TCRLA_Public/060315.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                    L A T I N   A M E R I C A

          Wednesday, March 15, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 53

                           Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

ABIS S.R.L.: Verification of Proofs of Claim Ends on April 19
ARCANGEL GABRIEL: Claims Verification Deadline Is April 28
CHEVITODO S.A.: Reorganization Proceeds to Bankruptcy
CLISA: Argentine S&P Leaves Corporate Bond Ratings Unchanged
COLORIN INDUSTRIA: Evaluadora Puts D Rating on US$47 Mil. Debt

DES S.A.: Trustee Verifies Creditors' Claims Until March 27
FIDEICOMISOS FINANCIEROS: S&P Puts raBB+ Rating on US$4.8MM Debt
FRIGORIFICO PALONI: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
METROGAS S.A.: Interest Nonpayment Cues S&P to Assign D Rating
MUNDO GRAFICO: Trustee Stops Validating Proofs of Claim by May 2

SUMATIK S.R.L.: Validation of Creditors' Claims Ends on April 18
TATEDETUTI S.A.: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims by June 7
TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: S&P Assigns B- Corporate Credit Rating
TELEFONICA HOLDING: S&P Assigns B- Rating with Stable Outlook
* Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela Set US$9.2MM for Pipeline Study

* Uruguay Agrees to 90-Day Paper Mills Construction Suspension


B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Board Adopts Annual Bonus Program for 2006


B O L I V I A

COMIBOL: Gets Joint Venture Proposal from Franklin Mining
REPSOL YPF: Subsidiary Officials Skip Court Hearing on Smuggling


B R A Z I L

BANCO BRADESCO: Reduces Overdraft and Interest Rates
BRASIL FERROVIAS: Declared Bankrupt for Non-Payment of Debt
NET SERVICOS: S&P Raises Ratings to BB- with Stable Outlook
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Talks with Eurocontrol for GFI Tech. Use
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: May Team Up with ONGC to Bid for Oil Blocks

* Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela Set US$9.2MM for Pipeline Study


C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

ABN AMRO: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by March 17
ADVISORY CONVERTIBLE: Sets Mar. 23 Deadline for Claims Filing
ADVISORY LEVERAGED: Creditors Have Until Mar. 23 to File Claims
ADVISORY LEVERAGED: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on March 23
ADVISORY U.S.: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by Mar. 23

ALBATROSS FINANCIAL: Sets Mar. 20 Claims Filing Deadline
BADANEG LTD: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by March 20


C H I L E

STRATUS TECHNOLOGIES: Begins Cash Tender Offer for US$144M Notes


C O L O M B I A

* Colombia Sets 2006 Budget Deficit Target to 1.5% of GDP


C U B A

* CUBA: Inks Pact for Iran to Build Cement Plant in the Country


J A M A I C A

* Fishers Consider Oil Exploration Damage Compensation Scheme


M E X I C O

CFE: Intends to Build La Jovita Combined Cycle Project
CFE: Plans to Spend MXN50 Mil. in Tamaulipas Electrification
GRUPO IUSACELL: December 31 Equity Deficit Widens to Ps$2 Bil.
HORIZON OFFSHORE: Completes $77 Mil. Refinancing with CIT Group
PRIDE INTERNATIONAL: Will File Form 10-K Filing on March 16


P E R U

SIDERPERU: Sells 56% Shares to ProInversion to Pay Debts
* PERU: Needs to Maintain Mining Tax Stability Contracts


P U E R T O   R I C O

MUSICLAND HOLDING: Final Sale Hearing Scheduled for March 22


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

* PetroCaribe Deal Program Rejection May Cause Economic Rift


U R U G U A Y

* Uruguay Agrees to 90-Day Paper Mills Construction Suspension


V E N E Z U E L A

* Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela Set US$9.2MM for Pipeline Study
* VENEZUELA: Buying 36 Brazilian Oil Tankers for US$3 Billion
* VENEZUELA: PetroCaribe Deal Program Testing Old Allegiances
* VENEZUELA: Total Renegotiates US$107MM Back Taxes Payment

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

=================
A R G E N T I N A
=================


ABIS S.R.L.: Verification of Proofs of Claim Ends on April 19
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of bankrupt company Abis S.R.L. are required to
present proofs of their claim to Mario Leizerow, the court-
appointed trustee, for verification on or before April 19, 2006,
La Nacion reports.  Creditors who fail to submit the required
documents by the said date will not qualify for any post-
liquidation distributions.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 21 declared the company bankrupt, in
favor of the company's creditor, Nuevo Banco Industrial de Azul
S.A.

Clerk No. 41 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Abis S.R.L.
         Av. del Libertador 7420
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Mario Leizerow
         Lavalle 1290
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


ARCANGEL GABRIEL: Claims Verification Deadline Is April 28
----------------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims for the Arcangel Gabriel
Vezzato S.A. bankruptcy case is set to end on April 28, 2006,
states Infobae.

Luis Pedro Pereyra, the court-appointed trustee tasked with
examining the claims, will submit the validation results as
individual reports on June 13, 2006.  He will also present a
general report in court on July 25, 2006.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Arcangel Gabriel Vezzato S.A.
         Tucuman 1545
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Luis Pedro Pereyra
         Avenida Roque Saenz Pena 651
         Buenos Aires


CHEVITODO S.A.: Reorganization Proceeds to Bankruptcy
-----------------------------------------------------
The reorganization of Chevitodo S.A. was has progressed into
bankruptcy.  Argentine news source La Nacion relates that Buenos
Aires' Court No. 14 ruled that the company is bankrupt, with the
assistance of Clerk No. 28.

The report adds that the court assigned Carlos Perez as trustee.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Chevitodo S.A.
         Juan B. Justo 3307
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Carlos Perez
         Larrea 785
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


CLISA: Argentine S&P Leaves Corporate Bond Ratings Unchanged
------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
assigns these ratings to Argentine Company CLISA's bond issues:

-- Obligaciones Negociables with guarantee for US$ 100.000.000
   * Last due: June 1, 2004
   * Rated date: Mar. 9, 2006
   * Rate: raD
   * Date of balance: Dec. 31, 2005

-- Obligaciones Negociables with guarantee (AGO 21-01-03, AD 23-
   01-03) for US$120,000,000

   * Last due: June 1, 2012
   * Rated date: Mar. 9, 2006
   * Rate: raB-
   * Date of balance: Dec. 31, 2005


COLORIN INDUSTRIA: Evaluadora Puts D Rating on US$47 Mil. Debt
--------------------------------------------------------------
Colorin Industria de Materiales Sintet's Obligaciones
Negociables for US$47,000,000 is rated D by the Evaluadora
Latinoamericana S.A. Calificadora de Riesgo.  The debt became
due on Mar. 31, 2006.

Colorin Industria manufactures paints, varnishes and related
products.  Products are divided into six sections: Automotive,
Diluents and Removers, Roofing, Industry, Bricks, Wood, Swimming
Pools and Baths, and Wall and Masonry.


DES S.A.: Trustee Verifies Creditors' Claims Until March 27
-----------------------------------------------------------
Estudio Lamarchina y Asociados -- the court-appointed trustee --
Des S.A. has started verifying claims from the company's
creditors, Infobae reports.  Verification will end on March 27,
2006.

Validated claims will be presented in court as individual
reports on June 21, 2006.

Estudio Lamarchina y Asociados is also required by the court to
submit a general report essentially auditing the company's
accounting and business records as well as summarizing important
events pertaining to the reorganization.  The report will be
presented in court on Aug. 18, 2006.

An informative assembly, the final stage of a reorganization
where the settlement proposal is presented to the company's
creditors for approval, is scheduled on Feb. 26, 2007.

Des S.A. began reorganization following the approval of its
petition by a court based in La Plata.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Estudio Lamarchina y Asociados
         Calle 13 Nro. 857
         La Plata, Buenos Aires
         Argentina


FIDEICOMISOS FINANCIEROS: S&P Puts raBB+ Rating on US$4.8MM Debt
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard's & Poors assigned these ratings to Fideicomisos
Financieros C‚lulas Hipotecarias Argentinas Serie IV 2005-2:

-- Valores de Deuda Fiduciarios Clase B CHA for US$4,847,900
    * Last due: no date
    * Rated date: Mar. 9, 2006
    * Rate: raBB+

-- Valores de Deuda Fiduciarios Senior CHA for US$54,943,000
    * Last due: no date
    * Rated date: Mar. 9, 2006
    * Rate: raAAA


FRIGORIFICO PALONI: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
---------------------------------------------------
Frigorifico Paloni S.A. was declared bankrupt by a court based
in Bahia Blanca, Infobae reports.  The company was undergoing
reorganization when the court changed the company's insolvency
case to liquidation.

Accounting firm Estudio Pucci y Asociados appointed trustee for
the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Frigorifico Paloni S.A.
         Terrada 1751
         Bahia Blanca
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Estudio Pucci y Asociados
         Zalarrayan 267
         Bahia Blanca
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


METROGAS S.A.: Interest Nonpayment Cues S&P to Assign D Rating
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'D' rating on
Metrogas S.A.

The 'D' rating on Metrogas S.A. reflects the company's decision
to suspend interest and principal payments on all of its
outstanding debt following the negative impact on its financial
profile of government intervention in the concessions pricing
mechanism -- with the pesification and freeze of the tariffs --
and a severe devaluation of the Argentine peso in early 2002,
followed by high inflation levels.  This situation has created a
significant mismatch between Metrogas' peso-denominated cash
flow and its mostly US dollar- and Euro-denominated debt, and
led to the suspension of payments in March 2002.

Furthermore, there are still uncertainties about the company's
cash-flow generation potential, given that the renegotiation of
the concession contracts in Argentina, mandated by the
government after the pesification of the tariffs, is still
pending.

On Nov. 9, 2005, Metrogas launched a new proposal to restructure
all its financial debt under an out-of-court agreement, Acuerdo
Preventivo Extrajudicial aka APE, or under an out-of-court
restructuring agreement, Acuerdo de Reestructuracion
Extrajudicial, or a combination of both, depending on acceptance
levels.  The proposal includes around $460 million of financial
debt, bonds and bank loans, and comprises three options, as
follows:

    -- Cash option: up to $160 million, at a purchase price of
       $750 per $1,000 in principal;

    -- Series I Exchange Option: US dollar-denominated,
       aggregating 100% of the principal amount to be exchanged,
       with final maturity in 2014, semiannual amortization
       starting in June 2010, and 8% interest rate for years one
       to six, and 9% after that; or

    -- Series II Exchange Option: Denominated in US dollars,
       Euros and at the option of certain holders in Argentine
       pesos, aggregating 105% of the principal amount to be
       exchanged with final maturity in 2014, semiannual
       amortization starting in June 2012 and step-up interest
       rate starting at 3% up to 8% in the eighth year for the
       obligations denominated in dollars or Argentine pesos,
       and at a market equivalent for the Euro-denominated
       obligations.

The expiration date of the APE solicitation was March 15, 2005,
but the company recently announced its intention to extend it
until April 10, 2006, in line with its solicitation of consent
to restructure to Italian bondholders.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services will closely monitor further
developments under the restructuring process and, once it is
completed, evaluate Metrogas' resulting repayment capacity to
determine the appropriate rating.

If the proposal is successful, Metrogas will benefit from a
favorable debt maturity schedule, without principal payments in
the first five years.

In addition, the company's current cash generation of
approximately $50 million after capital expenditures would allow
it to cover around two times interests payments, assuming a
relatively stable exchange rate, and depending on the final
restructuring results.

Since 2002, the natural gas regulatory framework in Argentina
was exposed to significant changes, which we expect to continue
in the medium term.  The final effect of those changes on the
company's cash-generation ability is still uncertain.

On Feb. 13, 2004, the Argentine government issued Decrees
180/2004 and 181/2004, introducing changes in the existing
regulation.

Distributors could be negatively affected, as large industrial
and commercial consumers will have to buy natural gas directly
from producers or brokers, therefore bypassing the distributors.
Although this does not affect the value added of distribution
charges collected by the distributors, it affects their ability
to use contracted capacity efficiently and may affect margins.

During fiscal 2005, Metrogas' total volumes delivered slightly
decreased (-2%) when compared to 2004 levels, mainly as a
consequence of a reduction in power plants consumption as more
hydropower was generated.

Nevertheless, continuing growth of residential, industrial and
compressed natural gas resulted in increased cash generation and
better operating results for Metrogas -- EBITDA margin reached
19.4% in fiscal 2005, from 17.8% in fiscal 2004 and 17.1% in
2003.  Nevertheless, Metrogas' future performance will remain
conditioned by the outcome of the renegotiation of its
concession contract and by the debt profile resulting from its
debt restructuring.

Metrogas is Argentina's largest natural gas distributor, serving
about 1.9 million customers through a 35-year exclusive
concession to distribute natural gas in the Buenos Aires
metropolitan region, Argentina's most densely populated area.

Liquidity


Although Metrogas had about $172 million in cash and short-term
investments as of Dec. 31, 2005, its financial flexibility and
liquidity positions are severely restricted given its current
default situation, and will remain constrained while the company
negotiates with creditors to adapt its interest burden and
maturity schedule to its current cash-flow generation.  S&P
expects the company to use most of this cash in its
restructuring process.


MUNDO GRAFICO: Trustee Stops Validating Proofs of Claim by May 2
----------------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Beatriz Susana Stachesky will stop
validating claims against bankrupt company Mundo Grafico S.A. on
May 2, 2006, Infobae reports.

Ms. Stachesky will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports on June 14, 2006.  The trustee will also
submit a general report on the case on Aug. 3, 2006.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Mundo Grafico S.A.
         Avenida Dr. Nicolas Avellaneda 4080
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Beatriz Susana Stachesky
         Avenida Cordoba 817
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


SUMATIK S.R.L.: Validation of Creditors' Claims Ends on April 18
----------------------------------------------------------------
The validation of creditors' proofs of claim against Sumatik
S.R.L., a company under reorganization, will end on April 18,
2006, Argentine daily La Nacion reports.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 10 approved the company's petition for
reorganization filed after the company defaulted on its debt
payments.  Jorge Stanislavsky was appointed as trustee.

An informative assembly will be held on Feb. 14, 2007.
Creditors will vote to ratify the completed settlement plan
during the said assembly.

The city's Clerk No. 20 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Sumatik S.R.L.
         Nunez 4820
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Jorge Stanislavsky
         Talcahuano 768
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TATEDETUTI S.A.: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims by June 7
---------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Estevez-Musante will not entertain
claims against bankrupt company Tatedetuti S.A. after June 7,
2006, Infobae reports.  Creditors whose claims have not been
verified by the trustee will be disqualified from receiving any
distribution or payment from the company.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Estevez-Musante
         Sarmiento 1426
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: S&P Assigns B- Corporate Credit Rating
---------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned 'B-' long-term
foreign currency corporate credit rating on Argentine-based
telecom provider Telefonica de Argentina S.A.. The outlook is
stable.

The rating on Telefonica de Argentina S.A. aka TASA reflects the
financial and regulatory challenges of operating in the
Argentine environment.  The high proportion of foreign-currency
debt to be served with still-frozen and pesified revenues
exposes the company to currency and inflation risks and to a
weakening of TASA's debt-servicing ability.  The company's good
market position, efficient operations, and improved financial
performance partially mitigate these negative factors.

Regulatory uncertainty is still high, as the contract
renegotiation, mandated by the government in early 2002, has yet
to be accomplished.  In February 2006, the company signed a
memorandum of understanding with the government over the
contract renegotiation.

The memorandum includes the possibility of raising international
incoming calling rates and the equalization of the off-peak time
for local and long-distance calls, extending peak time by one
hour and resulting in lower rate discounts.  TASA would also
continue investing in the update and development of its network.

The agreement has to meet additional legal requirements,
including having a public hearing to treat the principles
settled in the memorandum.

After the public hearing is concluded, TASA's shareholder would
have to suspend its lawsuit filed in the World Bank's
international arbitration court against the Argentine government
and withdraw it if it reaches a final renegotiation with the
government.

Initially, the changes proposed in the memorandum are expected
to have a limited effect on the company's current situation and
credit quality.  Nevertheless, it is still very early to predict
the final renegotiation conditions on the future regulatory
framework.

Despite the uncertain regulatory environment, TASA's financial
performance has gradually recovered as a result of the economic
improvements in the country and the relatively stable exchange
rates and still-manageable inflation levels, debt reductions,
and cost efficiencies taken by the company.  Interest coverage
and funds from operations-to-total debt measures for 2005
improved to 5.4 times and 54.6%, respectively, from 4.2 times
and 36.4% in fiscal 2004.  These improvements should allow the
company to weather a certain level of unfavorable changes in
Argentina's macroeconomic environment-particularly as regards
inflation and exchange rates-and still maintain credit quality
commensurate with the current rating category.

TASA's future cash-flow generation and financial profile will
depend on the sustainability of economic recovery and stability
in Argentina, the company's ability to contain costs, and in the
medium to long term, on the result of the contract renegotiation
with the government, including a tariff-setting mechanism.
Nevertheless, margins are expected to decline gradually with the
upward adjustments in wages and other costs under still-frozen
and pesified tariff levels.  This can already be observed in
2005, when the EBITDA margin declined to 49.7% from 57.1% in
2004.

In addition, significant debt reductions-albeit in an important
proportion of intercompany debt-improved TASA's debt-to-
capitalization ratio to 48.3% as of December 2005 and the debt-
to-EBITDA ratio to 1.7 times in fiscal 2005 -- compared to 57.2%
and 2.2 times, respectively, in fiscal 2004.

TASA is one of two incumbent telephone companies in Argentina,
formed in 1990 after the privatization of state
telecommunications.  Holding approximately 53% of the more than
8 million lines in service in Argentina, TASA currently provides
basic telecommunications services -- local, national, and
international long distance -- throughout the country.  The
Spanish telecommunication operator Telefonica S.A.
(BBB+/Stable/A-2) directly and indirectly owns 98% of TASA's
shares.

Liquidity

TASA's liquidity remains relatively tight due to the exposure to
currency mismatch risks -- under a scenario of tariff freeze and
pesification.  This is mitigated by the company's manageable
maturity schedule when compared to the current cash generation
and some access to the local markets.

As of Dec. 31, 2005, TASA had approximately $171 million in
short-term debt, including CP notes in Argentine pesos for an
equivalent of about $21 million that mature next April, and
bonds for $71.4 million due in July 2006.  Total consolidated
debt as of Dec. 31, 2005, amounted to $911 million -- including
interest.

TASA's cash holdings-of about $120 million as of Dec. 31, 2005,
and internal cash generation, are expected to be devoted to fund
capital expenditures -- of about $160 million -- and to continue
to reduce debt.

In addition, during 2005, TASA sold its equity interest in
Telinver to other companies of the group for about $74 million -
- minus financial debt for $7.5 million -- to be paid in the
next 30 months -- from the closing of the transaction.

Outlook

The stable outlook reflects expectations that the company's good
competitive position and a relatively stable economic scenario
should allow TASA to maintain its financial profile if
conditions in Argentina become more challenging.  Rating upside
is somewhat limited by the current business environment in
Argentina, especially with regard to regulatory risk and the
persistence of currency mismatch -- between the company's
foreign-currency debt and certain costs in foreign currencies,
and peso-denominated cash generation.

Ratings could be revised if tariff inflexibility persists under
a higher-than-expected inflationary and exchange rate scenario,
government intervention increases, or financial flexibility
deteriorates significantly.


TELEFONICA HOLDING: S&P Assigns B- Rating with Stable Outlook
-------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'B-' rating on
Argentine holding company Telefonica Holding de Argentina S.A.
The Outlook is Stable.

Rationale

The ratings on Telefonica Holding aka THA are based on its
indirect stake in Telefonica de Argentina S.A. -- TASA; of 32.4%
-- an Argentine-based integrated telecom incumbent provider that
has about a 58% fixed-line share throughout the country.

The rating on TASA reflects the financial and regulatory
challenges of operating in the Argentine environment.  The high
proportion of foreign-currency debt to be served with still-
frozen and pesified revenues exposes the company to currency and
inflation risks and weakens TASA's debt-servicing ability.  The
company's good market position, efficient operations, and
improved financial performance partially mitigate these negative
factors.

Regulatory uncertainty is still high as the contract
renegotiation -- which was mandated by the government in early
2002 -- has not been accomplished yet.  In February 2006, the
company signed a memorandum of understanding with the government
over the contract renegotiation.

The memorandum includes the possibility of raising international
incoming calling rates and the equalization of the off-peak time
for local and long-distance calls -- this would extend peak time
by one hour and result in lower rate discounts.  TASA would also
continue investing in the update and development of its network.

The agreement has to meet additional legal requirements,
including having a public hearing to treat the principles
settled in the memorandum.

After the public hearing is concluded, TASA would have to
suspend its lawsuit filed in the World Bank's international
arbitration court against the Argentine government, and withdraw
it if it reaches a final renegotiation with the government.

Initially, the changes proposed in the memorandum are expected
to have a limited effect on the company's current situation and
credit quality.  Nevertheless, it is still very early to predict
the final renegotiation conditions on the future regulatory
framework.

THA's financial profile improved as a result of the
capitalization of intercompany loans for approximately $590
million, materialized in the last quarter of 2005 -- equivalent
to about 97% of the company's financial debt as of September
2005.  Although this capitalization did not represent a cash
inflow for THA, it significantly improved its financial
statements and ratios, as net worth became positive and
financial debt declined to $20 million -- including $7 million
outstanding notes with third parties that mature in 2007.

THA's overall financial profile is highly dependent on the
performance of its subsidiaries, as THA is a holding company
whose only significant asset is its stake in COINTEL, through
which it participates in TASA, its main source of funds through
management fees -- equivalent to 4% of TASA's gross margin --
and dividends -- received through COINTEL.  After the financial
debt capitalization, and despite the fact that COINTEL has not
distributed dividends since 2001, THA's revenue stream is
expected to be sufficient to cover selling, general, and
administrative expenses, as well as interest.

Liquidity

THA's liquidity and financial flexibility depend on its parent,
while cash flow ultimately depends on flows from TASA.  THA's
liquidity position significantly alleviated after the mentioned
capitalization of its financial debt with companies of the
group.  As of December 2005, the company's total financial debt
amounted to about $20 million, of which about 61% corresponded
to intercompany loans.

Outlook

The stable outlook on THA reflects the close link with TASA's
credit quality.  The stable outlook on TASA reflects
expectations that the company's good competitive position and a
relatively stable economic scenario should allow TASA to
maintain its financial profile if conditions in Argentina become
more challenging.  Both the rating upside and downside depend on
TASA's creditworthiness.


* Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela Set US$9.2MM for Pipeline Study
--------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela plan to spend an initial US$9.2
million on environmental and engineering studies for the
construction of a natural-gas pipeline that will run from
Caracas to Buenos Aires, Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry was
quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.

State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela aka PVSA, will be in charge
of finding a company to conduct the initial pipeline studies.  A
final proposal for the project is expected to be presented in
July, the Journal relates.

Brazil will coordinate environmental-impact studies for the
project, taking environmental legislation of each country into
consideration, the Journal relates.

The project has meet oppositions from environmental groups that
fear its crossing of the Brazilian Amazon may attract loggers
and settlers and worsen rain-forest destruction.

Another stumbling block that the three country faces is the
project's estimated cost of US$25 billion.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Brazil:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BB-      Nov. 18, 2004
   Long Term IDR      BB-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR     B        Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     BB-      Dec. 14, 2005

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


* Uruguay Agrees to 90-Day Paper Mills Construction Suspension
--------------------------------------------------------------
Argentina and Uruguay reached a truce on the construction of two
paper mills on the river bordering the two countries.

Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez agreed to suspend the US$1.6
billion project for 90 days pending a survey on the
environmental impact of the factories.

Argentine provincial and federal authorities and
environmentalist groups state that the pulp mills with their
chlorine bleaching process are highly water and air
contaminating, but Uruguay argues both mills comply with the
latest and most stringent European Union regulations regarding
conservation of natural resources.

President Nestor Kirchner has alleged in a previous report that
Uruguay violated international treaties by allowing the
construction of the mills without Argentina's approval.

The plants are financed by Helsinki-based Metsae-Botnia Oy,
which is building a US$1.1 billion mill along the river, and
Madrid-based Grupo Empresarial Ence SA, which plans to invest
another US$500 million in a second factory.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005


=============
B E R M U D A
=============


GLOBAL CROSSING: Board Adopts Annual Bonus Program for 2006
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Board of Directors of Global Crossing Limited adopted the
company's annual bonus program for 2006 at the recommendation of
the Compensation Committee of the Board.

Substantially all employees of the company, including all
executive officers, participate in the 2006 Bonus Program.  The
program is intended to retain such employees and to motivate
them to help the company achieve its financial and business
goals.

Each participant is provided a target award under the 2006 Bonus
Program expressed as a percentage of his or her base salary.
The applicable percentages for executive officers range from 50%
to 100% of base salary.

Actual awards under the 2006 Bonus Program will be paid only if
the company achieves specified performance goals for 2006
relating to earnings  -- EBITDA Metric, representing 60% of the
overall target opportunity -- and/or the net change in cash and
cash equivalents aka Cash Use Metric, representing 40% of the
overall target opportunity.  The payout for each performance
opportunity is calculated independently of the other once
financial results for 2006 have been determined.

Specifically, each participant will earn:

     -- 40% of his target award for a given opportunity if
        the threshold financial performance goal for that
        opportunity is achieved,

     -- 100% of his or her target award for a given opportunity
        if the target financial performance goal for that
        opportunity is achieved, and

     -- 140% of his or her target award for a given opportunity
        if the maximum financial performance goal for that
        opportunity is achieved or exceeded. Straight-line
        interpolation will be used to determine the payout for
        performance between the threshold and target goals or
        between the target and maximum goals. No payout will be
        made for performance below threshold.

Bonus payouts under the 2006 Bonus Program will be made half in
cash and half in fully vested shares of common stock of the
company issued under the 2003 Global Crossing Limited Stock
Incentive Plan, provided that the Compensation Committee retains
discretion to change the allocation between shares and cash.

The chief executive officer's bonus payout is subject to the
terms of the Global Crossing Limited Senior Executive Short-Term
Incentive Compensation Plan and his Dec. 9, 2003, employment
agreement.

2006 Long-Term Incentive Program

On March 7, 2006, the Compensation Committee and the Board
approved the grant of restricted stock units -- RSUs -- and
performance shares to key employees of the company called
Grantees, including all executive officers.

Each RSU will vest on March 7, 2009, subject to the applicable
Grantee's continued employment through that date and subject to
earlier pro-rata vesting in the event of death or long-term
disability, provided that the chief executive officer's RSUs
vest in full upon actual or constructive termination without
cause -- as determined in accordance with his employment
agreement -- or due to death or long-term disability.

An RSU entitles the Grantee to receive a share of unrestricted
common stock of the Company on the vesting date.  The executive
officers were granted 219,000 RSUs in the aggregate.

In addition, a target performance share opportunity was
established for each Grantee.  Each performance share earned
will be paid out in unrestricted shares of the company's common
stock on Dec. 31, 2008, subject to the applicable Grantee's
continued employment through that date, and subject to earlier
pro-rata payout in the event of death or long-term disability,
provided that the chief executive officer's performance shares
vest in full upon actual or constructive termination without
cause -- as determined in accordance with his employment
agreement -- or due to death or long-term disability.  The
target number of performance shares granted for all executive
officers in the aggregate is 259,000 shares.

Each Grantee's target performance share opportunity comprises
three separate award opportunities:

     -- One based on a goal related to combined 2006 and 2007
        EBITDA Metric performance in an amount equal to 40% of
        the overall target opportunity

     -- One based on a goal related to combined 2006 and 2007
        Cash Use Metric performance in an amount equal to 40% of
        the overall target opportunity; and

     -- One based on a goal related to combined 2006 and 2007
        performance relative to  measure of profitability of the
        company's Invest & Grow operating segment -- Invest and
        Grow Metric -- in an amount equal to 20% of the overall
        target opportunity.

Performance shares with respect to each of the EBITDA Metric
opportunity, the Cash Use Metric opportunity and the Invest and
Grow Metric opportunity will be earned only if the Company
achieves specified financial performance goals relating to that
opportunity.

Specifically, each Grantee will earn:

     -- 50% of his target award for a given opportunity if
        the threshold financial performance goal for that
        opportunity is achieved,

     -- 100% of his or her target award for a given opportunity
        if the target financial performance goal for that
        opportunity is achieved, and

     -- 150% of his or her target award for a given opportunity
        if the maximum financial performance goal for that
        opportunity is achieved or exceeded. Straight-line
        interpolation will be used to determine the payout for
        performance between the threshold and target goals or
        between the target and maximum goals. No payout will be
        made for performance below threshold.

Headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, Global Crossing
Ltd. -- http://www.globalcrossing.com/-- provides
telecommunications solutions over the world's first integrated
global IP-based network, which reaches 27 countries and more
than 200 major cities around the globe.  Global Crossing serves
many of the world's largest corporations, providing a full range
of managed data and voice products and services.  The company
filed for chapter 11 protection on January 28, 2002
(Bankr.S.D.N.Y. Case No. 02-40188).  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they listed $25,511,000,000 in
total assets and $15,467,000,000 in total debts.  Global
Crossing emerged from chapter 11 on Dec. 9, 2003.

As of Sept. 30, 2005, Global Crossing's balance sheet reflects a
$139 million equity deficit compared to $51 million of positive
equity at Dec. 31, 2005.


=============
B O L I V I A
=============


COMIBOL: Gets Joint Venture Proposal from Franklin Mining
---------------------------------------------------------
Bolivia's state mining company received a proposed contract for
a joint venture from Nevada-based Franklin Mining, Business News
Americas reports.

Franklin Mining revealed to Business News that the joint venture
would cover the Cerro Rico silver mine in Bolivia's Potosi
department.

Under the contract, Comibol would make the mine or mines
available, while the cooperatives would supply the necessary
work force, states Business News.  Capital and mining know-how
will be provided by the company.

Franklin Mining told Business News, the idea is to increase
productivity at Cerro Rico.  The company did not give any
current production level figures or goals.

Franklin said in a statement that expanding production would
mean higher revenues for Comibol, significant cash flow for
Franklin, and better wages and working conditions for the
cooperative miners.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 6, 2006, the
restructuring of Bolivia's state mining company Comibol could
take a long time.

Bolivian President Evo Morales' initiative for the company's
restructuring will take time as currently Comibol mines are
under joint venture contracts or leasing agreements, former
Comibol president Juan Cabrera told Business News.

The former Comibol president also said that the company
recovered a series of deposits held by people who won the
concessions from Comibol but did not develop them and used them
for speculation.

However, Cabrera admitted that during his term, he was unable to
get Comibol assets reorganized.  He reasoned that Comibol is a
very large company and has very significant assets, which would
require very specialized work.

Comibol has US$85 million in assets including equipment and
machinery, which cannot be used by small and medium-scale miners
and cooperatives.  According to Cabrera, only some of that
equipment can be employed in the restructuring; the rest is too
old or is unsuitable.


REPSOL YPF: Subsidiary Officials Skip Court Hearing on Smuggling
----------------------------------------------------------------
Two executives of Repsol YPF's Bolivian subsidiary, Petrolera
Andina, charged with smuggling US$9.22 million worth of crude
failed to appear in court on Thursday, Business News Americas
reports.

As a result, Bolivian police raided Petrolera Andina's offices
looking for Andina President Julio Gavito and COO Pedro Sanchez,
Repsol YPF said in a statement.  Police seized documents found
inside the offices.

Prosecutor Angel Alvarez confirmed to the local media that the
raid did occur and said that the executives were not found.

As previously reported, a warrant was issued for the arrest of
Julio Gavito and Pedro Sanchez on the alleged smuggling of
230,000 barrels of oil valued at US$9.2 million.  That warrant
was cancelled after the Spanish Foreign Ministry expressed its
concerns over the issue.

Shortly after saying the case was dismissed, a judge in Bolivia
changed his mind and ordered the detention of the two directors,
one of them Spanish.  The Spanish government has described the
action against the directors as "unjust," the Typically Spanish
online states.

In a statement, Repsol YPF claimed that the arrest warrants are
invalid and lack legal foundation due to the fact the
prosecutors may not dictate a measure of this kind during the
legal process.

The company has repeatedly denied Bolivia's allegations and
insisted that all their dealings were legal and duly authorized.

Repsol YPF said, "Andina reiterates that its representatives in
the country are innocent and hopes for clarification of the
circumstances surrounding the raid of the offices in Santa Cruz,
Bolivia."

Repsol YPF's lawyer revealed to a local radio station that the
compay had requested that judge Zenon Rodriguez be taken off the
case.  The judge had reportedly decided the suspension of the
investigation the day before the raid.

"We are going to continue the investigation," the prosecutor
told Business News.

Repsol has frozen US$480 million in planned gas investments in
Bolivia because of what it considers political uncertainty.

                        *    *    *

On June 20, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded the ratings
of Spanish-Argentine oil company Repsol YPF's local subsidiary
YPF S.A. Moody's upgraded YPF's senior unsecured rating to Ba3
from B1 and the unit's domestic currency issuer rating to Baa2
from Baa3.

YPF's foreign currency issuer rating of Caa1 remained unchanged,
as it is constrained by the sovereign ceiling of Argentina.
YPF's Corporate Family Rating (formerly known as the senior
implied rating) is aligned with the foreign currency issuer
rating at Caa1.


===========
B R A Z I L
===========


BANCO BRADESCO: Reduces Overdraft and Interest Rates
----------------------------------------------------
Brazilian private bank Banco Bradesco reduced its monthly
interest rates, Business News Americas reports.  The reduction
was made after the country's central bank slashed for the sixth
time its benchmark Selic interest rate by 75 basis points to
16.5%.

Banco Bradesco told Business News that its maximum overdraft
rates dropped 8.17% from 8.23% per month.  The monthly minimum
overdraft rates were also lowered to 4.55% from 4.58%.

Business News states that the maximum monthly interest rates for
personal loans plunged 5.71% from 5.77%, while the minimum fell
3.16% from 3.22%.

Headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Banco Bradesco S.A. Banco --
http://www.bradesco.com.br/-- prides itself on serving low- and
medium-income individuals in Brazil since the 1960s.  Bradesco
is Brazil's largest private bank, with more than 3,000 banking
branches, and also a leader in insurance and private pension
management.  Bradesco has branches throughout Brazil as well as
one in New York, two in the Bahamas, and four in the Cayman
Islands.  Bradesco offers Internet banking, insurance, pension
plans, annuities, credit card services (including football-club
affinity cards for the soccer-mad population), and Internet
access for customers.  The bank also provides personal and
commercial loans, along with leasing services.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 23, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service shifted Banco Bradesco S.A.'s 'C-'
bank financial strength rating to positive from stable.


BRASIL FERROVIAS: Declared Bankrupt for Non-Payment of Debt
-----------------------------------------------------------
Sao Paulo State Judge Caio Marcelo Mendes de Oliveira declared
Brasil Ferrovias bankrupt in the wake of a complaint from Scala
for non-payment of a 5.6 million real (US$2.6 million) debt,
Business News Americas reports.

Brasil Ferrovias protested the bankruptcy decree but has failed
to pay its debt to Scala.

The decree, which comes just weeks before the sale of the
company's three railway lines, Ferronorte, Ferroban and
Novoeste, will paralyze the holding company's activities.

In January, the company almost lost its concession of Ferroban
after falling behind in repayments of a 280 million real debt to
the land transportation bureau ANTT.  Brasil Ferrovias deposited
its payment just days before the concession was suspended.

Brasil Ferrovias' shareholders are Previ, owned by Banco do
Brasi, and Funcef, owned by federal bank CEF.


NET SERVICOS: S&P Raises Ratings to BB- with Stable Outlook
-----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Rating Services raised on Monday its foreign
and local currency corporate credit ratings on Brazilian cable
pay-TV and broadband operator Net Servicos de Comunicacao S.A to
'BB-' from 'B+'.  The Brazil National Scale rating assigned to
NET and its BRL650 million debentures due 2011 was also revised
to 'brA' from 'brBBB+'.  The outlook on the ratings was revised
to stable from positive.

"The upgrade reflects NET's improved operational and financial
performance over the past several quarters and our expectation
that NET should be able to maintain its current performance over
the next few years," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Jean-
Pierre Cote Gil.

NET benefited from its improved financial flexibility and the
favorable growth scenario for the country in 2005, which
stimulated the company's investments and marketing efforts,
resulting in higher than expected expansion of its pay-TV
subscriber base and a particularly very robust growth of
broadband connections.

The upgrade is also supported by NET's commitment to prudent
financial policies that include the maintenance of moderate
levels of debt, strong credit metrics, and an adequate liquidity
position.

The stable outlook on the ratings reflects our expectations that
NET will retain a prudent financial strategy and a strong
business position despite the fierce competition in both the
pay-TV and broadband segments.

S&P could revise the outlook to positive should NET consistently
demonstrate its commitment to a prudent financial strategy that
reduced the potential impact of market and economic volatility,
including the maintenance of low levels of debt and a strong
liquidity position.  A positive review could also be prompted by
a consistent improvement of the market fundamentals that affect
NET's operations, resulting in a more positive view of the
country risks that affect the company.

S&P could revise the outlook to negative if market conditions
were to deteriorate significantly, affecting NET's subscriber
base, ARPUs, and interest rates on the company's debt.  The
ratings could be under pressure if NET were not able to sustain
certain credit metrics such as an EBITDA-to-interest coverage
ratio of about 2.5 times and FFO to total debt of about
30%.


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Talks with Eurocontrol for GFI Tech. Use
-------------------------------------------------------------
Eurocontrol Technics Inc. (TSX VENTURE:EUO) Eurocontrol
announced that the Company's subsidiary, Global Fluids
International S.A. submitted its official offer to Brazil's
largest oil company; Petroleo Brasileiro SA, for a three-year
gasoline marking and detection project in 16 marking sites
throughout Brazil.  The offer was prepared following a
successful large field test in one of the Petrobras terminals,
demonstrating the accurate marking and tracing capabilities of
the GFI system.  Petrobras is owned by the government of Brazil
and is one of the largest oil producing and refining companies
world wide.

GFI is also competing in a large project sponsored by the
Brazilian National Energy Agency, ANP, for marking all the
country's solvents. This contract could exceed US$10 million per
year.  GFI recently completed a successful large-scale test
demonstrating the full compliance of its marker with target
products, and was recommended by the project committee as one of
the leading competitors.

"We have had several rounds of discussions with Brazilian
officials about their need to mark certain types of oil and
solvent supplies in their country," said Gadi Gonen, President
of Eurocontrol and CEO of GFI.  "We are encouraged by the
increasing awareness of officials in numerous countries,
including Brazil, about the advantages of marking oil supply and
how our products and services can address their needs."

The GFI PetromarkTM integral solution addresses two major
problems in the oil industry: combating illicit fuels (stolen or
adulterated), and brand protection (preventing mixing of non-
brand fuels).  As the price of oil has increased substantially
in the past year, such problems have become a higher priority
for officials to address.  Such oil industry cost realities,
along with GFI's 5-year R&D efforts to create its industry-
leading marking solutions, along with access to capital provided
by Eurocontrol, will allow management to pursue numerous
anticipated oil marking opportunities later in 2006 and in years
to come.

About Eurocontrol Technics Inc.

Eurocontrol Technics Inc. a Canadian-based company trading on
the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "EUO."  Eurocontrol is
currently a minority owner of Global Fluids International S.A.

        About Global Fluids International S.A.

Founded in 2001, Global Fluids International S.A --
http://www.gfi-petromark.com-- is one of the world's pioneers
in developing and implementing innovative marking systems for
the oil industry.  Through its proprietary PetromarkTM integral
system, GFI has developed a 4-part solution consisting of a
marker, injection, monitoring and control components.  GFI's
innovative solutions include various proprietary components that
meet the needs of petrol distributors globally.  GFI has offices
in Austria, Israel, Mexico and the U.S., and its R&D center is
based in Israel.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Petroleo Brasileiro SA
aka Petrobras was founded in 1953.  The company explores,
produces, refines, transports, markets, distributes oil and
natural gas and power to various wholesale customers and retail
distributors in the country.

                        *    *    *

Petroleo Brasileiro SA's long-term corporate family rating is
rate Ba3 by Moody's and its foreign currency long-term debt is
rated BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

Fitch assigns these ratings to Petroleo Brasileiro's senior
unsecured notes:

  Maturity Date           Amount        Rate       Ratings
  _____________           ______        ____       _______
  April 1, 2008        $400,000,000      9%          BB-
  July 2, 2013         $750,000,000    9.125%        BB-
  Sept. 15, 2014       $650,000,000    7.75%         BB-
  Dec. 10, 2018        $750,000,000    8.375%        BB-


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: May Team Up with ONGC to Bid for Oil Blocks
----------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil's state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. may
team up with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation to jointly bid for
oil and gas blocks in the sixth round of new exploration
licensing policy bidding, the Financial Express reports.  The
Indian government is offering 55 blocks for bidding.

"We are in talks with Indian oil companies to jointly bid for
oil and gas blocks in the forth coming NELP bidding. We are
basically interested in the deep water exploration blocks,"
Petrobras Europe Ltd.'s new ventures manager Demarco Epifanio
told the Financial Express.  However, he did not reveal specific
names of the Indian oil firms that he is in talks with.  Last
year Petrobras participated for bidding the Indian blocks under
the fifth round of NELP but was not successful in getting any
blocks.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Petroleo Brasileiro SA
aka Petrobras was founded in 1953.  The company explores,
produces, refines, transports, markets, distributes oil and
natural gas and power to various wholesale customers and retail
distributors in the country.

                        *    *    *

Petroleo Brasileiro SA's long-term corporate family rating is
rate Ba3 by Moody's and its foreign currency long-term debt is
rated BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

Fitch assigns these ratings to Petroleo Brasileiro's senior
unsecured notes:

  Maturity Date           Amount        Rate       Ratings
  _____________           ______        ____       _______
  April 1, 2008        $400,000,000      9%          BB-
  July 2, 2013         $750,000,000    9.125%        BB-
  Sept. 15, 2014       $650,000,000    7.75%         BB-
  Dec. 10, 2018        $750,000,000    8.375%        BB-


* Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela Set US$9.2MM for Pipeline Study
--------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela plan to spend an initial US$9.2
million on environmental and engineering studies for the
construction of a natural-gas pipeline that will run from
Caracas to Buenos Aires, Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry was
quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.

State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela aka PVSA, will be in charge
of finding a company to conduct the initial pipeline studies.  A
final proposal for the project is expected in July, the Journal
relates.

Brazil will coordinate environmental-impact studies for the
project, taking environmental legislation of each country into
consideration, the Journal relates.

The project has meet oppositions from environmental groups that
fear its crossing of the Brazilian Amazon may attract loggers
and settlers and worsen rain-forest destruction.

Another stumbling block that the three countries face is the
project's estimated cost of US$25 billion.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Brazil:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BB-      Nov. 18, 2004
   Long Term IDR      BB-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR     B        Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     BB-      Dec. 14, 2005

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


===========================
C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S
===========================


ABN AMRO: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by March 17
---------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of ABN AMRO Structured Alternative Strategies Fund,
which is being voluntarily wound up, are required to present
proofs of claim on or before March 17, 2006, to David A.K.
Walker and Lawrence Edwards of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the
company's liquidator.

Creditors are required to present proofs of claim personally or
through their solicitors at the time and place that the
liquidator specified.  Failure to present claims would mean
exclusion from the benefit of any distribution that the company
will make.

The liquidators can be reached at:

            Lawrence Edwards
            Jodi Jones (Smith)
P.O. Box 219 George Town
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Tel: (345) 914 8694
Fax: (345) 949 4590


ADVISORY CONVERTIBLE: Sets Mar. 23 Deadline for Claims Filing
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Advisory Convertible Arbitrage Fund (I) Inc., which
is being voluntarily wound up, are required to present proofs of
claim on or before March 23, 2006, to Jon Roney and Johann
LeRoux, the company's liquidators.

Advisory Convertible started liquidating assets on January 31,
2006.

Creditors must send their full names, addresses, descriptions,
the full particulars of their debts or claims and the names and
addresses of their solicitors (if any) to the liquidator.
Failure to do so will exclude them from receiving the benefit of
any distribution that the company will make.

The liquidators can be reached at:

            Jon Roney
            Johann Le Roux
Maples Finance Limited
P.O. Box 1093 George Town
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


ADVISORY LEVERAGED: Creditors Have Until Mar. 23 to File Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Advisory Leveraged European Equity Market Neutral Fund Inc.'s
creditors are required to submit particulars of their debts or
claims on or before March 23, 2006, to the company's appointed
liquidators, Mr. Jon Roney and Mr. Johann LeRoux.  Failure to do
so will exclude them from receiving the benefit of any
distribution that the company will make.

Advisory Leveraged started liquidating assets on January 31,
2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

            Jon Roney
            Johann Le Roux
Maples Finance Limited
P.O. Box 1093 George Town
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


ADVISORY LEVERAGED: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on March 23
--------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Advisory Leveraged U.S. Equity Market Neutral Fund
Inc. are required to submit particulars of their debts or claims
on or before March 23, 2006, to the company's appointed
liquidators, Mr. Jon Roney and Mr. Johann LeRoux.  Failure to do
so will exclude them from receiving the benefit of any
distribution that the company will make.

Advisory Leveraged U.S. started liquidating assets on January
31, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

            Jon Roney
            Johann Le Roux
Maples Finance Limited
P.O. Box 1093 George Town
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


ADVISORY U.S.: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by Mar. 23
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Advisory U.S. Equity Market Neutral Fund Overseas
Fund, Ltd., are required to submit particulars of their debts or
claims on or before March 23, 2006, to the company's appointed
liquidators, Mr. Jon Roney and Mr. Johann LeRoux.  Failure to do
so will exclude them from receiving the benefit of any
distribution that the company will make.

Advisory U.S. started liquidating assets on January 31, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

            Jon Roney
            Johann LeRoux
Maples Finance Limited
P.O. Box 1093 George Town
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


ALBATROSS FINANCIAL: Sets Mar. 20 Claims Filing Deadline
--------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Albatross Financial Services, Ltd., which is being
voluntarily wound up, are required on or before March 20, 2006,
to present proofs of claim to Mr. David Dyer, the company's
liquidator.

Albatross Financial started liquidating assets on February 10,
2006.

Creditors are required to present proofs of claim personally or
through their solicitors at the time and place that the
liquidator will specify.  Failure to present claims would mean
exclusion from the benefit of any distribution that the company
will make.

The liquidator can be reached at:

            David Dyer
Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited
P.O. Box 1984 George Town
George Town, Grand Cayman


BADANEG LTD: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by March 20
------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Badaneg Ltd. are required to submit particulars of
their debts or claims on or before March 20, 2006, to the
company's appointed liquidators -- Mr. David Dyer.  Failure to
do so will exclude them from receiving the benefit of any
distribution that the company will make.

Badaneg Ltd. started liquidating assets on February 10, 2005.

The liquidator can be reached at:

            David Dyer
Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited
      P.O. Box 1984 George Town
George Town, Grand Cayman


=========
C H I L E
=========


STRATUS TECHNOLOGIES: Begins Cash Tender Offer for US$144M Notes
----------------------------------------------------------------
Stratus Technologies, Inc., announced that it has commenced a
cash tender offer for any and all of its outstanding
US$144,885,000 aggregate principal amount of 10.375% Senior
Notes due 2008 (CUSIP No. 86317QAB5).  In connection with the
tender offer, the Company is soliciting consents from holders of
the Notes to effect certain proposed amendments to the indenture
governing the Notes, including, among other things, the
elimination of substantially all of the restrictive covenants,
certain events of default and amendments of certain other
provisions contained in the indenture.

The tender offer is scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m., New York
City time, on April 5, 2006, unless extended or earlier
terminated.  The consent solicitation will expire at 5:00 p.m.,
New York City time, on March 21, 2006, unless extended.
Tendered Notes may be validly withdrawn and delivered consents
may be validly revoked until the Consent Time.

The total purchase price per US$1,000 principal amount of Notes
validly tendered and not withdrawn prior to the Consent Time
will be based on a fixed spread of 50 basis points over the
yield on the Price Determination Date of the 2.875% U.S.
Treasury Notes due November 30, 2006.  Holders whose Notes are
validly tendered and not withdrawn on or before the Consent Time
and accepted for purchase by the Company will receive the total
purchase price and accrued and unpaid interest
up to, but not including, the First Payment Date.  Holders who
validly tender their Notes after the Consent Time will receive
payment on the first business day after the date on which the
Expiration Time occurs, or promptly after.

The Company is offering to make a consent payment (which is
included in the total purchase price described above) of
US$30.00 per US$1,000 principal amount of Notes to holders who
validly tender their Notes and deliver their consents at or
prior to the Consent Time.  Holders who tender their Notes will
be required to consent to the proposed amendments and holders
may not deliver consents to the proposed amendments without
tendering their Notes.  No consent payments will be made in
respect of Notes tendered after the Consent Time.

The total purchase price will be calculated based on the bid-
side price for the UST Reference Security at 2:00 p.m., New York
City time, on the second business day preceding the date on
which the Consent Time occurs.  The Company expects this date to
be March 17, 2006, unless the tender offer and consent
solicitation is extended.  Holders who validly tender their
Notes and validly deliver their consents by the Consent Time
will receive payment on the first business day after the date on
which the Consent Time occurs, or promptly after.

The tender offer and consent solicitation are subject to, among
other things, the satisfaction of certain conditions including:

  (1) receipt of consents from holders of a majority in
      aggregate principal amount of the outstanding Notes and
      the execution of a supplement to the indenture,

  (2) the receipt by the Company of funds sufficient to pay the
      consideration, costs and expenses for the tender offer and
      consent solicitation from the incurrence of new
      indebtedness on terms and conditions satisfactory to the
      Company and

  (3) other customary conditions.

The Company has engaged Goldman, Sachs & Co. to act as the
exclusive dealer manager in connection with the tender offer and
consent solicitation.

Questions regarding the tender offer or consent solicitation may
be directed to:

              Goldman, Sachs & Co.
              Credit Liability Management Group
              Tel: +1-800-828-3182 (US toll-free)
                   +1-212-357-7867 (collect)

Stratus Technologies is a global solutions provider focused
exclusively on helping its customers achieve and sustain the
availability of information systems that support their critical
business processes.  Based upon its 25 years of expertise in
server and services technology for continuous availability,
Stratus is a trusted solutions provider to customers in
telecommunications, financial services, banking, manufacturing,
life sciences, public safety, transportation & logistics, and
other industries.

                       *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Mar. 1, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service affirmed Stratus Technologies
corporate family rating of B2 and assigned B1 rating to its
proposed first lien term loan and Caa1 rating to its proposed
second lien term loan.  Net proceeds from the $175 million first
lien term loan and $125 million second lien term loan will be
used to refinance existing $145 million senior notes and
repurchase $130 million preferred stock held largely by the
company's sponsors.  The rating outlook is stable.

This rating was affirmed:

   * B2 corporate family rating

These ratings were assigned:

   * $30 million revolving credit facility due 2011 -- B1
   * $175 million first lien term loan due 2011 -- B1
   * $125 million second lien term loan due 2012 -- Caa1

This rating will be withdrawn:

   * $170 million senior unsecured note due 2008 -- B3


===============
C O L O M B I A
===============


* Colombia Sets 2006 Budget Deficit Target to 1.5% of GDP
---------------------------------------------------------
Bloomberg News reports that Colombia cut its 2006 budget deficit
target to 1.5% of gross domestic product, according to Robert
Renhack, head of an International Monetary Fund delegation
visiting Colombia.

The country had initially agreed to a 2% target with the
International Monetary Fund, under an 18-month, US$613 million
loan signed in April 2005.

Colombia had a balanced budget in 2005 for the first time in
more than a decade, led by higher-than-expected tax and oil
revenue, Bloomberg reports.

                        *    *    *

On May 30, 2005, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Colombia's ratings
as:

      -- Long-term foreign currency 'BB';
      -- Country ceiling 'BB';
      -- Local currency 'BBB-';
      -- Short-term 'B'.

Fitch said the Rating Outlook is Stable.


=======
C U B A
=======


* CUBA: Inks Pact for Iran to Build Cement Plant in the Country
---------------------------------------------------------------
Cuba and Iran signed a US$200 million agreement that will allow
the latter to build a cement factory in the country, the Tehran
Times reports.

In addition, Iran will construct a power plant aimed at
generating at least 500 to 1,500 megawatts of electricity in
Cuba.  Also, Iran will supply the raw materials and chemicals
needed for rubber and plastic production in Cuba, the Tehran
Times quoted an official at the Islamic Republic's Ministry of
Industries and Mines as saying.

In January, Iran and Cuba signed a comprehensive document
promoting bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

                        *    *    *

Moody's assigns these ratings to Cuba:

      -- CC LT Foreign Bank Depst, Caa2
      -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt, Caa1
      -- CC ST Foreign Bank Depst, NP
      -- CC ST Foreign Curr Debt, NP
      -- Issuer Rating, Caa1


=============
J A M A I C A
=============


* Fishers Consider Oil Exploration Damage Compensation Scheme
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Jamaica Observer reports that Jamaica's fishermen have
received a damage compensation proposal from Finder, a company
given licensed to explore oil in the country.

"We have not signed off on the document yet," Haveland
Honeyghan, chairman of the Jamaica Fishermen's Cooperative
Union, an organisation of some 7,000 fishermen and women, was
quoted by the Observer as saying.  "Our lawyer is perusing the
document. When he peruses the document, he will communicate to
us his findings. On completion of that, we will have a meeting
with the stakeholders on Wednesday."

The draft sets out financial compensation for loss of fishing
traps and loss of earnings for each day of lost fishing
equipment, to the tune of $5,000 per trap lost, and the
attendant loss of a day's catch, valued between $500 and $700
each day, Mr. Honeyghan told the Observer.

Finder appropriates US$3 million to determine whether Jamaica
has any exploitable oil and gas resources, the Observer relates.

"If and when oil is found in other parts of Jamaica, this
document is sufficient to protect the interest of the fishers
around the island."
At the same time, Mr. Honeyghan told the Observer that a
committee was to be set up to receive complaints of lost traps
and catches, and, it is proposed, will review and approve
requests for damage compensation.

"That committee is the oversight committee that will look at all
claims. And that committee will review the claims," said the
JFCU chairman, adding that the compensation agreement also
provides for the establishment of a tribunal to hear appeals
against the committee's decisions.  "There will be a tribunal
that if the applicant is not satisfied with the findings, he
will appeal to the tribunal," Mr. Honeyghan said.

                        *    *    *

On Feb. 23, 2006, Moody's maintained its B rating on Jamaica.

"The outlook for all ratings is stable, reflecting a balance
between ongoing efforts at fiscal consolidation and the
vulnerability of the country to external shocks," Moody's said.

The agency points to Jamaica's strengths as a commitment to
fiscal discipline, proven ability to face severe shocks and
comparatively low external Government debt ratios.

Among the challenges which Jamaica faces, according to the
rating agency, is a closely managed exchange rate that is
subject to severe recurrent pressures and a large public sector
debt burden with growing exposure to international capital
markets.

The agency notes that the economy as well as the fiscal and
external positions remain sensitive to external and domestic
shocks. It further observes that, "they remain supported by the
Government's commitment to return to a balanced budget position
and by a constitutional provision mandating debt-service
payments as the first expenditure priority."

Moody's, which influences the behaviour of international
institutional investors, says despite Jamaica's recent adverse
external developments and a downturn in the local business
sentiment, "confidence in the medium-term programme and in the
ability of the policymakers has remained somewhat intact, as
evidenced by the relative stability of the foreign exchange
market, notwithstanding some bouts of pressure."


===========
M E X I C O
===========

CFE: Intends to Build La Jovita Combined Cycle Project
------------------------------------------------------
Comision Federal de Electricidad aka CFE -- Mexico's state power
company -- intends to build a US$400 million combined cycle
power generation project in La Jovita, Baja California next
year, a CFE spokesperson revealed to Business News Americas.

La Jovita will supply power demand from 2008, when it starts
operations, the spokesperson told Business News.

According to Business News, the spokesperson said that the
project will use liquefied natural gas aka LNG from US firm
Sempra Energy's Costa Azul regasification terminal.

The spokesperson told Business News that La Jovita will cut
power generation costs in the northern part of Baja California.
Compared to current costs of gas from US, gas in Costa Azul is
cheaper, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson, however, did not disclose the amount of
savings on gas for La Jovita.

Business News states that CFE expects tender rules for the
construction of La Jovita will be ready at the end of 2006, the
spokesperson said.

The state power company expects that electric power demand in
the northern area of Baja California will rise above the
national average of 5% in the next five years.  This will be due
to industrial expansion in the region, Business News reports.

                        *    *    *

CFE is a state-owned integrated power company that dominates
generation, transmission and distribution in Mexico.  It has
20.6 million clients, 39,182km of transmission infrastructure,
156,647MVA transformation capacity and 163 generation plants
that at end-March 2003 had 40,350MW combined capacity.  Seventy-
five per cent of sales are direct to the client, 24.5% are to
Mexico City distributor Luz y Fuerza del Centro and the
remaining 0.5% are exports.  The industrial sector accounts for
61% of direct sales, followed by residential (23%), commercial
(7%), agriculture (5%) and services (4%).

The company incurred increasing losses for 2003 and 2004.  CFE
incurred MXN6.2 billion loss in 2003, and MXN119 billion loss in
2004.


CFE: Plans to Spend MXN50 Mil. in Tamaulipas Electrification
------------------------------------------------------------
State power company Comision Federal de Electricidad aka CFE
will spend MXN50 million in electrification works in Tamaulipas
this year, Business News Americas reports.

CFE Golfo Centro division chief Arnoldo Gonzalez told newspaper
Milenio that these projects will allow CFE to reach 95.5%
electric power coverage in Tamaulipas rural areas.  The coverage
will be higher than the national rural electrification coverage
of 94.5%.

Milenio states that CFE's Tamaulipas operations improved last
year due to reduction of service interruption by 50%, cutting
customer complaints on power service failures by 40%.

                        *    *    *

CFE is a state-owned integrated power company that dominates
generation, transmission and distribution in Mexico.  It has
20.6 million clients, 39,182km of transmission infrastructure,
156,647MVA transformation capacity and 163 generation plants
that at end-March 2003 had 40,350MW combined capacity.  Seventy-
five per cent of sales are direct to the client, 24.5% are to
Mexico City distributor Luz y Fuerza del Centro and the
remaining 0.5% are exports.  The industrial sector accounts for
61% of direct sales, followed by residential (23%), commercial
(7%), agriculture (5%) and services (4%).

The company incurred increasing losses for 2003 and 2004.  CFE
incurred MXN6.2 billion loss in 2003, and MXN119 billion loss in
2004.


GRUPO IUSACELL: December 31 Equity Deficit Widens to Ps$2 Bil.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Grupo Iusacell, S.A. de C.V. reported its financial results for
the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2005.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2005, Grupo Iusacell
reported a Ps$143 million net income from a Ps$375 million net
loss for the same period in 2004.

For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2005, Grupo Iusacell's
reported a Ps$706,000,000 net income from a Ps$2,055,000,000 net
loss for year ended Dec. 31, 2004.  For the 12 months ended Dec.
31, 2005, the Company's total revenues increased to
Ps$6,122,000,000 from total revenues of Ps$4,862,000,000 for the
12 months ended Dec. 31, 2004.

At Dec. 31, 2005, Grupo Iusacell's balance sheet showed
Ps$10,824,000,000 in total assets and Ps$12,900,000,000 in total
liabilities.

            Other 2005 Financial Transactions

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2005, total costs
increased to Ps$1,048,000,000 from total costs of Ps$976,000,000
for the same period in 2004.  For the three months ended Dec.
31, 2005, the Company's operating expenses increased to Ps$424
million from Ps$387 million in operating expenses for the same
period in 2004.

The increase in total costs for the fourth quarter of 2005
compared to the same period in 2004 is due to an increase in
interconnection and technical expenses offset in part by a
decrease in handset subsidy costs.

The increase in operating expenses for the fourth quarter of
2005 compared to the same period in 2004 is due to increases in
personnel expenses caused by an increase in the number of full-
time and part-time employees, the creation of regional sales and
customer care structures and an increase in professional fees
mainly related with debt restructuring.

A full-text copy of Grupo Iusacell's Feb. 24 press release
outlining 2005 financial results is available for free at
http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?678

Headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico, Grupo Iusacell, S.A. de
C.V. (Iusacell, BMV: CEL) is a wireless cellular and PCS service
provider in Mexico with a national footprint.  Independent of
the negotiations towards the restructuring of its debt, Iusacell
reinforces its commitment with customers, employees and
suppliers and guarantees the highest quality standards in its
daily operations offering more and better voice communication
and data services through state-of-the-art technology, including
its new 3G network, throughout all of the regions in which it
operate.

As of Dec. 31, 2005, Grupo Iusacell's stockholders' deficit
widened to Ps$2,076,000,000 from a deficit of Ps$1,187,000,000
at Dec. 31, 2004.


HORIZON OFFSHORE: Completes $77 Mil. Refinancing with CIT Group
---------------------------------------------------------------
Horizon Offshore, Inc. (OTCBB:HOFF) entered into a $77.4 million
secured term facility with The CIT Group/Equipment Financing,
Inc. as agent.  The credit facility has a five-year term and
bears interest at LIBOR plus 4.5% per annum.  The credit
facility is payable in monthly installments of $900,000, plus
interest, for the first 24 months beginning March 31, 2006 and
$600,000, plus interest, for the next 35 months, with the
remaining principal and unpaid interest due at maturity in March
2011.

The proceeds from the facility were used to repay the
outstanding amount under the Company's previous CIT Group
facility maturing in March 2006 and outstanding amount under the
$70 million senior secured term loan facility with Manchester
Securities Corp. as agent maturing in March 2007 and related
closing costs and fees.

Amounts outstanding under the new secured term loan facility are
secured by mortgages on most of Horizon's vessels and contains
covenants, events of default and cross-default provisions
customary in financings of this type.

"We are very pleased with the results of our refinancing," David
W. Sharp, President and Chief Executive Officer, said.  "It
paves the way for us to continue the successful execution of our
business plan in light of the substantially improved market
conditions we see in the Gulf of Mexico and many of our
international operating areas.  The new term loan facility
eliminates our significant amount of short-term debt and will
significantly reduce our interest expense.  "We believe that our
improved capital structure and strong operating performance
position us to take advantage of the opportunities we see in our
business."

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Horizon Offshore, Inc. --
http://www.horizonoffshore.com/-- and its subsidiaries provide
marine construction services for the offshore oil and gas and
other energy related industries.  The Company's fleet is used to
perform a wide range of marine construction activities,
including installation and repair of marine pipelines to
transport oil and gas and other sub sea production systems, and
the installation and abandonment of production platforms.  The
Group lays deepwater pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore
Mexico, in central and South America and in Southeast Asia.

                          *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 02, 2006,
Creditors of Horizon Offshore Ltd., a company in voluntary
Liquidation, are to prove their debts or claims on or before
Feb. 24, 2006, and establish any title they may have under the
Companies Law 2004 Revision, or to be they shall be excluded
from the benefit of any distribution made before the debts are
proved or from objecting to the distribution.

The company started liquidating its assets voluntarily on Jan.
6, 2006, and selected Messrs. Ian Wight and Stuart Sybersma at
Deloitte & Touche as joint liquidators.


PRIDE INTERNATIONAL: Will File Form 10-K Filing on March 16
-----------------------------------------------------------
Pride International, Inc., announced Monday that it will delay
the filing of its 2005 annual report on Form 10-K until after
its due date on March 16, 2006.

The company has received allegations relating to improper
payments to foreign government officials beginning a number of
years ago in connection with certain of its overseas operations,
as well as corresponding accounting entries and internal control
issues.  The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors is
overseeing an investigation by outside counsel of such
allegations.

Pride International is waiting for the investigation results and
has concluded that it cannot file its Form 10-K for the year
ended Dec. 31, 2005, until additional information is obtained.
Although the Audit Committee's investigation is being pursued
aggressively, the company cannot currently determine whether it
will be in a position to file its Form 10-K prior to March 31,
2006, the expiration of the 15-day extension period contemplated
by the company's Form 12b-25 to be filed with the SEC.

In addition, Pride International announced that it now
anticipates releasing preliminary results for its fourth quarter
and full year 2005 on March 16, 2006, following the market
close, which is rescheduled from March 14, 2006.  The conference
call to discuss these preliminary results has also been
rescheduled for 9:00 a.m. on March 17, 2006.

Pride International, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is
one of the world's largest drilling contractors.  The Company
provides onshore and offshore drilling and related services in
more than 30 countries, operating a diverse fleet of 283 rigs,
including two ultra-deepwater drillships, 12 semisubmersible
rigs, 29 jackup rigs, and 18 tender-assisted, barge and platform
rigs, as well as 222 land rigs.  The Group has offshore
operations in Gulf of Mexico and South America and land-based
operations in South America.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on May 10, 2005, Fitch
Ratings upgraded Pride International's senior unsecured rating
to 'BB-' from 'B+'.  Additionally, the senior secured credit
facility rating has been upgraded to 'BB+' from 'BB'.  The
Rating Outlook has been revised to Positive from Stable.


=======
P E R U
=======


SIDERPERU: Sells 56% Shares to ProInversion to Pay Debts
--------------------------------------------------------
At an auction held early in March, investment promotion agency
ProInversion, bought 553 million common shares in Siderperu aka
Empresa Siderurgica del Peru SAA for approximately US$52
million, Business News Americas reports. Siderperu sold the
shares after it failed to meet credit obligations.

An official from ProInversion told Business News that the
company will be selling the shares soon to steer Siderperu
toward privatization.

Local holding company Sider controls SiderPeru, with a 96.46%
stake obtained from the state with a series of investment
commitments.

According to local papers, Siderperu's Chairman and Sider Corp.
Director Roberto Lukac may move to block ProInversions move to
sell the company.  Mr. Lukac, local reports say, believes that
ProInversion should have purchased 48% rather than 56% of the
company since the 8% difference is held by Banco Wiese
Sudameris.

ProInversion agrees that Mr. Lukac could be right, however, the
agency said it was not informed of the situation.

In 2005, Siderperu's shareholders agreed to postpone deadlines
for the steelmaker to make payments under its already
rescheduled corporate bond program.

Headquartered in Chimbote, Peru, Siderperu has steel production
capacity of 400,000 tons per year.  The company reported a net
loss of 5.99 million soles (US$1.82 million) in 2005, compared
to a net profit of 28.8 million soles in 2004.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Oct. 6, 2005, Siderperu failed to meet
commitments to pay on September 30, 2005, three quarterly
payments already postponed from 2003, prompting Lima-based risk
agency Equilibrium to downgrade its rating on the steelmaker's
first corporate bond program to category D from C.

Siderperu, which has struggled to meet payments for its first
bond issues, secured creditors approval on a global refinancing
agreement in April 2002 to reprogram the payments from 2003-
2012.

Since then, however, creditors have agreed to three addendums to
reprogram the commitments made in the AGR. A payment of US$7.9
million was due on September 30.

On September 30, 2005, Siderperu made a US$1.75-million payment
that corresponded to the regular quarterly quota of the
principal
amount.


* PERU: Needs to Maintain Mining Tax Stability Contracts
--------------------------------------------------------
Guillermo Albareda, Peru's legal and mining affairs manager for
mining, oil and energy association SNMPE, told Business News
Americas that the country must hold on to tax stability
contracts for the mining industry.

Business News says that the tax stability contracts freeze the
tax regime in force at signing for a fixed term, which aims "to
prevent variations in the tax policy in order not to impact
long-term, large investments, such as the case of most mining
companies."

Tax stability contracts allow, through special mining and
hydrocarbon laws, to stabilize certain regimes, taking into
account the sector's high investment levels.  The contracts work
through the energy and mines ministry.

Business News explains that Peru's state private investment
promotion agency, ProInversion, signs the legal stability
contracts with investors from any sector who pledge to invest an
amount equal or higher than US$10 million in the case of the
mining and hydrocarbons sectors.

In exchange, ProInversion guarantees the stability of the income
tax, the system of free availability of foreign currency and
income remittances, among others.

The contracts were placed in the limelight when presidential
hopefuls Ollanta Humala from the Partido Nacionalista Peruano
party, and Valentin Paniagua of Accion Popular expressed
opposing interests in the tax and legal stability contracts, as
well as mining royalties, Business News relates.

Mr. Humala declared he would revise the 27 contracts signed to
date with mining companies, while Mr. Paniagua said he would not
sign more contracts and those insisting on such contracts would
have to accept a two-point income tax increase, Business News
relates.

"In SNMPE's opinion, the unilateral revision would send a
negative message about the rules of the game and legal
stability, as these contracts are protected under Peru's
constitution," Mr. Albareda told Business News.  "If there was
no political instability, we would not need the tax stability
contracts, but as long as we don't have legal and political
stability to attract more investment we need the contracts."

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Peru:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB      Nov. 18, 2004
   Long Term IDR       BB      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB+     Dec. 14, 2005


=====================
P U E R T O   R I C O
=====================


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Final Sale Hearing Scheduled for March 22
------------------------------------------------------------
Musicland Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates ask the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to
approve:

    (a) their asset purchase agreement with Trans World
        Entertainment Corporation, dated as of February 17,
        2006;

    (b) their entry into an agency agreement;

    (c) the assumption and assignment of certain leases and
        executory contracts to TWEC or other Winning Bidders;

    (d) the sale of designation rights to TWEC or other Winning
        Bidders; and

    (e) an extension of the time to assume or reject unexpired
        real estate leases pursuant to Section 365(d)(4) of the
        Bankruptcy Code, as required by the APA.

James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, in New
York, informs the Court that the Debtors and TWEC entered into
an amendment of the APA on March 7, 2006.

Section 3.13(b) of the APA is amended to provide that with
respect to each Benefit Plan subject to Title IV of the Plan or
Section 302 of ERISA, no condition exists that could reasonably
be expected to result in the imposition of any Liabilities upon
Buyer.

A full-text copy of the March 7 Amendment is available for free
at http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?684

The Debtors also entered into an Agency Agreement with Hilco
Merchant Resources, LLC, and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners,
LLC, for the Agent to conduct a "store closing," "going out of
business" or other similar theme sales for all of the
merchandise located in certain of the Debtors' retail store
locations.

A full-text copy of the Agency Agreement is available for free
at http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?67e

The Debtors note that the identity of the exact leases and
contracts to be assumed and assigned is not known at this time
and likely will vary depending on whether or not TWEC is the
Winning Bidder.  Even if TWEC is the Winning Bidder, the APA
allows TWEC a Designation Period within which to determine which
of the Debtors' unexpired leases it desires to be transferred as
part of the Sale.

A full-text copy of the Assumption Agreement is available for
free at http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?67f

                         Bidding Objections

The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors believes that the
$3,125,000 Break-Up Fee is unreasonable and unwarranted.

Mark S. Indelicato, Esq., in Hahn & Hessen LLP, in New York
City, contends that even if the Break-Up Fee was warranted, the
broad provisions for the Break-Up Fee Payment does not maximize
the value of the Debtors' estate.

Mr. Indelicato asserts that the expense reimbursement should be
limited to the actual reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred
by TWEC.  "The Debtors' motion is not clear on that point,
potentially permitting payment of up to $500,000 for expenses
that TWEC will incur in connection with serving as the stalking
horse bidder."

The Expense Reimbursement should not be payable just because of
a failure to hold the Sale Hearing by April 14, 2006, Mr.
Indelicato says, because there may be circumstances beyond the
Debtors' control and good faith attempts which warrant a later
date.

The Creditors Committee asks the Court to deny the Debtors'
request to ensure that the value of the Debtors' assets is
maximized in a competitive, fair and open process for the
benefit of all creditors.

Moreover, at least 27 landlords objected to the auction of
substantially all of the Debtors' assets.

The Objecting Landlords are:

    * Aronov Realty,
    * CBL & Associates Management, Inc.,
    * Developers Diversified Realty Corporation,
    * EklecCo NewCo, LLC,
    * Federal Realty Investment Trust,
    * General Growth Management, Inc.,
    * Gibraltar Management Co., Inc.,
    * Glimcher Properties Limited Partnership,
    * Gregory Greenfield & Associates, Ltd.,
    * Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc.,
    * Kravco Simon Company,
    * Lilac Mall Associates,
    * Marshall Town Center,
    * Minot Dakota Mall, LLC,
    * New Plan Excel Realty Trust, Inc.,
    * PREIT Services, LLC,
    * Simon Property Group, L.P.
    * Steamtown Mall Partners LP,
    * The Macerich Company,
    * The Mills Corporation,
    * The Taubman Landlords,
    * Union Station Venture II, LLC,
    * Urban Retail Properties, Co.,
    * Westfield America, Inc.,
    * Westfield Corporation, Inc.
    * WRI Pinecrest Plaza, LLC, and
    * WRI/TEXLA, LLC.

The Objecting Landlords complain that the Debtors' proposed
bidding procedures fail to provide them with sufficient time to
review adequate assurance of future performance information.
The Procedures also do not specify whether the Landlords may
attend the Auction.

The Objecting Landlords assert that the Debtors must comply with
Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code in the assumption and
assignment of the Leases.  The Debtors must pay their
postpetition rent and other lease charges.

On behalf of EklecCo NewCo, Lilac Mall, Steamtown Mall and Minot
Dakota Mall, Kevin M. Newman, Esq., at Menter, Rudin &
Trivelpiece PC, in Syracuse, New York, asserts that:

    -- any order on the Debtors' request must provide for
       expedited discovery regarding any proposed assignee;

    -- if TWEC is the winning bidder, the Debtors will file with
       the Court the list of the 330 to 345 stores that they may
       seek to assume and assign to TWEC so as to provide
       Landlords with due process and sufficient notice;

    -- if the Debtors are seeking authority to assume and assign
       any leases at the sale hearing, the sale hearing will be
       held before March 31, 2006; and

    -- if the Debtors are seeking authority to assume and assign
       any leases, other than to TWEC, the hearing will be held
       on or after April 5, 2006.

To determine whether the requirements of adequate assurance of
future performance will be satisfied, Gregory Greenfield &
Associates, LaSalle Americas, WRI/TEXLA, and WRI Pinecrest
Plaza, through Robert L. LeHane, Esq., at Kelley Drye & Warren
LLP, in New York City, seek certain information, including:

    -- the successful bidder's name and the assignee's name;

    -- the proposed assignee's 2006 business plan, including
       sales and cash flow projections; and

    -- any financial projections, calculations or financial
       proformas prepared in contemplation of purchasing the
       Leases.

According to Ronald M. Tucker, Esq., in Indianapolis, Indiana,
Simon Property's records show that the cure amounts for its
leases total $1,750,759.

                  Informal Trade Committee Responds
               to the Creditors Committee's Objection

On behalf of the Informal Committee of Secured Trade Vendors,
Richard S. Toder, Esq., at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, in New
York City, asserts that the Creditors Committee's objection is
another attempt to substitute pure speculation for the Debtors'
exercise of reasonable business judgment to further prolong the
Chapter 11 case, at the Trade Committee's expense.

The Secured Trade Vendors, who consent to the proposed bid
procedures, are the parties whose interest are truly at risk,
Mr. Toder notes.

"The continuing hemorrhage of money at the rate of $5,000,000 to
$6,000,000 a month and the prospect of a straight liquidation
that would eliminate all jobs and return a fraction of the value
of the assets to the creditors, renders an expeditious sale as
not only the best, but the only realistic alternative to
maximize the value of the estate's assets for all parties-in-
interest," Mr. Toder argues.

Mr. Toder maintains that the Debtors properly exercised their
judgment in agreeing to the terms of the APA, bid procedures and
bid protection, recognizing that they represented the most
favorable avenue towards maximizing the value of the estate's
assets for all parties-in-interest.

The Trade Committee therefore asks the Court to overrule the
Creditor Committee's objection and approve the Bid Procedures.

                       Debtors' Omnibus Response

Pursuant to the numerous objections to the Bid Procedures, the
Debtors have revised the Bid Procedures Order.

According to Mr. Sprayregen, one common basis of the objections
is timing.  In response to the objections, the Debtors propose a
revised timeline:

   March 10, 2006 -- Notice Published in The Wall Street Journal
   March 16, 2006 -- Initial Objection Deadline
   March 17, 2006 -- Sale Motion Deadline
   March 19, 2006 -- Qualified Bid submission Deadline
   March 21, 2006 -- Auction
   March 22, 2006 -- Sale Hearing and Initial Objections Hearing
   March 27, 2006 -- Supplemental Objections Deadline
   March 29, 2006 -- Alternate Sale Hearing
   May 8, 2006    -- Deadline to consummate an approved sale

The Debtors contend, among others, that:

    a. There is no evidence to suggest that the Break-up Fee
       will have a chilling effect;

    b. The landlords who intend to bid at the Auction and who
       submit bids by the bid deadlines can attend the Auction;

    c. The proposed revised procedures are reasonable;

    d. They reserve their rights to seek to have objections
       heard at the hearings;

    e. They did not intend to shift the burden to the landlords
       and have revised the Bid Procedures to clarify that they
       will provide the adequate assurance information;

    f. They disagree that the landlords should be able to
       supplement its cure amounts at any time of any later
       motion except as to alleged non-payments of postpetition
       amounts after the initial objection deadline;

    g. They agree that the cure procedures should not limit a
       landlord's ability to later assert claims accrued but
       unbilled, when those charges are later billed in the
       ordinary course;

    h. They will be seeking an extension of the Section
       365(d)(4) deadline by at most 90 days.

                           *     *     *

Judge Bernstein approves the Bid Procedures.  The Court directs
the Debtors to:

    -- publish the Sale Notice by March 10, 2006, in The Wall
       Street Journal, National Edition;

    -- file and serve a notice of the Cure Amount;

    -- post at http://www.bmcgroup.com/musiclandthe
       instructions on how to request additional information
       regarding TWEC and its affiliates for adequate assurance
       analysis, and the list of Cure Amounts; and

    -- identify the unexpired leases that they wish to assume
       and assign to TWEC as of the Closing Date.

Objections to the Cure Amounts of the Leases and the adequate
assurance with respect to the Closing Date Assumed Leases must
be filed on or before March 18, 5:00 p.m. EST.

A final hearing to approve the sale of the Assets to TWEC,
pursuant to the APA will be held on March 22, 2006, at 10:00
a.m., prevailing Eastern Time.

A final hearing to approve the sale of the Assets to the Winning
Bidder other than TWEC will be held on March 31, 2006, at 10:00
a.m., prevailing Eastern Time.

A full-text copy of the 25-page Bid Procedures Order is
available for free at:

                http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?67c

The Debtors filed a separate list of the Leases and Executory
Contracts they intend to assume and assign to the winning
bidder, together with the cure amounts they believe are due
under the Leases and Contracts.

A nine-page list of the Leases and Cure Amounts is available for
free at http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?680

A six-page list of the Contracts and Cure Amounts is available
for free at:

                http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?67d

Headquartered in New York, New York, Musicland Holding Corp., is
a specialty retailer of music, movies and entertainment-related
products.  The Debtor and 14 of its affiliates filed for chapter
11 protection on Jan. 12, 2006 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Lead Case No.
06-10064).  James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis,
represents the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.   Mark T.
Power, Esq., at Hahn & Hessen LLP, represents the Official
Committee of Unsecured Creditors.  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they estimated more than $100
million in assets and debts.  (Musicland Bankruptcy News, Issue
No. 7; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


=================================
T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O
=================================


* PetroCaribe Deal Program Rejection May Cause Economic Rift
------------------------------------------------------------
Under Venezuelan President Hugo Ch vez's PetroCaribe deal,
member countries get a lower rate for oil and a market for
agricultural products.

Venezuela will finance 40% of their oil purchases at a 1%
interest rate over 25 years following a two-year grace period.
The islands can repay the balance with goods and services,
echoing Venezuela's "doctors for oil" initiative with Cuba,
through which thousands of Cuban doctors, nurses and dentists
treat Venezuela's poor in exchange for oil, Shearon Roberts
writing of the Wall Street Journal relates.

Fadi Kabboul, Venezuela's energy attache in the United States,
was quoted by the Journal as saying that the PetroCaribe deal is
more than delivering oil.  It promises a host of other
improvements to promote social reforms, Mr. Kabboul said.

"As heavily indebted countries, Caribbean nations are facing the
erosion of preferential markets in Europe for commodities like
sugar and bananas," Anthony Bryan, a senior associate with the
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington,
told the Journal. "They see PetroCaribe as a very attractive
initiative."

Most of the 15 Caribbean Community countries have embraced the
alliance, with a notable exception: the twin-island nation of
Trinidad and Tobago,

Trinidad and Tobago has an abundant supply of oil and natural
gas reserves.  The island also sells 70% its liquefied natural
gas to the United States which Venezuela's relationship is
currently strained, the Journal continues.

According to the Journal, while the island chose not to
participate in the deal, Trinidad's Prime Minister Patrick
Manning offered to help other countries to negotiate deals with
Venezuela.

Trinidad and Tobago's non-signing of the pact will result in
"...real economic threats -- immediate and down the road,"
according to Wendell Mottley, a former Trinidad finance
minister, "If Trinidad doesn't step up to the plate, then that
cements our isolation and that's never a comfortable position."

The other nation to reject the deal is Barbados.  Like Trinidad,
it has oil, and isn't eager to cross Trinidad, which provides
its refining capacity, the Journal states.

Mr. Bryan also warns: "The PetroCaribe initiative is going to
force private oil firms to leave the area, make [Venezuela's oil
company] PDVSA the sole provider of oil for the Caribbean
countries that have signed the agreement, and challenge
Trinidad's influence in the region. My real concern is that
Washington is not waking up to the fact that there is a terrible
policy vacuum in the region," the Journal relates.

For its part, the United States considers development assistance
for the region.  Charles Shapiro, a former American ambassador
to both Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, told the Journal,
"That is, in fact, the issue for the U.S."  Adding that disaster
preparedness and prevention -- in an area vulnerable to
hurricanes -- also are priorities.

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


=============
U R U G U A Y
=============


* Uruguay Agrees to 90-Day Paper Mills Construction Suspension
--------------------------------------------------------------
Argentina and Uruguay reached a truce on the construction of two
paper mills on the river bordering the two countries.

Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez agreed to suspend the US$1.6
billion project for 90 days pending a survey on the
environmental impact of the factories.

Argentine provincial and federal authorities and
environmentalist groups state that the pulp mills with their
chlorine bleaching process are highly water and air
contaminating, but Uruguay argues both mills comply with the
latest and most stringent European Union regulations regarding
conservation of natural resources.

President Nestor Kirchner has alleged in a previous report that
Uruguay violated international treaties by allowing the
construction of the mills without Argentina's approval.

The plants are financed by Helsinki-based Metsae-Botnia Oy,
which is building a US$1.1 billion mill along the river, and
Madrid-based Grupo Empresarial Ence SA, which plans to invest
another US$500 million in a second factory.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005


=================
V E N E Z U E L A
=================


* Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela Set US$9.2MM for Pipeline Study
--------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela plan to spend an initial US$9.2
million on environmental and engineering studies for the
construction of a natural-gas pipeline that will run from
Caracas to Buenos Aires, Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry was
quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.

State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela aka PVSA, will be in charge
of finding a company to conduct the initial pipeline studies.  A
final proposal for the project is expected to be presented in
July, the Journal relates.

Brazil will coordinate environmental-impact studies for the
project, taking environmental legislation of each country into
consideration, the Journal relates.

The project has meet oppositions from environmental groups that
fear its crossing of the Brazilian Amazon may attract loggers
and settlers and worsen rain-forest destruction.

Another stumbling block that the three country faces is the
project's estimated cost of US$25 billion.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Brazil:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BB-      Nov. 18, 2004
   Long Term IDR      BB-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR     B        Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     BB-      Dec. 14, 2005

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


* VENEZUELA: Buying 36 Brazilian Oil Tankers for US$3 Billion
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Venezuelan government has inked a deal to buy 36 Brazilian-
made big oil tankers at a cost exceeding US$3 billion, according
to the local press O Globo.

The governments of both countries reached a deal on the
construction of the vessels, which will be built by shipyards in
different parts of Brazil, O Globo reports.

The tankers will be assembled by five Brazilian shipyards, three
located in Rio de Janeiro state, one in northeastern Pernambuco
state and another in the southern state of Santa Catarina.
Other than Brazil, Argentine and Spanish shipyards will build
five and two tankers, respectively, O Globo relates.

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


* VENEZUELA: PetroCaribe Deal Program Testing Old Allegiances
-------------------------------------------------------------
Under Venezuelan President Hugo Ch vez's PetroCaribe deal,
member countries get a lower rate for oil and a market for
agricultural products.

Venezuela will finance 40% of their oil purchases at a 1%
interest rate over 25 years -- following a two-year grace
period.  The islands can repay the balance with goods and
services, echoing Venezuela's "doctors for oil" initiative with
Cuba, through which thousands of Cuban doctors, nurses and
dentists treat Venezuela's poor in exchange for oil, Shearon
Roberts writing of the Wall Street Journal relates.

Fadi Kabboul, Venezuela's energy attache in the United States,
was quoted by the Journal as saying that the PetroCaribe deal is
more than delivering oil.  It promises a host of other
improvements to promote social reforms, Mr. Kabboul said.

"As heavily indebted countries, Caribbean nations are facing the
erosion of preferential markets in Europe for commodities like
sugar and bananas," Anthony Bryan, a senior associate with the
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington,
told the Journal. "They see PetroCaribe as a very attractive
initiative."

Most of the 15 Caribbean Community countries have embraced the
alliance, with a notable exception: the twin-island nation of
Trinidad and Tobago,

Trinidad and Tobago has an abundant supply of oil and natural
gas reserves.  The island also sells 70% its liquefied natural
gas to the United States which Venezuela's relationship is
currently strained, the Journal continues.

According to the Journal, while the island chose not to
participate in the deal, Trinidad's Prime Minister Patrick
Manning offered to help other countries to negotiate deals with
Venezuela.

Trinidad and Tobago's non-signing of the pact will result in
"...real economic threats -- immediate and down the road,"
according to Wendell Mottley, a former Trinidad finance
minister, "If Trinidad doesn't step up to the plate, then that
cements our isolation and that's never a comfortable position."

The other nation to reject the deal is Barbados.  Like Trinidad,
it has oil, and isn't eager to cross Trinidad, which provides
its refining capacity, the Journal states.

Mr. Bryan also warns: "The PetroCaribe initiative is going to
force private oil firms to leave the area, make [Venezuela's oil
company] PDVSA the sole provider of oil for the Caribbean
countries that have signed the agreement, and challenge
Trinidad's influence in the region. My real concern is that
Washington is not waking up to the fact that there is a terrible
policy vacuum in the region," the Journal relates.

For its part, the United States considers development assistance
for the region.  Charles Shapiro, a former American ambassador
to both Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, told the Journal,
"That is, in fact, the issue for the U.S."  Adding that disaster
preparedness and prevention in an area vulnerable to hurricanes
also are priorities.

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


* VENEZUELA: Total Renegotiates for US$107MM Back Taxes Payment
---------------------------------------------------------------
French oil company Total's representatives met on Monday with
Venezuelan National Customs and Tax Administration Service,
Seniat, to renegotiate payment of overdue income tax of
approximately US$107 million, the El Universal reports.

"There was only one (foreign) oil firm left show[ing]
willingness to pay (overdue taxes.) But this corporation has
talked to Seniat and today (Monday) I am meeting with this
firm's CEO and vice-president," Jose Cedillo, Seniat Special
Taxpayers Manager, told local news TV network Globovisi˘n.

Total was previously given a March 14 deadline to pay the taxes.

The multi-million tax dispute accounts for Total's retroactive
tax increase between 2001 and 2004, Seniat head Jose Vielma was
quoted as saying by Business News Americas.  In 2005, Seniat
decided that oilfield operators should pay 50% taxes instead of
34%.

According to the tax code, Seniat can impose a penalty of more
than double the original unpaid amount, which with interest
would total 577 billion bolivares.  Business News explains.

Total was also called "obstinate" by a Seniat official saying
that "They insist they don't owe anything, refuse to recognize
the claim. We disagree."  The official told Business News that
Total must appreciate the Venezuela's government move  "giving
them a break they should take" by allowing the company until an
extension of the deadline.

Total is involved in several E&P ventures in Venezuela,
including a 47% stake in Sincor, a project to produce some
180,000 barrels a day of synthetic crude from the Orinoco oil
belt.

Total has also a preliminary agreement to enter as a minority
partner in a joint venture with state oil firm PDVSA to produce
crude in eastern Venezuela.  The French company is active
offshore as well, exploring for natural gas in the Plataforma
Deltana with Norwegian oil major Statoil (NYSE: STO).

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


                            ***********


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
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Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick,
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Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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