TCRLA_Public/060403.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Monday, April 3, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 66

                            Headlines

A N T I G U A   &   B A R B U D A

DIGICEL: APUA PCS Acquisition Hangs in Limbo

* ANTIGUA & BARBUDA: Ministry to Appoint Price Control Officer

A R G E N T I N A

AGUAS ARGENTINAS: Gets French Gov't Backing on US$1.7 Bil. Claim
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Plans to Finance Mortgages for ARS1 Billion
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: S&P Assigns B Currency Issuer Credit Ratings
BANCO PATAGONIA: Holds Shareholders' Meeting on April 18
CAJA DE VALORES: S&P Places B+ Credit Ratings to Watch Positive

GRABAR S.R.L.: Validation of Creditors' Claims Ends on April 11
IND-PA S.R.L.: Presents General Report on April 24
JULIO MONTES: Trustee Stops Validating Proofs of Claim on May 31
LABORATORIOS DROIDEN: Verification of Claims Ends on May 19
LOMA NEGRA: S&P Assigns B Currency Issuer Credit Ratings

MACRO BANSUD: Aims to Raise Private Sector Loans by 70%
PAN AMERICAN: S&P Puts B+ Credit Ratings on Watch Positive
TELECOM ARGENTINA: S&P Puts B- Credit Ratings on Watch Positive
TELECOM PERSONAL: S&P Places B- Credit Ratings on Watch Positive
TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: S&P Puts B- Credit Ratings on Watch

TELEFONICA HOLDING: S&P Puts B- Credit Ratings on Watch Positive

* ARGENTINA: Congress Fails to Ratify Bill for State Water Co.
* ARGENTINA: Venezuela Bond Purchases Reach US$2.5 Billion
* Argentina, Brazil & Venezuela Postpone Pipeline Deal Signing
* Argentina & Uruguay Cancel Meeting to Discuss Pulp Mill Issue

B A H A M A S

WINN-DIXIE: Unit Agrees to Sell Bahamas Business to Local Firm

B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Provides Managed IP VPN for Domino Printing

B O L I V I A

* BOLIVIA: IMF and World Bank Will Pardon US$1.3 Mil. in Debts
* BOLIVIA: Wants Aguas del Illimani's Water Concession Ended

B R A Z I L

ABN AMRO REAL: New Program Allows Credit Lines Up to US$500,000
BANCO DO BRASIL: Expanding Credit Portfolio and Customer Base
BNDES: Putting US$2.6 Billion for Proinfa Program in 2006
BRAZIL FUND: Announces Liquidation Proposal
CST: Bovespa Cancels Company's Public Trading Registration

CVRD: Considers US$10 Bil. Steelmaking Complex in Esprito Santo
CVRD: Halts Operations at Sao Luis Pellet Plant
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Selling Potassium Reserves in Amazonas

* BRAZIL: Raises US$500 Mil. from 2037 Dollar-Denominated Bonds
* BRAZIL, Argentina & Venezuela Postpone Pipeline Deal Signing

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

ORANGETREE LIMITED: Sets April 6 Deadline for Claims Filing
OSCAR FUNDING IX: Validation of Proofs of Claim Ends on April 6
RAB COMMODITY: Creditors Claim Filing Deadline Is April 6
REFCO DIVERSIFIED: Filing of Proofs of Claims Ends Today
SUNSET BOULEVARD: Sets April 6 Proofs of Claim Filing Deadline

C H I L E

BANCO SANTANDER: Sells CLP2.74B Consumer Loans to Sister Bank

C O L O M B I A

BANCOLOMBIA: Plans to Grow Business Through Acquisitions
BBVA COLOMBIA: Launches Mortgage Loans for Young Professionals
BBVA COLOMBIA: Raising COP315 Bil. Through Public Share Offering

* COLOMBIA: Moody's Upgrades Outlook on Three Banks to Stable

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

AUTOPISTAS DEL NORDESTE: Gets US$108MM Insurance for Toll Road

E C U A D O R

* ECUADOR: 2005 Exports to Andean Countries Total US$1.450 Bil.

E L   S A L V A D O R

MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: Shares Up After Receiving Several Offers

G U A T E M A L A

* GUATEMALA: Calls for U.S. GIS Project Proposals Until Apr. 26
* GUATEMALA: Highways Blocked Due to Farmers' Strike

H O N D U R A S

DELTA AIR: Launches Operations in Honduras

M E X I C O

CABLEMAS: Uses ROSA Systems for Network Management Program
GRUPO ELEKTRA: Shareholders Approve MXN310 Mil. Dividend Payment
GRUPO MEXICO: Fears Production Decline If Strike Continues
GRUPO MEXICO: Labor Ministry Junks Ratification of Union Head
METROFINANCIERA: S&P Assigns BB- Rating on Long-Term Credit

P A R A G U A Y

* PARAGUAY: Willing to Join Bolivia-Uruguay Gas Pipeline Project

P U E R T O   R I C O

MUSICLAND HOLDING: US Court Okays Retail Consulting's Employment
ORIENTAL FINANCIAL: Unable to File 2005 Earnings Results on Time
SUNCOM WIRELESS: Subsidiary Might File for Bankruptcy Protection

U R U G U A Y

LLOYDS TSB: Opens Representative Office in Uruguay

* Uruguay & Argentina Cancel Meeting to Discuss Pulp Mill Issue

V E N E Z U E L A

* VENEZUELA: Declares Exxon Mobil Unwelcome in Country
* VENEZUELA: Denies Acquiring US$2.8 Billion Argentine Bonds
* VENEZUELA: Suspends Ban On U.S. Air Carriers Until April 25
* VENEZUELA: Wants ENI to Pay US$46.2 Million in Back Taxes
* Venezuela, Argentina & Brazil Postpone Pipeline Deal Signing


                            - - - - -


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



DIGICEL: APUA PCS Acquisition Hangs in Limbo
--------------------------------------------
Digicel Ltd.'s acquisition of APUA PCS in Antigua and Barbuda is
still before the Cabinet for its consideration, the Antigua Sun
reports.

Digicel signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2005
for the purchase of 67% stake in APUA PCS.  However, months have
passed and still no word from the Antiguan government, the same
report says.

Colm Delves, Digicel's chief executive officer, recently stated
that the delay may result in his company's withdrawal from the
deal.

Minister of Works Wilmoth Daniel is accepting no blame for the
delay since, he said, after the MOU had been discussed with the
then APUA board, he had prepared a circulation note pertaining
to the proposed Digicel deal and sent it to Cabinet, the Antigua
Sun states.  The Cabinet has yet to discuss the circulation
note.  Minister Daniel thinks that Cabinet's leaks and negative
publicity have delayed the discussion and harmed the process.

The minister explained in the same report that while the MOU has
not bound APUA or the government into the deal with Digicel,
some third party needs to be brought in to recapitalize the
ailing PCS, which is facing serious financial difficulties.

"They were in problems because they didn't have any monies at
their disposal to improve their entity. Also, 52 per cent of the
revenue that APUA would derive from Cable & Wireless was going
to a bank in Antigua, the Scotia Bank, and from the Scotia Bank,
those monies are lodged there and a standing order was prepared
for them to wind their way to an account in Trinidad & Tobago,"
the minister told the Antigua Sun.

Minister Daniel said the increasing financial woes of APUA PSC
motivated the decision to approach Digicel: "What (the managers)
are saying is that if we allow it to continue to run down worse,
then it will be worthless, so anyone who would wish to come in
and get involved in it at that particular time, when they are
ready, we would not be able to negotiate or bargain for anything
substantial," Mr. Daniel stated.

"I am not committed to Digicel. I am not committed to (anybody).
I am committed to the furtherance, in terms of the development
of PCS and to find a partner that will be able to assist us in
bringing us up to speed in terms of the international
situation.."

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.


* ANTIGUA & BARBUDA: Ministry to Appoint Price Control Officer
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Prices and Consumer Affairs Division of the Ministry of
Justice will appoint a consumer and price control officer, the
Antiguan Sun reports.

The Sun relates that the officer will be responsible for
monitoring the prices of goods and services offered in Barbuda.  
The officer will also help to protect the consumers from
unethical merchants who practice price gouging.

According to the Sun, Minister of Justice -- Senator Colin
Derrick -- was displeased with the disparity of prices of goods
and services between Barbuda and Antigua.

Barbudan consumers pay higher prices than their Antiguan
counterparts, Senator Derrick had told the Sun.

Mr. Derrick told the Sun, "It is my ministry's aim to work even
closer with Barbuda, to ensure that our sister island derives
the maximum benefits from consumer protection (since) it
appears, on our various visits, that the price of goods and
services in Barbuda are significantly higher than they are in
Antigua."

The Minister of Justice met with the members of the Barbuda
Council.  He said to the staff as well as to the students at
both of the island's schools that he looks forward to further
reduction in the cost of services regularly required by
consumers and the cost of the weekly food basket at the national
level, the Sun reports.



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


AGUAS ARGENTINAS: Gets French Gov't Backing on US$1.7 Bil. Claim
----------------------------------------------------------------
Suez, the parent company of Aguas Argentinas, has the support of
the French government over its US$1.7 billion compensation claim
against the Argentine government.

Suez filed the suit with the International Center for Settlement
of Investment Disputes after Argentina decided in 2002 to
convert utility rates from dollars into devalued pesos and
freeze them.

On March 22, Argentina cancelled Aguas Argentina's 30-year water
concession alleging that the water company failed to comply with
investment goals and neglected to provide basic services to the
people.

Argentine federal planning minister Julio de Vido said that a
new state-controlled company, Aguas y Saneamientos Argentinos,
would be taking over services in Buenos Aires.

Before the contract was rescinded, Aguas Argentinas' shareholder
-- Suez and Aguas de Barcelona -- engaged in talks with the
government.  However, ensuing negotiations over a new contract
were fraught with disagreements over investment commitments,
rate hikes and a claim regarding the rate freeze that Suez filed
against Argentina in the World Bank's arbitration tribunal --
the ICSID.

Business News Americas relates that the central issue was that
the shareholders claimed that they needed to raise revenues by
hiking water rates after the 2002 peso devaluation changed the
company's financial circumstances and made it impossible for
them to invest enough in services.  The authorities, meanwhile,
underlined that no such raises would be permitted and made
unsuccessful efforts to find private investors to replace the
stakeholders.

Because of the revocation of the concession contract, Suez is
determined to pursue and win its suit with the ICSID.

"The process in ICSID is following its course and I don't see
why that should change. We intend to recover our investment,"
Suez spokesperson Eleine Engieger was quoted as saying by
newspaper El Cronista.

"The contract was cancelled to return the water to Argentine
hands," President Nestor Kirchner said, according to the same
newspaper. "They [concessionaires] were in Argentina for 15
years, they took millions of dollars and we have to beg for a
drop of water," added the president, without mentioning the name
of Suez.

Suez "does not share the opinion of the Argentine government"
because it carried out investments of "US$1.7bn and gave water
to more than 2 million Argentines," Eleine Engieger was quoted
by Business News in response to Kirchner's declarations.

The French government's statement declaring its support to Suez:
"Naturally we want the legal security of French investments
abroad to be guaranteed and for international arbitration bodies
to be able to carry out their role," the government spokesperson
was quoted as saying.


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Plans to Finance Mortgages for ARS1 Billion
--------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Hipotecario will finance 14,000 middle-income mortgage
loans for ARS1 billion this year, the bank said in a press
release.

Business News Americas reports that the 30-year loans will
charge a 9.75% fixed annual rate.

The bank will fund the loan program from its own resources,
Business News relates.

                       *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 12, 2005,
Moody's Latin America Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. is maintaining
its 'D' rating on various corporate bonds issued by local bank,
Banco Bisel S.A.

The National Securities Commission, the CNV, revealed that the
rating, which denotes the issuer has defaulted on payments,
affected the following bonds:

  -- US$54 million worth of "Obligaciones Negociables
     Subordinadas" classified under "Series and/or Class." The
     bonds matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$100 million worth of "Programa Global de Obligaciones
     Negociables" classified under "Program." These bonds also
     matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$300 million worth of "Programa de Emision de Titulos de
     Deuda a Mediano Plazo" classified under "Program." These
     bonds matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$200 million worth of "Programa Global de Emision de
     Obligaciones" classified under "Program." The maturity date
     of the bonds was not indicated.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 25, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned
'B-' foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating to Banco
Hipotecario S.A.'s $100 million issuance.  The issuance
constituted the second tranche of BH's Series IV notes due Nov.
16, 2010, issued under the $1.2 billion senior unsecured global
MTN program.  With this issuance, the series (whose first
tranche was rated 'B-' on Nov. 16, 2005) will total US$250
million.  At the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its
ratings on the Argentine bank's outstanding debt and its 'B-
/Stable/--' counterparty credit ratings.  S&P said the outlook
is stable.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 28, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised the foreign and local
currency counterparty credit ratings on Banco Hipotecario S.A.
At the same time, Standard & Poor's placed the ratings on
several Argentine entities on CreditWatch with positive
implications.  These rating actions follow the upgrade on the
Republic of Argentina.

Earlier, S&P raised our global foreign and local currency
ratings on Argentina to 'B' from 'B-' and the ratings on the
national scale to 'raAA-' from 'raA', reflecting Argentina's
improved external and fiscal flexibility.

The outlook on the sovereign rating is stable.

S&P's transfer and convertibility risk assessment for Argentina
was raised to 'BB-', two notches higher than Argentina's foreign
currency rating.

S&P raised the rating on Banco Hipotecario one notch to
'B/Stable/--', in tandem with the sovereign upgrade on
Argentina, reflecting the close linkage between the credit
quality of the sovereign and that of its financial system.


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: S&P Assigns B Currency Issuer Credit Ratings
---------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency has raised its B- local and
foreign currency issuer credit ratings on Banco Hipotecario S.A.
to B.  Outlook remains Stable.

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


BANCO PATAGONIA: Holds Shareholders' Meeting on April 18
--------------------------------------------------------
Argentine bank Banco Patagonia has called a shareholders'
meeting for April 18 to approve a 50 million pesos (US$16.2
million) cash dividend, the bank told the local stock exchange
in a filing.

Banco Patagonia made 235 million pesos in profits for 2005, a
158% increase compared with 2004.  The profits were attributed
to financial margins and higher net service income.

Banco Patagonia became Argentina's fifth largest locally owned
private bank through its purchase of Lloyds TSB Argentina in
late 2004.  The bank operates through 139 branches and has 202
ATM machines, Business News Americas reports.

                        *    *    *

On Dec. 12, 2005, Moody's Latin America Calificadora de Riesgo
S.A. reaffirmed the 'BB' rating on US$80 million worth of bonds
issued by Banco Patagonia S.A. (f.k.a. Banco Patagonia Sudameris
SA), the CNV revealed in its Web site.

The undated bonds were described as "Serie 3 Oblig Negociables"
and are classified under "Series and/or Class."

The rating reflects the bank's financial status as of Sep. 30,
2005.  A "BB" rating indicates that the future of these bonds
cannot be well assured.


CAJA DE VALORES: S&P Places B+ Credit Ratings to Watch Positive
---------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency changed to B+ its local and
foreign currency issuer credit ratings on Caja de Valores S.A.
from B+/Stable/B.  The outlook was placed on Watch Positive.  

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


GRABAR S.R.L.: Validation of Creditors' Claims Ends on April 11
---------------------------------------------------------------
The validation of creditors' proofs of claim against Grabar
S.R.L., a company under reorganization, will end on April 11,
2006, Argentine daily La Nacion reports.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 13 approved the company's petition for
reorganization filed after the company defaulted on its debt
payments.  Mauricio Mudric was appointed as trustee.

An informative assembly will be held on Nov. 22, 2006.
Creditors will vote to ratify the completed settlement plan
during the said assembly.

The city's Clerk No. 25 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Grabar S.R.L.
         Hipolito Yrigoyen 2359
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Mauricio Mudric
         Tucuman 893
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


IND-PA S.R.L.: Presents General Report on April 24
--------------------------------------------------
The general report on the Ind-Pa S.R.L. reorganization will be
presented in a San Miguel de Tucuman court on April 24, 2006,
Infobae reports.

The company successfully petitioned for reorganization after the
court issued a resolution opening the company's insolvency
proceedings.

Infobae did not reveal in its Web site the name of the trustee
assigned to the case.


JULIO MONTES: Trustee Stops Validating Proofs of Claim on May 31
----------------------------------------------------------------
Jose Miguel Fernandez -- the trustee appointed by the Buenos
Aires court for the Julio Montes S.A. bankruptcy case -- will
stop validating claims from the company's creditors on May 31,
2006.

Mr. Fernandez will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports on July 27, 2006.  The trustee will also
submit a general report on the case on Sep. 8, 2006.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Julio Montes S.A.
         Doctor Jose Maria Ramos Mejia 1442
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Jose Miguel Fernandez
         Junin 55
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

  
LABORATORIOS DROIDEN: Verification of Claims Ends on May 19
-----------------------------------------------------------
The verification phase for the claims submitted by creditors
against bankrupt company Laboratorios Droiden S.A. has started,
Argentine daily La Nacion reports.  The verification will end on
May 19, 2006.  

Laboratorios Droiden was declared bankrupt by Buenos Aires'
Court No. 24 with the assistance of Clerk No. 47.  The court
made the ruling in favor of the company's creditor, Obra Social
de los Empleados de Comercio y Actividades Civiles, for
nonpayment of $2,432.35.  Jorge Jalfin was appointed as trustee.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Laboratorios Droiden S.A.
         Maipu 803
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Jorge Jalfin
         Sarmiento 1452
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


LOMA NEGRA: S&P Assigns B Currency Issuer Credit Ratings
--------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency placed B local and foreign
currency issuer credit ratings on Loma Negra C.I.A.S.A. on Watch
Positve from Stable.

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


MACRO BANSUD: Aims to Raise Private Sector Loans by 70%
-------------------------------------------------------
Banco Macro Bansud aims to increase by 70% the loans to private
sector this year, the company's Chief Executive Officer Jorge
Brito told local daily Infobae.

Business News Americas relates that Macro Bansud's private
sector loans raised 35% to ARS1.92 billion in 2005 while overall
lending was up 17%, reaching ARS2.19 billion.

According to Business News, Mr. Brito was very impressed by the
bank's ADR issue a week ago, which saw demand surpass the
original ADR offer sevenfold to US$2.2 billion.  

Macro Bansud raised on March 24 about US$89 million through the
issuance of 9,718,281 American Depositary Shares aka ADS,
Business News reports.

                       *    *    *

On Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the credit
ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. following the latter's
announcement that it has acquired the 75% stake in
Banco del Tucuman S.A. from Banco Comafi S.A. for US$17.3
million.

In affirming Macro's ratings, Moody's said that the acquisition,
which is pending regulatory approval, does not change the bank's
risk or business profile.

Macro announced on November 9 it was taking over selected assets
and liabilities of Banco Empresario de Tucuman, worth
approximately US$35.8 million, which included eight branches in
the Province of Tucuman. These acquisitions should grant the
Macro group a dominant position in the province.

Banco Macro Bansud S.A. is headquartered in Buenos Aires,
Argentina. As of June 2005, the bank's total assets were US$2.4
billion.

The following ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. were affirmed:

    -- Bank Financial Strength Rating: E -- Positive Outlook
    -- Long- Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Ba3
    -- Short -Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Local Currency Deposits: Aa2.ar
    -- Long -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Caa1
    -- Short -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Foreign Currency Deposits:
       Ba1.ar.


PAN AMERICAN: S&P Puts B+ Credit Ratings on Watch Positive
----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency has placed the B+ local and
foreign currency issuer credit ratings of Pan American Energy
LLC to Watch Positive from Positive.

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


TELECOM ARGENTINA: S&P Puts B- Credit Ratings on Watch Positive
---------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency has placed the B- local and
foreign currency issuer credit ratings of Telecom Argentina S.A.
to Watch Positive from Stable.

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


TELECOM PERSONAL: S&P Places B- Credit Ratings on Watch Positive
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency has placed the B- local and
foreign currency issuer credit ratings of Telecom Personal S.A.
to Watch Positive from Positive.

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: S&P Puts B- Credit Ratings on Watch
------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency has placed the B- foreign
currency issuer credit ratings of Telefonica de Argentina S.A.
to Watch Positive from Stable.  Its B- local currency issuer
credit ratings remain Stable.

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


TELEFONICA HOLDING: S&P Puts B- Credit Ratings on Watch Positive
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency has placed the B- local and
foreign currency issuer credit ratings of Telefonica Holding de
Argentina S.A. to Watch Positive from Stable.  

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


* ARGENTINA: Congress Fails to Ratify Bill for State Water Co.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Argentina's Congress has failed to pass a bill for the
establishment of Agua y Saneamiento Ambital aka AySA as a state-
owned water services company, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

AySA was created to replace former water concessionaire, Aguas
Argentinas SA.  
  
After rescinding Aguas Argentina's water concession, the
lawmakers did not approve the bill creating AySA.  A heated
debate ensued between lawmakers and Jose Luis Lingieri, a high-
profile union leader whose sanitation workers union will take
control of 10% of the new company and who attended the session,
according to local reports.

Dow Jones relates that there was also debate over whether the
company would need to raise rates to finance an aggressive plan
of investments laid out for the next two years.  The
government's denial of a rate increases for Aguas since the
financial crisis of 2002 was the primary motivation for its
announcement that it wanted to vacate its contract under mutual
agreement with the government last year.

Congressional approval of the bill will now be postponed until
next week, leaving the city's water services in legal
uncertainty, Dow Jones says.

                        *    *    *

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


* ARGENTINA: Venezuela Bond Purchases Reach US$2.5 Billion
----------------------------------------------------------
Venezuela has bought about $2.5 billion in Argentine bonds, the
Nelson Merentes -- the country's Finance Minister -- told Dow
Jones Newswires.  This included the latest $307 million
purchase.

Mr. Merentes denied to Dow Jones during a visit to the National
Assembly's Finance Commission that the country has acquired as
much as $2.8 billion in dollar-denominated Boden debt
securities, saying that the latest debt buy reported in the
press had already been purchased and is part of the $2.5
billion.

Dow Jones recalls that Merentes and his staff had announced
earlier that roughly $2.5 billion in Argentine debt had been
purchased in 2005 and early 2006.

Argentina's Official Bulletin reported on March 27 that the
Venezuela would acquire $307 million in Bonden 2012 bonds, Dow
Jones relates.  Felisa Miceli -- Argentina's Economy Minister --
had also suggested that Venezuela could purchase up to $3
billion in Argentina's debt this year.

As indicated by finance ministry data, the Venezuelan government
has sold approximately $1.1 billion of the acquired Argentine
debt.  It resulted to about $75 million profit.

                        *    *    *

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.

                        *    *    *

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


* Argentina, Brazil & Venezuela Postpone Pipeline Deal Signing
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dow Jones Newswires reports that the presidents of Argentina,
Brazil and Venezuela have suspended signing a deal for a
proposed natural gas pipeline that will run from Caracas to
Buenos Aires.

According to the Argentine presidential office, a new signing
date has not been set.  No reason was given for the delay, Dow
Jones says.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made the pipeline proposal
aiming to make Latin America independent from the United States.  
The project, widely opposed by environmentalists, is said to
require US$20 billion.

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

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.


* Argentina & Uruguay Cancel Meeting to Discuss Pulp Mill Issue
---------------------------------------------------------------
A meeting to discuss a pulp mill construction dispute between
the presidents of Argentina and Uruguay on March 29 has been
postponed.  Neither government has given a reason for the
suspension.

No new date for the meeting has been set, but authorities
indicated they were working toward holding a meeting within a
week.

Uruguay's construction of two pulp mills along the border with
Argentina has caused protests to erupt.  Uruguay later agreed
for a 90-day construction suspension to allow for an
environmental impact study.

Argentine protesters alleged that the US$1.6 billion two pulp
mills will cause water and air pollution due to their chlorine
bleaching processes.

On the other hand, Uruguayan officials say the plants insisted
that the plants will meet international environmental standards,
create 600 jobs and bring in millions of dollars (euros)
annually.

An Oy Metsa-Botnia AB consortium, made up of a group of Finnish
investors, would operate one plant. Another is being built by
Spain's Grupo Empresarial ENCE.

                        *    *    *

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 A H A M A S
=============


WINN-DIXIE: Unit Agrees to Sell Bahamas Business to Local Firm
--------------------------------------------------------------
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. plans to sell the 12 supermarkets it
operates in the Bahamas -- 9 under the City Markets banner and 3
under the Winn-Dixie banner.  All 12 stores are expected to
remain open following completion of the transaction.

"We have concluded that a sale of our Bahamian operation is in
the company's best interest as we continue to sharpen our focus
on successfully implementing our business plan and preparing to
emerge from Chapter 11," Winn-Dixie President and Chief
Executive Officer Peter Lynch said.  "Although the 12 stores in
the Bahamas are profitable, they are not a core business for us.  
The additional liquidity generated from this sale will help
Winn-Dixie support the remodeling of existing stores and
development of new stores in our core U.S. markets.  We are
pleased that a local Bahamian company recognizes the value of
the Bahamian stores and the Associates working in them."

A wholly owned subsidiary of Winn-Dixie, W-D (Bahamas) Ltd., a
Bahamas Company, has reached a definitive agreement to sell its
majority stake in Bahamas Supermarkets Limited to a local
Bahamian company, BK Foods, Ltd., for approximately $50 million.  
BSL owns the 12 Bahamian supermarkets operated under the City
Markets and Winn-Dixie banners.  The agreement provides an
opportunity for the submission of higher or better offers
through an auction to be held at a later date.

"My partners and I are pleased to have been able to successfully
conclude this phase of the transaction," Jerome Fitzgerald,
Director of BK Foods, said.  "Bahamas Supermarkets Limited has
had a long history of success and profitability, and our group
fully expects that success to continue with the same management
team overseeing day-to-day operations at the company and the
same Associates in the stores.  We believe this is a good
opportunity that puts the retail food business in the Bahamas
completely in the hands of Bahamians."

"We are excited about this chapter in the retail food market and
look forward to continuing the excellent tradition Winn-Dixie is
leaving here in the Bahamas," Mark Finlayson, another Director
of BK Foods, added.

                  Terms of the Agreement

Subject to the outcome of the auction, W-D (Bahamas) will sell
all of its shares of the common stock of BSL for 50 million
Bahamian dollars (approximately $50 million).  W-D (Bahamas)
owns approximately 78% of the common stock of BSL.  The other
22% of BSL's common stock will remain publicly traded in the
Bahamas.

The agreement is subject to conditions, including Winn-Dixie
obtaining Bankruptcy Court authority to exercise its consent to
execution of the transaction by W-D (Bahamas), which is not a
debtor under Winn-Dixie's Chapter 11 proceedings.  In addition,
subject to obtaining Bankruptcy Court authority, Winn-Dixie has
agreed:

(i) to enter into a transition services agreement that
provides for an orderly transfer of management and
operational know-how regarding the operation of the
Bahamian business, and

  (ii) to enter into a Non-Compete Agreement for a period of two
       years.

The agreement does not include rights to use any Winn-Dixie
trade name or trademark, all of which will be removed from the
stores in the Bahamas within six months of closing of the
transaction.

Upon completion of this transaction, Winn-Dixie will operate 538
stores in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi
(including 10 that are temporarily closed as a result of
Hurricane Katrina).

                 About Winn-Dixie Stores

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.
-- http://www.winn-dixie.com/-- is one of the nation's largest
food retailers.  The Company operates stores across the
Southeastern United States and in the Bahamas and employs
approximately 90,000 people.  The Company, along with 23 of its
U.S. subsidiaries, filed for chapter 11 protection on Feb. 21,
2005 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Case No. 05-11063, transferred Apr. 14,
2005, to Bankr. M.D. Fla. Case Nos. 05-03817 through 05-03840).
D.J. Baker, Esq., at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, and
Sarah Robinson Borders, Esq., and Brian C. Walsh, Esq., at King
& Spalding LLP, represent the Debtors in their restructuring
efforts.  Paul P. Huffard at The Blackstone Group, LP, gives
financial advisory services to the Debtors.  Dennis F. Dunne,
Esq., at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP, and John B.
Macdonald, Esq., at Akerman Senterfitt give legal advice to the
Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors.  Houlihan Lokey &
Zukin Capital gives financial advisory services to the
Committee.  When the Debtors filed for protection from their
creditors, they listed $2,235,557,000 in total assets and
$1,870,785,000 in total debts.


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


GLOBAL CROSSING: Provides Managed IP VPN for Domino Printing
------------------------------------------------------------
Global Crossing reported that it is providing Domino Printing, a
world-leader in ink jet and laser technologies, with a managed
IP VPN connecting their headquarters in Cambridge, UK with
offices across 16 countries around the world including North
America, Europe and Asia.

"The Global Crossing account team is keenly focused on
understanding our needs and working with us in close partnership
to implement the global solutions that best support our business
goals," said Dick Wallin, group IT director, Domino Printing.  
"Global Crossing's managed IP VPN solution will deliver a high-
performance option that facilitates communication around the
globe and increases our efficiencies."

Domino Printing selected Global Crossing as its managed IP VPN
provider based on its customer service excellence, convergence
expertise and global reach.  With corporate locations around the
world, the company required a flexible, cost-effective solution
to support its data networking needs.  The company also needed
an easily scalable solution that allowed it to simplify its
network management.

"We're delighted that Domino Printing chose Global Crossing's IP
VPN to run and support its business IP communications around the
world," said Phil Metcalf, managing director, Global Crossing
UK.  "This agreement underscores our capabilities in bringing
value added services to global customers, providing the
flexible, advanced solutions that best support their business
needs."

Under the agreement Global Crossing will also provide Domino
Printing with Dedicated Internet Access, a global remote access
solution and colocation of its servers at Global Crossing's
Global Network Operations Center in Docklands, London.

Domino Printing wanted the flexibility to make additions, moves
and changes to the network at short notice as their needs
dictated.  This is enabled by uCommandr, Global Crossing's
unique customer service portal that delivers 24x7 self-service
autonomy.  This secure, private, Web-based network management
tool allows customers to order data services, monitor their
network, create utilization reports, establish end-user and
product accounts, and view monthly billing reports.

Domino Printing's data traffic is transported over Global
Crossing's secure, privately owned and operated MPLS-based IP
backbone, which is separate from the public Internet, providing
the security and performance global multinationals require.

Available in more than 600 cities in 60 countries, Global
Crossing's IP VPN solutions provide high performance and
versatility, with true global reach, scalable connectivity,
multiple access options, and flexible billing options.  The
solutions support the convergence of corporate data, voice, IP
video and Internet access, all over a single connection.

Critical business communications including e-mail, e-commerce,
streaming video and other applications require consistent levels
of uninterrupted performance.  Global Crossing's industry-
leading Service Level Agreements leverage the exceptional
quality of the company's network to guarantee virtually jitter-
free performance of real-time converged IP applications.

               About Domino Printing Sciences PLC

Domino Printing Sciences is a world-leader in ink jet and laser
technologies offering total coding, direct product marking and
printing solutions.  Domino has established a global reputation
for the continual development and manufacture of ink jet and
laser printing technologies.

In 2005 Domino had a turnover in excess of 192 million pounds
Sterling. It employs 1,700 people worldwide and sells to more
than 120 countries through a global network of 16 subsidiary
offices and more than 75 distributors.  Domino's manufacturing
facilities are situated in the UK, Germany, USA, China and India
and include group companies Sator, Alpha Dot and Wiedenbach.

                    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
=============


* BOLIVIA: IMF and World Bank Will Pardon US$1.3 Mil. in Debts
--------------------------------------------------------------
On July 1, Bolivia's international debt will be reduced by
US$1.3 million through a debt pardon by the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank, according to Bolivia.com.

According to Pamela Fox and Marcelo Giugalde, World Bank's main
executives in Latin America, Bolivia qualified for the debt-
reduction after fulfilling certain conditions.  What those
conditions are were not disclosed.

The debt pardon will also mean a savings of US$40 million in
interest payments this year.

                        *    *    *

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


* BOLIVIA: Wants Aguas del Illimani's Water Concession Ended
------------------------------------------------------------
The Bolivian government wants to take La Paz's water concession
from Aguas del Illimani, a move that signifies its intention to
nationalize a number of public service companies, including
water utilities.

As previously reported, Aguas del Illimani is under an audit
that will cover a complete review of its tenure since taking
over the utility in 1997 under a 30-year concession.  The
government has said that the audit results were needed before
making a decision on the contract, but it apparently changed its
mind.

The government did not say whether it will pay an indemnity to
Aisa for bringing about the termination of their concession
contract.  When asked, water ministry spokesperson Julian Perez
said the government needed to review audit results before
discussing the actions to be taken, Business News Americas
reports.

Minister Perez told Business News that the government is seeking
financial aid from international financial cooperation entities
to pursue its potable water and sewerage development plans.

Aisa is controlled by French services company, Suez.  The
company has been accused of failing to comply with its
investment obligations -- a matter that is to be cleared in the
audit.

                        *    *    *

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
===========


ABN AMRO REAL: New Program Allows Credit Lines Up to US$500,000
---------------------------------------------------------------
Banco ABN Amro Real S.A. -- the Brazilian unit of ABN Amro Bank
-- has started a new financing program that will allow credit
lines of between US$30,000 and US$500,000 to resellers, Business
News Americas reports.  

According to Business News, Japan's Hitachi Data Systems aka HDS
aids the company with this service while the Japan desk of Amro
Real organizes the credit line.

The new program would help the resellers in providing solutions
to end users, Business News relates.  

The aim is for this leasing and financing to apply to at least
two out of every ten new opportunities the resellers undertake,
Felipe Padolano -- HDS's director of alliances, channels and
strategic accounts -- told Business News.

                        *    *   *

On Oct. 19, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Banco ABN
Amro Real S.A.'s long-term foreign currency deposit rating to B1
from B2.  Moody's maintained a positive outlook on the rating.

This 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.


BANCO DO BRASIL: Expanding Credit Portfolio and Customer Base
-------------------------------------------------------------
Rossano Maranhao -- Banco do Brasil's president -- told Dow
Jones Newswires, that the bank will oversee a major expansion in
both its credit portfolio and its customer base this year.  

Mr. Maranhao cited Brazil's steady economic growth and
insulation from political pressures as the main factors
affecting the bank's expected performance this year.

                        *    *    *

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.


BNDES: Putting US$2.6 Billion for Proinfa Program in 2006
---------------------------------------------------------
According to a report from local news service InvestNews,
Brazil's national development bank BNDES has budgeted 5.5
billion reals (US$2.6 billion) in 2006 to finance renewable
power generation projects under Proinfa -- the federal
government's renewable energy source incentive program.

BNDES expects demand to be high since last year it eased rules
for financing, allowing investors take as much as 80% of the
project's value, Business News Americas says.

Under the Proinfa program, power from renewable sources
including biomass, wind and small-scale hydroelectric projects
will be raised to 3,300 mega watts by 2008 in roughly equal
amounts for each source.

                       *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 3, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign currency
counterparty credit rating on Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Economico e Social S.A. aka BNDES to 'BB' with a stable outlook
from 'BB-' with a positive outlook.  The company's local
currency credit rating was also shifted to 'BB+' with a stable
outlook from 'BB' with a positive outlook.


BRAZIL FUND: Announces Liquidation Proposal
-------------------------------------------
The Brazil Fund, Inc., announced that its Board of Directors
adopted a proposal to liquidate the Fund.  Subject to
shareholder approval of the plan of liquidation and dissolution
adopted by the Board, the Fund plans to sell its assets,
discharge its liabilities and distribute the net proceeds to
shareholders.

Robert Callander, Chairman of the Fund's Board of Directors,
said, "The Board reached the decision to liquidate in order to
resolve long-standing shareholder demands for liquidity at a
price at or near net asset value.  The Fund has been a strong
vehicle for investment in the Brazilian markets.  However, as
other vehicles for investment in Brazil have emerged, Fund
shareholders have become increasingly dissatisfied with the
discount to net asset value at which the Fund's shares have
traded.  Following the failure of the Board's recent proxy
solicitation to convert the Fund to open-end status, in which
65% of outstanding shares voted to support open-ending, the
Board again considered all available alternatives and consulted
with major shareholders.  Recognizing that there appear to be
irreconcilable differences among the interests of major
shareholders, the Board concluded that the proposed liquidation
is responsive to the expressed desires of holders of a majority
of the Fund's shares for liquidity at net asset value, and is in
the best interests of the Fund's shareholders as a group."

The Fund also announced that its Board of Directors approved a
proposal to amend the Fund's Articles of Incorporation to enable
the affirmative vote of a majority of the Fund's outstanding
shares to approve a plan of liquidation and dissolution.  
Currently, approval of liquidation requires the vote of holders
of two-thirds of the Fund's outstanding shares.  However, if
holders of a majority of the Fund's outstanding shares vote to
amend the Fund's Articles of Incorporation, the required vote
for liquidation will be a majority of the Fund's outstanding
shares.

The Board of Directors of the Fund plans to submit proposals to
amend the Fund's Articles of Incorporation and to adopt a plan
of liquidation and dissolution for vote at a special meeting of
shareholders, currently expected to take place on May 15, 2006.  
Shareholders of record at the close of business on April 3,
2006, will be entitled to vote at the special meeting.  The
Board of Directors has also fixed June 30, 2006, as the date of
the Fund's annual meeting.  Shareholders of record at the close
of business on April 4, 2006, will be entitled to vote at the
annual meeting.

There can be no assurance that shareholders of the Fund will
approve the proposed amendment to the Articles of Incorporation
or the liquidation.  The Fund's shareholders are advised to read
the proxy statement and other materials when they become
available as they will contain important information.  These
materials will be mailed to shareholders and will be available
on the SEC's website or by calling the Fund's shareholder
service line at 800-349-4281.

The Brazil Fund, Inc., is a non-diversified, closed-end
investment company.  The Fund seeks long- term capital
appreciation through investing primarily in equity securities of
Brazilian issuers. Its shares are listed on the New York Stock
Exchange under the symbol BZF.

Closed-end funds, unlike open-end funds, are not continuously
offered.  There is a one-time public offering and once issued,
shares of closed-end funds are sold in the open market through a
stock exchange.  Shares of closed-end funds frequently trade at
a discount to net asset value.

The Fund focuses its investments in certain geographical
regions, thereby increasing its vulnerability to developments in
that region.  Investing in foreign securities presents certain
unique risks not associated with domestic investments, such as
currency fluctuation and political and economic changes and
market risks. This may result in greater share price volatility.  
Shares of closed-end funds frequently trade at a discount to net
asset value.  The price of the Fund's shares is determined by a
number of factors, several of which are beyond the control of
the Fund.  Therefore, the Fund cannot predict whether its shares
will trade at, below or above net asset value.

This announcement is not an offer to purchase or the
solicitation of an offer to sell shares of the Fund or a
prospectus, circular or representation intended for use in the
purchase or sale of Fund shares.  Fund shares are not FDIC-
insured and are not deposits or other obligations of, or
guaranteed by, any bank.  Fund shares involve investment risk,
including possible loss of principal.

DWS Investments is part of Deutsche Asset Management, which is
the marketing name in the US for the asset management activities
of Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas,
Deutsche Asset Management, Inc., Deutsche Asset Management
Investment Services Ltd., Deutsche Investment Management
Americas, Inc., and DWS Trust Company.


CST: Bovespa Cancels Company's Public Trading Registration
----------------------------------------------------------
The Sao Paulo Bovespa stock exchange has cancelled on March 6,
CST aka Companhia Siderurgica de Turbarao SA's registration as a
publicly traded company.

CST's registration was cancelled after it failed to trade stocks
on the Bovespa since November 2005.

CST, aka Companhia Siderurgica de Turbarao SA, along with
Brazilian steelmakers Belgo-Mineira and Vega do Sul, is part of
Brazilian steelmaking group Arcelor Brasil, a subsidiary of
Luxembourg-based steel company Arcelor.

                        *    *    *

As previously reported on May 12, 2005, Fitch Ratings upgraded
the foreign currency rating of Brazilian steel producer
Companhia Siderurgica de Tubarao to 'BB' from 'BB-' and assigned
a rating of 'BB' to CST Overseas. Fitch 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.

CST's and CST Overseas' (collectively, the company) foreign
currency ratings of 'BB' exceed both Brazil's foreign currency
rating and country ceiling by one notch. These ratings reflect
the company's strong steel exporting business and associated
hard currency generation. Along with these factors, the
company's low leverage and strong liquidity position with
substantial cash balances abroad further help mitigate transfer
and convertibility risks associated with the sovereign.


CVRD: Considers US$10 Bil. Steelmaking Complex in Esprito Santo
---------------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce aka CVRD confirmed reports that it
has plans for a possible US$10 billion steelmaking and port
complex at Anchieta in Espirito Santo, Brazil, Dow Jones
Newswires reports.

"CVRD is undertaking various studies to attract steel projects
to Brazil. This study in Espirito Santo is one of many," a CVRD
spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswires.  "It's important to make
clear that nothing has been concluded or decided."

CVRD declined to confirm any of the project's details cited in a
report by Valor Economico.

According to Valor Economico's report, the complex would include
a steel mill capable of producing between 4 million and 4.5
million metric tons of steel per year.  In addition, the project
would include eight iron pellet-making plants, a power-
generation plant and expansion of the nearby Ubu port.

The port expansion would allow berthing of ships capable of
transporting 380, 000 metric tons of cargo, creating an
additional outlet for CVRD's bottlenecked logistics operation.

The proposed project is in line with CVRD's plans of expanding
Brazil's steel industry and providing outlet for its steel.  

"The Brazilian steel sector needs to grow," CVRD President Roger
Agnelli was quoted by Dow Jones as saying during a press
conference.  "We are talking to our clients about production
projects in Brazil."

Mr. Agnelli noted that the company produces five times the iron
ore that is consumed by local steelmakers.

                       Current Projects

CVRD has a partnership deal with German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp
on a steel slab joint venture near Rio de Janeiro, called
Companhia Siderurgica do Atlantico, or CSA.  The project costs
US$2 billion project and is expected to produce 4.4 million
metric tons of slabs per year, Dow Jones relates.

CVRD will also hold a 9% stake in the Ceara Steel joint venture
in northeast Brazil.  The cornerstone for the project, which
includes South Korea's Dongkuk Steel and Italy's Danieli & C.
Officine Meccaniche SpA, was laid in December, according to Dow
Jones.  The US$750 million project is expected to produce 1.5
million tons of steel per year, starting in 2009.  CVRD will
provide iron pellets for the mill, providing 100% of the
steelworks' raw-material needs.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Companhia Vale do Rio
Doce -- http://www.cvrd.com.br/-- engages primarily in mining   
and logistics businesses. It engages in iron ore mining, pellet
production, manganese ore mining, and ferroalloy production, as
well as in the production of nonferrous minerals, such as
kaolin, potash, copper, and gold.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 5, 2006, Fitch Ratings assigned a long-term foreign
currency rating of 'BB' to Vale Overseas Limited's proposed
US$300 million issuance due 2016.  Vale Overseas is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, a large
diversified mining company located in Brazil.  The notes are
unsecured obligations of Vale Overseas and are unconditionally
guaranteed by CVRD.  The obligation to guarantee the notes rank
pari passu with all of CVRD's other unsecured and unsubordinated
debt obligations.  Fitch expects the proceeds of this issuance
to be used for general corporate purposes and primarily to pay
down US$300 million of Vale Overseas' 9.0% guaranteed notes due
2013.

Fitch also maintains these ratings for CVRD and CVRD Finance
Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of CVRD:

  -- CVRD foreign currency rating: 'BB', Outlook Positive;
  -- CVRD local currency rating: 'BBB' Outlook Stable;
  -- CVRD national scale rating: 'AAA(bra)', Outlook Stable;
  -- CVRD Finance Ltd.: series 2000-1 and series 2000-3: 'BBB';
  -- CVRD Finance Ltd., series 2000-2 and series 2003-1: 'AAA'.


CVRD: Halts Operations at Sao Luis Pellet Plant
-----------------------------------------------
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce aka CVRD has temporarily stopped the
operation of its Sao Luis pellet plant in the state of Maranhao.

The temporary stoppage of Sao Luis allows to anticipate its
maintenance and to reallocate the volume of iron ore fines which
should be dedicated to pellet-making to be shipped directly to
clients, meeting at least partially their strong demand for iron
ore fines.

There has been a persistent global excess demand for iron ore
fines and lumps.  The demand for pellets, which is more
concentrated in North America and the European Union, has
softened.  The current level of inventories and the growing
production of CVRD pellet plant in the Southern System will
guarantee its supply to clients until Sao Luis resumes
operation.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Companhia Vale do Rio
Doce -- http://www.cvrd.com.br/-- engages primarily in mining
and logistics businesses. It engages in iron ore mining, pellet
production, manganese ore mining, and ferroalloy production, as
well as in the production of nonferrous minerals, such as
kaolin, potash, copper, and gold.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 5, 2006, Fitch Ratings assigned a long-term foreign
currency rating of 'BB' to Vale Overseas Limited's proposed
US$300 million issuance due 2016.  Vale Overseas is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, a large
diversified mining company located in Brazil.  The notes are
unsecured obligations of Vale Overseas and are unconditionally
guaranteed by CVRD.  The obligation to guarantee the notes rank
pari passu with all of CVRD's other unsecured and unsubordinated
debt obligations.  Fitch expects the proceeds of this issuance
to be used for general corporate purposes and primarily to pay
down US$300 million of Vale Overseas' 9.0% guaranteed notes due
2013.

Fitch also maintains these ratings for CVRD and CVRD Finance
Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of CVRD:

  -- CVRD foreign currency rating: 'BB', Outlook Positive;
  -- CVRD local currency rating: 'BBB' Outlook Stable;
  -- CVRD national scale rating: 'AAA(bra)', Outlook Stable;
  -- CVRD Finance Ltd.: series 2000-1 and series 2000-3: 'BBB';
  -- CVRD Finance Ltd., series 2000-2 and series 2003-1: 'AAA'.


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Selling Potassium Reserves in Amazonas
-----------------------------------------------------------
Petroleo Brasileiro SA aka Petrobras will sell 44 areas with
potassium reserves in Brazil's Amazonas state, Dow Jones
Newswires reports.

Interested companies can visit a data room until May 19.  After
that, the companies have 240 days to conclude studies about the
viability of the areas and to present proposals.  Both local and
foreign companies can participate in the process.  However,
consortiums cannot participate in the dispute, Petrobras told
Dow Jones.

Potassium is the raw material used in the production of
fertilizer.

According to Dow Jones, the only company which produces
potassium in Brazil is mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce,
through its mine at Taquari-Vassouras.

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

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

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

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


* BRAZIL: Raises US$500 Mil. from 2037 Dollar-Denominated Bonds
---------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil raised US$500 million from the sale of dollar-denominated
bonds maturing in 2037, Reuters reports.

The bond was priced at 103.747 percent of face value, or at 204
basis points over comparable U.S. Treasury bonds.  It will yield
6.83 percent a year with a coupon of 7.13 percent, according to
the Treasury.

Reuters says that Brazil has captured nearly US$5.4 billion this
year including this deal, compared to its target of US$9 billion
in the 2006-07 period.

The placement was managed by HSBC Bank and JP Morgan.  Brazil
raised the outstanding amount of the 2037 bond to US$1.5
billion.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Brazil:

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


* BRAZIL, Argentina & Venezuela Postpone Pipeline Deal Signing
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dow Jones Newswires reports that the presidents of Argentina,
Brazil and Venezuela have suspended signing a deal for a
proposed natural gas pipeline that will run from Caracas to
Buenos Aires.

According to the Argentine presidential office, a new signing
date has not been set.  No reason was given for the delay, Dow
Jones says.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made the pipeline proposal
aiming to make Latin America independent from the United States.  
The project, widely opposed by environmentalists, is said to
require US$20 billion.

                        *    *    *

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


                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

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

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


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


ORANGETREE LIMITED: Sets April 6 Deadline for Claims Filing
-----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Orangetree Limited, which is being voluntarily
wound up, are required on or before April 6, 2006, to present
proofs of claim to Alun Davies, the company's liquidator.

Orangetree Limited started liquidating assets on Dec. 29, 2005.

The liquidators can be reached at:
         
        Alun Davies
        P.O. Box 10034 APO
        Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
        Telephone: (345) 946 5353
        Facsimile: (345) 947 5353


OSCAR FUNDING IX: Validation of Proofs of Claim Ends on April 6
---------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Oscar Funding Corp. IX are required to submit
particulars of their debts or claims on or before April 6, 2006,
to the company's appointed liquidator, David Dyer.  Failure to
do so will exclude them from receiving the benefit of any
distribution that the company will make.

Oscar Funding Corp. IX started liquidating assets on Feb. 24,
2006.

The liquidator can be reached at:

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


RAB COMMODITY: Creditors Claim Filing Deadline Is April 6
---------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Rab Commodity/Energy Fund Limited, which is being
voluntarily wound up, are required on or before April 6, 2006,
to present proofs of claim to Q&H Nominees Ltd., the company's
liquidator.

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.

Rab Commodity/Energy Fund Limited entered voluntary liquidation
on Jan. 3, 2006.

The liquidator can be reached at:

             Attention: Greg Link
             Q&H Nominees Ltd.
             P.O. Box 1348, George Town
             Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
             Telephone: 949 4123
             Facsimile: 949 4647


REFCO DIVERSIFIED: Filing of Proofs of Claims Ends Today
--------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Refco Diversified Futures Fund, which is being
voluntarily wound up, are required to present proofs of claims
today, April 3, to G. James Cleaver and Gordon MacRae, the
company's joint voluntary liquidators.

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

Refco Diversified Futures Fund entered voluntary wind up on Feb.
9, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

            G. James Cleaver and Gordon MacRae
            Attention: Hadley Chilton
            Kroll (Cayman) Limited
            4th Floor Bermuda House, Dr. Roy's Drive
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
            Tel: +1 (345) 946-0081
            Fax: +1 (345) 946-0082


SUNSET BOULEVARD: Sets April 6 Proofs of Claim Filing Deadline
--------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Sunset Boulevard Holdings Limited are required to
submit particulars of their debts or claims on or before April
6, 2006, to Buchanan Limited, the company's appointed
liquidators. Failure to do so will exclude them from receiving
the benefit of any distribution that the company will make.

Sunset Boulevard Holdings Limited started liquidating assets on
Feb. 23, 2006.

The liquidator can be reached at:

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


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


BANCO SANTANDER: Sells CLP2.74B Consumer Loans to Sister Bank
-------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Santander Santiago has sold consumer loans worth CLP2.74
billion to its sister bank -- Altavida Santander Seguros de
Vida, according to local regulator SVS.  

Business News Americas relates that the loan with the longest
maturity expires in March 2013.

Altavida bought about 2,500 individual loans worth CLP6.3
billion from Santander Santiago last year, Business News
recalls.  The bank bought 675 loans more for about CLP2.35
billion last month.

                        *    *    *

As previously reported on Jan. 6, 2006, Moody's Investor
Services reaffirmed Banco Santander Santiago's credit risk
ratings:

    * Bank Financial Strength: B-
    * Long-term Bank Deposits: Baa1
    * Senior bonds: A2
    * Subordinated Debt: A3
    * Short-term: P-2
    * Outlook: Positive: Deposits and Stable: Bank Financial
      Strength Ratings and Senior and Subordinated Foreign
      Currency Debt Ratings

The Bank Financial Strength Rating (BFSR) is the highest Moody's
assigns to any Latin American Bank. The A2 Senior and A3
Subordinated Foreign Currency Debt ratings pierce Chile's
country ceiling. The Bank's long-term deposit rating, Baa1, is
capped by the sovereign ceiling.


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


BANCOLOMBIA: Plans to Grow Business Through Acquisitions
--------------------------------------------------------
Bancolombia is ready to continue growing through acquisition,
according to a report by US investment bank UBS.  The company's
increasing capital levels will allow the move.

Business News Americas reports that the capital ratio of
Bancolombia was at 10.9% at the end of 2005.  The bank is aiming
a 12.5% ratio in the medium term.

UBS, states Business News, said niche bolt-on acquisitions or
larger acquisitions could be the Colombian bank's future buys.  
The bank may have lost in the Megabanco auction for bidding only
COP733 billion but an expansion could take place abroad.  This
opportunity will be brought by the Colombian government's likely
sale of Granbanco-Bancafe.

Bancolombia, as it already has a considerable share of the
Colombian market, is seeking for purchase opportunities to
expand abroad, Chief Executive Officer Jorge Londo told Business
News in an interview last January.

In February, Rothschild -- a UK investment bank -- was hired by
Fogafin to decide on Bancafe's fate, Business News relates.  
Rothschild is scheduled to complete its report this month.

According to Business News, UBS also maintained its buy 2 rating
on Bancolombia.  UBS explained that this is due to a well-
performing economy, strong financial system growth and reduced
political risk.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 13, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service assigned a 'Ba3' rating on Bancolombia
S.A.'s long-term foreign currency deposit and changed the
outlook to stable from negative.


                        *    *    *

On Dec. 22, 2005, Fitch Ratings affirmed the ratings assigned to
Bancolombia, as:


  -- Long-term/short-term foreign currency at 'BB/B';
  -- Long-term/short-term local currency at 'BBB-/F3';
  -- Individual at 'C';
  -- Support at '3'.

The ratings assigned to Bancolombia and subsidiaries reflect its
dominant Colombian franchise, sound asset quality, and solid
performance, which should be further strengthened by the recent
merger with Conavi and Corfinsura and, in turn, boost capital,
which weakened with the merger.  The ratings also factor in the
challenges posed by operational integration, its high exposure
to the Colombian government, and the risks inherent in its
operating environment.


BBVA COLOMBIA: Launches Mortgage Loans for Young Professionals
--------------------------------------------------------------
Mortgage loans in pesos and in Colombia's inflation-indexed
currency unit UVR has been launched by BBVA Colombia for young
professionals as well as for social housing projects, the
company revealed in a presentation.

According to Business News Americas, BBVA said that although the
Colombia's construction sector's growth has been strong over the
last few years -- even tripling the country's 5.75% GDP growth
last year -- mortgage lending dropped 4% at that year as
individuals still refuse going into long-term debt.

BBVA Colombia said to Business News that BBVA is attacking the
mortgage market as the effects of the 1999 solvency and
confidence crisis that almost brought down the banking system
are now fading.

BBVA, states Business News, became the largest private mortgage
lender in the country in December with a market share of 22%, as
a result of winning the state's mortgage lender Granahorrar
auction with a COP970 billion bid.  The deal will close in May.

BBVA Colombia will be the country's third largest bank in terms
of overall market share through the merger, Business News
reports.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 13, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service assigned a 'Ba3' long-term foreign
currency deposit rating on BBVA Colombia.  The outlook was
changed to stable from negative.


BBVA COLOMBIA: Raising COP315 Bil. Through Public Share Offering
----------------------------------------------------------------
BBVA Colombia -- Spanish banking giant BBVA's subsidiary in
Colombia -- plans to raise about COP315 billion, the bank said
to the local financial regulator in a filing.  This will be
through a public share offering.

Business News Americas recalls that BBVA Colombia was able to
acquire a 98.8% stake in state-run Granahorrar in an auction
with a COP970 billion bid, making the company the largest
mortgage lender with approximately 22% market share.  The deal,
according to BBVA Colombia, will close next month.  

BBVA lent its Colombian unit about COP300 billion to finance the
purchase, Business News relates.  BBVA Colombia will now offer -
- at a COP6.24 nominal price each -- 2,276,524,168 new shares.

BBVA Colombia planned to seek on March 29 approval from its
shareholders regarding a stock swap with Granahorrar with one
share of the latter representing 5,872 BBVA Colombia shares,
Business News reports.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 13, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service assigned a 'Ba3' long-term foreign
currency deposit rating on BBVA Colombia.  The outlook was
changed to stable from negative.


* COLOMBIA: Moody's Upgrades Outlook on Three Banks to Stable
-------------------------------------------------------------
Credit ratings agency Moody's has upgraded to stable from
negative the outlook on the foreign currency deposit Ba3 ratings
assigned to the three banks it rates in Colombia, the agency
said in a report.

Moody's decision affected Colombia's largest bank Bancolombia,
Banco de Bogota and the local subsidiary of Spanish giant BBVA.

The action is the direct result of Moody's decision to change
the outlook on Colombia's foreign currency country ceilings for
bonds and deposits to stable from negative, Moody's said.

This action does not affect the Colombian banks' financial
strength ratings (BFSR), the agency added.

Bancolombia's BFSR of D remains under review for possible
upgrade while the outlook for BBVA Colombia's BFSR of D remains
positive (m).

The outlook for Banco de Bogota's BFSR of D+ changed to stable
from stable (m), reflecting the alignment of outlooks between
the bank's BFSR and the foreign currency deposit ratings,
Moody's said.



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


AUTOPISTAS DEL NORDESTE: Gets US$108MM Insurance for Toll Road
--------------------------------------------------------------
Autopistas del Nordeste has secured US$108 million political
risk insurance for its toll road project in the Dominican
Republic, Phillippe Valahu -- MIGA's acting director of
operations -- said at the Latin American Leadership Forum in New
Orleans.  The insurance was issued by the Multilateral
Investment Gurantee Agency aka MIGSA, World Bank's private
sector arm.

Business News Americas reports that the 20-year insurance covers
portions of a US$14 million equity investment as well as a
US$162 million bond issue for the project.

According to Business News, the outside financing for the
project will come from the issuance of US$162 million in senior
notes underwritten by Morgan Stanley.

The Dominican government provides for 20% of construction costs
-- about US$30 million -- for the project, states Business New.

Mr. Valahu told Business News, "Absent of MIGA's risk insurance
and the bond issue, the Autopistas del Nordeste project would
not have been able to raise sufficient financing because
commercial banks were unwilling to issue 20-year loans, which is
the timeline needed for this sort of project."

The project is a 30-year concession won by a consortium formed
by Colombia's CI Grodco SCA and the Dominican Republic's
Consorcio Remix in 1999, Business News recalls.  It consists of
the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a 106km
toll road that will connect Santo Domingo to the northeastern
peninsula -- a popular tourist destination -- reducing distance
and travel time to 120km and 1.5 hours from 220km and four
hours.

The toll road's first 18km have been completed and is now open
to traffic.  The highway will be completed by 2008, Business
News relates.

                        *    *   *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 17, 2006,
Fitch Ratings has assigned a preliminary 'B' rating to the $163
million series 2006 senior notes from Autopistas del Nordeste
Ltd.  AdN is a toll road securitization originating from the
Dominican Republic that benefits from a partial political risk
guarantee provided by the Multilateral Guarantee Investment
Agency.


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


* ECUADOR: 2005 Exports to Andean Countries Total US$1.450 Bil.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Dow Jones Newswires reports that Ecuador's 2005 exports to the
Andean Community Countries, or CAN, totaled US$1.450 billion
last year, up 35% from US$1.075 billion registered in 2004.

Ecuadorean imports from CAN in 2005 totaled US$2.201 billion, up
14% from US$1.929 billion the year before.

Ecuador's central bank said that:

   -- US$866.7 million, or 60%, of the exports went to Peru;
   -- US$457.4 million, or 32%, to Colombia;
   -- US$118.2 million, or 8%, to Venezuela; and
   -- US$8 million to Bolivia.

On the import side of the ledger, the report said that:

   -- US$1.383 billion came from Colombia;
   -- US$450.7 million from Venezuela;
   -- US$364.9 million from Peru; and
   -- US$2.6 million from Bolivia.

Ecuadorean exports worldwide totaled US$9.825 billion last year,
while imports totaled US$8.913 billion, according to the central
bank.

The CAN is made up of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and
Venezuela.

                        *    *    *

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


MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: Shares Up After Receiving Several Offers
----------------------------------------------------------------
Millicom International Cellular S.A., notes comments in the
media, which are not authorized by the Company and contain
various inaccuracies, regarding its Strategic Review which was
announced on January 19, 2006.  Since that date, the Company has
solicited and received several non-binding offers for the
acquisition of the entire share capital of the Company.  
However, there is no certainty as to whether any of these offers
will lead to a transaction, and, if any transaction is agreed,
there is no certainty as to the timing, structure or terms of
any transaction.

News of the offers upped the shares of the company on March 28,
by US$3.64 or 8.3% to US$47.68 on Nasdaq Trading, Reuters
reports.    

According to Reuters, the company have received offers between
US$49 and US$51 per share.  The bids would give the firm a worth
between 380 and 395 crowns per share or 26-27 billion Swedish
crowns, approximately US$3.3 to US$3.5 billion.

Millicom International Cellular S.A. is a global
telecommunications investor with cellular operations in Asia,
Latin America and Africa.  It currently has cellular operations
and licenses in 16 countries.  The Group's cellular operations
have a combined population under license of approximately 391
million people.

Millicom has assets amounting to US$1,522,900,000 and
liabilities reaching US$1,608,200,000.

                      *   *   *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 24, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed its 'B+' long-term
corporate credit rating and 'B-' senior unsecured debt ratings
on telecommunications operator Millicom International Cellular
S.A. on CreditWatch with developing implications.


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


* GUATEMALA: Calls for U.S. GIS Project Proposals Until Apr. 26
---------------------------------------------------------------
Guatemala's energy and mines ministry will accept proposals
through April 26 for a technical assistance contract for a
geographical and information system -- GIS -- project, according
to a U.S. Trade & Development Agency report, as quoted by
Business News Americas.

GIS is designed to improve the business climate for domestic and
foreign investments in the country's energy and mining sectors
as the United States and Guatemala wait for the Central America-
Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement to enter into force.

Bidding is open only to U.S. companies as TDA is providing
technical assistance funds.

The project requires developing a national GIS and associated
information technology solutions to improve the licensing
approval process for extracting natural resources including oil,
gas and minerals, the TDA report said.

The technical assistance will help the ministry:

   -- monitor oil, natural gas and mineral resource exploration
      and development more efficiently;

   -- generate modern and more comprehensive data packages
      better to attract foreign investment; and

   -- enable the exchange of essential data between government
      agencies.

The assistance also will strengthen the ministry's regulatory,
oversight and compliance mission as well as ensure that non-
competitive practices such as fuel smuggling, energy theft and
fuel adulteration are eliminated.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Guatemala:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BB+      Feb. 22, 2006
   Long Term IDR      BB+      Feb. 22, 2006
   Short Term IDR     B        Feb. 22, 2006
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     BB+      Feb. 22, 2006

Fitch also rated Guatemala's senior unsecured bonds:

Maturity Date          Amount        Rate       Ratings
-------------          ------        ----       -------  
Aug. 3, 2007        $150,000,000     8.5%         BB+
Nov. 8, 2011        $325,000,000    10.25%        BB+
Aug. 1, 2013        $300,000,000     9.25%        BB+
Oct. 6, 2034        $330,000,000     8.125%       BB+


* GUATEMALA: Highways Blocked Due to Farmers' Strike
----------------------------------------------------
Guatemala's main highways remain blocked due to a nationwide
demonstration by farmers and indigenous people, Prensa Latina
reports.  The strikers aired out their right to the land and
demanded mining concessions halted.  

Santiago Itzep Chibalan -- president of the Maya Farmers
Association -- said to Prensa Latina that the protest, which
started earlier last week, is an expression of discontent with
the government's failure to keep its promises to solve the land
issue.  The strike paralyzed most of the city at the 11th
anniversary of the signing of the Agreement on Indigenous
Peoples' Identity and Rights -- an accord pending
materialization

At least 600 families from the Nueva Linda farm alone arrived at
the Guatemala City Central Park on March 29, 2006, Prensa Latina
relates.  The families were camped at the Constitution Square,
demanding for a place to resettle as well as compensation for
their losses.

Prensa Latina recalls that the farmers were brutally dislodged
from the Nueva Linda farm two years ago, resulting to nine
deaths.  It was among the most serious of the 50 land conflicts
that remained unsolved.

Prensa Latina quoted a demonstrator saying, the farmers are
claiming their right to land that belonged to their ancestors.

"We will not leave here until the government pays attention to
us," the demonstrator told Prensa Latina.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Guatemala:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BB+      Feb. 22, 2006
   Long Term IDR      BB+      Feb. 22, 2006
   Short Term IDR     B        Feb. 22, 2006
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     BB+      Feb. 22, 2006

Fitch also rated Guatemala's senior unsecured bonds:

Maturity Date          Amount        Rate       Ratings
-------------          ------        ----       -------  
Aug. 3, 2007        $150,000,000     8.5%         BB+
Nov. 8, 2011        $325,000,000    10.25%        BB+
Aug. 1, 2013        $300,000,000     9.25%        BB+
Oct. 6, 2034        $330,000,000     8.125%       BB+


===============
H O N D U R A S
===============


DELTA AIR: Launches Operations in Honduras
------------------------------------------
Delta Air Lines -- a financially beleaguered US airline -- has
entered Honduras' aviation industry as part of an expansion
strategy into Latin America and the Caribbean, Latinlawyer
Online reports.

Latinlawyer states that Delta would run daily flights between
the airline's base in Atlanta and the Honduran coastal city.  It
will also have weekly flights to Roatan -- an island off the
Caribbean coast and a popular tourist destination.  

The first flight from Atlanta to San Pedro Sula was made on
March 1, after Delta obtained a permit from the Aeronautica
Civil de Honduras -- the civil aviation regulator of the country
-- on February 27, Latinlawyer relates.

Jose Ramon Paz of Consortium - JR Paz & Asociados, Abogados --
Delta's advisor -- informed Latinlawyer that the legal work had
to be done swiftly.

"The process to obtain its operating license, traffic license
and incorporation of its operations in the country was finalized
in a record 20 days," Mr. Paz told Latinlawyer.

Delta, according to Latinlawyer, plans to offer this spring and
summer new and additional flights between the US and Brazil,
Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Despite a Chapter 11 filing in September 2005, Delta goes on
with its expansion in Latin America, Latinlawyer reports.

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


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


CABLEMAS: Uses ROSA Systems for Network Management Program
----------------------------------------------------------
Cablemas -- TV Cable S.A. de C.V -- has launched the first phase
of an extensive network management initiative using ROSA
technology from Scientific Atlanta, a Cisco company.  The new
network management system will provide extensive capabilities
for Cablemas including:

   -- Reduced mean time to repair for critical network
      components;

   -- Increased network reliability;

   -- Extreme flexibility to monitor Scientific Atlanta and
      third-party equipment; and

   -- Proactive support for video, voice, data service and
      service-level agreements.

Cablemas has deployed the ROSA NMS at its network operations
center in Cuernavaca so that it will have the ability to
establish a centralized monitoring and control nucleus for its
entire cable system.  

Additionally, the ROSA Element Manager is in use at its Tijuana
system to help enable operators there to manage their network
through the EM's automated alarm notification and Web browser-
based user interface.  Simultaneously, all of the alarm
information and desired performance data is transferred from the
ROSA EM to the NOC where the ROSA NMS aggregates this data and
presents an operational view of the network. Cablemas' plans
call for the EM system to be expanded into 13 additional
headends delivering video in other cities including:

   -- Acapulco
   -- Chihuahua
   -- Coatzacoalcos
   -- Cuernavaca
   -- Juarez
   -- Merida
   -- Mexicali
   -- Playa del Carmen

"In the near future, Cablemas will use the ROSA system to
monitor all our systems that offer Internet and telephony
services plus headends and ISP or Internet service provider,
including all provisioning software in order to provide a
carrier-class level of service for our subscribers," Gabriel
Gonzalez, corporative technical director at Cablemas.

"Our longstanding relationship with Scientific Atlanta, coupled
with the power and flexibility of the ROSA systems, provided a
superlative solution for all of the objectives we had for this
business-critical program," Arnoldo Meiselman, COO at Cablemas.  
"Since we implemented our ROSA monitoring system, call-center
complaint calls have decreased by 20 percent."

"Scientific Atlanta continues to assist Cablemas as it seeks to
become a carrier-class operator that delivers the 'triple play'
of video, data and voice services," said Ken Dumont, market
manager, Latin America for Scientific Atlanta's Transmission
Network Systems.  "Implementing a very proactive approach to
network management using our ROSA technology will help enable
Cablemas to identify small problems before they can expand to
have major impact on a cable system.  In many instances,
Cablemas will be able to identify and resolve issues before
customers are ever aware of the difficulty."

The ROSA NMS offers a comprehensive management solution capable
of monitoring and controlling nearly all aspects of service
management, network management and element management of
broadband networks.  The ROSA system can translate legacy
equipment's proprietary alarm and performance data into Simple
Network Management Protocol for centralized monitoring and
control in a NOC, helping to protect the investment operators
have made in their networks.

                  About Scientific Atlanta

Scientific Atlanta, a Cisco company, is a supplier of digital
content contribution and distribution systems, transmission
networks for broadband access to the home, digital interactive
set-tops and subscriber systems designed for video, high-speed
Internet and Voice over IP (VoIP) networks, and worldwide
customer service and support. Scientific-Atlanta, Inc. is a
wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc. More information
about Scientific Atlanta is available at
http://www.scientificatlanta.com.

                    About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is a developer in networking
for the Internet. Information on Cisco can be found at
http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to  
http://newsroom.cisco.com.

                      About Cablemas

Cablemas S.A. de C.V. -- http://www.cablemas.com-- is the   
second-largest cable television operator in Mexico based on the
number of subscribers and homes passed.  As of June 30, 2005,
the company's network served over 546,000 cable subscribers and
in excess of 87,000 high-speed Internet subscribers, with more
than 1,647,000 homes passed.  It is the concessionaire with the
broadest coverage in Mexico, operating in 46 cities throughout
the country's oil, maquiladora and tourist regions.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 30, 2005,
Moody's Investors Service assigned a B1 corporate family rating
to Cablemas.  The outlook is stable.  This rating action is in
accordance with the B1 ratings Moody's assigned to Cablemas'
US$175 million of senior unsecured notes, with a stable outlook,
on November 4th, 2005.  The proceeds of the issue were used to
refinance debt and for capital expenditures.


GRUPO ELEKTRA: Shareholders Approve MXN310 Mil. Dividend Payment
----------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Grupo Elektra, S.A. de C.V., have approved a
dividend payment of MXN301 million -- MXN1.31 per share --
during a meeting held at the company's headquarters in Mexico
City.  The dividend is expected to be paid on April 6, 2006.

Shareholders also approved the bylaws of the Board's
Investments, Compensation, Audit and Related Parties Committees.  
The bylaws promote efficiency in strategic and operating
decisions, and contribute to consolidate Grupo Elektra's
leadership in retail and financial services.  The documents
approved can be found in the company's web page.

The company noted that the committees of Grupo Elektra are based
on standards that will be applicable in the future.  In the case
of the Investments and Compensation Committees, 66% of their
members are external, and in the Audit and Related Parties
Committees 100% of the directors are external.

Grupo Elektra has pioneered advanced corporate governance
initiatives in Mexico, with measures that surpass the legal
requirements and generate progress in transparency and in the
communication with shareholders.

Grupo Elektra -- http://www.grupoelektra.com.mx-- sells retail  
goods and services through its Elektra, Salinas y Rocha, Bodega
de Remates and Elektricity stores and over the Internet.  The
Group operates more than 1,000 stores in Mexico, Guatemala,
Honduras, Peru and Panama.  Grupo Elektra also sells and markets
its consumer finance, banking and financial products and
services through approximately 1,400 Banco Azteca branches
located within its stores, as a stand-alone, and in other
channels in Mexico and Panama.  Banking and financial services
include loans, electronic money transfer services, extended
warranties, demand deposits, pension-fund management, insurance,
and credit information services.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on May 27, 2005, Fitch
Ratings affirmed and withdrew the 'BB-' international scale
foreign and local currency ratings of Grupo Elektra, S.A. de
C.V.  Fitch has withdrawn the ratings in consistency with
Fitch's policies due to the paydown of all of the company's
dollar-denominated bonds.

Fitch also affirmed Elektra's national scale short term rating
of 'F2(mex)' and would continue to follow the company on the
national scale.


GRUPO MEXICO: Fears Production Decline If Strike Continues
----------------------------------------------------------
Grupo Mexico S.A. will declare force majeure on all shipments to
customers if the ongoing strike at its La Caridad copper mine
remains unresolved after a few days, Dow Jones Newswires
reports.  

Grupo Mexico said to Dow Jones Wednesday that it doesn't expect
to see a significant impact on its production if the strike is
put to a stop within the next few days.  

There is copper concentrate available from the company's La
Cananea mine to keep production at 100% for a few days more,
Grupo Mexico spokesman -- Juan Rebolledo -- told Dow Jones.  
However, but he feared that anything beyond that could adversely
impact production.

Dow Jones states that at this time, the company said it has no
problem fulfilling contracts for refined copper.

Mr. Rebolledo admitted to Dow Jones that the company has a
postponement with the union over the contract talks.  However,
he assured that Grupo Mexico is working with local authorities
to regain access to the mine, where about 60 miners are
picketing.

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 28, 2006,
the strike started last week after the mine operator Industrial
Minera Mexico reportedly refused to conduct a collective
contract review, the mining-metalworkers union.  The union
complained that country's labor ministry has extended the review
deadline again.  The deadline -- originally set on March 5 --
had been put back several times.

Grupo Mexico SA de CV -- http://www.grupomexico.com/-- through
its ownership of Asarco and the Southern Peru Copper Company,
Grupo Mexico is the world's third largest copper producer,
fourth largest silver producer and fifth largest producer of
zinc and molybdenum.

                        *    *     *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings to Grupo Mexico SA de CV:

     -- foreign currency long-term debt, BB; and
     -- local currency long-term debt, BB.


GRUPO MEXICO: Labor Ministry Junks Ratification of Union Head
-------------------------------------------------------------
The National Mining and Metal Workers Union's ratification of
Napoleon Gomez Urrutia's leadership has been rejected by the
Mexican Labor Ministry despite the union's threat of taking
further action alongside other unions, Dow Jones Newswires
reports.  The ministry is firm on its decision of recognizing
Elias Morales as the union's head.

Dow Jones states that the rejection of the ratification is
likely to result to a heated dispute between the union and the
government.

The ministry said that the extraordinary general convention held
by the union between March 18 and 19 in Monclova -- where
majority of the 250,000-member union's 130 chapters ratified Mr.
Urrutia's leaderhip --failed to meet attendance and other
requirements set out in the union's laws.  

According to Dow Jones, the ministry recognizes Mr. Morales as
the union's leader and cited a February 17 notification from the
union's oversight committee on Mr. Morales' appointment as union
head in place of Mr. Urrutia, who is being investigated by the
government for an alleged embezzlement of the $55 million
payment made by Grupo Mexico to the union last year.  One of the
supposed signatories, however, has denied having signed the
document.

The leadership conflict had sparked a nationwide strike that
started on walkouts at Grupo Mexico's La Caridad mine last week
due to a contract revision.  

Several hundred members joined the demonstration outside the
ministry on Monday, demanding that the ministry accept the
notification of Mr. Urrtia's leadership, unfreeze union bank
accounts and keep Mr. Morales from involving in union affairs.  
The union said it would remain on strike and refuse to resume
contract talks unless the negotiating team is appointed by Mr.
Urrutia.  

Juan Rebolledo -- a spokesman of Grupo Mexico -- told Dow Jones
that the walkout is illegal because the union represented by
Morales, who is considered by the Labor Ministry to be the
leader, has granted an extension for the contract talks.

The company is seeking intervention by Sonora authorities for
the restoration of access to the mine, Mr. Rebolledo revealed to
Dow Jones.  The mine has been blocked by about 60 strikers.

The smelter and refinery at La Caridad are still receiving
concentrates from Cananea, Dow Jones quoted the spokesman
saying.  However, if the strike goes on much longer, the company
may have to declare force majeure on copper deliveries.

Grupo Mexico SA de CV -- http://www.grupomexico.com/-- through
its ownership of Asarco and the Southern Peru Copper Company,
Grupo Mexico is the world's third largest copper producer,
fourth largest silver producer and fifth largest producer of
zinc and molybdenum.

                        *    *     *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings to Grupo Mexico SA de CV:

     -- foreign currency long-term debt, BB; and
     -- local currency long-term debt, BB.


METROFINANCIERA: S&P Assigns BB- Rating on Long-Term Credit
-----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that it assigned its
'BB-' long-term counterparty credit rating to Metrofinanciera
S.A. de C.V. Sociedad de Objeto Limitado.  The outlook is
stable.
     
At the same time, Standard & Poor's assigned its 'B-'
subordinated debt rating to Metrofinanciera's $100 million
perpetual noncumulative subordinated step-up securities.
      
"The ratings assigned to Metrofinanciera are limited by the
relatively high individual concentration on bridge-loans in
Metrofinanciera's loan portfolio, its low coverage of operating
expenses with recurring revenues, and a relatively low capital
base to support the riskier nature of a loan portfolio that is
construction-oriented, and that, to some extent, limits its
growth prospects.  The ratings on Metrofinanciera are supported
by its ability to maintain a high revenue stream, its capacity
and willingness to raise the coverage of nonperforming assets
without significantly affecting its overall profitability, and
its diversified funding base compared to those of its peers,"
said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Francisco Suarez.
     
The rating assigned to Metrofinanciera's perpetual noncumulative
subordinated step-up securities reflects the potential
deferability of interest payments, the subordination of the
notes, the terms and conditions of the issuance, and the overall
financial strength of Metrofinanciera.  According to Standard &
Poor's Criteria on Hybrid Capital, the securities will be
classified as Category 2, Adequate.
     
A relatively high concentration in construction loans is a
constraint on the ratings.  In our view, the risk of
construction loans is higher than that of mortgage loans.  
Ultimately this type of portfolio requires a higher level of
capitalization and a higher degree of coverage of NPAs, as
individual concentrations are naturally high.  As of December
2005, 65% of the total loan portfolio managed by Metrofinanciera
is construction-oriented, and the 10 most important loans
accounted for 3.1x the firm's adjusted common equity-an
improvement over the 4.7x level in 2003.
     
The coverage of operating expenses with recurrent revenues is
relatively low.  As a result of a loan portfolio that focuses on
construction loans, most revenues are nonrecurrent in nature.  
Although the company's efficiency level is adequate, the low
presence of recurrent revenues leads to a low coverage of
operating expenses of 47% as of December 2005.
     
Another constraint on the ratings is the firm's capital base.  
Projected growth by the company is aggressive, and in spite of
strong efforts by Metrofinanciera to leverage its growth
prospects on mortgage loans, the high presence of construction
loans requires a higher level of capitalization.  As a result,
the equity to loans ratio is relatively low, in spite of
improvements in recent years.  As of 2003, Metrofinanciera
posted a debt-to-loans ratio of 7.7%, increasing to 11.8%,
derived from strong internal capital generation, reinvesting in
full such earnings, and the securitizations made by the company.  
We view the hybrid capital as a positive factor that enhances
the company's overall financial flexibility.  The currency
mismatch that this issuance implies for Metrofinanciera is
moderate, since it represents 10.8% of the issuer's on-balance
debt.
     
The high profitability levels, and the willingness to increasing
the coverage of NPAs to levels above the average of other
Sofoles rated by Standard & Poor's support the ratings.  On
average, the industry has coverage of NPAs of 45%, half of what
Metrofinanciera currently has.  In our view, the capability and
the willingness of the company to maintain coverage near the
100% mark distinguishes Metrofinanciera from its peers.
     
Another factor that supports the ratings is the company's
relatively high diversification of funding compared to the
average of the industry.  Metrofinanciera differentiates itself
from its peers by being one of the Sofoles with good access to
the markets.  In 2000, the company began to issue small amounts
of debt to the markets, while it depended mostly on Sociedad
Hipotecaria Federal for funding.  As of December 2005, market
debt represented 40% of the company's total debt. To date, it
has issued short-term debt of MxP5,000 million, performed
securitizations of both construction and mortgages loans worth
MxP5,355 million, and the first cross-border securitization
performed by a Sofol worth $210 million.
     
The outlook is stable.  We expect Metrofinanciera to be able to
sustain adequate profitability and coverage of NPA levels,
according to the risk nature of its portfolio.  If, in addition,
the firm is successful in increasing its coverage levels, as
well as increasing the coverage of operating expenses with
recurring revenues, we could take positive rating actions.  In
contrast, negative rating actions can occur if the recent
improvement in its capitalization levels is reversed.  A debt-
to-adjusted common equity ratio above the 13.5x mark would not
be consistent with current ratings, particularly if higher
leverage relates to short-term market issuances.


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


* PARAGUAY: Willing to Join Bolivia-Uruguay Gas Pipeline Project
----------------------------------------------------------------
President Nicanor Duarte expressed interest in Paraguay's
joining a potential project for a pipeline to carry natural gas
from Bolivia to Uruguay, EFE News Services reports.

Paraguay's commitment to consider taking part in the prospective
initiative was one of the points in a joint declaration signed
by President Duarte and visiting Uruguayan counterpart Tabare
Vazquez.

"The president of Paraguay manifested his government's interest
in participating in such negotiations, particularly in the
construction of a gas pipeline, taking into account that the
shortest distance (from Bolivia) to the centers of consumption
is through Paraguayan territory," according to a joint
declaration signed by Uruguay President Tabare Vasquez and
President Duarte.

Though Bolivia and Paraguay share a common border, a conduit
would still have to cross Argentine and/or Brazilian territory
to reach Uruguay, the EFE states.

Bolivia having estimated reserves of 48 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas, most of it in southeastern fields near its borders
with Argentina and Paraguay, discussed the idea of a pipeline
with Uruguay in 2004.

President Vazquez and Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales,
decided to revive the plan and to invite Paraguay's
participation.

"The energy crisis is an issue that requires much imagination,
much talent and, as President Vazquez said to me, not only
solidarity, (but) fundamentally justice, fair treatment,"
President Duarte said a joint press conference with the
Uruguayan President.

               *    *    *

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 on Paraguay:

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

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

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



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


MUSICLAND HOLDING: US Court Okays Retail Consulting's Employment
----------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
approved the request of Musicland Holding Corp. and its debtor-
affiliates to employ Retail Consulting Services, Inc., as their
exclusive real estate consultant on a final basis.

As previously reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on
Jan. 31, 2006, the Debtors selected RCS because of its
considerable expertise and experience as real estate
consultants.  The Debtors believed that the services to be
provided by RCS is essential to their efforts as debtors-in-
possession and to maximize the value of their assets for the
benefit of their creditors.

RCS will be paid $125,000 per month for lease renegotiations,
rejection claim analysis, and waiver or reduction of prepetition
cure amounts, starting January 1, 2006 until the termination of
the agreement, or unless ordered by the Court.

Upon closing of a transaction that disposes of any or all of the
Disposition Properties, a Consultant will receive:

    * 4% of the total amount of money paid to the Debtors, if no
      broker is used; or

    * 5% of gross proceeds if a co-broker is used.

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. 8; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


ORIENTAL FINANCIAL: Unable to File 2005 Earnings Results on Time
----------------------------------------------------------------
Oriental Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:OFG) announced that it will
be unable to file its report on Form 10-K for the six-month
transition period ended December 31, 2005, due March 16, 2006.
The Group requested an extension of time from the SEC to file
its annual report on Form 10-K.

The reason for the delay is that the Group is reevaluating the
accounting treatment given in previously reported financial
statements to the following two matters:

   (i) certain mortgage loan purchases recorded in the first and
       third quarters of the fiscal year ended June 30, 2005,
       and
  
  (ii) certain employee stock option awards.

The mortgage-related transactions are reflected in the Group's
previously issued financial statements as purchases of
residential mortgage loans secured by first mortgages. If the
Group concludes that such transactions do not qualify as
purchases for accounting purposes, said transactions, with an
outstanding loan principal balance of approximately $85 million,
will be accounted for as commercial loans secured by first
mortgages. The Group anticipates that any revised classification
of these mortgage-related transactions will not result in the
need for additional reserves or the need to adjust stockholders'
equity, net earnings or earnings per share for any period.
Management also expects that any revised classification would
not have a significant impact on its compliance with the
regulatory capital requirements and that, if required, it would
obtain a waiver from the Office of the Commissioner of Financial
Institutions of Puerto Rico with respect to the statutory limit
for individual borrowers.

The review of the employee stock option awards pertains to the
accounting treatment of certain non-traditional antidilution
provisions in the employment contracts of various officers that
may result in some of these awards to be treated as variable
awards as opposed to fixed awards. This may require an
adjustment to the stockholders' equity as of Sep. 30, 2005, June
30, 2005, and the results of operations for the quarter and year
then ended, respectively, and other previously reported periods.
It is expected, however, that the net effect of such adjustments
at Sep. 30, 2005, would reverse in the subsequent quarter and
therefore would not impact total stockholders' equity at Dec.
31, 2005.

The Group's senior management and the Audit Committee of its
Board of Directors are working diligently to complete their
review of these matters. The Group expects to issue its earnings
release shortly after the completion of this review.

              About Oriental Financial Group

Oriental Financial Group Inc. -- http://www.OrientalOnline.com/
-- is a diversified financial holding company operating under
U.S. and Puerto Rico banking laws and regulations.  Oriental
provides comprehensive financial services to its clients
throughout Puerto Rico and offers third party pension plan
administration through wholly owned subsidiary, Caribbean
Pension Consultants, Inc.  The Group's core businesses include a
full range of mortgage, commercial and consumer banking services
offered through 24 financial centers in Puerto Rico, as well as
financial planning, trust, insurance, investment brokerage and
investment banking services.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 13, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned
its 'BB+' long-term counterparty credit rating to Oriental
Financial Group.  

At the same time, Standard & Poor's assigned its 'BBB-'  
counterparty rating to Oriental's principal operating
subsidiary, Oriental Bank & Trust.  

S&P said the outlook for both entities is negative.


SUNCOM WIRELESS: Subsidiary Might File for Bankruptcy Protection
----------------------------------------------------------------
SunCom Wireless Holdings, Inc., delivered its financial
statements for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, to the Securities
and Exchange Commission on Mar. 16, 2006.

The company reported a $496,808,000 net loss on $826,158,000
total revenue for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005.

At Dec. 31, 2005, the company's balance sheet showed
$2,000,219,000 in total assets and $2,083,369,000 in total
liabilities, resulting in a $83,266,000 stockholders' equity
deficit.

                      SunCom Wireless, Inc.

A.  Going Concern Doubt

The independent registered public accounting firm auditing
SunCom Wireless, Inc.'s financials statements for the year ended
Dec. 31, 2005, has expressed substantial doubt about SunCom
Wireless' ability to continue as a going concern.

B.  Likely Default

SunCom Wireless' projected cash flow from operations is not
expected to be sufficient to pay its debt service and fund its
operating expenses and required capital expenditures past early
2007.

The annual debt service on SunCom Wireless' long-term
indebtedness is approximately $150 million.

SunCom Wireless' inability to pay its debt could result in a
default on the indebtedness, which, unless cured or waived,
would have a material adverse effect on its liquidity and
financial position.

C.  Bankruptcy Warning

SunCom Wireless' capital outlays have included license
acquisition costs, capital expenditures for network
construction, funding of operating cash flow losses and other
working capital costs and debt service related expenditures.

SunCom Wireless will have additional capital requirements for
future upgrades due to advances in new technology.  

Approximately $195.1 million of Holdings' short-term investments
are held by SunCom Investment Co., LLC, the immediate parent of
SunCom Wireless, and therefore not currently available to SunCom
Wireless.

Through March 16, 2006, Holdings' management and its board of
directors have not taken any actions to make additional
investments in SunCom Wireless.

Holdings has retained financial and legal advisors to assist it
in evaluating options to improve SunCom Wireless' financial
condition.

If SunCom Wireless cannot obtain additional financing either
from Holdings or an outside source, SunCom Wireless will need to
restructure its balance sheet.

The restructuring will be a prepackaged or prearranged
bankruptcy and implement an alternative financial plan, like the
sale of a significant portion of its assets, to reduce SunCom
Wireless' long-term debt.

Full-text copies of SunCom Wireless Holdings, Inc., financial
statements for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, are available for
free at http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?744

Based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, SunCom Wireless --
http://www.suncom.com/-- fka Triton PCS, Inc., is licensed to  
provide digital wireless communications services in the
southeastern United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands.  As of Dec. 31, 2005, the network covers approximately
14.8 million potential customers in North Carolina, South
Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia and 4.1 million potential
customers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

At Dec. 31, 2005, the company's balance sheet showed a
$83,266,000 stockholders' equity deficit compared to a
$404,459,000 positive equity at Dec. 31, 2004.

                            *   *   *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Mar. 22, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services held its ratings on
Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based SunCom Wireless Holdings Inc. and its
operating subsidiaries, including the 'CCC+' corporate credit
rating, on CreditWatch, where they were placed with negative
implications on Jan. 23, 2006.


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


LLOYDS TSB: Opens Representative Office in Uruguay
--------------------------------------------------
Lloyds TSB Bank plc has opened a representative office in
Uruguay to serve private banking customers.

"The office in Uruguay is a newly established private banking
representative office that we opened to serve the specific needs
of our private banking customers," a Lloyds TSB official
informed Business News Americas.

The office will service customers from Uruguay, Argentina,
Brasil, Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia.  Lloyds TSB already
operates a branch in Uruguay, Business News relates.

Lloyds TSB has also announced it would return to Brazil with a
representation office after selling its onshore and offshore
operations there to rival bank, UK-based giant HSBC in 2002.

In February, Lloyds sold its Paraguayan unit to HSBC for US$15
million.  In 2004 Lloyds TSB scaled down its presence in Latin
America by offloading its operations in Argentina, Colombia,
Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 4, 2005,
Moody's Investors Service assigned a Baa2 long term global local
currency deposit ratings to Lloyds TSB Bank, plc (Uruguay).  The
ratings agency also assigned first time National Scale Rating of
Ba2.uy for the bank's foreign currency deposits.

At the same time, Moody's affirmed the bank's ratings outlined
below:

   -- Long Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Caa1
   -- Short Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Not Prime
   -- National Scale Rating for Local Currency deposits: Aaa.uy


* Uruguay & Argentina Cancel Meeting to Discuss Pulp Mill Issue
---------------------------------------------------------------
A meeting to discuss a pulp mill construction dispute between
the presidents of Argentina and Uruguay on March 29 has been
postponed.  Neither government has given a reason for the
suspension.

No new date for the meeting has been set, but authorities
indicated they were working toward holding a meeting within a
week.

Uruguay's construction of two pulp mills along the border with
Argentina has caused protests to erupt.  Uruguay later agreed
for a 90-day construction suspension to allow for an
environmental impact study.

Argentine protesters alleged that the US$1.6 billion two pulp
mills will cause water and air pollution due to their chlorine
bleaching processes.

On the other hand, Uruguayan officials say the plants insisted
that the plants will meet international environmental standards,
create 600 jobs and bring in millions of dollars (euros)
annually.

An Oy Metsa-Botnia AB consortium, made up of a group of Finnish
investors, would operate one plant. Another is being built by
Spain's Grupo Empresarial ENCE.

                        *    *    *

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


* VENEZUELA: Declares Exxon Mobil Unwelcome in Country
------------------------------------------------------
Oil minister Rafael Ramirez was quoted by Business News Americas
as saying that Exxon Mobil Corp. is no longer welcome in oil-
rich Venezuela.

Exxon Mobil has resisted tax increases and contract changes that
are part of a policy by President Hugo Chavez's government to
"re-nationalize" the oil industry.  It also was the only company
to publicly criticize a royalty increase on extra-heavy oil
production in the Orinoco river basin in 2004.  Exxon even
threatened international arbitration against Venezuela.

In 2005, Exxon sold its stake to its partner Repsol YPF to avoid
signing new joint ventures with Venezuela's state-owned company
PDVSA.

Private oil companies signed preliminary agreements last year to
migrate all 32 existing operating agreements in the country to
new joint ventures controlled by PDVSA, which will have an
average 60% stake in all new joint venture contracts.  The 32
fields previously under operating agreements are now under a
transition scheme controlled by special "transitional technical
committees" to guarantee their normal operations and transition
to the new contract model.

Minister Ramirez said in an interview with the state-run TV
broadcaster:

"There as some companies that prefer to leave than accept the
policy changes."  

"Exxon Mobil ... preferred to sell to Repsol, its partner in the
agreement, rather than adjust."

"We said we don't want them to be here then.  We have many
partners, many capabilities and many countries that are willing
to manage our resources with us."

Other oil companies, including ConocoPhillips, Total, Chevron
Corp. and Statoil, agreed to the new terms without a struggle.

Exxon Mobil, the world's second-largest integrated oil company
is based in Irving, Texas.

                        *    *    *

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: Denies Acquiring US$2.8 Billion Argentine Bonds
------------------------------------------------------------
Nelson Merentes -- Venezuela's Finance Minister -- denied that
his country's purchase of Argentine bonds reached about $2.8
billion, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Venezuela has bought only $2.5 billion in Argentine debt, Mr.
Merentes said to Dow Jones during a visit to the National
Assembly's Finance Commission.  According to him, this included
the latest $307 million debt buy reported in the press.

Dow Jones recalls that Merentes and his staff had announced
earlier that roughly $2.5 billion in Argentine debt had been
purchased in 2005 and early 2006.

Argentina's Official Bulletin reported on March 27 that
Venezuela would acquire $307 million in Bonden 2012 bonds, Dow
Jones relates.  Felisa Miceli -- Argentina's Economy Minister --
had also suggested that Venezuela could purchase up to $3
billion in Argentina's debt this year.

As indicated by finance ministry data, the Venezuelan government
has sold approximately $1.1 billion of the acquired Argentine
debt.  It resulted to about $75 million profit.

                        *    *    *

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.

                        *    *    *

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


* VENEZUELA: Suspends Ban On U.S. Air Carriers Until April 25   
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Associated Press reports that Venezuela has moved to April
25 from March 30, a ban against certain United States' airlines.   

Venezuela threatened Flights of Continental Airlines Inc. and
Delta Air Lines Inc. while AMR Corp.'s flights will be
reduced.

The Ministry of Infrastructure said in a statement that April 25
was the new deadline by which the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration must drop restrictions against Venezuelan
carriers or face the retaliatory measure.  That would give time
for FAA officials in Caracas to finish their safety audit of the
country and upgrade Venezuela's safety ranking, the AP relates.

Venezuela is protesting a 1995 safety restriction that
downgraded the country's security, safety and technical rating
to Category 2.

Under that category, Venezuelan airlines are prohibited from
flying their own planes to the U.S. or from launching new
services such as expansions or changes in routes.

                        *    *    *

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: Wants ENI to Pay US$46.2 Million in Back Taxes
-----------------------------------------------------------
Seniat, Venezuela's taxing authority, froze the accounts of oil
company ENI of Italy.  The tax authority demands US$46.3 million
in back taxes that ENI allegedly incurred from 2001 to 2004.

As previously reported, Seniat has also demanded {provide
background}

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has stepped up measures to levy
higher taxes on oil companies since mid-2005, based on
legislation adopted in 2001 to increase the tax rate from 36%
percent to 50%

Seniat is seeking back taxes owed by 22 domestic and foreign oil
companies who signed a contract in the 1990s with state- owned
Petroleos de Venezuela for the exploration of the country's
energy resources.

                        *    *    *

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, Argentina & Brazil Postpone Pipeline Deal Signing  
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dow Jones Newswires reports that the presidents of Argentina,
Brazil and Venezuela have suspended signing a deal for a
proposed natural gas pipeline that will run from Caracas to
Buenos Aires.

According to the Argentine presidential office, a new signing
date has not been set.  No reason was given for the delay, Dow
Jones says.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made the pipeline proposal
aiming to make Latin America independent from the United States.  
The project, widely opposed by environmentalists, is said to
require US$20 billion.

                        *    *    *

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


                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

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
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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          * * * End of Transmission * * *