Aug. 7 News Brief Central America/Caribbean

Winston F. Burges

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Calderón predicts swift economic recovery: President Felipe Calderón announced that Mexico is beginning to overcome the economic crisis. He spoke at the opening ceremony of a US$270 million steel mill in Tamaulipas to produce sheet metal for the automobile and white goods manufacturing industries. Calderón said he was optimistic about the economic situation for 2010 owing to climbing production statistics. He also emphasized increased job creation in the past two months, the rising Mexican Stock Exchange and the robustness of the country's banking system.

[Excélsior, El Universal]

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Congress blocks new bonds: Despite deals struck with opposition parties, the ruling National Union for Hope (UNE) failed to obtain congressional approval to issue bonds worth US$369 million. Opposition congressmen from the Renovated Democratic Freedom Party (Lider) walked out of the debate, accusing UNE of not sticking to budget promises, particularly the US$18 million set aside for the Senior Citizens Program to guarantee retirement pensions.

[La Hora, Prensa Libre, El Periódico]

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Government to sell refinery stake: The Dominican Republic will sell 49 percent of its shares in the state-run oil refinery Refinería Dominicana de Petróleo (Refidomsa) while keeping control of the remaining 51 percent. The buyer has yet to be formally announced, but one potential candidate is Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (Pdvsa). President Leonel Fernández's government will continue to manage Refidomsa through its majority stake and expects the sale to raise US$130 million.

[La República, El Nacional]

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Carnival Cruise superliner flies Panamanian flag: U.S. operator Carnival Cruise Lines decided to register its biggest liner – the Carnival Dream – in Panama. Panamanian Maritime Authority Administrator Roberto Linares pointed out that the cruise industry is thriving despite the economic crisis, while cargo shipping has declined considerably. There are currently 8,159 ships registered under the Panamanian flag.

[EFE, Estrella de Panamá]

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