18 Feb. News Brief South America

Ademir Farias

BRASILIA, Brazil – Brazil and Colombia consider trade in local currency: On 17 February, Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, and his Colombian counterpart, Álvaro Uribe, revealed that they are examining the possibility of establishing bilateral trade without using the U.S. currency in their transactions. Both presidents agreed that this step would favour an increase in trade between the two countries, recorded at US$3 billion in 2008. “We can favour our currencies more without turning to foreign currencies in our commercial relations,” said the Colombian president during his official visit to Brasilia.

[O Globo, Journal Do Brasil, Jornal de Brasilia]

QUITO, Ecuador – Correa claims “drug trafficking” does not exist in Ecuador: Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said that drug trafficking has not penetrated his county. His comments were in response to suggestions by local press of alleged links between Ignacio Chauvin, former home secretary, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). “Drug trafficking has not yet managed to filter its way into the political class,” assured Correa, but he warned that if links were found between the former minister and the FARC, this would be considered “treason”.

[El Comercio, Radio RPP]

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Cristina Fernández will attend G-20 summit: Argentinian president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, confirmed on 17 February that she will take part in the G-20 summit to be held on the first two days of April in London. “We have just received an invitation from the British prime minister (Gordon Brown) to visit London on the 1st and 2nd of April for the G-20 summit, where we shall discuss how to tackle increasing globalisation,” she stated.

[Telam, El Argentino]

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay – Paraguay sent aid to Bolivia to fight dengue fever: On 17 February the Paraguayan government sent 4,000 litres of insecticide and 1,000 litres of larvicide to Bolivia to fight the dengue fever epidemic, which has caused 15,000 infections and at least 15 deaths. “We have always maintained the need to strengthen relations between friendly countries. Now is not the time for speeches, but for action,” said Paraguayan president, Fernando Lugo. The Bolivian government expressed its gratitude for the aid though the health minister, Ramiro Tapia.

[La Nación, ABC]

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