31 March – News Brief South America

Santiago Meza

QUITO, Ecuador – Eleven soldiers to be investigated over minister’s death: The attorney general’s office announced that it would investigate 11 retired soldiers accused of involuntary homicide over the deaths of the defence minister, Guadalupe Larriva, her daughter, and five officers in a helicopter crash in January 2007. The attorney general, Alfredo Alvear, said that a preliminary investigation showed that there was negligence “amounting to involuntary homicide on the part of military authorities”. Those accused are four generals, four colonels, a lieutenant-colonel, a major, and a sergeant.

[El Comercio, AFP, EFE]

CARACAS, Venezuela – Indigenous Parliament of America (PIA) meets to study situation in Latin America: Representatives from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela met in Caracas on 30 March to examine the problems facing the region’s ethnic groups. The speaker for the PIA, Venezuelan José Poyo, said that the parliament will spend three days studying problems faced by the continent’s indigenous peoples (such as being forced out of their homelands and violence from armed groups) and evaluating progress made on the Indigenous Peoples’ Declaration which will be delivered at the Organization of American States (OAS).

[Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, ANSA, AP]

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina and China agree to currency swap: the Central Bank of Argentina and the People’s Bank of China (PBC) have signed a preliminary agreement to facilitate bilateral trade by swapping up to US$10.2 billion of their currencies (the peso and the yuan). PBC governor Zhou Xiaochuan announced the agreement at the 50th annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank in Colombia. Under the agreement, either party will be allowed access to the other’s currency by delivering an equivalent amount of its own currency.

[Clarín, Télam, Reuters]

LIMA, Peru – Constitutional Court admits complaint against Peru–Chile FTA: On 1 March this year, Peru and Chile signed a free trade agreement. The Peruvian Constitutional Court has now announced that it has admitted a complaint filed by a group of parliamentarians, most of them members of Ollanta Humala’s Peruvian Nationalist Party, who claim that the agreement is unconstitutional. The court’s vice president, Carlos Mesia, said that the decision to admit the complaint was taken last week, but that this did not mean that the court looked favourably upon the complainants’ arguments, simply that it would study them.

[Radio Programas del Perú, 24horaslibre.com, EFE]

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