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Ecuador defends its commercial ties with Iran

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Fander Falconi on Monday defended his country’s diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran.

Describing Ecuador-Iran diplomatic ties as open and flexible, he told reporters that Ecuador has ties with all the countries in the world, “except those which definitely violate human rights in a proved way.”

He said Ecuador will simply do not have a diplomatic representation with countries that are categorically proved of such violation. Read More…

Morales easily wins re-election

Exit polls in Bolivia indicate that President Evo Morales has earned a second term after winning re-election on Sunday.

Evo Morales

Bolivian media report that the president gained at least 61%, 35 points ahead of his closest challenger, former governor Manfred Reyes.

“This process of change has prevailed,” Morales said on the balcony of his presidential residence, addressing supporters.

Morales was first elected in 2005 and is the South American country’s first indigenous president. Analysts say the victory means he will likely continue reforms aimed at greater government control over the economy and social spending programs for the poor.

Bolivia’s voters also chose a new Congress, with polls showing the president’s Movement Toward Socialism party well ahead, securing about two-thirds of the seats.

Correa was re-elected President of Ecuador

Rafael Correa was re-elected for a second term in April 2009. It was the first time in thirty years that the country had re-elected a President.

Rafael Correa

Rafael Correa

He won by a margin over the other seven candidates, taking 52 per cent of the vote to the 28 per cent of Lucio Gutiérrez, his nearest rival.

His party also won the largest legislative block in the National Assembly, although not a majority.

Correa was sworn into the Presidency on 10 August 2009, the same day as Ecuador’s bicentennial.

His speech took place in front of several South American dignitaries, such as President of Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Bolivia Evo Morales, President of Cuba Raúl Castro and President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez.

Correa used the opportunity to promise a continuation of his “socialist revolution”, his plans to end poverty and to go on “stamping out the structural causes of poverty”.He also said the actions of the media were opposing his government. The continuation of his “citizens’ revolution” policy is intended to ensure all citizens are equal.

LA migrant workers remittances

Slumping economies in the United States, Spain and Japan are causing reverberations in the countries of Latin America as migrant workers send less money home.

Latin America

Latin America

The Inter-American Development Bank reported that for the first time since they began tracking remittances in 2000, remittances to Latin America declined in the fourth quarter of 2008, dropping 2% relative to the fourth quarter of 2007.

In January, remittances declined further, with Colombia experiencing a 16% drop relative to 2008, Brazil suffering a 14% decline, Mexico 12%, and Guatemala and El Salvador each falling 8%.

These numbers come as 2008 saw an average 10% increase in remittances. Nearly US$70 billion was sent back to families in those areas in 2008. Read More…

Largest cut in OPEC’s history

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has drastically cut the daily production of oil by 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd). In a decision reached in Oran, Algeria, energy ministers from all 12 OPEC members agreed to make the largest cut in OPEC’s history.

opecOil prices have fallen from a high of $140 in July to just around $40; a decrease of $100. OPEC has cut 4.2 million bpd since September, when the price of oil decreased suddenly over fears of a global recession and lower usage of oil.

With this new decrease, production by OPEC members will be 24.845 million bpd. Saudi Arabia is taking the majority of the cut by decreasing their production by 1.2 bpd. Read More…

On this day August 10, 1519

Magellan's Voyage

Magellan's Voyage

On August 10, 1519, five ships under Magellan’s command – Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepción, Victoria, and Santiago – left Seville and travelled from the Guadalquivir River to Sanlúcar de Barrameda at the mouth of the river, where they remained more than five weeks.

Spanish authorities were wary of Magellan, who was originally Portuguese. They almost prevented the admiral from sailing, and switched his crew from mostly Portuguese men to men of Spain. Nevertheless, Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on September 20.

King Manuel ordered a Portuguese naval detachment to pursue Magellan, but Magellan avoided them. After stopping at the Canary Islands, Magellan arrived at Cape Verde, where Read More…

South American leaders end border dispute

An exchange of handshakes at a Latin American summit Friday marked the end of the bitter dispute that had taken place between the nations of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela over the past week. The presidents of each country agreed to end the conflict, and said political ties would be reinstated.

“With the commitment of never attacking a brother country again and by asking forgiveness, we can consider this very serious incident resolved,” said Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, as the other Latin American leaders applauded. Read More…