LA PAZ, Bolivia – Bolivian Congress approves electoral law: The provisional electoral law which will govern the general elections set for 6 December has been approved in its first pass by the Bolivian Congress. President Evo Morales is seeking reelection in these elections. The country’s vice president and president of congress, Álvaro García Linera, called the vote unexpectedly” after a 25-hour-long debate. Opposition legislators rejected the vote and walked out of the building, branding the measure as “dirty”. The approval came just hours after Morales announced he was going on hunger strike to pressure for a vote in favour of the electoral law.
[Agencia Boliviana de Información, La Razón, DPA]
SANTIAGO, Chile – Chile highlights commercial relations with Canada: Chile’s Assistant Foreign Secretary Alberto van Klaveren stressed the exceptional relationship between Chile and Canada after meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Leonard Edwards, during the 6th bilateral political consultations meeting. During the meeting the ministers highlighted the results of the association agreement signed by the two countries in 2007, and discussed the global financial crisis and cooperation with other countries. Van Klaveren praised the joint tasks carried out by the two countries covering a range of issues, including mining, energy, the environment, science and technology.
[Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile, El Mercurio, EFE]
LIMA, Peru – World Bank awards Peru US$330 million: The World Bank has approved a US$330 million loan for Peru in order to fund social programmes and counteract the effects of the international financial crisis. “This loan will support the efforts of the President Alan García’s government to protect the rights of the poorest, and to provide them with the necessary nutrition and access to quality health and education services,” said Peruvian Prime Minister Yehude Simon. The loan will also be used to extend the Juntos (Together) programme, which gives low-income families money to send their children to school and provides infants with access to health services. The World Bank funds form part of a larger loan previously agreed with Peru for US$2 billion which is available until 2011.
[El Comercio, Reuters, AFP]
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Twelve Latin American countries participate in counter-drug-trafficking course: Approximately 20 distinguished officers from the armed forces of Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Colombia will take part in the “First International Maritime Interdiction Course – Colombia 2009”. The course will last for two months beginning on 14 April in the Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias. The aim of the course is to train personnel in maritime interdiction procedures with strict adherence to maritime law and preservation of human life.
[Armada Nacional de Colombia, EFE]