Oct. 2 News Brief Central America/Caribbean

Winston F. Burges

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Drug trade generates twice as much as revenue as remittances: The corrupting power of the drug cartels in Mexico is enormous, announced David Robillard, CEO of Kroll, one of the world's largest private security and intelligence firms with offices in Mexico. Robillard indicated that the significant number of drug traffickers in the country generates revenues of approximately US$40 billion per year. According to World Bank estimates, this represents twice the total of yearly remittances sent to Mexico, which stands at US$21 billion.

[El Universal, La Jornada]

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Government seeks 2010 budget approval: Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes requested Congress pass the government's US$3.64 billion 2010 national budget without blackmail. Funes, who was sworn-in in June and enjoys high popularity ratings, described the budget as realistic and said most of the funds would go toward education, health and justice. The government has already secured US$277 million in current account loans from the World Bank (WB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

[Infolatam, La Prensa Gráfica]

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Per capita income drops: If low growth estimates of 0.4 to 1.2 percent by the Bank of Guatemala (Banguat) prove to be correct, the adjusted year-on-year income of Guatemalans could drop by up to 4.6 percent to US$131.6 per month. This would be the first decrease since 1999 when the number fell to US$125 per month, owing to a slump in world trade affecting Central America. However, Banguat expects income levels to recover in 2010.

[Infolatam, El Periódico]

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Gore urges Panama to fight climate change: During a visit to Panama, former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore held a conference on climate change titled An Inconvenient Truth, the same as his prize-winning documentary film. Gore urged Panama to join his worldwide efforts to protect the environment with projects promoting biodiversity and habitat protection. Later, Gore met President Ricardo Martinelli, who handed him the keys to Panama City in honor of his visit.

[PA-Digital, La Estrella]

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