SANTIAGO, Chile – Bachelet heads final military parade as president: Michelle Bachelet headed her last military parade as president in Santiago to mark the 199th anniversary of Chilean Independence. She attended the procession of 11,500 soldiers and police officers. The three-hour event involved 138 planes and helicopters from three military branches, including Air Force F-16 fighter-bombers and an air acrobatics show by the Patrouille de France squadron. Bachelet’s term in office ends on March 11, 2010.
[DPA, La Tercera]
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Vázquez enjoys 61 percent approval: Just a few weeks before the elections which will mark the end of Uruguayan president Tabaré Vázquez’s term in office, a poll by Equipos Mori has revealed that his administration, in power since 2005, enjoys the approval of 61 percent of the population. The president has a popularity rating of 64 percent. Only 22 percent of Uruguayans do not approve of the administration. José Mujica, candidate for the ruling Broad Front coalition, appears to be the favorite against the National Party and Colorado Party for the elections on Oct. 25.
[DPA, El País]
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Lula congratulates Durao Barroso and hopes to strengthen ties with EU: Brazilian president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva congratulated José Manuel Durao Barroso of Portugal, who was re-elected president of the European Commission, and expressed his desire to strengthen the strategic association between his country and the European Union (EU). “I anxiously await our meeting in Stockholm on Oct. 6 for the third Brazil-EU summit,” Da Silva said. According to the president, Durao Barroso’s unanimous re-election is testament to his excellent performance at the head of the Commission.
[DPA, Diario de Noticias]
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Hostages’ families grateful as government facilitates release: Families of a number of hostages expressed their gratitude to Colombian president Álvaro Uribe, after he accepted their proposal to allow the release of two soldiers held hostage by FARC without enforcing conditions for the simultaneous release of all soldiers held captive by the guerrillas. Robertina Sánchez, the mother of police coronel Enrique Murillo, held hostage for over ten years, applauded the president’s announcement, saying “we see it as a ray of hope. We hope they will be released soon.”