamaica for not extraditing an alleged crime boss for charges of drug and arms trafficking filed in New York.
- Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom fired Interior Minister Raúl Velásquez for alleged corruption charges stemming from irregularities in a contract signed to buy fuel for the country’s national police.
- The New York Times launched a new international news supplement in La Prensa Gráfica in El Salvador.
- 12,000 residents of Nicaragua’s Corn Islands are without power due to a fire that broke out in a power plant.
- Drug enforcement officials in Costa Rica arrested a Mexican man carrying $250,000 in undeclared cash.
- Bank of Nova Scotia agreed to buy the Colombian unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. The amount of the purchase was not released.
- Prosecutors in Venezuela asked a court Monday to approve extradition request for former President Carlos Andrés Pérez for violence committed during the “Caracazo” street protests and corruption charges.
- A U.S. State Department report said that Bolivian coca production grew 10 percent in 2009.
- A mudslide near the Peruvian village of Cochahuasi killed at least six people.
- The Brazilian Air Force handed 50,000 documents from the years of the military dictatorship (1964-1985) over to the National Archive. The Air Force had said the documents were destroyed in a fire. (Portuguese)
- The United Kingdom rejected an offer by the U.S. to mediate its conflict with Argentina over the Falkland Islands.
- Uruguayan President José Mujica asked private businesses to fund his inauguration ceremony, which was held on Monday.
- Paraguayan soccer star Salvador Cabañas left Los Angeles hospital after 35 days yesterday, and now begins treatment at San Jerónimo Rehabilitation Center in Mexico City. (Spanish)
Image: James Guppy @ Flickr.