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2009-09-28

Sept. 28 News Brief South America

Eduardo Herrera

Sept. 28 News Brief South America

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COLOMBIA, Bogotá – U.S. drug czar announces meeting with Uribe: On his first trip to Colombia, U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske will meet with President Álvaro Uribe to gain first-hand knowledge of the Colombian counternarcotics policy. Washington D.C. and Bogotá have been collaborating in the fight against drugs and terrorism since 2001 under Plan Colombia, with U.S. financing totaling over US$6 billion. “We are looking for a more balanced approach” in the fight against drug trafficking, said Kerlikowske, who will begin his official four-day visit to Colombia on Oct. 3.

[El Tiempo, EFE]

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Evo Morales enjoys increased approval: According to a public opinion poll by state-owned newspaper La Razón, just over two months before the Dec. 6 general elections, Bolivian President Evo Morales has an approval rating of 60 percent in the country’s main cities. Approval for the president, who is seeking reelection, has increased by four percentage points since August. His support grew by seven percent in Santa Cruz, a rightwing opposition stronghold, and fell by three percent in La Paz, one of his electoral mainstays.

[La Razón, EFE]

SOUTH AMERICA – British Navy seizes cocaine shipment: The HMS Iron Duke, a British Navy ship, has made the navy’s largest ever drug seizure, after boarding the MV Cristal shipping vessel off the coast of South America, which was transporting five tons of cocaine. The drugs have a British street value of approximately US$384 million. The boat was detected by a navy helicopter in an area frequently used by drug traffickers to transport drugs from South America to Europe.

[BBC News, EFE]

LIMA, Peru – Fourth trial against former president Fujimori begins: Jailed former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori has taken his seat in the dock once again. This is the fourth time he has stood trial since he was extradited from Chile in 2007. He will respond to allegations of his involvement in three cases of corruption that occurred during his administration (1990–2000). The states’ attorney has requested he serve eight years in prison and accuses him of embezzlement, blackmail, illegal espionage, paying bribes to opposition legislators and irregularities in the purchase of a television channel.

[El Comercio, DPA]

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