- - Monday, April 16, 2012

BUENOS AIRES — President Cristina Fernandez on Monday proposed a bill to nationalize the YPF oil company that is controlled by Spain’s Repsol, moving ahead with the plan despite fierce opposition from Madrid.

Mrs. Fernandez said in an address to the country that the measure sent to Congress on Monday is aimed at recovering the nation’s sovereignty over its hydrocarbon resources. She said the shares being expropriated will be split between the national and provincial governments.

The president complained that Argentina last year had to spend more than $3 billion to import gas and petroleum.

Spanish officials have already protested the plan, saying Argentina risks becoming “an international pariah” if it takes control of Repsol’s YPF subsidiary.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo last week summoned Argentine Ambassador Carlo Antonio Bettini to convey concern over the possible nationalization.


Inmates take hostages in prison rioting

RIO DE JANEIRO — Inmates armed with pistols and knives have rioted at a prison in the country’s northeast and are holding about 100 visitors and two guards hostage, the state news agency reported Monday.

Agencia Brasil said no deaths or injuries have been reported.

The report said negotiations were under way early Monday, nearly a day after the start of the revolt at the Advogado Antonio Jacinto Filho prison in the coastal city of Aracaju.

The news agency said the penitentiary’s 470 inmates are demanding an end to acts of torture they claim regularly take place inside the prison, as well as better treatment of female visitors.


Obama, Santos agree on plan to boost security

CARTAGENA — President Obama and his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, agreed Sunday to deepen their security cooperation in the Western Hemisphere and West Africa.

The efforts, formalized under a U..S-Colombia Action Plan on Regional Security Cooperation, are a response to “increasing insecurity generated by transnational organized crime,” the State Department said.

It said the plan draws on “Colombia’s established and expanding expertise and capacity for countering this threat and shared U.S. responsibility to address the demand for illicit narcotics.”

Colombia and the United States will conduct “frequent” meetings to coordinate their security operations under the plan, with a focus on drug trafficking, combating crime, strengthening institutions and fostering “resilient” communities.

The expanded coordination, which involves bolstering civilian law enforcement capacity and capabilities, “will support whole-of-government strategies and produce a greater effect throughout the hemisphere and West Africa,” the State Department said.

“Both countries are working to identify new areas for collaboration and [are] committed to coordinate more closely with partner nations throughout the hemisphere.”

The United States and Colombia already operate jointly to help build capacities in the Americas and West Africa.

Under Operation Martillo, a U.S. task force coordinates air and maritime operations with the Colombian Navy and Air Force to detect and disrupt transnational organized crime cells in Central America.


Dissident arrested during pope’s visit freed

HAVANA — A dissident arrested for shouting anti-government slogans during a mass by Pope Benedict XVI has been released from jail, according to a source in the opposition community.

Andres Carrion, 38, was arrested on March 26, as he staged his protest at a Mass held by the pope in the eastern Cuban city of Santiago.

He was released Friday according to noted Cuban dissident Elizardo Sanchez, who said he got the news from Mr. Carrion’s relatives.

Mr. Sanchez said that of dozens of dissidents arrested before and during the papal visit, all now have been released, with the exception of Jose Daniel Ferrer, 41, head of the opposition Cuban Patriotic Union.


Former president hospitalized with heart problems

RIO DE JANEIRO — Former president Jose Sarney, currently leader of Brazil’s Senate, is being treated in Sao Paulo for heart problems.

Mr. Sarney, 81, was admitted on Saturday to the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital for treatment that included the insertion of a coronary catheter and an extensive battery of tests, a hospital spokesman said.

Mr. Sarney was Brazil’s first civilian leader following a long military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.

Mr. Sarney, who led the country between 1985 and 1990, is also a writer and the longest-serving member of Brazil’s Congress.

He owns several newspapers and television stations in the state of Maranhao, where he also served for a time as governor.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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