Nov. 24 News Brief South America

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Government audits Spanish-owned firm: President Cristina Fernández’s government has placed Autopistas del Sol (Ausol) into administration for a period of 120 days after it defaulted on debt payments. The Argentinian Transport Department confirmed that the company, controlled by the Spanish Abertis group, will be subject to an audit and that Ausol “respects the government’s decision.” The company, which closed the third quarter with a negative net equity of US$2.8 million, attributes its dire financial situation to the failure to raise toll prices.

[La Nación, EFE]

QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuadorian foreign minister receives Colombian chargé d’affaires: In accordance with the roadmap for reestablishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Fander Falconí received the new Colombian chargé d’affaires in Quito, Ricardo Montenegro. The diplomat stated that he would begin work in the Ecuadorian capital “to look for better areas for integration and to strengthen full relations between the two countries.” Montenegro’s arrival in Quito coincides with that of his Ecuadorian counterpart in Bogotá, 20 months since the breakdown of diplomatic relations.

[El Comercio, EFE]

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Annan asks Brazil to assume new role as world player: Brazil has taken on a new role as an international heavyweight and must assume the responsibilities this entails, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan declared during a conference in Rio de Janeiro. “Brazil is growing vigorously and has become a driving force for the region,” but it must exercise this position with leadership and increase aid to poorer countries, added the Ghanaian diplomat. “If it assumes its responsibilities, it will bring benefits to the entire world,” he concluded.

[O Globo, EFE]

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Mujica promises economic model “free of prejudices”: On presenting the economic plan he would develop if he wins the Uruguayan elections, Broad Front presidential candidate José Mujica ruled out applying a “rigid model” and said he would not act under “prejudices.” Mujica also stated that if he reaches the presidency after the second round of voting on Nov. 29, he will not interfere in economic issues and will allow those who specialize in this area to deal with them. The polls currently place Mujica as the favorite against National Party candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle.

[El País, EFE]

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