Latin AmericaLatin America
Columns marched through the capital Caracas to protest a package of laws that expand Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez powers while a delegation from opposition parties delivered a document at the Organization of American States stating that the latest decisions are a coup against the rule of law and the Constitution.
Last July 31st. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez extraordinary powers came to an end but it was also a day of great announcements. Twenty six decrees were signed including several of the autocratic reforms the former paratrooper wanted to impose with a referendum last December and were decisively rejected by voters. This is interpreted as a strategy to help contain the country's inflation, shortages and economic disarray in anticipation of the coming city and state elections of November plus. A piece from The Economist summarizes the evolution of the eclectic leader who is loosing much of his allure in spite of the affluence from oil revenues.
With food prices rising, a greater number of Santiago households appear to be turning to alternative food markets.
Bolivia has reached an agreement in principle to purchase the local operations of energy company Royal Dutch Shell PLC as part of President Evo Morales' nationalization push.
A Chilean court this week upheld a decision fining Shell Oil Company US$676,000 for contaminating beaches three years ago in the northern Chilean city of Antofagasta.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday on all sides in Bolivia to ensure that Sunday's recall referendum on the President, Vice-President and regional governors is conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
Paraguay and Brazil are preparing for a long dispute over prices from energy generated in South America's largest dam, shared by the neighboring countries, but which is almost entirely absorbed by the industrial hub of Sao Paulo.
Bolivian President Evo Morales is expected to survive a recall vote this Sunday but there are growing concerns about the ongoing political stand off with the conservative opposition which is intent in blocking many of his reforms they define as socialist.
Clashes between striking Bolivian miners and the police which left at least two people dead and dozens injured forced the cancelling of a regional summit with Argentina's Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and host Evo Morales.
Venezuela again acted as lender of last resort for Argentina having acquired a billion US dollars in sovereign bonds, at close to market rates according to Argentine financial sources.