TCRLA_Public/060324.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

          Friday, March 24, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 60

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

A. BERNATAN: Verification of Claims from Creditors Ends May 19
ALTOS SERVICIOS: Claims Verification Ends on June 13
AUTOMOTORES MUSCIO: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until May 5
BODEGAS CUVILLIER: Files Reorganization Petition in Court
COMODEX S.A.: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims on May 15

DIETA OPTIMA: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
DOLIN S.A.: Presenting Verified Claims in Court on May 2
DYZENO S.A.: Claims Verification Deadline Is May 12
FUNDACION EL DESCANSO: Seeks Reorganization Approval from Court
GERMAIZ S.A.: Concludes Reorganization After Debt Pact Signed

* ARGENTINA: Protesters Agree to End Roadblocks Along Border

B E R M U D A

ESG REINSURANCE: Fitch Affirms & Withdraws CCC+ IFS Ratings
GLOBAL CROSSING: Strengthens Partnership with Limelight Networks

B O L I V I A

REPSOL YPF: Julio Gavito Resigns Over Oil Smuggling Controversy

* BOLIVIA: Secures US$40 Million in Loans from CAF

B R A Z I L

BANCO DO BRASIL: Parana to Transfer Accounts from Banco Itau
BANCO ITAU: Supreme Court Authorizes Parana to Transfer Accounts
BRASIL FERROVIAS: Bankruptcy Ruling Affects Railway Lines Sale
CEF: Court Authorizes Parana to Transfer Banco Itau's Accounts
CEMIG: Postpones April 12 Payment for Complementary Dividends

CST: Raises BRL650,000 from Scrap Metal Online Auction
PETROLEO IPIRANGA: Gets Requisite Consents from Noteholders
VARIG S.A.: Signs Code-Share Agreement with Air China

* BRAZIL: Receiving US$39.5 Mil. Urban Dev't Financing from CAF

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

ESPERANCE LIMITED: Sets April 6 Deadline for Filing of Claims
EVANSTON LIMITED: Deadline for Claims Filing Is on April 6
GHK FIRST: Liquidator Stops Accepting Claims by April 18
HYPER FUNDING: Stops Accepting Proofs of Claim
I-SECURITY SOLUTIONS: Stops Accepting Proofs of Claim

I-SECURITY SOLUTIONS (HOLDINGS): Stops Accepting Proofs of Claim

C O L O M B I A

COLOMBIA TELECOMUNICACIONES: Auctioning Stake on April 7
TELEMAR: Will Not Bid for Colombia Movil

* COLOMBIA: Obtains US$50MM Unsecured Revolving Credit from CAF

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

BANCO POPULAR: Internet Banking Transactions Reach US$492 Mil.
FALCONBRIDGE LTD: Redeeming US$500 Mil. of Jr. Preference Shares

* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Cyberpark & Telvent Ink Collaboration Pact

E C U A D O R

* ECUADOR: CAF Lends US$293 Million for Development Projects

E L   S A L V A D O R

* EL SALVADOR: Leftist Mayors Ink Oil Agreement with Venezuela

J A M A I C A

AIR JAMAICA: CEO Says Airline Should Exploit Region's Potential

M E X I C O

AOL LATIN: Has Until May 20 to Solicit Plan Acceptances

P A N A M A

GRUPO BANISTMO: HSBC Close to Reaching Acquisition Deal

P A R A G U A Y

* PARAGUAY: Vice President Promotes Country in Visit to Florida

P U E R T O   R I C O

MUSICLAND HOLDING: Uriarte Wants Stay Lifted to Complete Lawsuit

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

DIGICEL: Alleges Smear Campaign from Unnamed Sector

U R U G U A Y

* URUGUAY: Argentine Protesters Agree to End Roadblocks

V E N E Z U E L A

BANESCO: Expects Agriculture Sector Loans to Reach VEB40 Billion
PDVSA: Explosion at Amuay Refinery Kills Two Workers

* VENEZUELA: Inks Oil Deal with El Salvador's Leftist Mayors
* VENEZUELA: May Sell Euro, Dollar Bonds to Refinance Debt

VENEZUELA: Supplying Daily 3,000 Barrels of Crude to El Salvador


                         - - - - -

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


A. BERNATAN: Verification of Claims from Creditors Ends May 19
--------------------------------------------------------------
The verification phase for the claims submitted by A. Bernatan
S.A.C.I.I.'s creditors has started, Argentine daily Infobae
reports.  The verification will end on May 19, 2006.  Creditors
who are unable to submit claims after the said date will be
excluded from receiving any distribution or payment that the
company will make.

Validated claims will be presented in court as individual
reports, followed by the general reports.

A. Bernatan S.A.C.I.I. was declared bankrupt by Buenos Aires
court.  Gabriel Eduardo Bigal was appointed as trustee.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Gabriel Eduardo Bigal
         Pacheco de Melo 1846
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


ALTOS SERVICIOS: Claims Verification Ends on June 13
----------------------------------------------------
Fernando Marziale, court-appointed trustee, will no longer
verify claims against Altos Servicios S.R.L. after June 13,
2006, Argentine daily La Nacion reports.

La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No. 3 declared the
company bankrupt in favor of Ostrich S.R.L., whom the company
owes $5,628.87.

Clerk No. 6 assists the court in this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Altos Servicios S.R.L.
         Paraguay 3482
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Fernando Marziale
         Callao 930
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


AUTOMOTORES MUSCIO: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until May 5
----------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors' claims against Automotores Muscio S.A. will be
verified until May 5, 2006.  Court-appointed trustee Hector
Garcia is tasked with the verification.

Infobae relates that validated claims will be presented in court
as individual reports on June 6, 2006.

The submission of a general report will follow on Aug. 28, 2006.

A Buenos Aires court handles the company's bankruptcy case.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Hector Garcia
         Uruguay 572
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


BODEGAS CUVILLIER: Files Reorganization Petition in Court
---------------------------------------------------------
A Buenos Aires court is studying the request for reorganization
submitted by local company Bodegas Cuvillier S.A., says
Argentine daily Infobae.

The report adds that that the Company filed a petition to
reorganize after defaulting on its debt payments.


COMODEX S.A.: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims on May 15
------------------------------------------------------
Gustavo Pagliere -- the trustee appointed by the Buenos Aires
court for the Comodex S.A. bankruptcy case -- will stop
validating claims from the company's creditors on May 15, 2006,
Infobae reports.

Mr. Pagliere will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports on June 27, 2006.  The trustee will also
submit a general report on the case on Aug. 22, 2006.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Comodex S.A.
         Pasaje de la Conquista 1014
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Gustavo Pagliere
         Tucuman 1424
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


DIETA OPTIMA: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
-----------------------------------------------
Dieta Optima S.A. enters bankruptcy protection after a court
based in Buenos Aires ordered the company's liquidation.  The
order effectively transfers control of the company's assets to a
court-appointed trustee who will supervise the liquidation
proceedings.

Infobae did not disclose on its Web site the name of the trustee
assigned to the case as well as the deadlines of the
verification of claims and submission of the individual and
general reports.


DOLIN S.A.: Presenting Verified Claims in Court on May 2
--------------------------------------------------------
The verified claims of Dolin S.A.'s creditors will be presented
in court as individual reports on May 2, 2006, Infobae reports.

On May 14, 2006, a general report on the company's bankruptcy
case will be submitted in court.

The company started winding up operations after a court based in
Salta declared its bankruptcy and appointed accounting firm
Estudio Torfe y Martinez as trustee.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Dolin S.A.
         Tucuman 324
         Ciudad de Salta
         Salta, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Estudio Torfe y Martinez
         Vicente Lopez 425
         Ciudad de Salta
         Salta, Argentina


DYZENO S.A.: Claims Verification Deadline Is May 12
---------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims for the Dyzeno S.A.
bankruptcy case has begun, states Infobae.  Trustee Rafael
Rodolfo Bejar Sadis of Estudio Bejar, Pantin y Asociados will
stop verifying the claims on May 12, 2006.

Mr. Sadis will submit the validation results as individual
reports on June 27, 2006.  He will also present a general report
in court on Aug. 23, 2006.

Infobae states that a Buenos Aires court handles the company's
bankruptcy case.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Rafael Rodolfo Bejar Sadis
         Estudio Bejar, Pantin y Asociados
         Suipacha 211
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


FUNDACION EL DESCANSO: Seeks Reorganization Approval from Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
A Buenos Aires court is currently reviewing the merits of the
reorganization petition filed by Fundacion El Descanso de
Betania.  Infobae reports that the company filed the request
after defaulting on its debt payments.

The reorganization petition, if granted by the court, will allow
Fundacion El Descanso de Betania to negotiate a settlement with
its creditors in order to avoid a straight liquidation.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Fundacion El Descanso de Betania
         Diaz Colodrero 3161/65
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


GERMAIZ S.A.: Concludes Reorganization After Debt Pact Signed
-------------------------------------------------------------
The reorganization of Buenos Aires-based Germaiz S.A. has ended.
Data revealed by Infobae on its Web site indicated that the
process was concluded after the city's court homologated the
debt agreement signed between the Company and its creditors.


* ARGENTINA: Protesters Agree to End Roadblocks Along Border
------------------------------------------------------------
Argentinian ecologists protesting Uruguay's construction of two
paper mills along the border agreed to stop the roadblocks in
order for negotiations to continue, Prensa Latina reports.

Majority of the members of the Environmental Assembly in
Gualeguaychu agreed to end their 45-day protest for an
indefinite time.

As previously reported, Uruguay's President Tabare Vasquez
threatened to file suits against the protesters after it agreed
to a 90-day suspension of the US$1.6 billion construction by
Finnish company Metsa-Botnia Oy and Spanish firm Grupo
Empresarial Ence SA.

Uruguay sees the roadblocks as a serious violation of human
rights, as they prevent free movement of people.  Uruguay has
calculated that the action has caused about EUR170 million in
losses to the nation.

Argentine provincial and federal authorities and
environmentalist groups contends that the pulp mills with
theirchlorine 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.

                        *    *    *

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
=============


ESG REINSURANCE: Fitch Affirms & Withdraws CCC+ IFS Ratings
-----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings affirmed:

   -- ESG Reinsurance Bermuda Limited's,
   -- ESG Reinsurance Ireland Limited's, and
   -- European Specialty Ruckversicherung AG's
   -- the principal reinsurance subsidiaries of ESG Re Limited,
      Bermuda, Insurer Financial Strength ratings at CCC+.

The agency has simultaneously withdrawn the ratings.  Fitch will
no longer provide rating coverage of the company.


GLOBAL CROSSING: Strengthens Partnership with Limelight Networks
----------------------------------------------------------------
Global Crossing reported that it is bolstering its five-year
relationship with leading content delivery network Limelight
Networks.  The two companies have entered into a new agreement
which supports Limelight's global distributed delivery of rich
content, including video on demand, music downloads and
streaming media to audiences of any size.

"Our customers' global audience demands uninterrupted access to
a broad -- and growing -- range of digital media," said Nathan
Raciborski, chief technical officer of Limelight Networks.
"Global Crossing's extensive global reach, high capacity
backbone and advanced peering capabilities are key components of
our solution."

CDNs like Limelight Networks are playing a critical role in the
growth of the Internet, where new communities based on shared
interests and other non-geographical criteria are creating and
consuming massive amounts of on-demand online content.

"Our wholly owned network and global capabilities are ideally
suited to support Limelight Networks as they distribute
extremely large content that is frequently and simultaneously
accessed by global audiences," said Ted Higase, Global
Crossing's executive vice president, worldwide carrier services.
"We're focused on providing them with the unwavering quality of
service and reliability that supports their business execution."

An intelligently architected, high-capacity backbone that can
scale quickly to handle high volumes and peak audiences without
impacting performance quality is essential to the enjoyment of
rich content.  Global Crossing's wavelength service is a
flexible alternative to dark fiber and traditional capacity
services, providing bandwidth on demand, expanded market
coverage and increased speed-to-market cost effectively, while
eliminating unnecessary overhead and functional duplication
across the network.

Limelight Networks also utilizes Global Crossing's IP Transit
Service at its distributed facilities for rich content
transport.  IPT runs over Global Crossing's worldwide, self-
healing, Tier 1 IP network, utilizing more than 200 private
peering interconnects with capacity of nearly 200 Gbps for high-
performance, always-on, easily scalable, high-speed connectivity
to the Internet.

Global Crossing's uCommandr customer service portal, a unique
offering that delivers 24x7 self-service autonomy to customers,
enables Limelight Networks to order data services, monitor its
network, create utilization reports, establish end-user and
product accounts, and view monthly billing reports.

A recognized industry leader and innovator, Global Crossing
received Capacity's 2005 "Best Global Wholesale Provider" award
for its outstanding customer service, network availability and
suite of services.

In addition to consistently delivering 99.999-percent
availability -- the industry's highest standard -- over its
global IP backbone, Global Crossing recently made network
performance history when its multi-gigabit fiber optic network
supported the world record in international visualization, a
19.5-Gbps stream between Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and San
Diego, California, carrying a single application showing actual
scientific content.

                  About Limelight Networks

Privately held Limelight Networks -- http://www.llnw.com-- is a
content delivery network for Internet distribution of video,
music, games, and downloads.  Limelight's advanced content
delivery network provides the world's top media companies high-
performance delivery of media and software via the Internet.

                   About Global Crossing

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 Jan. 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 Dec. 31, 2005, Global Crossing's balance sheet reflects a
$173 million equity deficit compared to a $51 million of
positive equity at Dec. 31, 2004.


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


REPSOL YPF: Julio Gavito Resigns Over Oil Smuggling Controversy
---------------------------------------------------------------
Julio Gavito, Andina SA's vice president and Repsol YPF
Bolivia's director, resigned from his posts on Mar. 22, citing
personal reasons while vowing to clear the name of the oil and
gas company.

As previously reported, the Bolivian government accused the
Spanish-Argentine company of having smuggled crude valued at
US$9.22 million between 2004-2005 period.  The government added
document falsification and tax evasion to its charges against
the company.

Despite a formal response from Andina denying the charges, the
government issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Gavito.  That
warrant was cancelled after Spanish officials expressed concerns
over the matter.  However, a new arrest warrant was issued
against the company's Bolivian executives resulting to the
detention on Mar. 15 of Mr. Gavito and Pedro Sanchez -- Andina's
chief operating officer.  They were later released on bail.

"I have decided to take a step to the flank in my professional
race to dedicate part of my time to the defense of driving of
the company and of my collaborator, in the certainty that the
accusations are absolutely infundadas. I am convinced that,
beyond the vicissitudes that I have had to bear in this
laborious and unjust proceeding, the truth will come to the
light and our innocence will be able to be demonstrated," Mr.
Gavito said in a statement.

Repsol said in a statement that "it maintains the decision to
continue with all its operations in Bolivia, in a climate of
legal security and of clear and stable rules that they allow to
face the great power challenges that consider to harness the
economic and social development of the country."

Luis Garcia Sanchez has been named country manager of Repsol's
Bolivian operations.

                        *    *    *

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.


* BOLIVIA: Secures US$40 Million in Loans from CAF
--------------------------------------------------
The Andean Development Corporation -- CAF -- grants a total of
US$40 million in loans for Bolivia, that includes US$25 million
for a nationwide freeway and US$15 million to back a program to
deal with natural emergencies, El Universal reports.

Caracas-based CAF is the financing arm of the Andean community
and the largest multilateral lender to the Andean nations.

CAF present members include, in addition to Venezuela,
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile,
Ecuador, Spain, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and 16 private
banks in the Andean region.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Bolivia:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    B-       Jun. 17, 2004
   Long Term IDR      B-       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     B-       Dec. 14, 2005


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


BANCO DO BRASIL: Parana to Transfer Accounts from Banco Itau
------------------------------------------------------------
The Brazilian supreme court authorized the state of Parana to
transfer all of its accounts to federal banks Banco do Brasil
and Caixa Economica Federal aka CEF from Banco Itau, Business
News Americas reports.

Business News states that the Parana state government uses Banco
do Brasil accounts for the payment of all its employees.  CEF,
on the other hand, manages the accounts for the recipients of
state pension plan Paranaprevidencia.

Business News relates that Itau was Parana's sole financial
agent since the bank purchased former state bank Banestado in
2000.  Itau's exclusive rights was supposed to end on 2005,
according to the contract signed by the bank and the state, but
the bank negotiated a five-year extension with former governor
Jayme Lerner in 2002 for about BRL80 million.

However, Roberto Requiao, Parana's current governor, suspended
the contract in November 2005 and began transferring all
accounts to the federal banks, according to Business News.  The
governor reasoned that the constitution stipulates all
government accounts to be managed by federal banks.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 9, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'BB' currency
credit rating on Banco Itau S.A.

                        *    *    *

On Oct. 19, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Caixa
Economica Federal's long-term foreign currency deposit rating to
B1 from B2 with a positive outlook.

The action followed Moody's upgrade of Brazil's foreign currency
ceiling for deposits to B1, from B2, and the foreign currency
country ceiling for bonds and notes to Ba3, from B1. The country
ceilings have a positive outlook.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Mar. 3, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
raised its foreign currency counterparty credit ratings on Banco
do Brasil S.A. to 'BB' from 'BB-'.  The foreign and local
currency ratings of this bank are now equalized at 'BB'.  S&P
said the outlook is stable.


BANCO ITAU: Supreme Court Authorizes Parana to Transfer Accounts
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Brazilian supreme court authorized the state of Parana to
transfer all of its accounts in Banco Itau to federal banks
Banco do Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal aka CEF, Business
News Americas reports.

The Parana state government uses Banco do Brasil accounts for
the payment of all its employees, according to Business News.
CEF, on the other hand, manages the accounts for the recipients
of state pension plan Paranaprevidencia.

Business News relates that Itau was Parana's sole financial
agent since the bank purchased former state bank Banestado in
2000.  Itau's exclusive rights was supposed to end on 2005,
according to the contract signed by the bank and the state, but
the bank negotiated a five-year extension with former governor
Jayme Lerner in 2002 for about BRL80 million.

However, Roberto Requiao -- Parana's current governor --
suspended the contract in November 2005 and began transferring
all accounts to the federal banks, Business News states.  The
governor reasoned that the constitution stipulates all
government accounts to be managed by federal banks.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 9, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'BB' currency
credit rating on Banco Itau S.A.

                        *    *    *

On Oct. 19, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Caixa
Economica Federal's long-term foreign currency deposit rating to
B1 from B2 with a positive outlook.

The action followed Moody's upgrade of Brazil's foreign currency
ceiling for deposits to B1, from B2, and the foreign currency
country ceiling for bonds and notes to Ba3, from B1. The country
ceilings have a positive outlook.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Mar. 3, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
raised its foreign currency counterparty credit ratings on Banco
do Brasil S.A. to 'BB' from 'BB-'.  The foreign and local
currency ratings of this bank are now equalized at 'BB'.  S&P
said the outlook is stable.


BRASIL FERROVIAS: Bankruptcy Ruling Affects Railway Lines Sale
--------------------------------------------------------------
The bankruptcy ruling against Brasil Ferrovias and the company's
debt dispute with its creditor Scala may affect the sale of its
Ferronorte, Ferroban and Novoeste railway lines, Business News
Americas reports.

According to Business News, Scala claimed that Ferrovias failed
to pay a BRL5.6 million promissory note for four years, which
made the creditor file a bankruptcy case against the company
before a Sao Paulo court.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 15, 2006,
Judge Caio Marcelo Mendes de Oliveira made a ruling in favor of
Scala, declaring Ferrovias bankrupt.  A bankruptcy ruling will
paralyze the holding company's activities.

Local news service Agencia Estado relates that Guilherme Lacerda
-- Chief Executive of Funcef, the pension fund for Caixa
Economica's employees and co-owner of a 49% stake in Ferrovias -
was surprised at the court's decision.

"It's strange this should happen days before receiving bids to
buy the company," Mr. Lacerda told AE.  According to Business
News, America Latina Logistica, MRS Logistica, Bunge and
Copersucar are interested in the company's sale, which was
scheduled to begin on March 22, 2006.

Mr. Lacerda, who is sits on the Ferrovias board, also told the
news service that he had never heard of Scala.

Ferrovias denied receiving any bankruptcy notice from the court.
The company also denied the validity of its debt to Scala, which
expired in July last year, says Business News.  The company
reasoned that it never received the shares.

According to news service Valor Economico, Scala attorney Elias
Katudjian insisted that Ferrovias did received the shares.

Local press reported that Ferrovias made an appeal to the
judge's decision.  Business News reported earlier that the
company said

The company told Business News that an appeal on the bankruptcy
decree will be filed to the state justice tribunal once the it
receives official notice from the court.  The company has 10
days to file an appeal that could suspend bankruptcy and permit
the sale.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported that the company
almost lost its concession of Ferroban in January 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.


CEF: Court Authorizes Parana to Transfer Banco Itau's Accounts
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Brazilian supreme court authorized the state of Parana to
transfer all of its accounts to federal banks Caixa Economica
Federal aka CEF and Banco do Brasil from Banco Itau, Business
News Americas reports.

Business News states that the Parana state government uses Banco
do Brasil accounts for the payment of all its employees.  CEF,
on the other hand, manages the accounts for the recipients of
state pension plan Paranaprevidencia.

Business News relates that Itau was Parana's sole financial
agent since the bank purchased former state bank Banestado in
2000.  Itau's exclusive rights was supposed to end on 2005,
according to the contract signed by the bank and the state, but
the bank negotiated a five-year extension with former governor
Jayme Lerner in 2002 for about BRL80 million.

However, Roberto Requiao -- Parana's current governor --
suspended the contract in November 2005 and began transferring
all accounts to the federal banks, according to Business News.
The governor reasoned that the constitution stipulates all
government accounts to be managed by federal banks.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 9, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'BB' currency
credit rating on Banco Itau S.A.

                        *    *    *

On Oct. 19, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Caixa
Economica Federal's long-term foreign currency deposit rating to
B1 from B2 with a positive outlook.

The action followed Moody's upgrade of Brazil's foreign currency
ceiling for deposits to B1, from B2, and the foreign currency
country ceiling for bonds and notes to Ba3, from B1. The country
ceilings have a positive outlook.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Mar. 3, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
raised its foreign currency counterparty credit ratings on Banco
do Brasil S.A. to 'BB' from 'BB-'.  The foreign and local
currency ratings of this bank are now equalized at 'BB'.  S&P
said the outlook is stable.


CEMIG: Postpones April 12 Payment for Complementary Dividends
-------------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Energetica De Minas Gerais aka CEMIG postponed the
payment scheduled for April 12, 2006, for complementary
dividends relative to the difference on the interest on self-
owned capital, compensated with minimum mandatory divididend for
the 2004 fiscal year.  The Brazilian Securities Exchange
Commission aka CVM instructed the company to postpone the
BRL76,500,000 payment deliberated during the Board of Directors'
meeting that began on March 7, 2006, and ended on March 8, 2006.

There is no new date for the payment yet.  The payment will be
made on the date immediately after the CVM manifests itself
about the shareholder base.

Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais -- http://www.cemig.com.br/
-- is one of the largest and most important electric energy
utilities in Brazil due to its strategic location, its technical
expertise and its market.  CEMIG's concession area extends
throughout nearly 96.7% of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
CEMIG owns and operates 52 power plants, of which six are in
partnership with private enterprises, relying on a predominantly
hydroelectric energy matrix.  Electric energy is produced to
supply more than 17 million people living in the state's 774
municipalities.  In addition to those 52 plants, another three
are currently under construction.

CEMIG is also active in several other states, through ventures
for the generation or the commercialization of energy in these
Brazilian states: in Santa Catarina (generation), Rio de Janeiro
(commercialization and generation), Esp­rito Santo (generation)
and Rio Grande do Sul (commercialization).

                        *    *    *

Cemig's BRL312,500,000 12.7% debentures due Nov. 1, 2009, carry
Moody's B1 rating.


CST: Raises BRL650,000 from Scrap Metal Online Auction
------------------------------------------------------
Flat steel producer Companhia Siderurgica de Turbarao S.A. aka
CST raised about BRL650,000 from its online auction of 180t-
worth of copper and other scrap material, according to news
service AE-Setorial.

Business News Americas relates that the auction was hosted by
Superbid -- Brazil's surplus stock e-marketplace.

CST, aka Companhia Siderurgica de Turbarao SA, is part of
Brazilian steelmaking group Arcelor Brasil, a subsidiary of
Luxembourg-based steel company Arcelor.

                     *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 12, 2005,
Fitch Ratings has upgraded the foreign currency rating of
Brazilian steel producer Companhia Siderurgica de Tubarao (CST)
to 'BB' from 'BB-' and has assigned a rating of 'BB' to CST
Overseas.  Fitch has also affirmed CST's local currency rating
of 'BBB-' and the company's national scale rating of 'AA-'
(bra).  The Rating Outlook for all the above mentioned ratings
is Stable.


PETROLEO IPIRANGA: Gets Requisite Consents from Noteholders
-----------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Brasileira de Petroleo Ipiranga reported that it has
received the requisite consents from holders of its 7.875% Step-
Up Notes due 2008 (CUSIP Nos. 20440RAB2 and P3057NAA6) to adopt
amendments to the Notes and the fiscal agency agreement pursuant
to which the Notes were issued.  On March 8, 2006, Ipiranga
commenced a cash tender offer and consent solicitation relating
to all of the outstanding Notes pursuant to an Offer to Purchase
and Consent Solicitation Statement and a Consent and Letter of
Transmittal, each dated March 8, 2006.

As of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on March 22, 2006, US$72.1
million aggregate principal amount of the Notes had been
tendered (representing 53.9% of the US$133,715,000 aggregate
principal amount of Notes outstanding).

Ipiranga intends to enter into a supplemental fiscal agency
agreement relating to the Notes that effects the Proposed
Amendments described in the Offer to Purchase.  The proposed
amendments would, among other things, eliminate substantially
all of the restrictive covenants and certain events of default
contained in the Notes.  The Proposed Amendments will not become
operative, however, unless and until the Notes are accepted for
purchase pursuant to the terms of the Tender Offer.  Holders of
Notes not tendered in the Tender Offer will be bound by the
Proposed Amendments once they become operative.  As the
withdrawal rights deadline has expired, tendered Notes may no
longer be withdrawn and consents delivered may no longer be
revoked, except in the limited circumstances described in the
Offer to Purchase.

Ipiranga also announced the extension of the "Consent Payment
Deadline" from 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on March 22, 2006
to 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on March 28, 2006.  As a
result of the extension, holders will have until the new Consent
Payment Deadline to tender and receive the total consideration
offered to holders by Ipiranga, which includes the US$30 per
US$1,000 principal amount consent payment.

The Tender Offer is scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m., New York
City time, on April 11, 2006, unless extended or earlier
terminated.  The Tender Offer and Consent Solicitation are
subject to Ipiranga's arranging new debt financing and other
customary general conditions.

Banc of America Securities LLC is the exclusive dealer manager
for the Tender Offer and exclusive solicitation agent for the
Consent Solicitation and questions should be directed to:

            High Yield Special Products
            +(1)-888-292-0070 (U.S. toll-free)
            +(1)-704-388-9217 (collect)

Copies of the Offer to Purchase may be obtained from the
Information Agent:

            D.F. King & Co., Inc.
            +(1)-800-859-8511 (U.S. toll-free)
            +(1)-212-269-5550 (collect)

This press release does not constitute an offer to purchase or
the solicitation of an offer to sell or a solicitation of
consents with respect to the Notes.  The Tender Offer and
Consent Solicitation may only be made in accordance with the
terms of and subject to the conditions specified in the Offer to
Purchase, which more fully sets forth the terms and conditions
of the Tender Offer and Consent Solicitation.  Except as
modified, all other terms and conditions of the Tender Offer and
the Consent Solicitation remain the same.

Companhia Brasileira de Petroleo Ipiranga distributes diesel,
gasoline, hydrated alcohol, industrial and automotive
lubricating oils and greases, natural gas and other related
products and activities.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Feb. 28, 2006, Moody's Investors Service upgraded
to Ba3 from B1 the foreign currency rating of Companhia
Brasileira de Petroleo Ipiranga's outstanding US$134 million
step-up senior unsecured notes due 2008.  The outlook of the
notes rating was changed from positive to stable.  The Ba3
foreign currency rating of the notes is presently not
constrained by Brazil's sovereign ceiling.

The rating is supported by Ipiranga's position as the second
largest fuel distribution company in Brazil, and its
demonstrated ability to defend and expand its market share in
the Brazilian fuel distribution market while maintaining
acceptable operating margins.  In addition, the rating
incorporates the company's efficient logistics and strong brand
recognition, as well as the improved competitive environment for
the diesel and gasoline markets in Brazil.

At the same time, the rating is constrained by Ipiranga's
volatile working capital needs, its high dependence on
Petrobras' for fuel supply, the increased capex and dividends
distribution which have negatively impacted its free cash flow
generation, and by the fierce competition in the fast-growing
ethanol market.


VARIG S.A.: Signs Code-Share Agreement with Air China
------------------------------------------------------
After five years of negotiations, VARIG, S.A., and Air China
finally arrived at a code-sharing deal connecting Brazil and
China.

Pursuant to the code-share agreement, Air China will fly from
Beijing and Shanghai, in China, to Frankfurt, Germany, while
VARIG will fly from Frankfurt to Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil, VARIG said in a statement.

VARIG and Air China began the shared flights on March 12, 2006.

VARIG said it will offer two daily flights, at $5,100 in
executive class and $1,350 in economy.

The partnership with Air China is the first step in
strengthening VARIG's presence in Asia, according to VARIG.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, VARIG S.A. is Brazil's
largest air carrier and the largest air carrier in Latin
America.  VARIG's principal business is the transportation of
passengers and cargo by air on domestic routes within Brazil and
on international routes between Brazil and North and South
America, Europe and Asia.  VARIG carries approximately 13
million passengers annually and employs approximately 11,456
full-time employees, of which approximately 133 are employed in
the United States.

The Company, along with two affiliates, filed for a judicial
reorganization proceeding under the New Bankruptcy and
Restructuring Law of Brazil on June 17, 2005, due to a
competitive landscape, high fuel costs, cash flow deficit, and
high operating leverage.  The Debtors may be the first case
under the new law, which took effect on June 9, 2005.  Similar
to a chapter 11 debtor-in-possession under the U.S. Bankruptcy
Code, the Debtors remain in possession and control of their
estate pending the Judicial Reorganization.  Sergio Bermudes,
Esq., at Escritorio de Advocacia Sergio Bermudes, represents the
carrier in Brazil.

Each of the Debtors' Boards of Directors authorized Vicente
Cervo as foreign representative.  In this capacity, Mr. Cervo
filed a Sec. 304 petition on June 17, 2005 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Case
Nos. 05-14400 and 05-14402).  Rick B. Antonoff, Esq., at
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP represents Mr. Cervo in the
United States.  As of March 31, 2005, the Debtors reported
BRL2,979,309,000 in total assets and BRL9,474,930,000 in total
debts. (VARIG Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 16; Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


* BRAZIL: Receiving US$39.5 Mil. Urban Dev't Financing from CAF
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Andean Development Corporation -- CAF -- will grant Brazil
loans for:

     -- US$21.5 million for a program on road development and
     -- US$18 million for a program on management of drainage
        and urban development.

Caracas-based CAF is the financing arm of the Andean community
and the largest multilateral lender to the Andean nations.

CAF present members include, in addition to Venezuela,
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile,
Ecuador, Spain, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and 16 private
banks in the Andean region.

                        *    *    *

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


ESPERANCE LIMITED: Sets April 6 Deadline for Filing of Claims
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Esperance Limited are required to submit
particulars of their debts or claims on or before April 6, to
Buchanan Limited, the company's appointed liquidator.   Failure
to do so will exclude them from receiving the benefit of any
distribution that the company will make.

Esperance Limited started liquidating assets on February 23,
2006.

The liquidator can be reached at:

         Francine Jennings
         Buchanan Limited
         P.O. Box 1170 George Town
         Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
         Telephone: (345) 949-0355
         Facsimile: (345) 949-0360


EVANSTON LIMITED: Deadline for Claims Filing Is on April 6
----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Evanston Limited, which is being voluntarily wound
up, are required to present proofs of claim on or before April
6, 2006, to Buchanan Limited, the company's liquidators.

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.

Evanston Limited started liquidating assets on Feb. 23, 2006.

The liquidator can be reached at:

            Francine Jennings
            Buchanan Limited
            P.O. Box 1170 George Town
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
            Telephone: (345) 949-0355
            Facsimile: (345) 949-0360


GHK FIRST: Liquidator Stops Accepting Claims by April 18
--------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of GHK First Equity Fund Ltd. are required to submit
particulars of their debts or claims on or before April 18,
2006, to the company's appointed liquidator -- CFS Liquidators
Ltd.   Failure to do so will exclude them from receiving the
benefit of any distribution that the company will make.

GHK First Equity Fund Ltd. started liquidating assets on
February 3, 2005.

The liquidator can be reached at:

            M David Makin
            CFS Liquidators Ltd.
            c/o Windward 1, Regatta Office Park
            West Bay Road, P.O. Box 31106 SMB
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
            Telephone: (345) 949 - 3977
            Facsimile: (345) 949 - 3877


HYPER FUNDING: Stops Accepting Proofs of Claim
----------------------------------------------
The filing of creditors' proofs of claim against Hyper Funding
Corporation -- company under voluntary liquidation -- ended on
March 17, 2006.  Creditors with unverified claims will not
receive the benefit in the company's distribution.

Hyper Funding Corporation entered voluntary wind up on Feb. 13,
2006.  John Cullinane and Derrie Boggess were appointed as
liquidators.

The liquidators can be reached at:

            John Cullinane
            Derrie Boggess
            c/o Walkers SPV Limited, Walker House
            P.O. Box 908, George Town
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
            Telephone: (345) 914-6305


I-SECURITY SOLUTIONS: Stops Accepting Proofs of Claim
-----------------------------------------------------
Ying Hing Chiu and Diana Chung Miu Yin -- liquidators of I-
Security Solutions (Cayman Islands) Limited -- verified proofs
of claim against the company until March 20, 2006.  Creditors
who were not able to present claims by the said date will not be
included in the benefit of receiving any distribution from the
company.

I-Security Solutions (Cayman Islands) Limited started
liquidating assets on Feb. 8, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

            Attention: Connie Pang
            Ying Hing Chiu
            Diana Chung Miu Yin
            Tricor Services Limited
            Level 28, Three Pacific Place
            1 Queen's Road East, Hong Kong
            Telephone: (852) 2980 1994
            Facsimile: (852) 2882 6700


I-SECURITY SOLUTIONS (HOLDINGS): Stops Accepting Proofs of Claim
----------------------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims against I-Security
Solutions (Holdings) Limited ended on March 20, 2006.  Creditors
whose claims have not been verified will be disqualified from
receiving any distribution that the company will make.

I-Security Solutions (Holdings) Limited entered voluntary
liquidation on Feb. 8, 2006.  Ying Hing Chiu and Diana
Chung Miu Yin were appointed as liquidators.

The liquidators can be reached at:

           Connie Pang
           Ying Hing Chiu
           Diana Chung Miu Yin
           Telephone: (852) 2980 1994
           Facsimile: (852) 2882 6700


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


COLOMBIA TELECOMUNICACIONES: Auctioning Stake on April 7
--------------------------------------------------------
The auction of a controlling stake in state-run telco Colombia
Telecomunicaciones aka Telecom will be held on April 7, 2006,
Cablecentro -- one of the potential bidders -- revealed to Dow
Jones Newswires on Tuesday.

The minimum bidding price for the stake will be published on
March 31, 2006, Gina Paola Achuri -- Cablecentro's executive
director -- told Dow Jones.

According to Dow Jones, Achuri remarked that the schedule to
comply with all requirements is too tight.

However, Ximena Celis, press officer at the Communications
Ministry, informed Dow Jones that there was no formal
announcement on official dates yet.

German Centeno, Telecom's press officer, had declined to confirm
the dates to Dow Jones, saying that Telecom will make an
announcement of the sale conditions this Friday.

According to Dow Jones, the government will grant a stake of 50%
plus one share in Telecom to the winning bidder, who will also
have to assume COP7.58 trillion in debt -- mainly in pension
liabilities.

Telecom's chief executive -- Alfonso Gomez -- said the
government expects to raise at least $350 million in the sale,
Dow Jones relates.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 22, 2006,
Cablecentro teamed up with Swedish telecoms services firm
Swedtel.  The two companies will bid as a consortium.

Achuri, according to Dow Jones, said that Cablecentro has also
hired three investment banks -- one in Europe and two in US.

"We will choose one investment bank that offers the best
financing conditions, " Achuri said to Dow Jones.

Dow Jones did not report the name of the banks involved.

What makes Telecom attractive in spite of its liabilities is its
presence in 990 municipalities and its 5,000 points of service,
Telecom president Alfonso Gomez Palacios told Business News
Americas.

Other potential bidders are Telefonica S.A., CA Nacional
Telefonos de Venezuela, Telefonos de Mexico S.A. and Phone 1,
Dow Jones reports.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported on March 22, 2006,
that municipal telcos Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota
S.A. aka ETB and Empresas Publicas de Medellin S.A. aka EPM
backed out of the auction, claiming discriminatory bidding
conditions.

According to Business News Americas, among the conditions ETB
president Rafael Orduz considered discriminatory is the
requirement that no monies belonging to the Colombian people may
be used in the partnership.  ETB, which could only finance a
strategic partnership with the state telco through currently
held assets, would be forced to take out a loan.

Business News reports that the tender also requires the winning
company to surrender its Internet and data unit to Telecom,
which Orduz found absurd.  Mr. Ordiz said that with this
condition, ETB would lose one of its more important units.

Business News relates that Telmex made an offer in 2005 for the
50% plus one share of Telecom.  The company was willing to pay
about US$350 million, but the Colombian government backed out of
the deal to embark on a broader bidding process.

Achuri told Business News that the sale process has been overly
favorable for Telmex, which has had access to Telecom's key
information since August 2005.

According to Dow Jones, Former central bank board member and
director of think-tank National Association of Financial
Institutions, Sergio Clavijo, said that the company needs a
foreign partner to exit from its precarious financial condition.
Colombia Telecomunicaciones is facing a COP5 trillion of
pension liability.

"Neither the company nor the government have a financial muscle
needed to keep investing in this company," Mr. Clavijo told Dow
Jones.


TELEMAR: Will Not Bid for Colombia Movil
----------------------------------------
Brazil's Tele Norte Leste Participacoes aka Telemar said in
reports that it's not keen on buying Colombia Movil, the third-
largest mobile phone operator in Colombia.

"This would not be an exceptionally good business opportunity
for the company," Telemar president Ronaldo Iabrudi was reported
as saying.

Other than Telemar, OLA also invited:

      -- Mexico's America Movil,
      -- Spain's Telefonica,
      -- Venezuela's CANTV,
      -- Chile's Entel,
      -- Millicom International Cellular and
      -- South Korea's SK Telecom.

Telemar rejected the invitation because it's interested in
establishing its position in Brazil before spreading out into
foreign markets.

Colombia Movil is owned by Empresas de Telecomunicaciones de
Bogota and Empresas Publicas de Medellin and operates under the
OLA brand name with more than two million subscribers.

Telemar provides telecommunication services in South America.
It offers local, intra-regional long distance, and data
transmission services in 16 Brazilian states, which covers
approximately 64% of the country.  Mobile services are provided
through its wireless unit Oi, and it has acquired data
transmission services provider Pegasus.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Mar. 2, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
said it placed the 'BB' ratings of Telemar Norte Leste S.A. on
CreditWatch with positive implications following the raising of
the foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on
Brazil.


* COLOMBIA: Obtains US$50MM Unsecured Revolving Credit from CAF
---------------------------------------------------------------
Colombia will receive from the Andean Development Corporation,
CAF, up to US$50 million in unsecured revolving borrowing
facility on behalf of financial institution BBVA Colombia.

"The destination of which will be for funding of external trade
operations, working capital and investment projects, as well as
issuance and confirmation of letters of credit," CAF said in a
statement.

Caracas-based CAF is the financing arm of the Andean community
and the largest multilateral lender to the Andean nations.

CAF present members include, in addition to Venezuela,
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile,
Ecuador, Spain, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and 16 private
banks in the Andean region.

                        *    *    *

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.


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


BANCO POPULAR: Internet Banking Transactions Reach US$492 Mil.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Republic bank Banco Popular's Internet banking
transactions have reached US$492 million since its launching
three years ago, according to local daily Listin Diario.

Alejandro Santelises -- the bank's branches and personal
business vice president -- told Business News Americas that
Internet banking has been attractive for loan request procedures
in house and car purchases.

Internet banking speeds up the response process to let the
client know whether or not the request has been granted, Mr.
Santelises said to Business News.  It has also facilitated
business relations between the bank and real estate agents,
importers and vehicle distributors.

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 4, 2005,
Moody's Investors Service withdrew all of its ratings for Banco
Popular Dominicano, C. por A., for business reasons.

The bank has no rated foreign currency debt outstanding.

Banco Popular Dominicano, C. por A., one of the largest banks in
the Dominican Republic, had over $2.4 billion in assets as of
September 30, 2004.

The following ratings were withdrawn:

  -- Bank Financial Strength Rating: E+ with stable outlook;

  -- Foreign Currency Deposits Rating: Caa1/Not Prime with
     negative outlook; and

  -- Domestic Currency Deposits Rating: Ba1/Not Prime, with
     negative outlook.


FALCONBRIDGE LTD: Redeeming US$500 Mil. of Jr. Preference Shares
----------------------------------------------------------------
Falconbridge Limited disclosed that it intends to redeem a total
of 20,000,000, or US$500 million, of its outstanding Junior
Preference Shares.  The Junior Preference Shares will be
redeemed on April 26, 2006 from holders of record on March 22,
2006.  Falconbridge intends to utilize its internal cash
resources to fund the redemption.

In accordance with the terms of the Junior Preference Shares,
Falconbridge will redeem shares of each series of the Junior
Preference Shares on a pro rata basis as follows: 8,000,000
Junior Preference Shares, Series 1 (approximately 67% of shares
outstanding, TSX: NRD.PR.X), 8,000,000 Junior Preference Shares,
Series 2 (approximately 67% of shares outstanding, TSX:
NRD.PR.Y), and 4,000,000 Junior Preference Shares, Series 3
(approximately 67% of shares outstanding, TSX: NRD.PR.Z).

The number of shares to be redeemed from each holder within each
series of Junior Preference Shares will also be determined on a
pro rata basis.  Each Junior Preference Share will be redeemed
at a price of US$25.25 plus accrued and unpaid dividends for the
period from and including March 31, 2006 to and including
April 25, 2006.

After giving effect to the redemption of the 20,000,000 Junior
Preference Shares, the company will have outstanding 3,999,899
Junior Preference Shares, Series 1, 3,999,899 Junior Preference
Shares, Series 2, and 1,999,903 Junior Preference Shares,
Series 3.

                     About Falconbridge

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Falconbridge Limited --
http://www.falconbridge.com/-- is a leading copper and nickel
company with investments in fully integrated zinc and aluminum
assets.  Its primary focus is the identification and development
of world-class copper and nickel mining deposits.  It employs
14,500 people at its operations and offices in 18 countries.
Falconbridge's common shares are listed on the New York Stock
Exchange (FAL) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (FAL.LV).

Falconbridge's 5% Adjustable Rate Convertible Subordinated
Debentures carry Standard & Poor's BB+ rating.


* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Cyberpark & Telvent Ink Collaboration Pact
----------------------------------------------------------------
Telvent GIT S.A signed a collaboration agreement on Tuesday with
Cyberpark of Santo Domingo, a technology center created by the
Dominican Republic government.  The purpose of the agreement is
to develop and promote information technology in the traffic,
transport, health, public administration and document security
sectors in Latin America.

Telvent and the Santo Domingo Cyberpark will work together to
identify, exchange information and jointly participate in new
and highly innovative projects related to information technology
in these strategic sectors.  Furthermore, the creation of
centers of excellence in the health and public administration
sectors will be promoted in order to generate high value
employment and exports.

The Cyberpark is the first industrial complex dedicated to
developing information technology in the Dominican Republic.
The signing of this agreement will make this center a reference
point for technology companies in Latin America.

Eddy Martinez, executive director of the Dominican Republic's
Center for Exports and Investment and executive chairman of the
Santo Domingo Cyberpark, said, "The Dominican government is
pleased to see that the development of this activity and the
support of Telvent for our market have finally been consolidated
in this agreement.  It will contribute to making our business
project a success by maximizing the development of R&D+i
projects in our region, and by extension, in the remaining
countries in Latin America through the promotion of centers of
technology excellence."

According to Telvent's chairman and chief executive officer,
Manuel Sanchez Ortega, "We are very satisfied with this
agreement signed with the Dominican Republic which not only
strengthens and consolidates our presence in Latin America but
confirms our ongoing commitment to R&D+i activities in the
information technology sector in a region in which we have been
working for more than 15 years and which is one of the most
important strategic markets that we operate in today."

The signing ceremony took place on Tuesday at Telvent's
Headquarters in Madrid and was overseen by Leonel Fernandez
Reyna, President of the Dominican Republic; Alejandro Gonzalez
Pons, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Spain; Eddy
Martinez Manzueta, Secretary of State and Executive Chairman of
the Santo Domingo Cyberpark; and Manuel Sanchez Ortega, Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer of Telvent.

Telvent has been present in Latin America since the 1990s and
has permanent offices in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.  Its most
notable projects carried out in this region recently include the
contract signed in Venezuela to modernize the Caracas-Valle del
Tuy railway network, in the traffic sector; the project to
manage the Belo Horizonte water network in Brazil in the
environmental sector and projects to manage oil pipelines with
PEMEX, the Mexican oil company, in the energy sector.

Telvent, the Global RealTime IT Company, specializes in high
value add solutions and services in four industry sectors
(Energy, Traffic, Transport and Environment).  Its technology
allows high performing companies to make real-time business
decisions using data acquisition, control, and advanced
operational applications, providing secure actionable
information delivery to the enterprise.

                       *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on Aug. 1, 2005, Fitch
Ratings upgraded on July 26 Dominican Republic's sovereign
external bonds that were eligible for April's debt exchange but
were not fully extinguished to 'CCC+' from 'DDD'.  This rating
action reflects the government's commitment to service this debt
as demonstrated by the recent coupon payment on 2013 bond.  This
rating applies to the 9.50% bonds due 2006 (US$) and the 9.04%
bonds due 2013.


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


* ECUADOR: CAF Lends US$293 Million for Development Projects
------------------------------------------------------------
The Andean Development Corporation -- CAF -- will grant Ecuador
a total of US$293 million in loans.

Caracas-based CAF, the financing arm of the Andean community and
the largest multilateral lender to the Andean nations, will
release the loans in two tranches.  The first loan amount for
US$250 million, will go to the Program for Enhancement of Debt
Management and quality of public expense, El Universal relates.

The second lending phase for Ecuador accounts for US$43 million
to be used for infrastructure works.  "Its major goals are to
facilitate and clear traffic in the areas of Guayaquil, La
Puntilla and Duran," CAF stated in a press release, as quoted by
Reuters.

Caracas-based CAF is the financing arm of the Andean community
and the largest multilateral lender to the Andean nations.

CAF present members include, in addition to Venezuela,
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile,
Ecuador, Spain, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and 16 private
banks in the Andean region.

                        *    *    *

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


=====================
E L   S A L V A D O R
=====================


* EL SALVADOR: Leftist Mayors Ink Oil Agreement with Venezuela
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Intermunicipal Energy Association for El Salvador -- Enepasa
-- formed by mayors belonging to the Farabundo Martˇ National
Liberation Front, inked an agreement with Venezuela to purchase
oil under preferential terms, El Universal reports.

The pact was signed at the presidential palace of Miraflores and
shipments are to begin "as soon as possible," El Salvador quoted
Violeta Menjivar, who is to be inaugurated as San Salvador mayor
on May 1.

Operations are to be conducted through Venezuelan state-run oil
corporation PDV-Caribe, the Associated Press reported.

Under the agreement, Enepasa will pay 60% of oil supplied within
90 days, while paying for the rest in 23 years, with a fixed
annual interest rate of one percent, plus a two-year grace
period, news agency EFE reported.

President Hugo Chavez conceded he reached the agreement with
Enepasa because he was unable to negotiate with his Salvadoran
counterpart Elˇas Antonio Saca's government.  President Saca
urged the FMLN not to try to generate among Salvadorans "false
hopes" about the possibility to find cheap oil in Venezuela, El
Universal relates.

President Saca said in reports that oil imports requires major
storage and processing facilities.  "This implies we need a
refinery that may cost some US$3-5 billion."

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on El Salvador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB+      Jun. 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.


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


AIR JAMAICA: CEO Says Airline Should Exploit Region's Potential
---------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Conway, Air Jamaica's chief executive officer, said that
the airline should take advantage of its geographical position.
Mr. Conway was qouted by the Jamaica Observer as saying during
the Pan Caribbean Financial Services' Economic Seminar Breakfast
which took place at the Terra Nova hotel in St. Andrew last
week.

"The entire region is growing and Air Jamaica should grow with
it. Jamaica is ideally suited to be a transit point for carriers
going from South and Latin America to North America. Rather than
stop off in Miami they can stop off in Jamaica en route to their
final destinations. Passengers are likely to find Jamaica less
congested. Also Air Jamaica provides flights to North America
which means that it can only benefit from these new routes," Mr.
Conway said.

Being aware of Spanish and Latin American visitors embracing the
Riu chain of hotels, the chief officer wants Air Jamaica to look
into new routes while keeping in compliance with bilateral
treaties.

"We want a scenario whereby we get passengers stopping over in
Jamaica and also in transit to their ultimate destination.
Rather than go north to arrive at south, Jamaica can reposition
itself as a "country" hub seeing greater passenger through
numbers."

"Air Jamaica's true franchise factor is the loyalty it inspires
from Jamaicans both at home and in the diaspora. Over recent
years that loyalty has been tested because of its on time record
and so it lost passengers. Today our on time record performance
now ranks with the best in the industry."

We are looking to simplify that and make the process easy and
get more people flying within the island rather than sitting in
their cars for up to four hours."

Air Jamaica is under investigation by a congressional panel that
will examine the financial and operational state of the airline
which allegedly incurred losses of US$136 million since the
government resumed control of the airline in December 2004.  Air
Jamaica lost US$99 million (J$6.25 billion) in 2004.

                        *    *    *

Air Jamaica's $200 million 9-3/8% notes due July 18, 2015,
carries Moody's B1 rating and Standard & Poor's B rating.


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


AOL LATIN: Has Until May 20 to Solicit Plan Acceptances
-------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware further
extended until May 20, 2006, America Online Latin America Inc.,
and its debtor-affiliates' time to solicit acceptances of their
Joint Plan of Reorganization and Liquidation from their
creditors.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Mar. 6, 2006,
the Court approved the Debtors' Disclosure Statement explaining
their Joint Plan of Reorganization and Liquidation.

The Debtors give the Court three reasons why an extension of
their solicitation period is warranted:

   a) it will allow the Debtors to complete the Plan
      solicitation process in a reasoned and well-balanced
      manner without being potentially distracted by alternative
      plans of reorganization being filed and solicited by other
      parties-in-interest;

   b) the requested extension will not harm Debtors' creditors
      but it will maximize value of their estates and it's in
      the best interest of the Debtors' estates, their creditors
      and other parties-in-interest; and

   c) the principal stockholders of the Debtors have consented
      to the request for an extension of the exclusive
      solicitation period.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, America Online Latin
America, Inc. -- http://www.aola.com/-- offers AOL-branded
Internet service in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Puerto Rico,
as well as localized content and online shopping over its
proprietary network.  Principal shareholders in AOLA are
Cisneros Group, one of Latin America's largest media firms,
Brazil's Banco Itau, and Time Warner, through America Online.
The Company and its debtor-affiliates filed for Chapter 11
protection on June 24, 2005 (Bankr. D. Del. Case No. 05-11778).
Pauline K. Morgan, Esq., and Edmon L. Morton, Esq., at Young
Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP and Douglas P. Bartner, Esq., at
Shearman & Sterling LLP represent the Debtors in their
restructuring efforts.  When the Debtors filed for protection
from their creditors, they listed total assets of $28,500,000
and total debts of $181,774,000.


===========
P A N A M A
===========


GRUPO BANISTMO: HSBC Close to Reaching Acquisition Deal
-------------------------------------------------------
UK bank HSBC may reach a deal on the acquisition of Panama-based
Grupo Banistmo as early as this week, Salvadorian daily El
Diario de Hoy reports.

According to El Diario, talks between the two companies are now
at an advanced stage.

Sources close to the negotiations revealed that HSBC would pay
up to three times Banistmo's book value, which is currently
about US$20 per share, El Diario relates.

                        *    *    *

As previously reported Nov. 9, 2005, Moody's Investors Service
affirmed the D+ financial strength rating and Ba1 foreign
currency deposit rating of Primer Banco del Istmo, S.A.  The
affirmation follows the announcement that Banistmo's
shareholder, Grupo Banistmo, S.A., has agreed to purchase
between 51% and 60% of Inversiones Financieras Bancosal S.A.,
the owner of Banco Salvadoreno, El Salvador's third largest
bank.


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


* PARAGUAY: Vice President Promotes Country in Visit to Florida
---------------------------------------------------------------
Paraguay's vice president, Luis A. Castiglioni, promoted his
country during a visit earlier this week in Florida, USA.

Mr. Castiglioni highlighted Paraguay's strategic location in the
Mercosur region for Florida businesses to develop their Latin
American business operations and investments.

"Paraguay has had an historic and special relationship with
Florida, and we are confident that this mission will lead to an
expansion in the trade and investment ties between our country
and this great state," Vice President Castiglioni said.  He also
emphasized the great importance of this mission for his country,
pointing out that Florida is the top-trading partner of nearly
every country in the hemisphere and Paraguay and Florida will
mutually benefit from increased business ties.

Paraguay's visit to Florida serves as a precursor to a trip that
Florida FTAA will lead to Paraguay in July to further discuss
Florida-Paraguay trade relations and promote Miami as the site
for the Permanent Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the
Americas.

"We are very optimistic following this meeting that the
relationship between Florida and Paraguay continues to
strengthen," said Florida FTAA President, Jorge L. Arrizurieta.

"Meetings with key leaders like Vice President Castiglioni
continue to serve as major stepping stones toward securing the
Permanent Secretariat in Miami.  We are optimistic about the
possibility of future support from Paraguay in our efforts, and
we trust to make progress on this front when Florida FTAA leads
a delegation there in July."

Paraguay is Florida's thirty-first largest trading partner, with
a bilateral relationship of more than $572 million dollars in
2004, a 26.7% increase from the previous year.  Last year alone,
merchandise exports to Paraguay from Florida increased by 40%,
making the country Florida's nineteenth largest export
destination.

The Free Trade Area of the Americas -- FTAA, currently being
negotiated by 34 democratically elected Western Hemisphere
nations, is intended to be the most far-reaching trade agreement
in history.  It is an effort to unite the economies of the
Western Hemisphere into a single free trade agreement comprising
800 million consumers with a combined gross domestic product of
$14 trillion.

Florida FTAA, Inc., is a private-public entity led by Governor
Jeb Bush and officials throughout the State of Florida with the
mission that Miami, Florida, becomes the site of the Permanent
Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.  It is
chaired by Ambassador Charles E. Cobb, Jr. and managed by
President Jorge L. Arrizurieta.  The administrative offices are
located at the Biltmore Hotel Conference Center of the Americas
in Coral Gables, Florida.

                        *    *    *

Moody's assigns these ratings to Paraguay:

     -- CC LT Foreign Bank Deposit, Caa2
     -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt, Caa1
     -- CC ST Foreign Bank Deposit, NP
     -- CC ST Foreign Currency Debt, NP
     -- LC Currency Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- FC Curr Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- Local Currency LT Debt, WR

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's assigns these ratings to Paraguay:

     -- Foreign Currency LT Debt B-
     -- Local Currency LT Debt   B-
     -- Foreign Currency ST Debt C
     -- Local Currency ST Debt   C


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


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Uriarte Wants Stay Lifted to Complete Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Gene J. Stonebarger, Esq., at Lindsay & Stonebarger, in
Sacramento, California, relates that on Feb. 2, 2005, Marisa
Uriarte, individually, and on behalf of a class of California
residents, initiated a state court litigation against Musicland
Group, Inc., alleging violations of Section 432.8 of the
California Labor Code.

Section 432.8 protects the rights of an applicant for employment
or an employee from disclosing information about a conviction
related to the possession of marijuana where the conviction is
more over two years old.

After months of litigation, the parties to the Action entered
into a stipulation and agreement to settle class action on Dec.
14, 2005.

Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang of the Sacramento County Superior
Court issued an order conditionally granting the joint motion
for preliminary approval on Jan. 18, 2006 -- the same day that
the Debtors filed a notification of bankruptcy filing and
suggestion of stay.

Pursuant to the Class Action Settlement, the parties agreed to
conditionally certify a Class to be comprised of all applicants
to Suncoast Motion Picture Company's California stores who
submitted a pre-employment job application between Feb. 3, 2004,
and Sept. 30, 2005, that included a question about prior
criminal convictions without exclusion for Marijuana-Related
Convictions.

Suncoast Motion Picture Company agreed to provide to each class
member who submits a timely claim form a settlement voucher for
$30 for use at any Suncoast store, with an expiration date of
120 days after the date it is mailed to the class member.

In addition, the parties agreed that the Debtors would pay Ms.
Uriarte $1,000, for attorney's fees and costs, not to exceed
$45,000, and that Defendants other than Suncoast Motion Picture
Company would be released from any liability as to the Action.

Ms. Uriarte asks the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of New York to lift the automatic stay so as to
finalize Court approval of the Class Action Settlement and allow
the Action to be brought to completion.

Mr. Stonebarger asserts that allowing a matter to proceed in
another forum can constitute a cause for lifting the automatic
stay.  It would be a waste of judicial and legal resources for
the Action to be reinstituted in the Bankruptcy Court, he says.

In addition, Mr. Stonebarger notes, the Action only involves
issues of state law and California law must be applied in
approving the Class Action Settlement.

Mr. Stonebarger adds that granting relief from the automatic
stay to allow the Action to conclude would not prejudice the
Debtors' estate and would actually promote the efficient
administration of the estate, as the claims made through the
Action can be disposed of with prejudice if the stay is lifted.

                  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)


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


DIGICEL: Alleges Smear Campaign from Unnamed Sector
---------------------------------------------------
Digicel Ltd. said that it had observed a "malicious and
concerted" public campaign designed to cast the company in a
poor light, according to a report from the Trinidad Guardian.

The company is concerned that the "smear campaign could
prejudice and may have been intended to prejudice the outcome of
dispute proceedings currently under way with respect to
interconnection."

The statement from Digicel did not indicate who was behind the
smear campaign.  But it did state "categorically" that the
company will not be responsible for as much as a one cent
increase in any services-landline or mobile-currently being
offered in T&T, the Guardian says.

Digicel also said in its statement that it stood by its track
record of bringing lower prices to Caribbean countries and
predicted that the experience in this country will be the same.

Digicel is currently negotiating an interconnection agreement
with the Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago.  In
January, the company said it is losing millions as a result of
the interconnection delay.  It was first hoping for
interconnection to be achieved by November 30, 2005.

TSTT has maintained that all interconnection equipment should be
installed by March 31, 2006, in keeping with the schedule given
to the company by Nortel

Digicel Limited is a wireless services provider in the Caribbean
region founded in 2000, and controlled by Denis O'Brien.  The
company started operations in Jamaica in April 2001 and now
offers GSM mobile services in 13 countries of the Caribbean
including Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Aruba, Grenada,
Barbados, Cayman, and Curacao among others.  Digicel finished
FY2005 with 1.722 million total subscribers -- 97% pre-paid --
estimated market share of 67% and revenues and EBITDA of US$478
million and US$155 million, respectively.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Mar. 10, 2006, Fitch affirmed the 'B' rating of
Digicel Limited, senior unsecured debt, including the US$300
million senior notes due 2012, following the announcement that
it is in the process of acquiring Bouygues Telecom Caraibe.
Fitch said the Outlook for the Ratings is Stable.

Based on the terms of the agreement, the acquisition is expected
to be entirely funded with additional senior debt and will
moderately increase leverage and subordination to the senior
note holders.  Better than expected operating cash flow and
EBITDA performance during the fiscal year, support the
incremental debt leverage, which should remain consistent with
the current rating category.  Any material changes to terms of
the acquisition could affect that rating level.

Fitch continues to expect improvements in financial leverage
over the next few years, although any additional future
acquisitions funded with debt could weaken the company's credit
quality.

The acquisition of BTC will improve the geographic
diversification, its revenue base, and moderately increase
operating EBITDA.  Proforma to the acquisition, Digicel's fiscal
year 2007 aka FY2007 hard currency revenue mix is also expected
to increase.


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


* URUGUAY: Argentine Protesters Agree to End Roadblocks
-------------------------------------------------------
Argentinian ecologists protesting Uruguay's construction of two
paper mills along the border agreed to stop the roadblocks in
order for negotiations to continue, Prensa Latina reports.

Majority of the members of the Environmental Assembly in
Gualeguaychu agreed to end their 45-day protest for indefinite
time.

As previously reported, Uruguay's President Tabare Vasquez
threatened to file suits against the protesters after it agreed
to a 90-day suspension of the US$1.6 billion construction by
Finnish company Metsa-Botnia Oy and Spanish firm Grupo
Empresarial Ence SA.

Uruguay sees the road blocks as a serious violation of human
rights, as they prevent free movement of people.  Uruguay has
calculated that the action has caused about EUR 170 million in
losses to the nation.

Argentine provincial and federal authorities and
environmentalist groups state that the pulp mills with
theirchlorine 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.

                        *    *    *

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
=================


BANESCO: Expects Agriculture Sector Loans to Reach VEB40 Billion
----------------------------------------------------------------
Venezuela's Banco Universal aka Banesco expects loans for the
agriculture sector to reach about VEB40 billion this year,
according to local daily El Carabobeno reports.

Luis Granadillo -- agrifinance division regional manager -- told
El Carabobeno that the loans will be used to finance cattle
farming, infrastructures and logging.

Mr. Granadillo, according to Business News Americas, revealed
that there are two credit lines of VEB100 million to purchase
new farm machinery.  Banesco will finance 75% with loan
maturities of up to four years.

Banco Universal aka Banesco offers a wide range of commercial,
consumer, mortgage, micro and agrifinancing.  It is one of the
largest banks in Venezuela, with about 2.5 million clients.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on May 19, 2005,
International rating agency Fitch affirmed the international
debt ratings of Venezuelan bank Banesco Banco Universal and
revised the Outlook to Negative from Stable.  The ratings
affirmed are:

    -- Long-term foreign currency at 'B'
    -- Short-term foreign currency at 'B'
    -- Individual affirmed at 'D'
    -- Support affirmed at '5'
    -- Long-term national rating at 'A-(ven)'
    -- Short-term national rating at 'F2(ven)'


PDVSA: Explosion at Amuay Refinery Kills Two Workers
----------------------------------------------------
An explosion at the Amuay oil refinery of state-run oil firm
Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. aka PDVSA killed two workers, energy
minister and company president Rafael Ramirez told news service
EFE on Wednesday.

According to EFE, Mr. Ramirez revealed that the accident
occurred on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Amuay complex in western
Falcon state.  One worker died instantly while another suffered
serious burns before dying.

One of those killed in the explosion was 48-year old Marcos
Teran, state oil firm PDVSA said in a statement.  The company
did not identify the other victim.

Contract workers who were in the vicinity of the hydrogen plant
and suffered minor injuries were released after undergoing
medical evaluations, according to the statement.

Mr. Ramirez gave no details to EFE regarding the current status
of the refinery and how much damage the explosion caused.
However, he did say that an investigation had already been
launched to determine the causes of the explosion and what
administrative steps must be taken.

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: Inks Oil Deal with El Salvador's Leftist Mayors
------------------------------------------------------------
The Intermunicipal Energy Association for El Salvador -- Enepasa
-- formed by mayors belonging to the Farabundo Martˇ National
Liberation Front, inked an agreement with Venezuela to purchase
oil under preferential terms, El Universal reports.

The pact was signed at the presidential palace of Miraflores and
shipments are to begin "as soon as possible," El Salvador quoted
Violeta Menjivar, who is to be inaugurated as San Salvador mayor
on May 1.

Operations are to be conducted through Venezuelan state-run oil
corporation PDV-Caribe, the Associated Press reported.

Under the agreement, Enepasa will pay 60% of oil supplied within
90 days, while paying for the rest in 23 years, with a fixed
annual interest rate of one percent, plus a two-year grace
period, news agency EFE reported.

President Hugo Chavez conceded he reached the agreement with
Enepasa because he was unable to negotiate with his Salvadoran
counterpart Elˇas Antonio Saca's government.  President Saca
urged the FMLN not to try to generate among Salvadorans "false
hopes" about the possibility to find cheap oil in Venezuela, El
Universal relates.

President Saca said in reports that oil imports requires major
storage and processing facilities.  "This implies we need a
refinery that may cost some US$3-5 billion."

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on El Salvador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB+      Jun. 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: May Sell Euro, Dollar Bonds to Refinance Debt
----------------------------------------------------------
An unnamed official from Venezuela's Finance Ministry told
Bloomberg News, that the government considers selling euro- or
dollar-denominated bonds in the local market in order to
refinance its US$16 billion of local-currency debt.

Details of the refinancing plan will be announced later this
month, the unnamed official told Bloomberg.  As part of the
plan, the government may offer a swap, giving investors bonds
with longer maturities in exchange for securities maturing over
the next three years.

About three-fourths of the government's local currency debt
matures in 2008.  Finance Minister Nelson Merentes said on March
1 that he wants to extend those maturities out to as long as
2015 to lighten up the debt load over the next few years,
Bloomberg says.

"Pushing back maturities would free up cash and make it easier
for them to weather any potential storm down the line,"
Alejandro Gonzalez, a bond trader with Solfin Sociedad de
Corretaje de Valores, explained to Bloomberg in an interview.
He said the government may offer investors in a swap a
combination of bonds denominated in dollars, bolivars and
indexed to inflation.

Venezuela may not sell bonds in the international market this
year having oil tax revenue covering most of its cash needs.
The official told Bloomberg that the country may buy back some
of its global dollar bonds next year.

As previously reported, Venezuela announced its plans to to buy
back US$3.9 billion of outstanding Brady bonds to help lower its
international debt to 18.3% by the end of 2007 from 23.4% at the
end of last year.  Venezuela also plans to pay back about US$779
million in loans to the World Bank and commercial banks ahead of
schedule this month.

                        *    *    *

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: Supplying Daily 3,000 Barrels of Crude to El Salvador
----------------------------------------------------------------
Venezuela will be delivering as much as 3,000 barrels of crude
per day to El Salvador, Dow Jones Newswires reports.  This is
part of an agreement signed this week between the Venezuelan
government and the El Salvadoran leftist mayors from the party
Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional aka FMLN.

During a televised appearance on Tuesday, Venezuelan president
Hugo Chavez said that El Salvador would be paying his government
for the delivered crude.

As agreed, the mayors will pay 60% of the oil bill within 90
days after delivery, President Chavez said.  The rest would be
financed over many years at a 1% interest rate.

The president added that the Salvadoran mayors could seek
alternative means of payment if they do not have the money.

Dow Jones quoted President Chavez as saying, "I told them that
if they don't have enough money they can pay us with
agricultural products."

According to Dow Jones, it is yet unclear when the delivery of
the oil would begin.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 8, 2006,
the FMLN mayors was scheduled to sign an accord on March 20,
2006, with the Venezuelan government for the creation of a joint
oil company, which will supply El Salvador's low-income areas
with low priced fuel.

The company will serve to cut out oil middlemen and speculators
that make fuel more expensive, FMLN politicians and Venezuela
National Assebly President Nicolas Maduro told ABN.

Dow Jones relates that the agreement will be signed without the
involvement of El Salvador's President Antonio Saca.

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
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick,
Maryland USA.  Lyndsey Resnick, Marjorie C. Sabijon and Sheryl
Joy P. Olano, Stella Mae Hechanova, Editors.

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without
prior written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The TCR Latin America subscription rate is $575 per half-year,
delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for
members of the same firm for the term of the initial
subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For subscription
information, contact Christopher Beard at 240/629-3300.


* * * End of Transmission * * *