TCRLA_Public/060320.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

          Monday, March 20, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 56

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AUTOMOTORES MAUSCIO: Verification of Claims Ends on October 5
COCO'S S.R.L.: Submission of Creditors Claims Ends on May 5
DEMAN S.R.L.: General Report to be Presented in Court on Mar. 24
EQUIPAMIENTOS LA COCINA: Claims Verification Ends May 23
FRIGORIFICO GUEMES: Reorganization Proceeds to Bankruptcy

GERBAL S.A.: Trustee Stops Validating Proofs of Claim by May 4
LA PIERINA: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims on April 21
ORGANIZACION 3001: Submission of Creditors Claims Ends on May 8
PRODUCTOS PANIFICADOS: Sets Apr. 28 Deadline for Claims Filing
S.A. LOS BOYERITOS: Verification Deadline Is on April 27

STYLO CICLES: Creditors Must Submit Proofs of Claim by Apr. 28
TARABORRELLI S.A.: Claims Verification Ends on May 16
TELECOM ARGENTINA: Noteholders' Extraordinary Meeting on Mar. 27

B E R M U D A

BALLY TOTAL: Late Annual Report Filing May Spur Default on Bonds
BALLY TOTAL: S&P May Give Default Rating After Rating Review
BERMUDA FIRE: Substantive Closure Distribution Set for March 24
FOSTER WHEELER: Names W. Roder as US Subsidiary President & CEO

B O L I V I A

* BOLIVIA: NatGas MOU with Petrobras Is Pre-Approved

B R A Z I L

AES CORP: Will Advance Shelved Boston Harbor Gas Terminal Plan
BANCO PANAMERICANO: Concludes Issue of BRL250 Million Debenture
CESP: Moody's Puts B3 Foreign Currency Rating on US$300MM Notes
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Inks Maintenance Services MOU with Alstom
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: NatGas MOU with Bolivia Is Pre-Approved

SABESP: Stops Accepting Bids for Alto Tietas Project on April 13

* BRAZIL: Mining Group Asks Gov't for Tougher Stance on China
* BRAZIL: Sells US$500 Million of 2037 Bonds

C O L O M B I A

BANCO DE BOGOTA: Acquires 95% Stake in Megabanco for COP808 Bil.
MEGABANCO: Grupo Aval Acquires Bank's 95% Stake for US$357 Mil.
PDVSA: Opens Bogota Office in April

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

FALCONBRIDGE: Provides Resource Estimate for Araguaia Project

E C U A D O R

DELTA AIR: Adding More Flights into Latin America & Caribbean

* Ecuador Indians Continue Protest Against Free Trade with U.S.

G U A T E M A L A

BANCO INDUSTRIAL: Moody's Affirms D Financial Strength Rating

J A M A I C A

* JAMAICA: Government Cuts Fiscal Budget to US$346 Billion

M E X I C O

BENITO JUAREZ (CANCUN): Moody's Assigns Ba2.MX Issuer Rating
PEMEX: Needs US$37.5 Billion to Develop Chicontepec Oil Fields

* Mexico Discovers New Deep-Water Oil Field in Gulf of Mexico

P U E R T O   R I C O

CARIBBEAN RESTAURANTS: S&P Alters Outlook on B+ Rating to Neg.
DORAL FINANCIAL: Can't File 2005 Annual Report on Time
MUSICLAND HOLDING: Panel Taps Donlin Recano as Information Agent
OCA: Secures $15M DIP Funding from BofA & Silver Point-Led Group

V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Plans to Set Up Ethanol Plants in Yaracuy

* VENEZUELA: Tax Authorities Closes Total Office in Caracas


     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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AUTOMOTORES MAUSCIO: Verification of Claims Ends on October 5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of bankrupt company Automotores Mauscio S.A. are
required to present proofs of their claim to Hector Garcia, the
court-appointed trustee, for verification on or before Oct. 5,
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. 8 declared the company bankrupt, in
favor of Nuevo Banco Industrial de Azul S.A., whom the company
owes $12,211.19.

Clerk No. 16 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Automotores Mauscio S.A.
         Lavalle 1566
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Hector Garcia
         Uruguay 572
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


COCO'S S.R.L.: Submission of Creditors Claims Ends on May 5
-----------------------------------------------------------
Claims against Coco's S.R.L. must be presented to Luis
Rementeria, the court-appointed trustee, on or before May 5,
2006, Argentine daily La Nacion reports.

La Nacion relates that Coco's S.R.L. entered bankruptcy after
Buenos Aires' Court No. 26 declared the company bankrupt in
favor of the company's creditor, Union Obreros y Empleados
Plasticos.  The creditor has claims amounting to $12,429.11
against the company.

Clerk No. 51 assists the court on this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Coco's S.R.L.
         Yerbal 6312
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Luis Rementeria
         Piedras 1315
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


DEMAN S.R.L.: General Report to be Presented in Court on Mar. 24
----------------------------------------------------------------
The general report on the bankruptcy case of Deman S.R.L. will
be presented in court on March 24, 2006, by the court-appointed
trustee, Infobae reports.

The company started liquidating assets after a court based in
Mendoza declared it bankrupt.


EQUIPAMIENTOS LA COCINA: Claims Verification Ends May 23
--------------------------------------------------------
Luis Maria Escobar, the trustee appointed by the Buenos Aires
court for the Equipamientos La Cocina S.R.L. bankruptcy case,
will stop validating claims from the company's creditors on May
23, 2006.

Mr. Escobar will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports on July 5, 2006.  The trustee will also
submit a general report on the case on Sep. 4, 2006.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Luis Maria Escobar
         Viamonte 1646
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


FRIGORIFICO GUEMES: Reorganization Proceeds to Bankruptcy
---------------------------------------------------------
The reorganization of Frigorifico Guemes S.A.I. y C. has
progressed into bankruptcy. Argentine news source Infobae
relates that a court based in Salta ruled that the company is
bankrupt.

The report adds that the court assigned Violeta Carolina
Bargardi
as trustee, who will verify creditors' proofs of claim until
March 20, 2006.

The court also ordered the trustee to prepare individual reports
after the verification process is completed, and have them ready
by April 18, 2006.  A general report on the bankruptcy process
is expected on June 2, 2006.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Frigorifico Guemes S.A.I. y C.
         Alvarado 1340
         Ciudad de Salta
         Salta, Argentina


GERBAL S.A.: Trustee Stops Validating Proofs of Claim by May 4
--------------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Hector Grisolia will stop validating
claims against bankrupt company Gerbal S.A. on May 4, 2006, La
Nacion reports.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 15 declared the company's bankruptcy in
favor of La Caja Aseguradora de Riesgos del Trabajo ART S.A.,
the company's creditor.  La Caja has claims amounting to
$4,927.39 against the company.

Clerk No. 29 assists the court on this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Gerbal S.A.
         Billinghurst 371
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Hector Grisolia
         Salguero 2533
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


LA PIERINA: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims on April 21
------------------------------------------------------
Juan R. Treppo, trustee appointed by the Buenos Aires court for
the bankruptcy of La Pierina S.R.L., will no longer entertain
claims that are submitted after April 21, 2006, Infobae reports.  
Creditors whose claims are not validated will be disqualified
from receiving any payment that the company will make.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Juan R. Treppo
         Sarmiento 1183
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


ORGANIZACION 3001: Submission of Creditors Claims Ends on May 8
---------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors with claims against bankrupt company Organizacion 3001
S.A. must present proof so the company's indebtedness to Jose
Colace, the court-appointed trustee, on or before May 8, 2006.

Argentine daily La Nacion relates that Organizacion 3001 started
liquidating assets after Buenos Aires' Court No. 10 declared its
bankruptcy in favor of La Caja Aseguradora de Riesgos del
Trabajo ART S.A., whom the company owes $3,320.29.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Organizacion 3001 S.A.
         Balcarce 226
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Jose Colace
         Bernardo de Irigoyen 330
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


PRODUCTOS PANIFICADOS: Sets Apr. 28 Deadline for Claims Filing
--------------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Isabel Ana Ramirez will stop verifying
claims from Productos Panificados Electo S.A.C.I.F.I.'s
creditors on April 28, 2006.  Infobae relates that verified
claims will be used as basis in creating individual reports,
which will be due in court on June 15, 2006.  A general report
is expected in court on Aug. 30, 2006.

An informative assembly is schedule on Oct. 26, 2006.  During
the assembly, creditors will vote on the settlement plan that
the company will propose.

Productos Panificados started reorganization after a court in
Lomas de Zamora approved its petition to reorganize.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Productos Panificados Electo S.A.C.I.F.I.
         Coronel Santiago 1544
         Lanus, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Guillermo Oscar Trucco
         Saavedra 497
         Lomas de Zamora
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


S.A. LOS BOYERITOS: Verification Deadline Is on April 27
--------------------------------------------------------
The verification of claims for the S.A. Los Boyeritos bankruptcy
will end on April 27, 2006, according to Infobae.  Creditors
with claims against the bankrupt company must present proof of
the liabilities to Bernardino Margolis, the court-appointed
trustee, before the deadline.

A Buenos Aires court handles the company's case, which will
conclude with the liquidation of the company's assets to pay
creditors.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Bernardino Margolis
         Parana 426
         Buenos Aires


STYLO CICLES: Creditors Must Submit Proofs of Claim by Apr. 28
--------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors against Stylo Cicles S.H. are required to submit
proofs of claim by April 28, 2006.  Infobae relates that the
claims will undergo a verification phase.  Claims that are
verified will then be submitted in court as individual reports
on May 26, 2006.

A general report, which will contain the company's audited
business records as well as a summary of events pertaining to
the liquidation, will be presented in court on July 26, 2006.

Stylo Cicles S.H. was declared bankrupt by a court based in
Mendoza.  Jesus Luis Soria was appointed as trustee.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Jesus Luis Soria
         9 de Julio 1575
         Ciudad de Mendoza
         Mendoza, Buenos Aires


TARABORRELLI S.A.: Claims Verification Ends on May 16
-----------------------------------------------------
Jorge Dolinko, court-appointed trustee, has started verifying
claims against Taraborrelli S.A., Argentine daily La Nacion
relates.  The verification will end on May 16, 2006.

La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No. 7 declared the
company's bankruptcy in favor of Carmen Alonso, whom the company
owes $47,563.62.

Clerk No. 14 assists the court in this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Taraborrelli S.A.
         Tucuman 1455
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Jorge Dolinko
         Tucuman 1657
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TELECOM ARGENTINA: Noteholders' Extraordinary Meeting on Mar. 27
----------------------------------------------------------------
Telecom Argentina S.A. has scheduled an Extraordinary Meeting of
Noteholders on March 27, 2006.  The meeting will be held at
10:00 a.m. at:

         Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 50, Ground Floor
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The meeting will be held for:

   -- the appointment of the secretary of the meeting,

   -- the appointment of two noteholders to sign the minutes of
      the meeting,

   -- the consideration of the amendments to the following
      covenants undertaken by Telecom Argentina for the
      notes issued under the Indenture dated Aug. 31, 2005,
      between Telecom Argentina and The Bank of New York as
      Trustee, Registration Agent, Paying Agent and Transfer
      Agent of the Indenture:

          * Paragraphs (a) and (c) of Section 3.17 -- Limitation
            on Capital Expenditures:

            The proposed amendment modifies Paragraphs (a) and
            (c) of Section 3.17 which limits the ability of the
            controlled company Telecom Personal S.A. to make
            capital expenditures;

          * Section 3.21 -- Reinvestment of Dividends Paid by
            Telecom Personal

            The proposed amendment eliminates Section 3.21 which
            establishes that any distribution -- Distribution
            Payments -- made by Telecom Personal in favor of
            Telecom Argentina must be reinvested in
            Telecom Personal; and

          * Removes the definitions of Telecom Personal
            Permitted Capital Expenditures and Telecom Personal
            Distribution Payment.

   -- In the event of approval of the proposed amendments to the
      Indenture, the Trustee shall be granted the necessary
      powers to execute with Telecom Argentina the documents as
      may be required to implement the Indenture amendment.

Instructions to participate are also set forth in the document
captioned Solicitation Statement Report prepared for information
purposes and available on Telecom Argentina website for
consultation.

Headquartered in Buenos Aires, Telecom Argentina S.A. --
http://www.telecom.com.ar/index-flash.html-- is the fixed-line  
operator for local and long-distance services in northern and
southern Argentina.  It also provides cellular and PCS phone
services in Argentina, as well as in Paraguay through a 68%
stake in Nocleo.  France Telecom formerly controlled the company
through its Nortel Inversora venture with Telecom Italia.
France Telecom sold most of its stake in 2003 to the Werthein
Group, an Argentine agricultural concern owned in part by vice
chairman Gerardo Werthein. Nortel continues to be Telecom
Argentina's largest shareholder with a 55% stake.  Nortel is
owned by Sofora, a consortium owned by Telecom Italia (50%), the
Werthein Group (48%), and France Telecom (2%).

                        *    *    *

Telecom Argentina's $64,128,000 and $54,124,000 notes due Oct.
15, 2014, carry Standard & Poor's and Fitch's B- ratings.
         

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B E R M U D A
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BALLY TOTAL: Late Annual Report Filing May Spur Default on Bonds
----------------------------------------------------------------
Bally Total Fitness (NYSE: BFT) did not meet the March 16, 2006,
deadline for filing its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year
ending December 31, 2005.  The Company currently anticipates
filing its 2005 10-K in April 2006.

Bally disclosed that the delay in the filing of its Form 10-K is
due principally to the delay until November 30, 2005, in
completing the audit of the 2004 financial statements and the
restatements of prior periods.  This contributed to difficulties
in updating legacy systems and delays in the Company completing
the required testing and management's assessment of the
Company's internal controls as required by Section 404 of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.   As a result of the Company's
efforts to restate its financial statements for 2000-2003 and
file audited financial statements for 2002-2004 and its Form 10-
K for the year ended December 31, 2004, the Company was unable
to test and assess many of its internal controls during 2005.  
There have been no material changes in 2005 to the methodologies
employed in connection with preparation of the 2002-2004
financial statements.

Bally's Chairman and CEO, Paul A. Toback, said, "While we
successfully completed the restatement of our financial results
on November 30, 2005, it was an enormous and demanding task,
particularly given our legacy systems, that has impacted our
ability to finalize financial information for 2005 and complete
the necessary SOX testing in time. We are continuing to work
diligently in an effort to complete the work as soon as
possible."

                     Likely Covenant Default

Bally's delay in filing its 2005 10-K will result in a covenant
default under the Company's public bond indentures, but does not
constitute an event of default without notice and expiration of
a 30-day cure period.  If the notice is delivered by the trustee
or the required holders under either of Bally's public bond
indentures, a cross default under the Company's senior credit
facility will occur 10 days after such notice.  In addition, a
default will also occur under the senior credit facility if the
Company does not deliver audited financial statements to these
lenders by March 31, 2006.  The Company is currently in
preliminary discussions with its lenders under the senior credit
facility seeking a waiver of these provisions.

Separately, the Company also said that its strategic process has
progressed into the next phase as the Company's Board has
authorized the Company's outside financial advisors, J.P. Morgan
Securities Inc. and The Blackstone Group, to engage in
discussions with interested parties in connection with the
Company's strategic alternatives process.  As Bally previously
announced, the Company is working with its outside financial
advisors to evaluate strategic alternatives.

Bally Total Fitness is the largest and only U.S. commercial
operator of fitness centers, with approximately four million
members and 440 facilities located in 29 states, Mexico, Canada,
Korea, China and the Caribbean under the Bally Total Fitness(R),
Crunch Fitness(SM), Gorilla Sports(SM), Pinnacle Fitness(R),
Bally Sports Clubs(R) and Sports Clubs of Canada(R) brands.  
With an estimated 150 million annual visits to its clubs, Bally
offers a unique platform for distribution of a wide range of
products and services targeted to active, fitness-conscious
adult consumers.

As of September 30, 2005, the Company's balance sheet showed a
$1,463,390,000 equity deficit compared to a $1,474,276,000
deficit at December 31, 2004.


BALLY TOTAL: S&P May Give Default Rating After Rating Review
------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services held its ratings on
Chicago-based Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., including the
'CCC' corporate credit rating, on CreditWatch with developing
implications, where they were placed on Dec. 2, 2005.  The
CreditWatch update follows Bally's announcement that it will not
meet the March 16, 2006, deadline for filing its annual report
on SEC Form 10-K for the year ending Dec. 31, 2005.  Bally
currently anticipates filing its 2005 10-K in April 2006.
     
"In resolving the CreditWatch listing, Standard & Poor's will
discuss with management its growth strategy and its exploration
of strategic alternatives," said Standard & Poor's credit
analyst Andy Liu.
     
Bally's delay in filing its 2005 10-K will result in a covenant
default under the company's public bond indentures, but does not
constitute an event of default without notice and until
expiration of a 30-day cure period.  If a notice is delivered by
the trustee or the required holders under either of Bally's
public bond indentures, a cross-default under the company's
senior credit facility will occur after 10 days.  A default will
also occur under the senior credit facility if the company does
not deliver audited financial statements to these lenders by
March 31, 2006. The company is currently in preliminary
discussions with its lenders under the senior credit facility,
seeking a waiver of these provisions.
     
Bally continues to explore strategic alternatives.  The board
has authorized Bally's outside financial advisors, J.P. Morgan
Securities Inc. and The Blackstone Group, to engage in
discussions with interested parties.
     
If Bally's course of action leads to an infusion of significant
equity to reduce debt and support growth objectives, and
addresses intermediate-term liquidity and maturity concerns, the
corporate credit rating could be raised, potentially into the
'B' category. On the other hand, if adverse events pressure
liquidity and prohibit the company from refinancing its 2007
maturities, the rating may eventually be lowered to 'D'.


BERMUDA FIRE: Substantive Closure Distribution Set for March 24
---------------------------------------------------------------
J C McKenna and G H Hughes -- the liquidators of The Bermuda
Fire & Marine Insurance Company Limited aka BFMIC, company in
liquidation -- have set a substantive closure payment percentage
of 82%.  The existing payment of percentage is 50%.  Subject to
the cap of 100% on aggregate Scheme and Adjusting Payments
applicable under Clause 3.3.2 of the Scheme of Arrangement, the
increased payments due will be paid on or after March 24, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

         J C McKenna and G H Hughes
         BFMIC Liquidators
         John Stow House, 18 Bevis Marks
         London EC3A 7JB, United Kingdom
         Phone: +44(0)20 7645 4995
         Fax: +44(0) 870 600 7582
         E-mail: creditor.helpdesk@bfmic.com


FOSTER WHEELER: Names W. Roder as US Subsidiary President & CEO
---------------------------------------------------------------
Foster Wheeler, Ltd., announced Thursday that, effective March
1, 2006, W. Troy Roder has been appointed president and chief
executive officer of Foster Wheeler USA Corporation aka FWUSA --
part of the Global Engineering and Construction Group aka E&C.  
Mr. Roder reports to Umberto della Sala, chief executive officer
of Foster Wheeler's Global E&C Group.
"The North American market is of strategic importance to Foster
Wheeler," said Raymond J. Milchovich, chairman, president and
chief executive officer of Foster Wheeler, Ltd.  
"Our North American E&C operations are centered in Houston and
Troy has already been instrumental, as executive vice president
and general manager of FWUSA, in growing our Houston operation
into a profitable and cost-competitive engineering and
construction organization.  We continue to expand our operations
in Houston and attract high-quality clients and high-caliber
staff.  I am confident that Troy will continue to provide the
vision, leadership and experience to realize the company's full
potential in this region," Mr. Milchovich added.
Mr. Roder has held increasingly senior roles during his
seventeen-year career at Foster Wheeler with various management
and project execution positions in the chemical, petrochemical,
oil and gas, refining and power industries.  
Headquaretered in Hamilton, Bermuda, Foster Wheeler Ltd. --
http://www.fwc.com/-- is a global company offering, through its  
subsidiaries, a broad range of engineering, procurement,
construction, manufacturing, project development and management,
research and plant operation services.  Foster Wheeler serves
the refining, upstream oil and gas, LNG and gas-to-liquids,
petrochemical, chemicals, power,
pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare industries.  
At Dec. 31, 2005, Foster Wheeler's balance sheet showed a
$341,796,000 equity deficit compared to a $525,565 equity
deficit on Dec. 31, 2004.

                        *    *    *

On Feb. 7, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its
outlook on Foster Wheeler Ltd. to stable from negative.  At the
same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its 'B-' corporate credit
rating and 'CCC+' senior secured debt rating on the Clinton, New
Jersey-based engineering and construction company.  Standard &
Poor's estimates that as of 2005 year-end, Foster Wheeler had
approximately $315 million of total debt outstanding.


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B O L I V I A
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* BOLIVIA: NatGas MOU with Petrobras Is Pre-Approved
----------------------------------------------------
A memorandum of understanding between Brazil's Petroleo
Brasileiro and Bolivia's YPFB aka Yacimientos Petroliferas
Fiscales Bolivianos will be signed as soon as Bolivian President
Evo Morales finds time for the event,  Petrobras director Ildo
Sauer was quoted by Dow Jones Newswires as saying.

The MOU will cover wide-ranging cooperation in the natural gas
sector between the two countries.  These will include areas of
refining, oil and gas exploration and production, alternative
fuels and gas distribution in Bolivia.  It will also include
building an industrial complex at the Brazil-Bolivia border, a
petrochemicals plant, a thermoelectric power plant and a
fertilizer unit, Dow Jones says.

Mr. Sauer told Dow Jones that the MOU has been pre-approved by
the two parties.  The formal signing has been originally planned
for end of February but has been moved to a later date.

When asked for his comment on the Repsol case in Bolivia, Mr.
Sauer told Dow Jones "There is no reason for me to comment on
that episode. Our relation with the Bolivian government and with
(Bolivian state energy firm) YPFB are excellent.  It's the
Spaniards, who have to talk about the opinion of Repsol and
Spain."

Mr. Sauer added Petrobras respects the laws and the justice
system of all countries in which it operates.  "The legislation
of every country needs to be obeyed," he said. "But I have no
comment whatsoever (on Repsol)."

Mr. Sauer neither confirmed, not denied an interest by Petrobras
in case Repsol after the episode were to decide to rid itself of
its Bolivian assets.

"If Repsol presents us with a concrete proposal, it will be
examined, but I can't talk about hypotheses," Mr. Sauer told Dow
Jones.


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AES CORP: Will Advance Shelved Boston Harbor Gas Terminal Plan
--------------------------------------------------------------
AES Corp. will build a US$500 million terminal for liquefied
natural gas in the Boston Harbor even after it was shelved by a
Massachusetts legislative committee, the Boston Globe reports.

Boston Globe states that the committee rebuked AES Corp. on
March 15 for proposing the plan and had voted to send it to a
study committee.  

According to Boston Globe, the proposal included leasing the
Outer Brewster Island from the state to be used as the venue of
the US LNG facility.  However, the island was among the 34
designated national park area in the harbor.

The plan was criticized by some lawmakers over what they
considered to be tailor-made conditions for AES in the lease and
for potential delays in environmental reviews, the Boston Globe
says.

AES Corporation -- http://www.aes.com/-- is a global power  
company.  The Company operates in South America, Europe, Africa,
Asia and the Caribbean countries.  Generating 44,000 megawatts
of electricity through 124 power facilities, the Company
delivers electricity through 15 distribution companies.   

                         *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 11, 2006,
Moody's affirmed the ratings of The AES Corporation, including
its Ba3 Corporate Family Rating and the B1 rating on its senior
unsecured debt.  Moody's said the rating outlook remains stable.


BANCO PANAMERICANO: Concludes Issue of BRL250 Million Debenture
---------------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian bank Banco Panamericano's leasing arm completed a
BRL250 million non-convertible debenture issue on Wednesday,
according to a company statement.

Business News relates that the 12,500 debentures were sold for
BRL20,000 per piece.  The bonds will mature in December 2010.  
They will yield 108% above the DI interbank rate.

Panamericano was not likely to issue more debentures this year
but it may sell bonds on foreign markets, a spokesperson of the
company told Business News.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 14, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a ' B/Stable/B'
credit rating on Banco PanAmericano S.A.  


CESP: Moody's Puts B3 Foreign Currency Rating on US$300MM Notes
---------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service has assigned a 'B3' foreign currency
rating to Companhia Energetica de Sao Paulo's, CESP, US$300
million notes, due March 2011.  The notes are issued under the
company's US$800 million Medium Term Notes Program, recently
rated 'B3' by Moody's.  The outlook on the rating is stable.

The 'B3' foreign currency rating assigned to the company's
US$800 million unsubordinated unsecured MTN Program reflects the
'B2' GLC corporate family rating of CESP and the structural
subordination of the notes issued under the MTN Program to the
existing secured debt of CESP, estimated at about 25% of the
company's total adjusted debt as of 9/30/2005.  The 'B3' foreign
currency rating of the MTN Program is not constrained by
Brazil's current 'Ba3' sovereign ceiling.

Recently, CESP was assigned a 'B2' GLC corporate family rating,
which was based on Moody's rating methodology for Government-
Related Issuers.   CESP's GLC corporate family rating reflects
its baseline rating and incorporates Moody's view of the medium
default dependence between CESP and the state of Sao Paulo in
addition to Moody's expectation of a medium level of support
that would be provided by the state if the company were to
require an extraordinary bailout.

The baseline rating of CESP reflects Moody's view of the very
high fundamental credit risk of CESP, and consequently, of a
high likelihood that the company will require an extraordinary
bailout in the foreseeable future.  To a large extent, this is
based on the high refinancing risk deriving from its excessive
indebtedness when compared to cash flow generation.  The
baseline rating also incorporates the company's significant
devaluation and interest rate risks, the hydrology risk, and the
still existing uncertainties related to Brazil's regulatory
framework.  The baseline rating is, however, supported by the
company's position as Brazil's second largest power generator
and its strong operating margins.

Headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, CESP is the country's second
largest power generator, majority owned by the state of Sao
Paulo.  CESP operates six hydroelectric plants with total
capacity of 7,456 MW and reported net revenues of BRL1,914
million, approximately US$744 million, in the last twelve months
through Sep. 30, 2005.


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Inks Maintenance Services MOU with Alstom
--------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA aka Petrobras and France's
Alstom SA inked a memorandum of understanding to analyze the
possibility of creating a joint venture for gas turbine
maintenance services, Dow Jones Newswires quoted a press release  
by Petrobras.


The maintenance services are currently done outside Brazil,
Petrobras said in the release.

Teaming up with Alstom, the statement said, will enable Brazil
in the long run to "do a technological jump in the area of gas
turbines and other equipment destined for the energy area."

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: NatGas MOU with Bolivia Is Pre-Approved
------------------------------------------------------------
A memorandum of understanding between Brazil's Petroleo
Brasileiro and Bolivia's YPFB aka Yacimientos Petroliferas
Fiscales Bolivianos will be signed as soon as Bolivian President
Evo Morales finds time for the event, Petrobras Director Ildo
Sauer was quoted by Dow Jones Newswires as saying.

The MOU will cover wide-ranging cooperation in the natural gas
sector between the two countries.  These will include areas of
refining, oil and gas exploration and production, alternative
fuels and gas distribution in Bolivia.  It will also include
building an industrial complex at the Brazil-Bolivia border, a
petrochemicals plant, a thermoelectric power plant and a
fertilizer unit, Dow Jones says.

Mr. Sauer told Dow Jones that the MOU has been pre-approved by
the two parties.  The formal signing has been originally planned
for end of February but has been moved to a later date.

When asked for his comment on the Repsol case in Bolivia, Mr.
Sauer told Dow Jones "There is no reason for me to comment on
that episode. Our relation with the Bolivian government and with
(Bolivian state energy firm) YPFB are excellent.  It's the
Spaniards, who have to talk about the opinion of Repsol and
Spain."

Mr. Sauer added Petrobras respects the laws and the justice
system of all countries in which it operates.  "The legislation
of every country needs to be obeyed," he said. "But I have no
comment whatsoever (on Repsol)."

Mr. Sauer neither confirmed, not denied an interest by Petrobras
in case Repsol after the episode were to decide to rid itself of
its Bolivian assets.

"If Repsol presents us with a concrete proposal, it will be
examined, but I can't talk about hypotheses," Mr. Sauer told Dow
Jones.


SABESP: Stops Accepting Bids for Alto Tietas Project on April 13
----------------------------------------------------------------
Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo aka
Sabesp, a Sao Paulo water utility, will stop accepting bids for
the Alto Tietas public-private partnership water supply project
on April 13, 2006, Business News Americas reports.  

According to Business News, the project includes expansion of
the Taiacupeba wastewater treatment plant and administrative
control of the plant with Sabesp as the direct user and the
construction of pipelines for water supply and service between
the Alto Tietas river, water reservoirs and treatment stations
that service the city.

A company spokesperson told Business News that Alto Tietas PPP
is Sabesp's most ambitious expansion project.

                          *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Oct. 3, 2005,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'BB-/Stable/--'
corporate credit rating to Companhia de Saneamento Basico do
Estado de Sao Paulo aka Sabesp.


* BRAZIL: Mining Group Asks Gov't for Tougher Stance on China
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Brazilian Mining Institute, composed of approximately 200
mining companies, called upon the country's government to take a
tougher stance, including World Trade Organization
consultations, against what it calls the Chinese government's
interference with international negotiations on iron ore prices,
Dow Jones Newswires reports.

"China has attempted to halt negotiations which normally occur
in a satisfactory, efficient and transparent manner between the
principal (iron ore) producers and consumers of the world,"
IBRAM said in a statement. "We suggest that the Brazilian
government...solicit consultations with respect to this matter
at the World Trade Organization."

The Chinese goverment said in reports last week that it was
interested in putting a price ceiling on iron ore.  Prices rose
by more than 71% in 2005 follwing negotiations among major ore
produces, led by Brazil's Vale do Rio Doce, Dow Jones relates.

The mining group believes that a price ceiling on iron ore can
generate major losses for Brazil's economy.  Last year, Brazil
shipped iron ore valued at US$2 billion to China, Dow Jones
reports.

                        *    *    *

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


* BRAZIL: Sells US$500 Million of 2037 Bonds
--------------------------------------------
Brazil sold 7-1/8% US$500 million of global bonds due in 2037,
according to the Brazilian Treasury.  

The new issue was priced at 103.747 to yield 6.831%.  The
original bonds, sold in January and raising US$1 billion, pay a
coupon of 7.125%, and were priced to yield 7.557%, Dow Jones
Newswires reports.

Bookrunners for the deal are HSBC and JPMorgan, with Banco Itau
as co-manager, Dow Jones says.

"Without a doubt, it is a good moment to sell," Blomberg News
quoted Rogerio Chequer, who helps manage about $500 million in
emerging-market assets, including Brazilian bonds, at Discovery
Fund Services in South Norwalk, Connecticut. "There is strong
demand."

Bloomerg relates that Brazil's borrowing costs are falling as
exports swell dollar supply in the country, allowing for the
payment of some of its foreign debt.  The country paid off its
US$15.5 billion debt with the International Monetary Fund in
December 2005 and announced in February its intetion to buy back
US$6.6 billion of bonds.

The government's buy back plans cued Standard & Poor's to raise
the country's rating to BB to "reflect the continued marked
improvement in Brazil's external debt indicators."

"This was another chance for foreign investors to increase their
holding of Brazilian bonds, as they firmly believe in further
upgrades for the country," Bloomberg quoted Vinicius
Pasquarelli, head of distribution at Banco Itau Holding
Financeira SA's brokerage unit.  "Brazil's economic numbers are
great and many investors are seeking opportunities to invest
more in Brazil."

                        *    *    *

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


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


BANCO DE BOGOTA: Acquires 95% Stake in Megabanco for COP808 Bil.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Banco de Bogota, a subsidiary of Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores
SA, won an auction last week for the acquisition of a 95% stake
in Megabanco for COP808 billion, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Grupo Aval, which controls seven banks in Colombia, will assume
approximately COP733 billion in debts owed to Fogafin by
Coopdesarollo.  The Megabanco purchase will give the group a
presence in the high-yielding microcredit segment, Business News
Americas quoted industry analysts.

Local credit ratings agency Duff and Phelps analyst, Maria
Claudia Salcedo, told Business News, that Banco de Bogota had
been left out of the Granahorrar auction, which was won by the
local unit of Spanish giant BBVA in October with a COP970
billion bid, because the bank's bid was not high enough.  

"So I was pretty sure they would fine tune their valuation now.  
The microcredit segment is a new business for the Aval group, so
it makes sense they entered with a high price to compete," Ms.
Salcedo said.

Bankrupt cooperative development bank, Coopdesarrollo, owned the
95% stake that Grupo Aval bought.  The stake is being held by  
deposit guarantee agency Fogafin until regulators will approve
of the deal.  

After paying Fogafin, what's left of the money will go to a
trust controlled by cooperative associations that owned
Coopdesarollo.

Grupo Aval outbid Bancolombia, the country's biggest bank, which
had offered COP733 billion for the bank.

Megabanco, with 187 branches throughout the country and 2025
workers, controls a 2% slice of the banking market in Colombia.
The bank posted a net income of COP63 billion in 2005, compared
with COP25 billion the year before, according to Fogafin.

Luis Carlos Sarmiento, the chief executive of Grupo Aval told
reporters that the purchase of Megabanco will be financed with a
US$300 million loan from Citigroup Inc. (C) and the remainder
will come from Grupo Aval's own cash.


                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 13, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service assigned a 'Ba3' long-term foreign
currency deposit rating on Banco de Bogota and changed the
outlook to stable from negative.  Moody's also assigned a 'D+'
bank financial strength rating on the company, while the outlook
remained stable.


MEGABANCO: Grupo Aval Acquires Bank's 95% Stake for US$357 Mil.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores SA bought, through its subsidiary
Banco de Bogota, bought a 95% stake in Megabanco for COP808
billion (US$357 million) in an auction held last week, Dow Jones
Newswires reports.

Grupo Aval, which controls seven banks in Colombia, will assume
approximately COP733 billion in debts owed to Fogafin by
Coopdesarollo.  The Megabanco purchase will give the group a
presence in the high-yielding microcredit segment, Business News
Americas quoted industry analysts.

Local credit ratings agency Duff and Phelps analyst, Maria
Claudia Salcedo, told Business News, that Banco de Bogota had
been left out of the Granahorrar auction, which was won by the
local unit of Spanish giant BBVA in October with a COP970
billion bid, because the bank's bid was not high enough.  

"So I was pretty sure they would fine tune their valuation now.  
The microcredit segment is a new business for the Aval group, so
it makes sense they entered with a high price to compete," Ms.
Salcedo said.

Bankrupt cooperative development bank, Coopdesarrollo, owned the
95% stake that Grupo Aval bought.  The stake is being held by  
deposit guarantee agency Fogafin until regulators will approve
of the deal.  

After paying Fogafin, what's left of the money will go to a
trust controlled by cooperative associations that owned
Coopdesarollo.

Grupo Aval outbid Bancolombia, the country's biggest bank, which
had offered COP733 billion for the bank.

Megabanco, with 187 branches throughout the country and 2025
workers, controls a 2% slice of the banking market in Colombia.
The bank posted a net income of COP63 billion in 2005, compared
with COP25 billion the year before, according to Fogafin.

Luis Carlos Sarmiento, the chief executive of Grupo Aval told
reporters that the purchase of Megabanco will be financed with a
US$300 million loan from Citigroup Inc. (C) and the remainder
will come from Grupo Aval's own cash.


PDVSA: Opens Bogota Office in April
-----------------------------------
State oil company Petroleos de Venezuela aka PDVSA will open a
Bogota office in April, La Republica reports.

Venezuela's commercial attache in Bogota, Eduardo Delgado, told
Business News Americas that one of the projects the new office
will handle is the construction of a US$300 million natural gas
pipeline.  The pipeline will connect US oil major Chevron's
Ballenas gas field in Colombia's Guajira with the western bank
of Lake Maracaibo in Zulia, Venezuela, to facilitate the
shipping of natural gas between countries.  

Delgado, however, did not reveal the exact date of the opening,
says Business News.

PDVSA is Venezuela's state oil company in charge of the
development of the petroleum, petrochemical and coal industry,
as well as planning, coordinating, supervising and controlling
the operational activities of its divisions, both in Venezuela
and abroad.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 23, 2005, Fitch Ratings upgraded the local and foreign
currency ratings of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. aka PDVSA to
'BB-' from 'B+'.  The rating of PDVSA's export receivable future
flow securitization, PDVSA Finance Ltd, was also upgraded to
'BB+' from 'BB'.  In addition, Fitch has assigned PDVSA a
'AAA(ven)' national scale rating.  The Rating Outlook is Stable.  
Both rating actions follow Fitch's November 2005 upgrade of
Venezuela's sovereign rating.


===================================
D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
===================================


FALCONBRIDGE: Provides Resource Estimate for Araguaia Project
-------------------------------------------------------------
Falconbridge Limited's (TSX:FAL.LV)(NYSE:FAL) wholly-owned
Brazilian subsidiary, Falconbridge Brasil Ltda., disclosed a
preliminary inferred resource estimate for two new significant
nickel deposits on its Araguaia Nickel Laterite properties in
the Para State of northern Brazil.  An extensive exploration
program on these promising properties is being conducted by the
Company.

Background information with respect to the project can be
obtained by referring to the previous release dated, September
6, 2005. A complete listing of the diamond drill information and
location maps may be viewed on the company's web site.  

These are completely new grassroots discoveries in an area where
the first recorded drilling for base metals was completed by
Falconbridge's exploration team in October of 2004.

Diamond drilling on the Araguaia Nickel Project continues with
three diamond drills.  Two deposits are being delineated on the
project, the largest at this point being the Serra do Tapa
deposit.  The second deposit, Vale dos Sonhos, is located 10
kilometres to the southeast.  To date, inferred mineral resource
estimate using a 1% nickel grade cut off is as follows:

        Inferred Mineral Resources @ 1.0% Ni cut-off grade
   -----------------------------------------------------------------
TARGET               RESOURCE  Ni     Co    Fe    MgO    SiO2   Si/Mg
                        Mt    (%)    (%)   (%)    (%)     (%)   Ratio
   ------------------------------------------------------------------
SERRA DO TAPA          60.3   1.5   0.05  18.0   16.5    40.0     2.4
VALE DOS SONHOS        13.0   1.5   0.07  20.3   19.4    32.0     1.6
   ------------------------------------------------------------------
GLOBAL                 73.3   1.5   0.06  18.4   17.0    38.6     2.3
   ------------------------------------------------------------------

The resource is based on 551 diamond drill holes (23,565 metres)
completed on a 160-metre by 80-metre grid.  The resource was
calculated using a Plan Polygonal method with a 90-metre radius
from each drill hole and a 2-metre maximum waste gap.  Of the
holes drilled at the deposits to date, 350 contain mineralized
intercepts with grades grater than 1% nickel and 186 were below
cut-off.  The Serra do Tapa deposit has been almost completely
delineated but has potential for modest expansion along its
eastern margin where it is not fully closed off. The Vales dos
Sonhos deposit remains open to the north and south and current
drilling indicates it has potential to expand to the southeast.
Composites are calculated using 2-metre minimum intervals.
Specific Gravity has been characterized for various facies of
mineralization and average for the deposits is SG equals 1.2.

Overburden at the Serra do Tapa deposits ranges from 0 - 49
metres and averages 9 metres thick.  At the Vale dos Sonhos
deposit, overburden ranges from 0 - 19 metres and averages 5
metres thick.  The mineralized intervals at Serra do Tapa range
from 2 - 84 metres thick and average 18 metres thick, at Vale
dos Sonhos the range is 2 - 21 metres with an average of 8
metres.

The resource estimates was prepared by Falconbridge geologist
Chris Wright, P. Geo., Senior Project Geologist under the
supervision of Marc Antoine Audet, P.Geo., Director of
International Nickel Laterite Exploration. Both of whom are
Qualified Persons as defined under National Instrument 43-101.

The mineralization is predominantly characterized as saprolite
and transitional material and only a minor component of limonite
(approximately 12%). In-fill drilling is continuing in select
areas to reduce the drill spacing to 80 metres by 80 metres and
work is in progress to establish a protocol for completing
sampling for initial metallurgical test work that will be used
to support an economic scoping study.  In addition, drilling
continues to delineate extensions of the known resources.  This
work will continue through 2006.

                       Quality Control

Direct supervision of the project is by Helio Diniz, the
Company's Exploration Manager in Brazil with oversight by David
Gower.  Mr. Gower is the General Manager of Nickel Exploration
and a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101
guidelines.  The company employsa QA/QC protocol on all aspects
of the analytical procedures.  Core samples are split on plastic
sheets in order to preserve fines and one half of the core is
restored to the core box for future reference. Samples are taken
in one-metre intervals or less.  Initially sample preparation
was completed at the SGS- Lakefield preparation lab at
Parauapebas and assayed at SGS Lakefield lab in Belo Horizonte
using XRF.  Since sample preparation is now completed on site in
a sample preparation facility operated by SGS-Lakefield.  A
blank sampleis inserted every forty samples and standard samples
representing a range of grades are inserted at intervals of
twenty samples.  Five percent of pulps are re-analysed at ALS-
Chemex, Vancouver.

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Falconbridge Limited --
http://www.falconbridge.com/-- produces nickel products.  It
owns nickel mines in Canada and the Dominican Republic; it
operates a refinery and sulfuric acid (used in refining) plant
in Norway.  It is also a major producer of copper (38% of sales)
through its Kidd mine in Canada and its stake in Chile's
Collahuasi mine and Lomas Bayas mine.  Its other products
include cobalt, platinum group metals, and zinc.

                        *    *    *

Falconbridge's CDN$150 million 5% convertible and callable bond
due April 30, 2007, carries Standard & Poor's BB+ rating.


=============
E C U A D O R
=============


DELTA AIR: Adding More Flights into Latin America & Caribbean
-------------------------------------------------------------
Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Delta Air Lines Inc.
plans to continue expansion of routes into Latin America and the
Caribbean.

Delta Air will add flights to Brazil, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico
and Puerto Rico this year.  New flights include routes to:

        * Sao Paulo, Brazil;
        * Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador;
        * Kingston, Jamaica;
        * Aguadilla and Ponce, Puerto Rico; and
        * Acapulco, Cancun, Cozumel, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, and
          Los Cabos, Mexico.

In 2005, Delta flew more than 5 million customers between the
United States and Latin America and the Caribbean.  Delta Chief
Operating Officer Jim Whitehurst said Delta currently is the No.
3 U.S. airline in Mexico, tied for No. 3 in the Caribbean, tied
for No. 2 in Central America, and tied for No. 2 in South
America in terms of number of destinations served, the Chronicle
relates.

"Clearly, we're bullish on Latin America, with growth of more
than 30 percent to the region in the last year," Mr. Whitehurst
told the Chronicle. "This is critically important to customers
wishing to travel from the region because of the incredible
connectivity that Delta offers from Atlanta and because of the
increased commerce and trade we can broker between regions of
the world."

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Delta Air Lines --
http://www.delta.com/-- is the world's second-largest airline  
in terms of passengers carried and the leading U.S. carrier
across the Atlantic, offering daily flights to 502 destinations
in 88 countries on Delta, Song, Delta Shuttle, the Delta
Connection carriers and its worldwide partners.  The Company and
18 affiliates filed for chapter 11 protection on Sept. 14, 2005
(Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Lead Case No. 05-17923).  Marshall S. Huebner,
Esq., at Davis Polk & Wardwell, represents the Debtors in their
restructuring efforts.  Timothy R. Coleman at The Blackstone
Group L.P. provides the Debtors with financial advice.  Daniel
H. Golden, Esq., and Lisa G. Beckerman, Esq., at Akin Gump
Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, provide the Official Committee of
Unsecured Creditors with legal advice.  John McKenna, Jr., at
Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital and James S. Feltman at
Mesirow Financial Consulting, LLC, serve as the Committee's
financial advisors.  As of June 30, 2005, the Company's balance
sheet showed $21.5 billion in assets and $28.5 billion in
liabilities.


* Ecuador Indians Continue Protest Against Free Trade with U.S.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Ecuadorean Indians vowed to continue their demonstrations that
have blocked the country's Pan-American highway north and south
of Quito until the government stops negotiating a free trade
pact with the United States, according to a report from Reuters.

Being a powerful political force in Ecuador, the Indians demand
that President Alfredo Palacio discontinue talks aimed at
reaching a trade deal with the U.S.  The Indians allege that a
trade deal will hurt rural workers and further disrupt their
culture, Reuter relates.

"We are currently meeting with our communities to plan our next
move," Humberto Cholango, Indian leader and organizer told
Reuters.  "But we will not stop protests until the government
says it will quit this trade deal."

However, President Palacio vowed to continue trade talks and
overcome obstacles over agricultural issues.  Neighboring
countries, Colombia and Peru, have already inked deals with
Washington, Reuters reports.

Analysts were quoted by Reuters as saying that President
Palacio's government is viewed as weak by different groups that
have been making political and financial demands from the
government.  

Only this month, state-owned Petroecuador's operations were
disrupted when oil contract workers went on strike.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Ecuador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     B-      Aug. 29, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005


=================
G U A T E M A L A
=================


BANCO INDUSTRIAL: Moody's Affirms D Financial Strength Rating
-------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Ratings Services affirmed Banco Industrial S.A.'s 'D'
bank financial strength rating.

Moody's affirmed the ratings of Banco Industrial following the
Guatemalan bank's announcement that its shareholders have
entered into an agreement with the controlling shareholders of
Banco de Occidente aka Occidente to acquire a majority stake in
Occidente, the fifth largest bank in the system.  The
transaction is still pending approval from the Guatemalan
banking regulator.  The expected closing date of the transaction
is March 31, 2006.

Moody's also affirmed Industrial's 'Baa2' and Prime-3 long and
short term global local currency deposit ratings, respectively,
and its 'Ba3' and Not Prime long and short term foreign currency
deposit ratings.  All the ratings have stable outlooks.

Moody's said that the goodwill and debt arising from the
transaction would put pressure on the bank's capitalization and
would require the strong support of its shareholders.  The
affirmation of Industrial's D bank financial strength rating aka
BFSR, which is a measure of the bank's intrinsic
creditworthiness and solvency, is however based on the
understanding that the acquisition will be financed primarily
with equity or equity-like capital.  The combined entity is
expected to maintain risk-weighted capital levels at or above
Industrial's historical levels.

The merger with Occidente would add about five percentage points
to Industrial's current asset market share of 20% to 25%,
cementing its position as the largest bank by far, as well as
substantially enhancing its position in the western part of
Guatemala.  Occidente also brings with it a relatively low cost,
sticky deposit base and a solid balance sheet.

The acquisition should strengthen Industrial's already solid
franchise and bolster its potential for earnings growth,
geographic diversification, and further scale economies.  
Moody's views these factors as the principal drivers behind
Industrial's ratings.  

Because of the in-market nature of the acquisition, the expected
synergies and cost savings from the merger should also help
cushion the effect of unforeseen integration and credit costs on
the bank's liquidity and capital, said Moody's.

Customer attrition, particularly the potential loss of deposit
funding, could also affect the liquidity of the combined
operation.  Moody's views this risk to be moderate, as both
Industrial's and Occidente's brand value with Guatemalan
companies and individuals is very strong.  The combined
operation should therefore become a more competitive force in
providing the range of corporate and retail banking services.

Moody's said it would continue to monitor the tangible effects
of the acquisition once regulatory approvals have been received
and the acquisition has been completed.  The agency noted that
deterioration of risk-weighted capital levels; asset quality or
liquidity metrics could result in negative pressure on the bank
financial strength rating.

Supporting Industrial's 'Baa2' long term global local currency
deposit rating is Moody's view that as the dominant deposit
taking institution, and because of the Guatemalan financial
system's moderate dollarization, Industrial would have high
access to institutional support for its local currency deposits
in a situation of high stress, in order to ensure a smooth
functioning of the local payments system.

Moody's warned, however, that increasing dollarization of
Industrial's balance sheet would raise its vulnerability to
credit risk and currency fluctuations, with the potential for
downward pressure on the global local currency rating.

Banco Industrial S.A. was the largest bank in Guatemala in terms
of deposits and loans as of December 31, 2005 with consolidated
assets of approximately $3 billion and equity of $212 million.  
Banco de Occidente, S.A. was the fifth largest bank in terms of
loans and sixth largest in deposits with unconsolidated assets
of $586 million and equity of $60 million.


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


* JAMAICA: Government Cuts Fiscal Budget to US$346 Billion
----------------------------------------------------------
The Jamaica Gleaner reports that the Jamaican government has
reduced its spending by US$877 million to US$346 billion for the
soon-to-be concluded 2005/2006 financial year.

According to the first supplementary estimates tabled in
Jamaica's Parliament, calculations for recurrent spending have
increased by about US$2.3 billion, while there has been a US$3
billion decrease in estimated capital spending, the Jamaica
Gleaner reports.

                        *    *    *

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
===========


BENITO JUAREZ (CANCUN): Moody's Assigns Ba2.MX Issuer Rating
------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Ratings Services has assigned issuer ratings of
'Ba2.mx', Mexican national scale, and 'B2' -- global scale,
local currency -- to the municipality of Benito Juarez (Cancun).  

The ratings reflect the efforts of the municipal government to
improve its weak financial performance of recent years.  It also
reflects the significant challenges that remain especially with
respect to control of current spending, a recent and continuing
history of missed and/or delayed debt payments that as yet has
resulted in no substantial loss to creditors, a debt refinancing
which improves liquidity in the short term but also adds to an
already-high debt burden, and a local political environment
which -- while currently benign -- was recently very combative.  

The ratings also take into account Benito Juarez's strong
tourist economy the basis for the municipality's excellent
revenue profile but also the vulnerabilities associated with
high dependence on this one sector.  The municipality also has
large infrastructure needs generated by rapid population growth.  
While the severe damage caused by Hurricane Wilma highlights
these last two points, financial support from senior levels of
government should hasten the municipality's recovery.

Preliminary results for 2005 indicate that Cancun will post its
first financing surplus equal to 10.7% of revenues in several
years.  In the preceding years -- 2002 and 2003 in particular --
the municipality generated large financing deficits and even
operating deficits, mainly due to an inability to control
spending.  The resulting liquidity crisis in 2004 was so severe
that it hindered the daily functioning of the municipal
government.  While the improved performance in 2005 is
encouraging, it rests largely on a severe contraction of capital
spending which is not likely to be sustained.

The municipality still faces serious financial challenges,
particularly with respect to personnel and related operating
costs, as its staff increased by over 75% from 2001 to 2004, and
remains only moderately below the 2004 peak level or more than
6,000 employees.  Although a hiring freeze and early retirement
program are in effect, the 2006 budget projection that personnel
costs will still consume 59% of revenues raises some concern.  
The municipality also aims to strengthen its finances by
improving its own-source revenue base which, at about 60% of the
total is already among the strongest for rated municipalities
but hurricane damage to important hotel properties will likely
hinder these efforts in the near term.

In December 2005 Cancun obtained two equally-sized bank loans
totaling MXN560.8 million about 45% of 2005 total revenues with
proceeds to be used principally for refinancing existing debt
and investing in public works. While the refinancing and one-
year grace period on principal payments will ease immediate
liquidity pressures, Cancun's debt burden is now among the
highest for rated municipalities.  Once the loans begin to
amortize in 2007, debt service could require 5% to 7% of total
revenues for several years.  While Moody's consider this a
manageable debt service burden under most circumstances, in
recent years Cancun has had difficulty meeting similar
requirements in a timely fashion.

Cancun has a recent history of debt default that continues to
this day, though as yet there has been no substantial loss to
creditors.  During a political crisis in 2004 the result of a
conflict between the municipal and state governments the
municipality missed two consecutive debt service payments after
repeatedly making late payments on a MXN230 million loan from
Santander-Serfin, which prompted the bank to seek payment
directly from the National Treasury, using a share of the State
of Quintana Roo's participation revenues, which the State
subsequently recuperated from the Municipality.  

Cancun also continues to be in default on two smaller loans from
FONHAPO, with a total value of about MXN6 million equal to about
0.5% of Cancun's budget for which it has not made debt service
payments since May 2003.  However, the municipality is currently
negotiating with FONHAPO to resolve this matter, and liquidation
of these loans is reportedly imminent.

Since being created in 1970 by the federal government as a beach
resort, Cancun has grown from a virtually unpopulated locale to
a city of 420,000, according to the 2000 census.  It is now
Mexico's largest tourist destination, receiving nearly 3.4
million tourists in 2004 and generating an estimated US$2
billion in economic activity.  The large amount of wealth
generated here by tourism has produced socio-economic indicators
for the municipality, which are among the very highest in all of
Mexico.  However, such figures mask extensive poverty, as well
as the pressing needs for infrastructure and public services
that have accompanied the explosive rate of population growth.

Hurricane Wilma, which in October 2005 damaged most of Cancun's
hotels and destroyed most of its beach, highlights one of the
main threats to Cancun's highly concentrated economy, along with
regional competition and international economic and political
developments.  While a swift and complete recovery is not
assured, the federal government has signaled its commitment to
maintaining Cancun as major tourist destination by financing
recovery efforts and continuing with investment projects, such
as Puerto Cancun, which form part of the original master plan
for the region.

Moody's issuer ratings are opinions of the ability of entities
to honor their senior unsecured financial obligations, that is,
without incorporating credit support derived from the use of
federal revenue-sharing -- participaciones -- or other resources
as collateral.   Moody's will later assign ratings in Mexico
national scale evaluating the additional credit support provided
to the municipality's borrowings by such collateral guarantees
or trust agreements, as these are developed.

Moody's Mexico national scale ratings are opinions of the
relative creditworthiness of issuers and issues within Mexico.  
The Moody's Global Scale rating for borrowings in local currency
allows investors to compare the state's creditworthiness to all
other issuers in the world rather than solely in Mexico. It
incorporates all Mexico-related risks, including the potential
volatility of the Mexican economy.  For comparative purposes,
Moody's global scale, local currency rating for domestic debt
issued by the Mexican government is 'Baa1'.


PEMEX: Needs US$37.5 Billion to Develop Chicontepec Oil Fields
--------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleos Mexicanos' chief executive officer Luis Ramirez told
Dow Jones Newswires that the company needs to make a US$37.5
billion investment over the next 20 years to develop the
Chicontepec oil fields.

Chicontepec, a large expanse of onshore oil and gas reserves
scattered across the states of Veracruz and Puebla, needs to be
developed to maximize recovery of massive reserves of crude
ranging from heavy to extra light.

The company aims to produce daily 1 million barrels of crude oil
and 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas.  Last year,
Chicontepec produced about 25,000 barrels of crude per day.

Mr. Ramirez told Dow Jones that the development of Chicontepec,
as well as deep-water oil and gas, are the main tasks facing
Pemex to secure long-term energy supplies in the country as its
main crude deposit, Cantarell, declines.


* Mexico Discovers New Deep-Water Oil Field in Gulf of Mexico
-------------------------------------------------------------
Mexico has discovered a new deep-water oil field in the Gulf of
Mexico which is believed to contain 10 billion barrels of crude,
according to BBC News.  

The new oil field, Mexico says, could be bigger than ints
largest oil field -- Cantarell, BBC News reports.

Perforatoin of the well, Noxal 1, started in December 2005.  
Noxal 1 is located 60 miles from the port of Coatzacoalcos on
the coase of Veracruz, Mexico.  

Mexico is the largest oil producer ahead of Venezuela and
Brazil.  Its average daily oil output is 3.4 million barrels,
half of which is exported mainly to the United States, according
to the International Energy Agency.


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


CARIBBEAN RESTAURANTS: S&P Alters Outlook on B+ Rating to Neg.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its outlook on
Caribbean Restaurants LLC (CRI) to negative from stable.  Its
ratings on the company, including the 'B+' corporate credit
rating, were affirmed.  The outlook revision is based on the
company's deteriorating cash flow protection measures due to its
negative operating trends over the past three quarters.
     
The ratings on San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Caribbean Restaurants
LLC reflect:

   * the company's highly leveraged capital structure;

   * the risks of operating in the extremely competitive
     quick-service restaurant industry;

   * the company's small size; and

   * its regional concentration.

Overall business risk for this fourth-largest franchisee of
Burger King restaurants is influenced heavily by strong
competition in the fast-food segment, especially from:

   * McDonald's Corp. (A/Stable/A-1); and
   * Subway in Puerto Rico,

where CRI operates all 169 of its units.  

Somewhat tempering these factors is the strength the company
derives from its exclusive franchise agreement with Burger King
for Puerto Rico, and the unique characteristics of that market.
     
CRI's narrow geographic focus leaves it susceptible to changes
in the Puerto Rican economy.  During a regional economic
downturn in 2001 and 2002, for example, same-store sales and
operating margins declined in both fiscal years (ending in
April).  Sales trends in the first nine of fiscal 2006 (ended
Jan. 30, 2006) were also negative due to an economic slowdown in
Puerto Rico and margins have narrowed as a result of lack of
sales leverage and higher utility costs.  Operating trends are
not expected to improve until the economy in Puerto Rico
strengthens.


DORAL FINANCIAL: Can't File 2005 Annual Report on Time
------------------------------------------------------
Doral Financial Corporation will postpone the filing of its
Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, due
to delays in the preparation of the company's consolidated
financial statements as of and for the quarter and year ended
Dec. 31, 2005.

The delay in preparation of the company's financial statements
is attributable to the work that was required to complete the
restatement, and to the additional work required to complete the
unaudited financial statements to be included in the Form 10-Qs
for each of the quarters ended March 31, 2005, June 30, 2005 and
September 30, 2005.

According to the company's 2004 Form 10-K/A, the restatement
process has resulted in a number of financial, operational and
legal difficulties that had a material adverse effect on the
company's results of operations for the year ended Dec. 31,
2005.  For additional information, refer to the company's 2004
Form 10-K/A filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on
Feb. 27, 2006.

On April 19, 2005, Doral announced that it had determined that
the previously filed interim and audited financial statements
for the periods from Jan. 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2004, should
no longer be relied on and that the financial statements for
some or all of the periods included therein should be restated.  
On Feb. 27, 2006, the company filed its amended Annual Report on
Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2004, which included the
company's restated audited financial statements for the years
ended Dec. 31, 2004, 2003 and 2002, and the unaudited selected
quarterly financial information for each of the four quarters of
2004, 2003 and 2002.

Doral Financial Corporation -- http://www.doralfinancial.com/--  
a financial holding company, is the largest residential mortgage
lender in Puerto Rico, and the parent company of Doral Bank, a
Puerto Rico based commercial bank, Doral Securities, a Puerto
Rico based investment banking and institutional brokerage firm,
Doral Insurance Agency, Inc. and Doral Bank FSB, a federal
savings bank based in New York City.

                          *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 1, 2005,
Moody's Investors Service downgraded to Ba3 from Ba1 the senior
debt of Doral Financial Corporation.  The ratings have been
downgraded a number of times since Moody's initial review
process began in April 2005.  According to Moody's, a number of
negative developments have occurred since the most recent
downgrade, which was on Sept. 6, 2005.

A partial list of ratings that have been downgraded:

    * Senior debt to Ba3 from Ba1 and
    * Subordinated debt to B1 from Ba2.


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Panel Taps Donlin Recano as Information Agent
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Musicland
Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates seeks the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York's
authority to retain Donlin, Recano & Company, Inc., as its
information agent, nunc pro tunc to February 9, 2006.

Curtis Roberts, co-chairman of the Creditors Committee, states
that the retention of Donlin Recano to assist the Committee in
complying with its obligation under Section 1102(b)(3) of the
Bankruptcy Code will add to the efficiency and reduce the
overall expense of administering the Debtors' Chapter 11 cases.

As an information agent, Donlin Recano will:

    (a) provide access to information for the Committee's
        constituents through web-based technology developed by
        Donlin Recano, which include certain information:

        * General case information including case dockets,
          access to docket filings, composition of the
          Committee, their counsel, and the date, place and time
          of the Section 341 meeting;

        * Answers to frequently asked questions, discussing a
          general overview of the Chapter 11 process, the role
          of the Committee, the responsibility of committee
          members, and the filing of a proof of claim;

        * A Committee reports section providing monthly
          operating reports filed by the debtor and monthly
          Committee written reports summarizing recent
          proceedings, events and public financial information;

        * A password protected confidential information access
          section whereby creditors who have executed a
          confidentiality agreement may retrieve confidential
          information;

        * A case calendar section which will include case
          matters of relevance to the unsecured creditors;

        * A section providing the creditor the ability to e-mail
          a question and receive a response;

        * Press releases issued by each of the Committee and the
          Debtors;

        * Highlights of significant events in the cases;

        * Links to other relevant Web sites; and

        * Any other information to be posted at the direction of
          the Court, the Committee or its counsel.

    (b) solicit and receive comments form the unsecured
        creditors through the Committee Web site and the ability
        of the creditors to e-mail comments and questions;

    (c) establish and maintain a telephone number and call
        center for unsecured creditors to call with questions;

    (d) provide notice to the unsecured creditors as to the
        existence of the Committee Web site; and

    (e) provide other services as required by the Court, the
        Committee or its counsel to assist the Committee in
        complying with the requirements of Section 1102(b)(3) of
        the Bankruptcy Code.

The Committee believes that Donlin Recano is particularly well-
suited to perform those tasks because it is a data-processing
firm whose principals and senior staff have more than 15 years
of in-depth experience in performing noticing, Web site services
and other administrative tasks in large complex Chapter 11
cases.

The Debtors will pay Donlin Recano for its services in these
amounts:

    Category                                Amount
    --------                                ------
    Monthly Base Fee                        $150 per month
    Posting Documents to Web site           $50 per document
    Web site Maintenance and Monitoring     $115 to $250/hour
    Data Entry                              $35 per hour
    Imaging/Storage                         $0.18 per image
    Facsimile Noticing                      $0.12 per page
    Photocopying & Laser Printing           $0.10 per page
    E-mail Transmission (attachments only)  $0.015 per kilobyte
    Out-of-Pocket Expenses                  At Cost

Louis A. Recano, a principal at Donlin Recano, assures the Court
that the firm and its employees are "disinterested" as that term
is defined in Section 101(14) of the Bankruptcy Code.
Donlin Recano has no adverse interests in the Committee or the
Debtors' estates.

                      About Musicland Holding

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)


OCA: Secures $15M DIP Funding from BofA & Silver Point-Led Group
----------------------------------------------------------------
OCA, Inc., and certain of its subsidiaries has, negotiated, and
is seekingseek approval for, up to $15 million in new debtor-in-
possession financing from its existing lender group, led by Bank
of America, as agent, and Silver Point Capital.  This facility
is intended to provide sufficient liquidity for the Company to
continue to perform under its existing business service
agreements with affiliated orthodontists and vigorously defend
against recent actions by certain orthodontists that the Company
contends are breaches of their business service agreements.

During the restructuring process, OCA will continue to operate
in the ordinary course with no disruption to employee
compensation or benefit programs and vendors will be paid for
post-petition purchases of goods and services.  The Bankruptcy
Court has authorized the Company to allow it to honor
prepetition obligations to vendors providing goods and services
to the affiliated practices.

"We appreciate the ongoing loyalty and support of our affiliated
orthodontists and dentists," Bart Palmisano, Sr., the Company's
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said.  "I would also like
to thank our vendors and others that we do business with for
their continued support during this process.  Our team is
committed to making this restructuring successful and leading
the Company towards a brighter future.  We believe that this
filing is a significant step in the stabilization and
rehabilitation process."

"We believe this step will help us improve service to our
affiliated practices, strengthen our balance sheet and improve
our prospects for long-term success," Michael Gries, the
Company's Chief Restructuring Officer added.  "He stated further
that "a restructuring plan will be developed, in conjunction
with the lender group, that will allow OCA and its affiliated
orthodontists to take full advantage of the Company's
fundamental strength."

Based in Metairie, Louisiana, OCA, Inc. -- http://www.ocai.com/
-- provides a full range of operational, purchasing, financial,
marketing, administrative and other business services, as well
as capital and proprietary information systems to approximately
200 orthodontic and dental practices representing approximately
almost 400 offices.  The Company and its debtor-affiliates filed
for Chapter 11 protection on March 14, 2006 (Bankr. E.D. La.
Case No. 06-10179).  William H. Patrick, III, Esq., at Heller
Draper Hayden Patrick & Horn, LLC, represents the Debtors.  When
the Debtors filed for protection from their creditors, they
listed $545,220,000 in total assets and $196,337,000 in total
debts.


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


PDVSA: Plans to Set Up Ethanol Plants in Yaracuy
------------------------------------------------
State oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela aka PDVSA plans to set up
ethanol plants in Yaracuy, state news agency ABN reports.  

Yaracuy secretary general Nelson Rojas told ABN that Yaracuy is
one of the states on PDVSA's list where it plans to build as
many as 20 ethanol plants over the next six years.

"It will be a great generator of employment for the state.  Each
450,000-liter plant will generate over 12,000 jobs," Mr. Rojas
told ABN.

The plants will use sugarcane to produce ethanol and Yaracuy,
according to Business News Americas, is one of the top
sugarcane-producing states in Venezuela.  Yucca root is also
being considered as a source for ethanol.

Business News states that ethanol is now commonly used as a
substitute for gasoline in neighboring Brazil.  PDVSA, however,
stated that it intends to use ethanol mostly as an additive in
the manufacturing of premium gasoline, not as a fuel on its own.

Having stopped manufacturing leaded gasoline in 2005 PDVSA now
needs more ethanol and other additives to produce the estimated
400,000 barrels a day of gasoline the domestic market needs,
Business News reports.

PDVSA is Venezuela's state oil company in charge of the
development of the petroleum, petrochemical and coal industry,
as well as planning, coordinating, supervising and controlling
the operational activities of its divisions, both in Venezuela
and abroad.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 23, 2005, Fitch Ratings upgraded the local and foreign
currency ratings of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. aka PDVSA to
'BB-' from 'B+'.  The rating of PDVSA's export receivable future
flow securitization, PDVSA Finance Ltd, was also upgraded to
'BB+' from 'BB'.  In addition, Fitch has assigned PDVSA a
'AAA(ven)' national scale rating.  The Rating Outlook is Stable.  
Both rating actions follow Fitch's November 2005 upgrade of
Venezuela's sovereign rating.


* VENEZUELA: Tax Authorities Closes Total Office in Caracas
-----------------------------------------------------------
Seniat, Venezuela's National Customs and Tax Administration
Service, closed down French oil company Total and Italian ENI
business offices in Caracas for 48 hours for non compliance with
accountancy records, El Universal reports.

Early last week, Total negotiated with the Venezuelan taxing
authorities for the payment of US$107 million in back taxes.  
The multi-million tax dispute accounts for Total's retroactive
tax increase between 2001 and 2004 after, Seniat decided that
oilfield operators should pay 50% taxes instead of 34%.  

Total is one of the 22 oil firms Seniat has accused of
misconstruing the Venezuelan tax code and inflating tax
deductions, the Associated Press reported.

                        *    *    *

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

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Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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