13 May News Brief Central America/Caribbean

Karla Montaner

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – Patriotic Alliance names leader: Mariano Figueres, son of National Liberation Party (PLN) leader José Figueres Ferrer, has been named as the new president of the Patriotic Alliance (AP) executive committee. The party will compete in the 2010 elections in Costa Rica. Although AP has yet to announce its presidential candidate, Figueres confirmed that the party, which was created in 2008, will register with Costa Rica’s Supreme Electoral Court in the coming weeks.

[EFE, La Nación]

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Schools closed due to A(H1N1) virus: Two public schools in the capital, one state school in the west of the country and another in Penonomé, were closed after cases of the influenza A(H1N1) virus were detected among students. Assistant Education Minister Mirna de Crespo said that if the closed schools comply with biosecurity measures, such as having drinking water, they should not remain closed for more than three days for cleaning. The number of people infected with the new influenza H1N1 virus in the country has risen to 29, and it has mainly affected children between the ages of seven and twelve.

[La Prensa, Reuters]

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Emerging loan for Mexican SMEs: The Treasury has launched the Emerging Support Programme to soften the blow to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as a result of reduced activity during the health alert caused by the influenza A/H1NI virus. The programme has US$1.14 billion in funding. Restaurants, hotels and other companies from the tourism and pork production sectors will be able to request a loan from Mexican commercial and development banks with a minimum of red tape and without having to present real guarantees. The measure aims to increase liquidity and aid the recovery from the tragedy.

[EFE, El Universal, Reforma]

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – FMLN plans to restructure ministries: Leaders of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, which will govern El Salvador from 1 June onwards, have confirmed that a team of party members and people close to President-elect Mauricio Funes are looking into restructuring the ministries, and even creating new portfolios. “There is a team working to see whether it makes sense to merge, remove or create portfolios. This is a task which is complicated by the fiscal shortfall we are going to face,” said Orestes Ortez, a representative and member of the party’s Political Committee.

[La Prensa Gráfica, Prensa Libre]

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