BUENAVISTA TOMATLÁN, Mexico – The Mexican Army patrolled the streets of the western state of Michoacán on May 22 to improve security in a region tormented by violent drug cartels. About 4,000 army soldiers and marines and 1,000 Federal Police Officers have been deployed to the state, but they’ll leave once security has improved and the state government can hold its own. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP)
MEXICO CITY, Mexico – World Bank loans US$1.5 billion: The World Bank has awarded Mexico a US$1.5 billion loan in order to support economic policies aimed at responding to the global financial crisis mapped out by President Felipe Calderón. The country, one of the most affected by the crisis, has drawn up a plan through December 2010 which focuses on measures to generate financial and fiscal sustainability and achieve greater integration with the global economy. The program, which received the body’s approval, also includes a temporary employment program for 600,000 people during 2010.
[AFP, El Financiero]
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Spanish commercial mission seeks to invest in the country: Representatives of 21 Spanish companies are visiting El Salvador with a view to investing and setting up businesses. The visit was announced by the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador (Camacoes), which stated that the trade between the two countries has increased significantly in recent years. Salvadoran exports to Spain increased by 74 percent between 2006 and 2008, rising from US$59 million to US$103 million. The Spanish delegates belong to companies from the information technology, services and construction machinery sectors.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – 250 kilos of drug precursors seized: Around 250 kilos of phenylacetic acid, a product used as a precursor for the manufacture of ecstasy and amphetamines, were seized at the international airport in the Dominican capital. The operation was carried out by the National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD), with collaboration from French counternarcotics forces, who confirmed that the substance was shipped by an Indian pharmaceutical company and arrived on the island on a flight from Paris. According to authorities, the shipment was destined for countries in Central America.
[Prensa Latina, Diario Libre]
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Country strives to fight corruption: Guatemala has joined the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) after a positive report on corruption by Transparency International. The program is run by the World Bank and aims to stamp out practices of corruption in infrastructure projects financed by the State. The plan was praised by Guatemalan president Álvaro Colom, who stated his determination to fight the scourge of corruption and said that it was just as bad as or even worse than insecurity.