Hillary Clinton Visits Earthquake-Ravaged Chile

Damage from the earthquake in Santiago, Chile.
Damage from the earthquake in Santiago, Chile.

chileToday in Latin America

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

North America

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  • Mexican federal police arrested a man in central Mexican state of Tlaxcala wanted for sex-trafficking by the FBI.

Caribbean

  • 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.

Central America

Andes

Southern Cone

  • 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.

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