Argentina's new president Nestor Kirchner who shocked the Armed Forces by a drastic overhaul of the high command warned the military on Thursday to steer clear of politics. Speaking at an event to mark the 193rd anniversary of the creation of the country's army, President Kirchner - in his fifth day on the job - said it was not the military's duty to judge the actions of an elected government.
The European Union requested from Mercosur a speedier market opening for a list of European agricultural and industrial goods in the framework of the current trade liberalization discussions. Mercosur and the European Union exchanged this Wednesday in Brussels demands to improve the liberalization lists presented last March.
United States president George Bush signed this Wednesday in a pompous ceremony in the White House the bill that contemplates tax cuts equivalent to 330 billion US dollars in ten years, plus an additional 20 billion to support deficit strapped states.
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva finally managed a Congressional majority after a center right party decided to join the ruling coalition and so ensure the approval in Congress of crucial reforms in social security and the taxing system.
No changes are expected in the current sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands, with both Britain and Argentina holding their positions. This seems to have been the message from Sir Gareth Williams, president of the House of Lords, Prime Minister Tony Blair' special envoy to the assumption of Argentine president Nestor Kirchner who also praised the institutional stability of the country and said much could be advanced in fields of mutual interest.
Rough times for Chile's president Ricardo Lagos. After the imprisonment of several close aides working in his former Ministry of Public Works; the stripping of legislative privilege of five Deputies belonging to the ruling coalition and suspected of taking bribes, and a contrary court ruling regarding additional undercover payments, (perks), to political appointees in the civil service, Mr. Lagos now faces another scandal with claims of pressures on the press to prevent the publication of an article devastating for the junior partner of the coalition.
Thousands of Argentinean students and leftist sympathizers were enthralled by a harangue delivered by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who paraded his pacifist convictions, blasted the United States and reminisced about Che Guevara.
Uruguay was declared free of foot and mouth disease, FAM, by vaccination during the annual meeting of the International Office of Epizooties, OIE, held in Paris last week with participation of delegations from 164 countries, which also approved radical changes to the current procedures.
The controversial decision last week by the Brazilian Central Bank to leave the basic interest rate Selic unchanged at 26,5%, and the strangely unanimous release supporting it by the bank's Monetary Committee, are still reverberating in Brazilian political and business circles.
Brazil will be defining a new calendar for the Free Trade Association of the Americas, FTAA, talks, to replace the current timetable that anticipates the signing of an agreement by the end of 2005.