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LatinNews Daily - 21 March 2019

Main Briefing
On 20 March, the Nicaraguan government led by President Daniel Ortega said it would release all 'political prisoners' within 90 days...
Andean
On 20 March, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, accused the de facto government led by Nicolás Maduro of conducting a violent crackdown on political dissident in Venezuela including the extrajudicial execution and torture of imprisoned political opponents. ..
* The Colombian government led by President Iván Duque has signed a 30-year contract for the building of a a new maritime port terminal located in the city of Turbo, Antioquia department, through which around 6.6m tonnes of cargo will be transported a year...
Brazil
On 20 March, Brazil’s government led by President Jair Bolsonaro presented the federal congress with a draft bill for the reorganisation of the armed forces, proposing changes to the military social protection system (which includes pensions)...
* The monetary policy committee (Copom) of Brazil’s central bank (BCB) has held the Selic, its benchmark interest rate, at its record low of 6.5% for the eighth consecutive time...
Central America & Caribbean
* The US government, through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), its development finance institution, has approved up to US$350m in financing to construct a 378MW liquefied natural gas-fuelled electricity generation facility in El Salvador’s Acajutla city, Sonsonate department...
Mexico
On 20 March, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told the press that his meeting the previous day with White House advisor Jared Kushner had taken place on “good terms”...
* Fitch Ratings, the international credit ratings agency, has reduced its 2019 forecast for Mexico’s economic growth to 1.6% from 2.1%, citing persistent trends hampering growth such as a drop in oil output, a decline in government spending, and slowing job creation...
Southern Cone
On 20 March, Uruguay’s economy & finance minister, Danilo Astori, said that while the country’s domestic economy continues to grow “not everything is fine” and there are “many things that need to be corrected”...
* Argentina’s central bank (BCRA) has increased the interest rate of its short-term ‘liquidity notes’ (Leliqs) to 65.4%, the highest interest rate in five months, in its bid to try to stem the depreciation of the Argentine peso against the US dollar...

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