Nov. 16 News Brief Central America/Caribbean

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Army seizes US$2 million in drug money: The Mexican army recovered approximately US$2 million in cash from a tunnel in Tijuana, just 70 yards from the border with San Diego, California. The Mexican Ministry of Defense (Sedena) believes that the money belongs to a major drug trafficking gang operating in Baja California, such as the Tijuana Cartel. Despite the fact that no arrests were made, authorities stressed that the operation represented a major blow to the financing of the drug traffickers.

[AFP, El Universal]

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – IMF sees signs of economic recovery: The effects of the world economic crisis are easing off in Guatemala and the country's economy is beginning to show signs of recovery, revealed Alejandro López Mejía, chief of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) mission to Guatemala. Mejía predicted that 2009 would close with 0.4 percent year-on-year growth, rising to 1.3 percent by the end of 2010. According to the IMF's latest estimates, annual inflation will stand at one percent, well below the 2.2 percent originally put forward earlier this year.

[Prensa Latina, EFE]

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – South Korea to help ease energy crisis: In the midst of a severe energy crisis, and with half the country's power stations at a standstill, the Dominican government has signed electricity generation and distribution agreements with South Korea. Celso Marranzini, vice president of the state-run utility Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (Cdeee), recalled that the Dominican Republic had a generating deficit in excess of 600 megawatts per day, causing daily blackouts of up to nine hours in some areas.

[El Nuevo Diario, Listín Diario]

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Police haul 800 kilos of cocaine: Panamanian agents seized approximately 832 kilos of cocaine in Darién province on the border with Colombia in one the most important operations so far this year. Police found the drugs stowed in a truck heading towards the capital and, according to authorities, the final destination of the shipment was the United States. One Colombian and seven Panamanians were arrested. In 2008 alone, antinarcotics agents intercepted approximately 55 tons of drugs belonging to Colombian and Mexican criminal cartels.

[Prensa Latina, EFE]

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