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Weekly Report - 3 July 2008 (ISSN 1741-7422)

Andean
The Venezuelan government rejected claims this week by the US ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, that there had been a “tremendous increase" in the volume of drugs passing through Venezuela...
President Evo Morales faced a new setback with the victory of opposition candidate Savina Cuéllar in the Chuquisaca prefectural elections...
President Alan Garcí­a promulgated a law this week under which some 4m workers in micro and small businesses (Mypes) in the informal sector will be entitled to social security and pension payments as well as enhanced labour rights...
COLOMBIA | Growth slows...
Brazil & Southern Cone
Mercosur displayed unusual unity in its latest summit this week...
President-elect Fernando Lugo's hopes of pushing through his ambitious social agenda improved last week after his coalition Alianza Patriótica para el Cambio (APC) succeeded in striking a deal with the party of retired General Lino Oviedo, the Unión Nacional de Ciudadanos Eticos (Unace)...
Last week, just three months before municipal elections, the public ombudsman published a list of 3,178 politicians whose campaign accounts in previous elections have been rejected because of irregularities...
Brazil's central bank published a report last week increasing its inflation forecast for 2008 to 6%, from an earlier estimate of 4.6%...
Congress began to debate the issues at the heart of the dispute between the government and the four farming unions in earnest this week...
CHILE | Mercosur deal on services...
Mexico & Nafta
The image of Mexico's police took another knock when a video of training for special police forces in León, in Guanajuato state, was leaked...
MEXICO | The economy...
Central America & Caribbean
The Plan Puebla Panamá (PPP), an initiative designed to spearhead regional integration and regeneration, was rechristened Proyecto Mesoamérica during a meeting of the nine heads of state of Mexico, Colombia and Central America in Villahermosa, the capital of the southern state of Tabasco in Mexico on 28 June...
Congress has voted to award President Martí­n Torrijos “extraordinary powers" for the next two months in order to carry out security reforms...
President Alvaro Colom declared three days of national mourning after interior minister Carlos Vinicio Gómez and his deputy, Edgar Hernández died in a helicopter crash on 27 June, along with the helicopter's pilot and co-pilot...
COSTA RICA | Trade deficit balloons...
Postscript
Fidel Castro last week pronounced a remarkable eulogy of his brother Raúl and the reforms he has carried out since assuming the presidency of Cuba...
“(President Alvaro) Uribe is using the people as a dictator would use the army or the police...
Leader
President Alvaro Uribe is calling for congress to approve a referendum on whether to restage the 2006 presidential elections...

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