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2009-07-22

July 22 News Brief South America

Eduardo Herrera

July 22 News Brief South America

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BOGOTÁ, Colombia – E-mails show FARC contributed funds to Correa campaign: According to a number of e-mails found on the computers of the late rebel chief “Raúl Reyes” published in the Columbian press, five of the guerrilla’s fronts contributed around US$300,000 to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s electoral campaign. The Colombian government stated that the money came from drug trafficking operations performed by the FARC’s Front Forty-Eight. Bogotá also released a video which shows the guerrilla’s military chief “Mono Jojoy” confirming that the illegal group contributed to Correa’s campaign.

[Radio Caracol, EFE, El Tiempo]

LA PAZ, Bolivia – GDP grows by 2 percent in first quarter: The Bolivian economy grew by more than 2 percent in the first three months of 2009 compared to 2008, and Evo Morales’s government asserts that growth will reach 4 percent by the end of the year. According to the planning department, the increase confirms the prediction that Bolivia will be one of the two Latin American countries with the greatest annual growth in spite of the financial crisis. According to ECLAC, Bolivia and Panama will grow by 2.5 percent in 2009.

[EFE, Los Tiempos]

CARACAS, Venezuela – Unemployment rises marginally in July: The National Statistics Institute (INE) has announced that unemployment in Venezuela for the month of July “remained stable,” with a 0.1 percentage point increase over June, ending the month at 7.8 percent. During June, the formal sector accounted for 56 percent of the population in employment, or 6.65 million people, said the INE. It did not specify the percentage of economically active people involved in the informal sector. The 92.2 percent of the population in employment represents 11.88 million people.

[El Universal, EFE]

SANTIAGO, Chile – Chile rejects arms race: The Chilean government has “categorically” denied that its has triggered an arms race in the region, in response to Peruvian Secretary of State José García Belaúnde, who has drawn attention to Chile’s arms spending. “Acquisitions in recent years have modernized the country’s defensive capabilities,” said Chilean Secretary of State Mariano Fernández. Although García Belaúnde denied that Chile is generating a cold war situation on the continent, he insisted that military purchases “are an incitement to an arms race.

[AFP, EFE, El Mercurio]

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