- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Argentina bond swap hits IMF delays

BUENOS AIRES Argentina's massive debt swap aimed at avoiding the biggest default in history began under a cloud yesterday after international lenders refused to release vital aid.

Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo headed home from a weekend meeting with world financial officials in Canada, unable to persuade the International Monetary Fund to speed up aid payments to cover November debt maturities.


Congressmen visit rural Mexico

CALPAN, Mexico Peasant farmers cheered and waved American flags Sunday as two top Democrats in Congress vowed they would push to legalize some of the millions of undocumented Mexicans working in the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, made the pledge during a trip to Mexico's eastern Puebla state. Puebla has a population of about 6 million people, but an estimated 1 million others have abandoned the state to go to the United States either legally or as undocumented workers.

Calpan is a rural municipality of about 25,000 people. One of the town's teachers said there is only one computer in the town.


Peru still fixated on nabbing Fujimori

LIMA, Peru A year has passed since a mushrooming corruption scandal toppled former President Alberto Fujimori's authoritarian government and sent him packing to Japan, but the exiled leader is far from forgotten in Peru.

A brigade of special investigators, prosecutors, judges and congressional panels has spent the past year probing Mr. Fujimori's decade-long rule, uncovering headline-grabbing revelations of corruption that have captivated the nation.


Mexico's fallen rulers cope with defeat

PACHUCA, Mexico A year after its ouster from office, Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is still a force to be reckoned with, but the party must do some soul-searching if it wants to return to power, a senior party leader said.

Beatriz Paredes, leader of Mexico's lower house of Congress, said Saturday on the first day of a party congress that the PRI had not yet come to terms with its surprise defeat in presidential elections last year, which ended its 71-year grip on power.


Weekly notes

The newly elected president of Venezuela's largest labor union, Carlos Ortega, said yesterday that his organization won't become a vehicle for the fractured opposition to destabilize President Hugo Chavez's government. Mr. Ortega was sworn in as president of the 1 million-member Confederation of Venezuelan Workers after defeating government-backed Aristobulo Isturiz. Philip Agee, CIA agent-turned travel promoter, is capitalizing on post-September 11 jitters to lure American tourists to Cuba. He touted it as safe from terrorism.


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