TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduran Defense Minister Marlon Pascua shows the weapons authorities seized from 13 alleged narco-traffickers who were arrested by the Navy aboard a vessel in the Caribbean Sea last week. Naval officials also confiscated US$658,000 during the bust. (Honduran Ministry of Defense/AFP)
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Uribe rejects Ecuador arrest warrant for Colombian general: Colombian President Álvaro Uribe has rejected an arrest warrant issued by a judge in Ecuador against Army Commander, General Freddy Padilla de León, in connection with the bombing of a FARC base camp in March 2008. The order to turn over Padilla de León follows a similar warrant issued by another Ecuadorian judge for the arrest of former Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos.
CARACAS, Venezuela – Chávez justifies expropriation of Hilton resort: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez confirmed that he issued the order to expropriate a tourist complex on Margarita Island administered by the Hilton hotel chain after the resort's management hampered the organization of the recent South America-Africa Summit. "We had to ask permission for our security arrangements and for other things. They tried to impose conditions on the State and we will not stand for this," declared Chávez. Tourism Minister Pedro Morejón announced that the State would run the hotel from now on, owing to the expiry of the government issued license.
[DPA, El Financiero]
QUITO, Ecuador – Correa decrees "permanent dialogue" with indigenous groups: Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa issued an executive decree establishing "permanent dialogue" between the state and the country's indigenous movements, spearheaded by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie), which brings together communities from the mountain, Amazon and coastal regions. The government's measure is intended to avoid possible pressure from indigenous groups one week after a nationwide strike called by Conaie against the Water Resources Bill, which the protesters argue is a step toward privatizing water services, a claim denied by Correa.
[El Universo, EFE]
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – OGX finds oil reserves of up to 1.5 billion barrels: Privately-owned Brazilian oil company OGX, part of the business empire belonging to tycoon Eike Batista, announced that its prospecting operations in block BM-C-41 of the Campos basin had revealed crude oil reserves of between 500 million and 1.5 billion barrels. "This excellent result reveals the oil-producing potential of our blocks," declared Paulo Mendonça, CEO of OGX. The reserves are located on Brazil's continental shelf at a depth of 2,347 meters (7,700 feet). OGX holds a 100 percent stake in the area.