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SundayAugust 12, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Death Toll in Mexico Rises from Hurricane Ernesto

Death Toll in Mexico Rises from Hurricane Ernesto

Photo: Hurricane Ernesto Death Toll Rises

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Five more people have been reported killed by Hurricane Ernesto, which first made landfall last week on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, raising the death toll from the storm to 12, officials said.

The latest deaths occurred in two traffic accidents Friday in the southern state of Guerrero blamed on the storm.

A total of 32 automobiles crashed on the Highway of the Sun, which links the Pacific port city of Acapulco to Mexico City.

The pile-up happened on the El Zapote bridge, located about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, due to poor weather.

A man died and 29 other people were injured in the accident, state officials said.

Rain, fog and speeding by some drivers were to blame for the accident, emergency services officials said.

Four people, meanwhile, were killed on the Chilpancingo-Iguala federal highway when two vehicles collided.

The accident claimed the lives of a woman and three men, emergency services officials said.

An emergency declaration has been requested for the 81 cities in Guerrero, the state government said in a statement.

Five deaths from Ernesto were reported earlier this weekend in the Gulf state of Veracruz.

Three members of a family were killed when a tree fell on their vehicle in the town of Rio Blanco, Veracruz emergency management office spokesman Manuel Escalera told Efe Friday.

Two other people drowned when they were swept away by a river in the Veracruz town of Tihuatlan, Gov. Javier Duarte said.

Another individual perished Thursday in the port city of Coatzacoalcos before Ernesto made landfall a second time as a tropical storm. That victim slipped and fell while doing repair work on his home, but local officials determined the death was not related to the weather system.

Ernesto dumped torrential rain on 212 municipalities in Veracruz, where the emergency management office ordered at least 1,000 people to evacuate homes located along several river banks.

The storm caused damage to homes and roads, and triggered some power outages and mudslides.

Ernesto first made landfall Tuesday night near Mahahual, a fishing town in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, as a Category 1 hurricane packing winds of up to 165 kph (103 mph).

The storm crossed the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday without causing any casualties or serious damage and then moved back over water.

Early Thursday afternoon, it made landfall near Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, bringing winds of 96 kph (60 mph) and causing two deaths in the neighboring state of Tabasco.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Police Seize Cocaine en Route to Sinaloa Cartel

Colombian Police Seize Cocaine en Route to Sinaloa Cartel

Photo: Bricks of cocaine

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Drug enforcement agents seized one ton of cocaine on a highway in northwestern Colombia that was bound for Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, the National Police said.

The cocaine was hidden in a truck that had picked it up in the Magdalena River basin and was hauling it to Medellin, the capital of the northwestern province of Antioquia.

The cocaine, which has a street value of $35 million, was packed in 866 bricks hidden in a false compartment in the truck, whose driver was arrested.

The shipment belonged to the Oficina de Envigado, a drug gang created in the 1980s by late Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar.

The gang is based in Envigado, a city near Medellin, and was led by Erickson Vargas, who was arrested last Wednesday in a police raid.

The seizure was made in Caldas, a town near Medellin, by drug enforcement agents who had received a tip from an informant, officials said.

The cocaine was being smuggled to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, which is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.

Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted man, has been on the list of U.S. drug kingpins since June 1, 2001.

The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and has an extensive drug distribution network in the United States.

Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001, is considered the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.

Chapo Guzman tops the list of Mexico’s 37 most-wanted criminals and is on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.

The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.

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Missing Fisherman Found Alive 35 Miles of the Coast of Mexico

Missing Fisherman Found Alive 35 Miles of the Coast of Mexico

Photo: The rescued boat (@Juansabinesg)

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Three fishermen who disappeared Monday in southeastern Mexico have been found alive some 57 kilometers (35 miles) off the coast, officials said.

Chiapas state Gov. Juan Sabines posted on the social network Twitter a photo taken from the air of the boat with the three fishermen still aboard.

Antonio Ramos Cifuentes, 18, Juan Roberto Bosh Ulloa, 23, and Armando Ramos Ventura, 38, set sail on the fishing boat Selena II from the municipality of Tonala on Monday morning to catch sharks and were expected back by nightfall, but they failed to show up.

The intense search for the fishermen was suspended Thursday as Hurricane Ernesto blasted through southeastern Mexico, but was resumed this Friday by air.

Saturday afternoon, Gov. Sabines announced on his Twitter account that they have been found and congratulated the rescue personnel who located the missing men.

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Cuban Boxer Roniel Iglesias Brings Home Gold

Cuban Boxer Roniel Iglesias Brings Home Gold

Photo: Roniel Iglesias

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Cuban light welterweight Roniel Iglesias won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics, defeating Ukrainian Denys Berinchik 22-15.

Saturday’s fight was a rematch of the past World Championship, which the Ukrainian won.

Iglesias managed to hold off Berinchik’s attack and then go toe to toe with him, outscoring him.

The Cuban was up 5-4 at the end of the first round, forcing Berinchik to go on the attack once again.

“Now I feel like at complete man, I trained hard and I deserve my Olympic title. I was in better shape in the third round and that’s how I managed to win it,” Iglesias said.

The gold medal in the light welterweight division was the first Olympic title for Cuba since the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Iglesias’s title was the only one for a Latin American in the finals held on Saturday.

Brazil’s Esquiva Falcao had to settle for a silver medal in the middleweight division after being out-pointed 14-13 by Japan’s Ryota Murata.

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Major Multi-vehicle Crash in Brazil Kills 10, Injures 99

Major Multi-vehicle Crash in Brazil Kills 10, Injures 99

Photo: Scene from the accident

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At least 10 people were killed and 99 others injured in a multi-vehicle crash in the southern Brazilian state of Parana, the highway patrol said Sunday.

Two buses, an SUV, an automobile and a motorcycle collided Saturday night near the city of Maringa.

A head-on crash involving the two buses triggered the pile-up, the highway patrol said.

One of the buses was carrying members of an evangelical church who were to participate in a religious service on Sunday at a park in Maringa.

Six of the injured are in serious condition and the rest are expected to be released on Sunday from hospitals in Maringa, the fire department said.

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Argentina Narrowly Misses the Podium in Men’s Basketball

Argentina Narrowly Misses the Podium in Men’s Basketball

Photo: Argentina's men's basketball

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Russia went back to the Olympic podium to receive a medal - a bronze - in men’s basketball after defeating Argentina 81-77 thanks to the excellent play of Andrei Kirilenko and, in particular, Alexey Shved.

Twenty-four years without an Olympic medal in men’s basketball is a long time for a team like Russia, but it was able to pull out a victory over Argentina, which fought hard and really buckled down but was unlucky at a number of points and was unable to win a third consecutive medal, after taking the gold at the Athens 2004 Games and a bronze in Beijing in 2008.

Kirilenko, who scored the first 5 points for the Russians and Emanuel Ginobili, with 8 points for Argentina in the first six minutes were the ones, given their experience and leadership, to point the way for their teammates.

Slight advantages for one team or the other popped up or were created in a game that was controlled on defense and intricate on the attack but it was clear that neither team was willing to ease up or give in.

The last 10 minutes of the game was give and take during which the ball-handling got hotter and hotter and each possession was more important than the last.

This was the point at which Shved stepped up to take over the scoring for the Russians and set the pace for the game.

Shved scored decisive 3-pointers that gave his team a little breathing room at 71-66 in minute 36, and then another triple-pointer with just 35 seconds left to almost ice the match at 79-77.

Argentina, on the other hand, complained bitterly about the refereeing in the final moments.

The defunct Soviet Union won the gold in men’s basketball in Seoul in 1988 but, until now, had come up empty in Olympic competition.

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Mexican Authorities Confiscate 79,000 Gallons of Drug Precursors

Mexican Authorities Confiscate 79,000 Gallons of Drug Precursors

Photo: Barrels of drug precursors

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Mexican army soldiers seized more than 300,000 liters (79,000 gallons) of drug precursors in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz and arrested 13 people in an operation against drug trafficking and organized crime, the Defense Secretariat said.

In a statement, the secretariat said the operation took place Wednesday in a building located in the municipality of Coatzacoalcos, south of Veracruz, “in response to a citizen’s tip.”

It added that “chemical products were being moved in an illicit manner” at the site of the raid.

The military confiscated 289,200 liters (76,000 gallons) of a substance with the characteristics of xylene, and 43,200 liters (11,400 gallons) of a composition that appeared to be butyl cellosolve. Each of the products has several commercial applications.

Also seized were 198 containers capable of holding 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of liquid, seven truck tractors and two truck-tractor transmissions.

Read more by HS News Staff →

OLYMPICS: Back to Back Gold Medals for Brazil’s Women’s Volleyball Team

OLYMPICS: Back to Back Gold Medals for Brazil’s Women’s Volleyball Team

Photo: Brazilian Women's Volleyball Team

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Brazil won Saturday its second straight Olympic gold medal in women’s volleyball by downing the United States 3-1 in an unprecedented comeback when all seemed lost.

The Brazilian team strengthens in the face of adversity, just when its rival thinks it has them on the run - it happened against China, against Russia, and Saturday against the United States.

The United States easily overcame Brazil in the first set, but the Olympic champions came back with an impenetrable defense and found the secret to avoiding blocks by U.S. players guarding the net.

Brazil started the game erratically, with Ze Roberto Guimaraes’ girls error-prone and lacking concentration.

The United States, meanwhile, took charge with an impressive blocking capability that totally shut down the South Americans’ attack.

Coach Guimaraes yelled at players to “stay calm” in the first set when the scoreboard stood at 13-5 in favor of the Americans, but the Brazilians more or less gave up and the set ended with them down by a scandalous 14 points.

But a new and better Brazil arose from the ruins of the first set to vanquish their American rivals from then on. The U.S. was totally disconcerted and seemed mentally unprepared for such a powerful comeback.

The Brazilians began finding alternative ways to elude the always effective blocks by the Americans, such as curving spikes and arching shots from the second line.

The United States could only attain a tie on the scoreboard once in the second set, at 12 points each, but the rest of the time they were down by around 5 points.

Brazil continued exercising it authority in the third set with a lead never less that 3 points and with the support of its fans who on Saturday made up the majority at Earl’s Court.

Brazil was unstoppable and the Americans, who won a match that pitted the two teams against each other in the first round, could do nothing in the deciding moments, losing the final set by 8 points.

Read more by HS News Staff →

UN: Colombia Must Further Dialogue with Indigenous People in Cauca

UN: Colombia Must Further Dialogue with Indigenous People in Cauca

Photo: Member of the Nasa tribe (Francisco Pedro)

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A United Nations independent expert called on the Government of Colombia to advance the dialogue process with indigenous authorities in the state of Cauca to find a solution to the recent military presence in their territory and other related matters.

The dialogue process started after leaders of the Nasa tribe, in the northern part of Cauca, started measures to expel Government military forces as well as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which were occupying their territory. According to reports, the military and FARC forces had clashed in the area over previous days, destroying indigenous property and injuring several people.

Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, James Anaya cited the right of indigenous peoples to have autonomy over their land and the need to consult with their authorities before establishing any military presence there, in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Adopted by the General Assembly in 2007, the Declaration recognizes indigenous people’s right to self-determination and their right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and develop past, present and future manifestations of their culture in various forms.

The Special Rapporteur called on the Government and Nasa authorities to act swiftly to ensure the safety of the indigenous people in the area, while respecting their rights to freedom of expression and association.

Mr. Anaya also acknowledged the complexity of the situation, particularly taking into account the Government’s responsibility to maintain public order while complying with the demands of indigenous people requesting safety and respect for their institutions and authority.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Quality in Latin America

How many families are homeless or live in poor quality houses? Despite the strong economic performance Latin America and the Caribbean has enjoyed in the past decade, the lack of adequate housing for low income people remains a serious development problem for the region.

There are both an insufficient number of houses and qualitative shortages, including dwellings without clear ownership titles; walls made from discarded materials such as cardboard; dirt floors; and lacking connections to potable water and sewage systems, according to “Room for Development: Housing Markets in Latin America and the Caribbean”, the latest edition of the IDB’s flagship publication Development in the Americas. The figure summarizes the total deficit for the region. Over two thirds of the households in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala lack adequate housing.

Using this information the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has created the following infographic:

Image

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Colombia Magazine: Shakira and Gerard Pique Expecting a Baby Boy in January

Colombia Magazine: Shakira and Gerard Pique Expecting a Baby Boy in January

Photo: Shakira and Gerard Pique

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Colombian singer Shakira and Spanish soccer star Gerard Pique will become the parents of a baby boy in late January 2013 that they have given the nickname of “Ulicito,” the Colombian magazine Gente said in its latest edition.

The publication said it has seen the results of the latest ultrasound that the artist had in Miami 10 days ago, and provides further details about the top-secret pregnancy that the future mom and dad have kept completely in the dark.

In fact the artist’s representatives in Colombia told Efe that the couple has decided not to make any statement about the pregnancy, which according to the magazine has now passed its 13th week.

The Gente article displays photos of the couple’s trip to Miami and says that the doctor who attended the Barranquilla native is called Victor H. Gonzalez-Quintero, “who told them there is an 80 percent probability it will be a boy.”

In her most recent public appearances, Shakira has worn loose clothing with her purse across her body and has posed strategically with the Barcelona defenseman blocking any view of her abdomen.

Before learning the baby’s sex, the future parents called it either “Ulicito” or “Ulicita” and apparently told her doctors, both in Barcelona and in Miami, that the birth will be by Cesarean section.

“Shakira is totally happy and like any modern mom has not allowed the pregnancy to affect her daily life,” the magazine said, adding that while she has kept up her musical activities in a disciplined way, “she has lowered the rate of her live appearances.”

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Mexico Defeats Brazil, Wins First Gold Medal in Olympic Soccer

Mexico Defeats Brazil, Wins First Gold Medal in Olympic Soccer

Photo: Jorge Enriquez

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Mexico won its first-ever Olympic men’s soccer gold medal Saturday at Wembley Stadium, stunning Brazil 2-1 on the strength of two goals by Oribe Peralta.

Mexico opened the scoring in record fashion, notching the fastest goal ever in an Olympic final at the 29-second mark of the game when Peralta took advantage of a careless pass by Brazilian defender Rafael and snuck the ball past goalkeeper Gabriel.

The favored Brazilians sought to take the initiative after falling behind early, but despite their aggressive mindset they failed to seriously threaten Mexico’s goal and also left themselves vulnerable to counterattacks in the first 45 minutes.

Brazil became more dangerous after halftime, with superstar striker Neymar and midfielder Oscar both playing a larger role in attack. But it was Mexico that had the first golden chance of the second half - a close-range opportunity that Marco Fabian failed to convert.

Fabian, who led and guided his side in the absence of star striker Giovani dos Santos, would later make up for that squandered chance later. In the 75th minute, he sent a perfectly placed free kick to Peralta, who headed it past Gabriel.

Five-time World Cup champion Brazil, which was seeking an elusive soccer gold medal after several near-misses, kept fighting to the end and finally got on the scoreboard in injury time when Hulk received a long pass from Marcelo and rolled a shot out of the reach of Mexican keeper Jose Corona.

The South Americans then had one last opportunity seconds before the final whistle, but when Oscar sent a header just wide of the mark Brazil’s long wait for an Olympic soccer goal medal was extended for at least another four years.

Mexico not only won its first-ever Olympic soccer gold medal but its first medal of any kind in that sport.

“I scored two goals but it wasn’t my (victory) but that of all my teammates. Here we play 11 against 11. The guys gave their all in every ball and every play. This goal medal is a reward for all of us,” Peralta said afterward.

“We made history for Mexico. This gold is a way to say thank you for the support of the people who believed in us and never stopped supporting us,” the striker for Mexican league club Santos Laguna said.

Back home, the soccer victory touched off celebrations across Mexico, with some 10,000 packing the capital’s Paseo de la Reforma thoroughfare.

President Felipe Calderon, for his part, congratulated the team on Twitter, calling its victory a “historic achievement for our country. We’re happy and proud of our squad.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Police Liberate 10 Kidnap Victims, Arrest 5 Zeta Members

Mexican Police Liberate 10 Kidnap Victims, Arrest 5 Zeta Members

Photo: Mexican police

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Mexican federal police rescued 10 kidnap victims in the northern city of Saltillo and arrested five suspected members of a cell of the notorious Los Zetas drug cartel, including a minor, officials said.

The federal Public Safety Secretariat said in a statement Friday that the victims were freed from a house in the Coahuila state capital thanks to intelligence work.

Federal police lay siege to the property, where several individuals carrying weapons and wearing bullet-proof vests had been spotted getting out of a vehicle, the secretariat said.

The suspects tried to hide inside the residence but were eventually arrested by the officers, who found 10 people inside the home who said they had been abducted several days earlier.

The kidnap victims, who were being held in unsanitary conditions and had their faces covered, were found inside and were taken to a hospital for medical care, the statement said.

The detainees were listed as four adults between the ages of 21 and 54 and a minor aged 16.

According to authorities, the suspected kidnappers were working for the Zetas crime syndicate.

In the operation, the police confiscated several rifles, ammunition clips, bullet-proof vests, two grenades, more than 400 rounds of ammunition and a stolen vehicle.

Los Zetas, a group founded by deserters from a U.S.-trained Mexican special forces unit, started out as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, but the two criminal organizations had a falling out in 2010 and the Zetas went into the drug business on their own account, gaining control of several lucrative territories.

Even in the violent world of Mexican organized crime, the Zetas stand out for their propensity to dismember the bodies of their victims.

Mexico’s drug cartels have expanded into kidnapping, extortion, piracy and other criminal enterprises in recent years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina Grabs it’s First Gold of 2012 Olympics in Taekwondo

Argentina Grabs it’s First Gold of 2012 Olympics in Taekwondo

Photo: Sebastian Crismanich

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Sebastian Crismanich brought Argentina its first gold medal of the 2012 London Olympics with a win Friday in the men’s under-80kg taekwondo final.

The Argentine, seeded seventh, upset fifth-seeded Spaniard Nico Garcia in a match that was decided in the last 20 seconds.

Crismanich not only won his country’s first gold of the London Games, but the first Argentine medal of any kind in taekwondo, which became an Olympic event 12 years ago.

Spain now has four medals in taekwondo, all but one of them earned in London.

Garcia’s silver follows a gold for Joel Gonzalez in the men’s under-58kg. competition and Birgitte Yagüe’s silver medal in the women’s under-49kg category, both won on Wednesday.

“I’m excited,” the 25-year-old Crismanich said after receiving the gold.

“In the moments before an Olympic Games, the mere thought of seeing the flag up above, of hearing the anthem play and of me with a medal hanging on my chest, gave me chills and made my legs shake,” he said. “Now that it happens to me, it’s truly more than I dreamed.”

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Hurricane Ernesto’s Death Toll Reaches 7

Hurricane Ernesto’s Death Toll Reaches 7

Photo: Hurricane Ernesto

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The death toll from Ernesto, which first made landfall earlier this week as a low-level hurricane, has risen to seven after five more fatalities were reported in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

Three members of a family riding in their car in the town of Rio Blanco were killed when a tree fell on the vehicle, the spokesman for Veracruz’s emergency management office, Manuel Escalera, told Efe Friday.

Two other people drowned when they were swept away by a river in the Veracruz town of Tihuatlan, Gov. Javier Duarte said.

Another individual perished Thursday in the port city of Coatzacoalcos before Ernesto made landfall a second time as a tropical storm. That victim slipped and fell while doing repair work on his home, but local authorities determined the death was not related to the weather system.

Ernesto, since further downgraded to a remnant low-pressure area over southern Mexico, dumped torrential rain on 212 municipalities in Veracruz, where the emergency management office ordered at least 1,000 people to evacuate homes located along several river banks.

The storm caused damage to homes and road infrastructure and triggered some power outages and mudslides.

Duarte told a local radio station that Ernesto damaged roughly 600 homes and three bridges and that 11 municipalities were partially cut off when two mudslides forced the closure of a federal highway.

The storm first made landfall Tuesday night near Mahahual, a fishing town in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, as a Category 1 hurricane packing winds of up to 165 kph (103 mph).

Ernesto crossed the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday without causing any casualties or serious damage and then moved back over water.

Early Thursday afternoon, it made landfall near Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, bringing winds of 96 kph (60 mph) and causing two deaths in the neighboring state of Tabasco.

One of the fatalities was a fisherman in the town of Centla who fell into a river and drowned while trying to secure his boat, a state emergency services official told Efe.

Meteorologists said the remnants of Ernesto will continue to drop heavy rain over the next couple of days in the central states of Puebla, Hidalgo and Queretaro.

The weakening system, which is forecast to continue moving west and exit land near Acapulco, could regain strength once again over the Pacific.

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Argentina Eliminates Price Control on Natural Gas, Price Rises 300 Percent

Argentina Eliminates Price Control on Natural Gas, Price Rises 300 Percent

Photo: Natural gas refinery

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Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has announced plans for a 300 percent hike in natural gas wellhead prices, an increase aimed at spurring greater investment in that sector.

During the inauguration of a diesel refinery in Ensenada, Buenos Aires province, the president said the price per cubic meter of gas will rise from around 3 cents to 13 cents, marking an end to price controls that have been in place for a decade.

Fernandez said energy companies, including state-controlled energy firm YPF, will see their profits rise by a combined 900 million pesos ($200 million) annually as a result and that, in exchange, the firms will be expected to “respond with investments.”

“I don’t give signals to the market. I’m not a signal-giver. I’m a president, who must give rational signals not only to the market but to all society,” Fernandez said.

During her speech, Fernandez criticized the media for questioning her decision to create an oil planning commission to ensure companies’ investment plans meet Argentina’s energy needs.

Some media outlets said YPF CEO Miguel Galuccio opposed the decree due to the supposed negative effect it will have on investment and his company’s search for international partners and threatened to resign, but Fernandez denied those reports.

She said the media was determined to tarnish the image of YPF and Galuccio, who was appointed after the Argentine government seized a controlling stake in the company from Spain’s Repsol earlier this year.

Referring to the new commission formed to regulate the oil sector, Fernandez said similar agencies exist in Brazil and Colombia and wield even greater powers.

The commission, she said, will promote oil and gas exploration and seek to expand Argentina’s refining capacity, guarantee fuel supplies at reasonable prices, ensure free and fair competition in the sector and supervise the companies’ investment plans.

The plant inaugurated Thursday has an annual capacity to produce 1.75 billion liters of low-sulfur diesel - a fuel that Argentina has been forced to import - and was built at a cost of 1.5 billion pesos ($326 million).

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SundayAugust 12, 2012