Feb. 11 Central America Regional News Round-up

Miguel Borrero

MEXICO DF, Mexico – Javier Lozano rebuts businessman Carlos Slim: Employment Secretary, Javier Lozano Alarcón, head of the Employment and Social Welfare Ministry (STPS), rejected statements by businessman Carlos Slim who had predicted a grim economic future for the country. In a press conference on 10 February, Lozana said that Carlos Slim Helú should reconsider his declarations on the economic crisis affecting Mexico, also adding that he should be more careful as “Mexico's most important business figure and the second-richest person in the world - precisely thanks to the market conditions and economy of a country marked by troubles and inequalities”.

[El Universal, La Jornada, La Crónica de Hoy]

PANAMA CITY, Panama – FARC rebels surrender at border: Four guerrillas, three men and a woman, apparently members of Front 57 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), surrendered to Panamanian authorities on 9 February. The rebels gave themselves up to forces from the National Border Service (SNF) in Jaqué, Darién province, 20 minutes from a police station, as confirmed by a “report to the Nation” issued by the State Information Department. The report stressed that the guerrillas intended to desert and gave information about combat material which was later impounded by border patrol forces.

[El Siglo, La Prensa, Panamá América]

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Government issues bonds to pay electricity bill: On 10 February, the government issued US$250 million of bonds to settle debts with the country's main electrical companies. In this way it managed to reduce the government's debt to US$85 million, which should be paid off during the course of the year. Executive vice president of the state electricity company Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE), Radhamés Segura, signed an agreement with the nation's two primary private electric companies, AES Dominicana and EGE-Haina.

[Listín Diario- Diario Hoy]

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Government legislators fail to pass budget for the third time: On 10 February, despite support from parties aligned with the National Unity of Hope party (UNE), the government was still not able to round up the 105 votes needed to approve budget reforms and remove obstacles to transferring funds. The opposition continued to block the debate and managed to prevent the reforms from being discussed. Mario Taracena, president of the Finance Committee, insisted on the need to remove the “shackles” from the budget and allow the government access to the resources it needed.

[Prensa Libre- La Hora]

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