TCRLA_Public/060426.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Wednesday, April 26, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 82

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

ARADANAZ SAICIF: Creditors' Claims Verification Ends May 12
HIPOTECARIO: S&P Says Bond Offering Raise Won't Change Ratings
BODEGAS CUVILLIER: Court Approves Reorganization Petition
EFE CONSTRUCCIONES: Proofs of Claim Filing Ends on May 31
FRISAC ARGENTINA: Claims Verification Deadline Is May 19

GUIDO VENTURA: Last Day for Filing Proofs of Claim on May 18
HEROMETAL SA: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims After June 26
LOMA NEGRA: S&P Upgrades Corporate Credit Rating to BB- from B+
MULTICANAL: APE In Danger of Getting Rejected by New York Court
PAN AMERICAN: S&P Ups Corporate Credit Rating to BB- from B+

PEDRO STORM: Seeks Court Approval to Restructure Debts
PRINCESA PARK: Trustee Stops Validating Claims After June 29
RIVERA INMOBILIARIA: Validation of Claims Ends on May 17
SOLANO LOPEZ: Creditors Must Submit Proofs of Claim by June 8
TELECOM ARGENTINA: S&P Upgrades Corporate Credit Rating to B

TELECOM PERSONAL: S&P Ups Corporate Credit Rating to B from B-
TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: S&P Raises Corporate Credit Rating to B
TELEFONICA HOLDING: S&P Upgrades Corporate Credit Rating to B

* ARGENTINA: S&P Upgrades Currency Ratings to B from B-

B E R M U D A

GALVEX HOLDINGS: Committee Hires DLA Piper as Bankruptcy Counsel

B O L I V I A

* BOLIVIA: Expels EBX After Failing to Secure Env't Clearance
* BOLIVIA: President Sacks Deputy Telecoms Minister

B R A Z I L

BANCO DO BRASIL: Signs Financial Services Pact with Lojas Maia
BRASIL TELECOM: Records 13% Corporate Sales Growth in 2005
COMPANHIA FORCA: S&P Affirms B+ Ratings With Stable Outlook
COMPANHIA SIDERURGICA: Export Revenues Up by 140% to US$84.3M
GERDAU SA: Wants Spot Among World's Top Ten Steelmakers

GOL LINHAS: Announces Payment of Quarterly Dividends
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Denies Seizure of Bolivian Oilfields
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Likely Purchaser of Citgo-Lyondell Refinery
PRODUTOS ALIMENTICIOS: Completes Restructuring of US$57M Debt
USINAS SIDERURGICAS: Plans to Increase Capital to US$2.52 Bil.

VARIG: Crisis Proves Good for Gol's and Tam Airlines' Stocks

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

FK CAPITAL: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for May 4
GPF ALMATIS: Final Shareholders General Meeting Set for May 8
GPF ALMATIS HOLDINGS: Holds Last Shareholders Meeting on May 8
LION HEART: Liquidator Presenting Liquidation Progress on May 4

C O L O M B I A

* COLOMBIA: Venezuela Will Impose Trade Barriers Against Country

C O S T A   R I C A

* COSTA RICA: Limon & Moin Work Stoppage Dispute May Escalate

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Energy Sector Incurred Higher Losses

E C U A D O R

* ECUADOR: Firms Will File Suit Over Reform on Oil Tax Law

E L   S A L V A D O R

* EL SALVADOR: Social Groups Rally Against Canadian Mining Firms

G U A T E M A L A

* GUATEMALA: Seeks Deal to Buy Discounted Crude from Venezuela

M E X I C O

ALMACENADORA SUR: Moody's Puts B2 Global Local Currency Rating
DIRECTV GROUP: Extends Service & Support Pact with TiVo

P A N A M A

* PANAMA: President Seeks Citizens' Support on Canal Expansion

P E R U

* PERU: Venezuela Will Impose Trade Barriers Against Country

P U E R T O   R I C O

G+G RETAIL: Panel Hires Jaspan Schlesinger as Conflicts Counsel
GLOBAL HOME: Section 341(a) Meeting Scheduled for May 8
OCA INC: Panel Taps Loughlin Meghji+Company as Financial Advisor

V E N E Z U E L A

CITGO: Hires Morgan Stanley as Refinery Sale Financial Adviser
CITGO: Valero Energy May Present Bid for Houston Refinery
EMPRESAS ICA: Venezuelan Unit Inks Four Civil Construction Deal

* VENEZUELA: Guatemala Seeks Deal to Buy Discounted Crude
* VENEZUELA: Sudeban Proposes to Supervise Microbanks
* VENEZUELA: Will Impose Trade Barriers on Colombia & Peru


                            - - - - -


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


ARADANAZ SAICIF: Creditors' Claims Verification Ends May 12
-----------------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims against Aradanaz
S.A.I.C.I.F. y A. will end on May 12, 2006, states Infobae.
Liliana Ethel Villar, the court-appointed trustee, will submit
the validation results as individual reports on June 30, 2006.
She will also present a general report in court on Aug. 2, 2006.

On Nov. 30, 2006, the company's creditors will vote on the
settlement proposal prepared by the company.

Infobae adds that a Mendoza court handles the company's
reorganization case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Aradanaz S.A.I.C.I.F. y A.
         Ruta 228 Km. 1,200 Necochea
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Liliana Ethel Villar
         Calle 54 Nro. 3276 Necochea
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


HIPOTECARIO: S&P Says Bond Offering Raise Won't Change Ratings
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that its ratings on
Banco Hipotecario S.A. (B/Stable/--) will not be affected by the
increase in the amount of the new note to US$250 million from
US$200 million, rated 'B' on April 6, 2006.  The new notes,
issued under the US$1.2 billion senior unsecured global MTN
program, will bear interest at a fixed rate of 9.75% and have
bullet maturity in 2016.  The issuance is part of a liability
management initiative that will allow Banco Hipotecario to
expand its loan portfolio without damaging its currently high
liquidity position, as well as to retire part of the debt issued
in the context of its debt restructuring in 2004.  With this
transaction, the bank will have successfully placed US$500
million during the past six months, showing the bank's ability
to tap once again the international capital markets.


BODEGAS CUVILLIER: Court Approves Reorganization Petition
---------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires' Court No. 1 approved a petition for reorganization
filed by Bodegas Cuvillier S.A., according to a report from
Argentine daily La Nacion.

Trustee Estudio Guaita-Suez Asociados will verify claims from
the company's creditors.  After a verification period, the
trustee will submit the individual and general reports in court.
Dates for submission of these reports and the verification
period are yet to be disclosed.

La Nacion did not reveal in its Web site the deadlines for the
submission of claims and the presentation of the individual
reports in court.

The informative assembly will be held on April 13, 2007.
Creditors will vote to ratify the completed settlement plan
during the said assembly.

The city's Clerk No. 2 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

             Bodegas Cuvillier S.A.
             Cerrito S.A.
             Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

             Estudio Guaita-Suez Asociados
             Carlos Calvo 839
             Buenos Aires, Argentina


EFE CONSTRUCCIONES: Proofs of Claim Filing Ends on May 31
---------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of bankrupt company Efe Construcciones S.R.L. are
required to present proofs of their claim to Bartolome Bavio,
the court-appointed trustee, for verification on or before May
31, 2006, La Nacion reports.  Creditors who fail to submit the
required documents will not qualify for any post- liquidation
distributions.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 25 declared the company bankrupt, in
favor of the company's creditor, Hierros Campana S.A., whom the
company owes US$30,630.28.

Clerk No. 49 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Efe Construcciones S.R.L.
         Avenida Corrientes 2024
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Bartolome Bavio
         Avenida de Mayo 1324
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


FRISAC ARGENTINA: Claims Verification Deadline Is May 19
--------------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims against Frisac Argentina
S.A. -- company under reorganization -- will end on May 19,
2006, states Infobae.

Miguel Angel Amalfitano, Juan Francisco Arrechea and Omar Daniel
Brandan, the court-appointed trustees, will submit the
validation results as individual reports on July 4, 2006.  They
will also present a general report in court on Aug. 15, 2006.

The trustees can be reached at:

           Miguel Angel Amalfitano
           Juan Francisco Arrechea
           Omar Daniel Brandan
           Avenida Colon 2727
           Mar del Plata
           Buenos Aires, Argentina


GUIDO VENTURA: Last Day for Filing Proofs of Claim on May 18
------------------------------------------------------------
Marcelo Fabian Francisco -- the trustee appointed by the Buenos
Aires court for the Guido Ventura S.A. bankruptcy case -- will
stop validating claims from the company's creditors on
May 18, 2006, Infobae relates.

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

Guido Ventura S.A. can be reached at:

         Paraguay 4394
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Marcelo Fabian Francisco
         Uruguay 328
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


HEROMETAL SA: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims After June 26
----------------------------------------------------------
Gustavo Alejandro Pagliere, the trustee appointed by the Buenos
Aires court for the bankruptcy proceeding of Herometal S.A.,
will no longer entertain claims that are submitted after June
26, 2006, Infobae reports.  Creditors whose claims are not
validated will be disqualified from receiving any payment that
the company will make.

Individual reports on the validated claims will be presented in
court on Aug. 21, 2006.  The submission of a general report on
the case will follow on Oct. 10, 2006.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Gustavo Alejandro Pagliere
         Tucuman 1424
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


LOMA NEGRA: S&P Upgrades Corporate Credit Rating to BB- from B+
---------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign and local
currency corporate credit ratings on several Argentine entities
and removed them from CreditWatch, where they were placed with
positive implications on March 23, 2006.  The rating of Loma
Negra C.I.A.S.A. was upgraded to BB- from B+.

The rating actions follow the upgrade on the global foreign and
local currency ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B' from
'B-' and the ratings on Argentina's national scale to 'raAA-'
from 'raA'.

Together with the sovereign upgrade, the perception of the
transfer and convertibility risk for Argentina was raised to
'BB-', reflecting Standard & Poor's perception that the
government's willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange
market has reduced consistently with its stronger repayment
ability.

Following the upgrade on the Republic of Argentina, Standard &
Poor's has evaluated the impact of the improved external and
macroeconomic environment and fiscal flexibility that led to
that rating action over its perception of the general economic
risks that the private sector faces when operating in the
country.

The upgrade on Loma is based on Standard & Poor's perception of
increased incentives for its shareholder, Camargo Correa
Cimentos S.A (BB/Stable/--) to support its Argentine subsidiary
as a result of the strong demand prospects given the actual and
expected performance of construction activity in Argentina,
Loma's adequate financial profile supported by its sound cash
generation ability, and a manageable maturity profile.

Standard & Poor's expects to announce any potential changes in
national scale ratings within the next few days.


MULTICANAL: APE In Danger of Getting Rejected by New York Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Multicanal SA's acuerdo preventivo extrajudicial agreement
formulated in 2003 is in danger of being rebuffed by the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

At a hearing last month, the Honorable Allan Gropper ruled that
Multicanal is governed by US Securities laws, which means, the
Court could refuse implementation of the APE.

The judge found that there was no "safe harbour" for
Multicanal's offer to its creditors under rule 152 of the 1933
Securities Act, and that a fairness hearing would have to be
held to decide whether another section -- section 3(a)(10)
-- could create the necessary exemption.

The APE was confirmed on April 14, 2004, and got the US Court's
recognition, pursuant to Section 304 of the US Bankruptcy Code,
on Sept. 28, 2005.  The Honorable Allan Gropper's decision is
available free of charge at:

             http://bankrupt.com/misc/Multicanal.pdf

However, Judge Gropper noted during last month's hearing that
the APE's implementation has taken a long time, which he says,
could prejudice creditors' rights.

Judge Gropper emphasized that he recognized the APE's legality
in 2005 under Section 304 to provide for "an expeditious and
economical administration" of the foreign company's bankruptcy
proceeding.  The delay, the judge said, is making him question
the fairness of the APE.

Multicanal is represented by:

       Andres de la Cruz, Esq.
       Lindsee P. Granfield, Esq.
       Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
       One Liberty Plaza
       New York, NY 10006-1470
       Tel: +1 212 225 2000
       Fax: +1 212 225 3999

          -- and --

       Jose Mar¨a Saenz Valiente
       Maria Lucila Romero
       Ivan Lorenzo
       Saenz Valiente Asociados
       Parana 754 - 8§ Piso
       (C1017AAP) Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires
       Argentina
       Tel: (54 11) 4816-6996
       Email: laura@ssvyasoc.com.ar

Multicanal S.A. -- http://www.multicanal.com.ar/-- is an
Argentinean multiple cable systems operator with its principal
operations in Argentina and smaller operations in Uruguay and
Paraguay.  Grupo Clarin SA owns Multicanal.

                        *    *    *

The Argentine arm of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned
raD ratings on Multicanal SA's debts:

   -- Obligaciones Negociables Serie C for US$150,000,000,
      included under the program of ON for US$1050 million,

   -- Obligaciones Negociables simples, with due in 10 years for
      US$125,000,000,

   -- Serie J of ON for US$144,000,000, under the program of ON
      for US$1050 million, and

   -- Obligaciones Negociables simples, with due in 5 years for
      US$125,000,000.


PAN AMERICAN: S&P Ups Corporate Credit Rating to BB- from B+
------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign and local
currency corporate credit ratings on several Argentine entities
and removed them from CreditWatch, where they were placed with
positive implications on March 23, 2006.  Pan American Energy
LLC's rating was upgraded to BB- from B+.

The rating actions follow the upgrade on the global foreign and
local currency ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B' from
'B-' and the ratings on Argentina's national scale to 'raAA-'
from 'raA'.

Together with the sovereign upgrade, the perception of the
transfer and convertibility risk for Argentina was raised to
'BB-', reflecting Standard & Poor's perception that the
government's willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange
market has reduced consistently with its stronger repayment
ability.

Following the upgrade on the Republic of Argentina, Standard &
Poor's has evaluated the impact of the improved external and
macroeconomic environment and fiscal flexibility that led to
that rating action over its perception of the general economic
risks that the private sector faces when operating in the
country.

The upgrade on Pan American Energy LLC to 'BB-' from 'B+'
reflects Standard & Poor's conclusion that the company's
outstanding financial and adequate operating performance coupled
with short- and medium-term positive price prospects have
strengthened PAE's financial profile and the company's ability
to service its financial obligations even under more severe
stress scenarios and within the uncertainties of operating in
the volatile Argentine environment.

Standard & Poor's expects to announce any potential changes in
national scale ratings within the next few days.


PEDRO STORM: Seeks Court Approval to Restructure Debts
------------------------------------------------------
Pedro Storm & Cia Ltda., a company operating in Buenos Aires,
has requested for reorganization after failing to pay its
liabilities.

The reorganization petition, once approved by the court, will
allow the company to negotiate a settlement with its creditors
in order to avoid a straight liquidation.

The case is pending before Court No. 21.  Clerk No. 41 assists
on this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Pedro Storm & Cia Ltda.
         Andonaequi 1706
         Planta en Salta 238, Lanus
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


PRINCESA PARK: Trustee Stops Validating Claims After June 29
------------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Armando Raimundo will no longer validate
creditors' claims against bankrupt company Princesa Park S.A.
that are submitted after June 29, 2006, Infobae reports.
Creditors whose claims are not verified by the trustee will be
disqualified from receiving any distribution or payment from the
company.

Infobae did not reveal in its Web site the dates for the
presentation of individual and general reports.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Armando Raimundo
         25 de Mayo 2980 Mar del Plata
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


RIVERA INMOBILIARIA: Validation of Claims Ends on May 17
--------------------------------------------------------
Luis Gabriel Plizzo, trustee appointed by the Buenos Aires court
for the bankruptcy proceeding of Rivera Inmobiliaria S.A., will
no longer entertain claims that are submitted after May 17,
2006, Infobae reports.  Creditors whose claims are not validated
will be disqualified from receiving any payment that the company
will make.

Individual reports on the validated claims will be presented in
court on July 3, 2006.  The submission of the general report on
the case will follow on Aug. 29, 2006.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Juan F. Aranguren 2941
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Avenida Roque Saenz Pena 651
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


SOLANO LOPEZ: Creditors Must Submit Proofs of Claim by June 8
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Solano Lopez S.R.L. are required to submit proofs
of claim by June 8, 2006.  Infobae relates that the claims will
undergo a verification phase.  Claims that are verified will
then be submitted in court as individual reports on Aug. 4,
2006.

A general report, which will contain the company's audited
business records as well as a summary of events pertaining to
the liquidation, will be presented in court on Sept. 20, 2006.

Solano Lopez S.R.L. was declared bankrupt by a Buenos Aires
court.  Pablo L. Peregal was appointed as trustee.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Pablo L. Peregal
         L.N. Alem 651
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TELECOM ARGENTINA: S&P Upgrades Corporate Credit Rating to B
------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign and local
currency corporate credit ratings on several Argentine entities
and removed them from CreditWatch, where they were placed with
positive implications on March 23, 2006.  Telecom Argentina
S.A.'s rating was upgraded to B from B-.

The rating actions follow the upgrade on the global foreign and
local currency ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B' from
'B-' and the ratings on Argentina's national scale to 'raAA-'
from 'raA'.

Together with the sovereign upgrade, the perception of the
transfer and convertibility risk for Argentina was raised to
'BB-', reflecting Standard & Poor's perception that the
government's willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange
market has reduced consistently with its stronger repayment
ability.

Following the upgrade on the Republic of Argentina, Standard &
Poor's has evaluated the impact of the improved external and
macroeconomic environment and fiscal flexibility that led to
that rating action over its perception of the general economic
risks that the private sector faces when operating in the
country.

While the telecom sector is strongly influenced by regulations
and prior to the sovereign rating action was somewhat limited by
the credit quality of the government, Standard & Poor's believe
that the financial performance of the players offsets to
different degrees the regulatory challenges that lie ahead,
mainly the renegotiation of the fixed-line tariffs and licenses.

The upgrade on Telecom Argentina S.A. mirrors Standard & Poor's
expectations that the company will further consolidate its
financial profile and credit metrics over the short to medium
term as a result of additional debt reductions and improving
mobile operational results.

Standard & Poor's expects to announce any potential changes in
national scale ratings within the next few days.


TELECOM PERSONAL: S&P Ups Corporate Credit Rating to B from B-
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign and local
currency corporate credit ratings on several Argentine entities
and removed them from CreditWatch, where they were placed with
positive implications on March 23, 2006.  Telecom Personal
S.A.'s rating was upgraded to B from B-.

The rating actions follow the upgrade on the global foreign and
local currency ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B' from
'B-' and the ratings on Argentina's national scale to 'raAA-'
from 'raA'.

Together with the sovereign upgrade, the perception of the
transfer and convertibility risk for Argentina was raised to
'BB-', reflecting Standard & Poor's perception that the
government's willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange
market has reduced consistently with its stronger repayment
ability.

Following the upgrade on the Republic of Argentina, Standard &
Poor's has evaluated the impact of the improved external and
macroeconomic environment and fiscal flexibility that led to
that rating action over its perception of the general economic
risks that the private sector faces when operating in the
country.

While the telecom sector is strongly influenced by regulations
and prior to the sovereign rating action was somewhat limited by
the credit quality of the government, Standard & Poor's believe
that the financial performance of the players offsets to
different degrees the regulatory challenges that lie ahead,
mainly the renegotiation of the fixed-line tariffs and licenses.

The upgrade on Telecom Argentina S.A. mirrors Standard & Poor's
expectations that the company will further consolidate its
financial profile and credit metrics over the short to medium
term as a result of additional debt reductions and improving
mobile operational results.

The rating action on Telecom Personal S.A. follows the upgrade
of Telecom Argentina, reflecting the close linkage between the
credit quality of both entities. The strengths highlighted
should allow all these companies to weather a certain level of
unfavorable changes in Argentina's macroeconomic environment
under a scenario of continuing regulatory risk and no or minimal
tariff increases.

Standard & Poor's expects to announce any potential changes in
national scale ratings within the next few days.


TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: S&P Raises Corporate Credit Rating to B
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign and local
currency corporate credit ratings on several Argentine entities
and removed them from CreditWatch, where they were placed with
positive implications on March 23, 2006.  Telefonica de
Argentina S.A.'s foreign currency rating was upgraded to B from
B-.

The rating actions follow the upgrade on the global foreign and
local currency ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B' from
'B-' and the ratings on Argentina's national scale to 'raAA-'
from 'raA'.

Together with the sovereign upgrade, the perception of the
transfer and convertibility risk for Argentina was raised to
'BB-', reflecting Standard & Poor's perception that the
government's willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange
market has reduced consistently with its stronger repayment
ability.

Following the upgrade on the Republic of Argentina, Standard &
Poor's has evaluated the impact of the improved external and
macroeconomic environment and fiscal flexibility that led to
that rating action over its perception of the general economic
risks that the private sector faces when operating in the
country.


While the telecom sector is strongly influenced by regulations
and prior to the sovereign rating action was somewhat limited by
the credit quality of the government, Standard & Poor's believe
that the financial performance of the players offsets to
different degrees the regulatory challenges that lie ahead,
mainly the renegotiation of the fixed-line tariffs and licenses.

In this context, the upgrade on Telefonica de Argentina S.A
reflects the strengthening in the company's ability to service
its financial obligations as a result of significant debt
reductions and positive demand prospects.

Standard & Poor's expects to announce any potential changes in
national scale ratings within the next few days.


TELEFONICA HOLDING: S&P Upgrades Corporate Credit Rating to B
-------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign and local
currency corporate credit ratings on several Argentine entities
and removed them from CreditWatch, where they were placed with
positive implications on March 23, 2006.  Telefonica Holding de
Argentina's rating was upgraded to B from B-.

The rating actions follow the upgrade on the global foreign and
local currency ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B' from
'B-' and the ratings on Argentina's national scale to 'raAA-'
from 'raA'.

Together with the sovereign upgrade, the perception of the
transfer and convertibility risk for Argentina was raised to
'BB-', reflecting Standard & Poor's perception that the
government's willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange
market has reduced consistently with its stronger repayment
ability.

Following the upgrade on the Republic of Argentina, Standard &
Poor's has evaluated the impact of the improved external and
macroeconomic environment and fiscal flexibility that led to
that rating action over its perception of the general economic
risks that the private sector faces when operating in the
country.

While the telecom sector is strongly influenced by regulations
and prior to the sovereign rating action was somewhat limited by
the credit quality of the government, Standard & Poor's believe
that the financial performance of the players offsets to
different degrees the regulatory challenges that lie ahead,
mainly the renegotiation of the fixed-line tariffs and licenses.

In this context, the upgrade on Telefonica de Argentina S.A
reflects the strengthening in the company's ability to service
its financial obligations as a result of significant debt
reductions and positive demand prospects.

The rating action on Telefonica Holding de Argentina follows the
upgrade of Telefonica de Argentina, its main source of funds.

Standard & Poor's expects to announce any potential changes in
national scale ratings within the next few days.


* ARGENTINA: S&P Upgrades Currency Ratings to B from B-
-------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign and local
currency corporate credit ratings on several Argentine entities
and removed them from CreditWatch, where they were placed with
positive implications on March 23, 2006.  The rating actions
follow the upgrade on the global foreign and local currency
ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B' from 'B-' and the
ratings on Argentina's national scale to 'raAA-' from 'raA'.

Together with the sovereign upgrade, the perception of the
transfer and convertibility risk for Argentina was raised to
'BB-', reflecting Standard & Poor's perception that the
government's willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange
market has reduced consistently with its stronger repayment
ability.

Following the upgrade on the Republic of Argentina, Standard &
Poor's has evaluated the impact of the improved external and
macroeconomic environment and fiscal flexibility that led to
that rating action over its perception of the general economic
risks that the private sector faces when operating in the
country.

"While there is a direct impact on the financial sector given
the close linkage between the credit quality of the sovereign
and that of the financial system, we do not perceive a
significant change in the operating environment for Argentine
corporations, and therefore most of the corporate ratings in the
country will remain unchanged," said Standard & Poor's credit
analyst Marta Castelli.  The rating upside for Argentine
companies remains limited not only by the institutional
environment in the country but also by some company-specific
factors such as the very high dollar-denominated indebtedness.

The upgrade on the sovereign rating of Argentina reflects
Standard & Poor's opinion about the country's ability and
willingness to meet its financial obligations as they come due.
Although intertwined, the ability of the companies operating in
the country to serve its own financial obligations does not
follow the same pattern and is influenced by other risks, such
as the strength of institutions, the predictability of the
regulatory environment, the influence of macroeconomic
variables, the ability to borrow in favorable conditions, and so
forth.

"Companies operating in Argentina continue to face significant
regulatory and institutional risks.  In addition, inflationary
pressures as well as the mechanisms used by the government to
try to control them have introduced additional risks that might
condition credit quality going forward.  On the positive side,
continuing economic growth ensures that demand will remain
strong at least in the medium term.  In addition, significant
fiscal surpluses result in modest needs for the government to
access capital markets and therefore contribute to the existing
abundant liquidity in the country," added Standard & Poor's
credit analyst Pablo Lutereau.

As a result, the rating changes reflect sector- and credit-
specific factors rather than a perception of a general
improvement in credit quality in the country.

Standard & Poor's expects to announce any potential changes in
national scale ratings within the next few days.

The local and foreign currency issuer credit ratings affected
are listed below:

                                  To             From
Pan American Energy LLC           BB-/Stable/--  B+/Watch Pos/--
Loma Negra C.I.A.S.A.             B+/Stable/--   B/Watch Pos/--
Telecom Argentina S.A.            B/Stable/--    B-/Watch Pos/--
Telecom Personal S.A.             B/Stable/--    B-/Watch Pos/--
Telefonica de Argentina S.A.      B/Stable/--    B-/Watch Pos/--
Telefonica Holding                B/Stable/--    B-/Watch Pos/--
  de Argentina SA


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


GALVEX HOLDINGS: Committee Hires DLA Piper as Bankruptcy Counsel
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors appointed in
Galvex Holdings Limited and its debtor-affiliates' chapter 11
cases sought and obtained authority from the U.S. Bankruptcy
Court for the Southern District of New York to employ DLA Piper
Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP as its bankruptcy counsel.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Mar. 27, 2006,
DLA Piper is expected to:

    (a) advise the Committee with respect to its rights, duties
        and powers in the Debtors' chapter 11 cases;

    (b) assist and advise the Committee in its consultations
        with the Debtors relative to the administration of the
        chapter 11 cases;

    (c) assist the Committee in its review and analysis of any
        and all offers to purchase the Debtors' assets and asset
        purchase agreements;

    (d) assist the Committee in examining and analyzing the
        propriety of inter-Debtor agreements;

    (e) assist and advise the Committee as to whether dismissal
        of the Debtors' cases is appropriate and in the best
        interest of creditors;

    (f) assist the Committee in analyzing the claims of the
        Debtors' creditors and the Debtors' capital structure
        And in negotiating with holders of claims and equity
        interests;

    (g) assist the Committee in its investigation of the acts,
        conduct, assets, liabilities and financial condition of
        the Debtors and of the operation of the Debtors'
        businesses;

    (h) assist the Committee in its analysis of, and
        negotiations with, the Debtors or any third party
        concerning matters related to, among other things, the
        assumption or rejection of certain leases of non-
        residential real property and executory contracts, asset
        dispositions, financing of other transactions and the
        terms of one or more plans of reorganization for the
        Debtors and accompanying disclosure statements and
        related plan documents;

    (i) assist and advise the Committee as to its communications
        to the general creditor body regarding significant
        matters in these chapter 11 cases;

    (j) represent the Committee at all hearings and other
        proceedings;

    (k) review and analyze applications, orders, statements of
        operations and schedules filed with the Court and advise
        the Committee as to their propriety, and to the extent
        deemed appropriate by the Committee support, join or
        object thereto;

    (l) advise and assist the Committee with respect to any
        legislative, regulatory or governmental activities;

    (m) assist the Committee in preparing pleadings and
        applications as may be necessary in furtherance of the
        Committee's interests and objectives;

    (n) prepare, on behalf of the Committee, any pleadings,
        including without limitation, motions, memoranda,
        complaints, adversary complaints, objections or comments
        in connection with any of the foregoing;

    (o) investigate and analyze any claims against the Debtor's
        secured lenders;

    (p) advise and assist the Committee in its review and
        analysis of the Debtors' corporate governance; and

    (q) perform such other legal services as may be required or
        are otherwise deemed to be in the interests of the
        Committee in accordance with the Committee's powers and
        duties as set forth in the Bankruptcy Code,
        Bankruptcy Rules or other applicable law.

Thomas R. Califano, Esq., a partner at DLA Piper, tells the
Court that the Firm's professionals bill:

         Professional                    Hourly Rate
         ------------                    -----------
         Partners                        $610 - $650
         Special Counsel and Counsel         $550
         Associates                      $275 - $485
         Paraprofessionals                   $225

Mr. Califano assures the Court that the Firm is "disinterested"
as that term is defined in Section 101(14) of the Bankruptcy
Court.

                    About Galvex Holdings

Headquartered in New York City, New York, Galvex Holdings
Limited -- http://www.galvex.com/-- and its affiliates operate
the largest independent galvanizing line in Europe.  The Debtors
have offices in New York, Tallinn, Bermuda, Finland, Ukraine,
Germany and the United Kingdom.  The company and four of its
affiliates filed for chapter 11 protection on Jan. 17, 2006
(Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Case No. 06-10082).  David Neier, Esq., at
Winston & Strawn LLP, represents the Debtors in their
restructuring efforts.  Galvex Capital, LLC, is represented by
Gerard DiConza, Esq., at DiConza Law, P.C.  Thomas R. Califano,
Esq., at DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP, represents the
Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors.  When the Debtors
filed for protection from their creditors, they estimated assets
and debts of more than US$100 million.


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


* BOLIVIA: Expels EBX After Failing to Secure Env't Clearance
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Bolivian government has asked Brazilian steelmaker, EBX, to
exit the country after failing to secure an environmental
license to build a US$148 million pig-iron plant along the
Bolivia-Brazil border.

The government's move is also dictated by a need to settle a
power struggle between the Morales administration and the local
officials of Puerto Suarez in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, whose
citizens are threatened by the termination of the plant's
construction.  The protests resulted to the kidnapping of three
cabinet ministers and the closure of the international border.

According to the Financial Times, Santa Cruz has been at odds
with the Morales administration because the province is a right-
wing stronghold where President Evo Morales does not have a
strong support.

Local civic committees in Santa Cruz called on President Morales
not to forget his fiduciary duty to his people.  The groups
accused the administration of depriving the region's populace of
jobs and livelihood opportunities and has generated an economic
depression in the area.

Meanwhile, Bolivia's vice president Alvaro Garcia accused EBX of
disrespecting the country's law by violating a ban on foreign
companies operating within 50 km of Bolivia's borders.

An EBX spokesperson denied to FT the government's allegations.
EBX said the Bolivian government distorted facts, refused to
discuss the project constructively and denied the company access
to the procedures necessary to obtain an environmental license.

EBX further told FT that should the plant have been constructed
as planned, it would have been followed by a US$120 million
steel plant, providing 5,620 jobs.

By refusing to budge on the EBX dispute, the government hopes
that foreign companies will take that as a warning that it won't
be afraid to take a hard stance while warning local opponents
that it won't cave in to protests.

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: President Sacks Deputy Telecoms Minister
---------------------------------------------------
Jorge Estrella Ayala, Bolivia's deputy telecoms minister, was
fired by President Evo Morales due to allegations on corruption,
Business News Americas reports.

Local daily La Prensa relates that mobile operator Startel
reportedly wrote to the president on April 20, 2006, about Mr.
Ayala's demand for a US$100,000 bribe to make the awarding of a
rural telephony concession more viable and to insure the
concession process continues, an accusation that Mr. Ayala
denied.

BNamericas states that President Morales issued an executive
order to have Mr. Ayala removed from his post almost immediately
after reading the accusation.  The president also ordered that
criminal proceedings be initiated against the former minister.

According to BNamericas, judicial proceedings was scheduled
Monday, when it would be decided if he would undergo trial.

Rodolfo Illanes, the president's chief of staff, revealed to
BNamericas that Estrella reportedly has a criminal record in
Sucre.

"When he was a member of the Sucre telephony cooperative,
Estrella founded his own telephony company without the knowledge
of the other members of the cooperative, and used his post to
benefit himself through concessions and tenders.  That is a
crime," Mr. Illanes told BNamericas.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Bolivia:

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



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


BANCO DO BRASIL: Signs Financial Services Pact with Lojas Maia
--------------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian federal bank Banco do Brasil has entered into a multi-
faceted agreement with regional household appliance and
furniture retailer Lojas Maia to offer loans and financial
services, Business News Americas reports, citing a statement
from the bank.

Under the agreement, Banco do Brasil will issue loans and Visa-
branded private label credit cards to Lojas Maia customers,
international business and wholesale vice president Jose Maria
Rabelo told BNamericas.  The products include unemployment and
accidental death insurance, as well as P&C and homeowner
policies.

The partnership aims for a loan portfolio of 2 billion reals
(US$939 million) within the next five years.

On the other hand, Lojas Maia will offer savings bonds and
various insurance products to its costumers.  These products
will be provided by the bank's insurance unit -- Alianca do
Brasil, BNamericas relats

"We spent eight months looking at different models and decided
the Banco do Brasil model was the most far-reaching," Maia said
in a statement.

Furthermore, Lojas Maia gets backing from the bank on future
expansions.  The retailer operates 110 outlets in seven
northeastern states and has opened 23 of a projected 50 new
stores this year.

"This is new ground for us," Banco do Brasil retail and
distribution vice president Antonio Francisco de Lima Neto told
BNamericas.  "The BB name adds value to the store and helps
increase business by offering loans, credit cards and
insurance."

                        *    *    *

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


BRASIL TELECOM: Records 13% Corporate Sales Growth in 2005
----------------------------------------------------------
Brasil Telecom Participacoes SA achieved a 13% sales growth in
its corporate sector in 2005, a company spokesperson disclosed
to Business News Americas.

Brasil Telecom's corporate sector grew as a result of its
successful marketing of fixed and mobile voice services, as well
as data services for the corporate and government sectors, to
nine states from west to south of Brazil.

"We are in contact with all parts of the productive chain,
listening to all their needs," Zilma Goncalves, manager for
corporate and government business, was reported as saying by
local newspaper Gazeta Mercantil.

In agriculture, Brasil Telecom has targeted farmers, suppliers,
cooperatives, grain processors and big industrial companies.

                        *    *    *

Brasil Telecom SA is controlled by Brasil Telecom Participacoes
SA which is the publicly-listed holding company for 10 fixed-
line operating companies located in the western, central, and
southern regions of Brazil and in the Federal District region.

Brasil Telecom Participacoes' local currency long-term debt
carries Fitch's BB+ rating.


COMPANHIA FORCA: S&P Affirms B+ Ratings With Stable Outlook
-----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised to stable from
negative the outlook on the global and national scale ratings
assigned to electric utility Companhia Forca e Luz Cataguazes-
Leopoldina or Cataguazes-Leopoldina.

The 'B+' foreign and local currency corporate credit ratings on
the global scale and the 'brBBB+' national scale ratings on
Cataguazes-Leopoldina and its sixth debentures issue were all
affirmed.

"The outlook revision to stable results from the BrR100 million
capitalization recently received by the company and the
forthcoming change in its business structure upon the completion
of the Cataguazes Group's regulatory 'de-verticalization'
process taking place during 2006," said Standard & Poor's credit
analyst Marcelo Costa.

For this process, Law 10.848/2004 requires the company to divest
investments outside its own concession and no longer bear the
role of an operating holding company.

"The ratings assigned to Cataguazes-Leopoldina reflect the
challenges of smoothly promoting the de-verticalization process,
the company's small size, an expectation of higher dividend
upstream, and exposure to Brazil's electricity regulatory model,
which is new and still evolving," said Mr. Costa.

On the other hand, the ratings are supported by the company's
improved debt profile, its present low exposure to foreign
currency debt, the good profile of its consumer base (60% of its
revenues come from fairly steady classes of consumers, such as
residential, commercial and rural), the exclusive concession to
distribute electricity in part of Minas Gerais state, and the
company's above-average profitability.

The stable outlook on Cataguazes-Leopoldina reflects Standard &
Poor's expectation that the company will continue to post short-
term debt that is no greater than 30% of the total debt,
materially reduce the level of working-capital loans through the
capital injection, and decrease the level of interest burden.


COMPANHIA SIDERURGICA: Export Revenues Up by 140% to US$84.3M
-------------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Siderurgica Nacional's export revenues for the first
two months of 2006 expanded compared to the same period in 2005,
the company reported to the foreign trade ministry -- Secex.

CSN's shipments abroad for January and February totaled US$202
million, up 140% from the US$84.3 million registered year-on-
year.

CSN is one of the lowest-cost steel producers in the world,
which is a result of its access to proprietary, high-quality
iron ore (at the Casa de Pedra mine); self-sufficiency in
energy; streamlined facilities; and logistics advantages.  This
is in addition to the group's strong market position in the
fairly concentrated steel industry in Brazil.

                       *    *    *

On Jan. 26, 2006, Standard and Poor's Rating Services assigned a
'BB' corporate credit rating on Brazilian flat carbon steelmaker
Companhia Siderurgica Nacional.

The 'BB' corporate credit rating on CSN reflects the company's
exposure to volatile demand and price cycles, increasing
competition in its home and predominant market of Brazil,
aggressive dividend policy and capital investment plan, and
sizable gross-debt position.  These risks are partly offset by
CSN's privileged cost position and sound operating profile,
favorable market position in Brazil, strong export capabilities
to offset occasional domestic demand sluggishness, and
increasing business diversification.


GERDAU SA: Wants Spot Among World's Top Ten Steelmakers
-------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian long steel producer Gerdau SA aims to rank among the
world's top 10 largest steel companies in coming years, senior
vice president Frederico Gerdau Johannpeter told journalists
during a conference call.

Business News Americas says that Gerdau ranks 14th among
worldwide steelmakers, according to the latest data from the
International Iron and Steel Institute.  Gerdau's output last
year came in at 13.7 million tons, up 1.7% compared to 2004.

Mr. Gerdau Johannpeter sees the company actively involved in
consolidations and acquisitions.

"The steelmaking sector is consolidating worldwide and we want
to be one of the players in this movement," Mr. Gerdau
Johannpeter was quoted by BNamericas as saying.  "In Brazil it
is practically impossible to grow, so we are investing to
maintain our market share and in exports operations. There is no
condition to purchase companies in the country as steelmakers
here are also buyers."

"We are prospecting, looking and checking opportunities in the
region," Mr. Gerdau Johannpeter said when asked about possible
Latin American acquisitions.

Headquartered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Gerdau S.A. --
http://www.gerdau.com.br-- produces and distributes crude steel
and related long rolled products, drawn products, and long
specialty products.  In addition to Brazil, Gerdau operates in
Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and the United
States.

Gerdau SA's $600 million 8-7/8% perpetual bond is rated Ba1 by
Moody's, BB+ by S&P, and BB- by Fitch.


GOL LINHAS: Announces Payment of Quarterly Dividends
---------------------------------------------------
Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes, Brazil's low-cost, low- fare
airline, told shareholders that its Board of Directors, at a
meeting held on April 20, 2006, approved the payment of
quarterly intercalary dividends to shareholders, calculated
based on the profits verified on the financial statements dated
on March 31, 2006, as follows:

   Amount of Dividends

   -- Total amount of R$8,079,167.77 corresponding to R$0.041226
      per share.

   Ex-Dividends Date

   -- The shareholders listed in the shareholder registry as of
      May 8, 2006, will be entitled to receive the dividends now
      approved, and company's shares will be traded, on the Sao
      Paulo Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange, "ex"
      dividends as of, and including, May 9, 2006.

   Payment of Dividends

   -- Dividends will be paid on May 23, 2006.

The payment of the dividends referred to above was resolved in
accordance with the company's policy of payment of quarterly
intercalary dividends.

The amount of the quarterly intercalary dividends approved on
April 20, 2006, and the interest on capital approved on March 9,
2006, related to the first quarter of 2006, net of withholding
income tax, shall both be imputed to the mandatory dividends
related to the corporate year of 2006.

                        *    *    *

On March 21, 2006, Moody's Rating Services assigned a Ba2 rating
on Gol's Long-Term Corporate Family Rating.


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Denies Seizure of Bolivian Oilfields
---------------------------------------------------------
Petroleo Brasileiro SA denied that its San Alberto and San
Antonio oil fields in Bolivia have been occupied by
demonstrators, InvestNews reports.

Brazil's state-owned oil company confirmed reports of
demonstrators blocking the region's highways but said that
operations in the oil fields are normal.  However, the blockages
have hindered the repair of oil pipes that have been damaged by
heavy rainfall.

InvestNews did not say what was the cause of the demonstrations.

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
rated Ba3 by Moody's and its foreign currency long-term debt is
rated BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

Fitch assigned these ratings on Petroleo Brasileiro's senior
unsecured notes:

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


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Likely Purchaser of Citgo-Lyondell Refinery
----------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleo Brasileiro SA is a likely candidate to buy the
Lyondell-Citgo Refining L.P. refinery in Houston, Texas, Dow
Jones Newswires reported industry analysts as saying.

As previously reported, Lyondell Chemical Co. and Citgo
Petroleum Corp. -- the U.S. refining arm of Petroleos de
Venezuela S.A. -- said they'll explore the sale of their joint
Houston refinery with a crude oil processing capacity of 268,000
barrels per day. Lyondell holds a 58.75% stake in the refinery,
and Citgo the remainder.

"I think Petrobras is a candidate to buy the refinery," said
Monica Araujo, an oil analyst at BES Securities in Rio de
Janeiro, told Dow Jones.  "They gave many signals that they want
to buy more refining assets abroad."

The company has started to market refined crude in lucrative
markets like the United States.  Acquiring the Houston refinery
will add value to Petrobras' exports.

In line with its marketing of refined crude, Petrobras in
February approved a deal to buy a 50% stake in the Pasadena
Refining System Inc. refinery from Astra Oil Co., a unit of
Belgian Compagnie Nationale a Portefeuille, for about US$370
million.  That refinery has a capacity to process 100,000 b/d of
crude.  Petrobras said that it plans, along with Astra, to
jointly invest up to US$500 million to upgrade the refinery to
be able to process heavy Brazilian crude, Dow Jones relates.

The Pasadena refinery, Dow Jones quote Ms. Araujo as saying, has
a very small refining capacity.  "It makes total sense for them
to buy more." Ms. Araujo said.

A statement from Petrobras Downstream Director Paulo Roberto
Costa confirmed that the company is considering acquisitions of
refineries outside of Brazil.  Petrobras, however, doesn't
comment about which assets it may be eyeing, Dow Jones says.

The crucial question is how much Petrobras would be willing to
spend.

"The Lyondell-Citgo refinery seems really big. It depends very
much on what the sale price would be," Luiz Broad, an oil
analyst at the Agora Senior brokerage in Rio de Janeiro told Dow
Jones.

Citgo's refinery is estimated to fetch between US$3.5 billion to
US$5 billion.

Petrobras, according to Dow Jones, is flushed with cash due to
record revenues amid sky-high oil prices.

The company reported net earnings of BRL23.73 billion (US$11.10
billion at today's exchange rate) in 2005.  Its current stock
market capitalization stands at US$57.5 billion, and Petrobras
has a favorable debt-to-equity ratio of 0.643.

Petrobras said in a statement that 14% of its 2006 capital
budget of US$12.3 billion would go into refining, and the
company's 2006-2010 business plan has earmarked US$6 billion a
year for downstream activities.

However, Mr. Broad stressed to Dow Jones, Petrobras may have a
lot of cash but it is already engaged in other ventures
elsewhere.

"Maybe buying the Lyondell-Citgo unit would be a bit heavy. I
could imagine them being a candidate, but more likely in a
consortium with other companies," Mr. Broad said.

Mr. Broad noted that a possible cash to share offer to finance a
refinery acquisition was unlikely as Petrobras in its last
strategic plan abandoned the idea of issuing more shares, Dow
Jones continues.

Another analyst, Mark Routt, a senior consultant at Energy
Security Analysis Inc. in Boston, spoke with Dow Jones that
Petrobras could easily finance an acquisition through debt
issuance.  He calculates that roughly US$500 million of the
possible acquisition costs would be for the crude oil and oil
products inventories of the refinery.

                        About Citgo

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CITGO is owned by PDV America,
an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela
S.A., the state-owned oil company of Venezuela.

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

                        *    *    *

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

As reported on Feb. 16, 2006, Standard and Poor's Ratings
Services assigned a 'BB' rating on CITGO Petroleum Corp.

Standard & Poor's 'BB' rating on CITGO is higher than the 'B+'
corporate credit rating on PDVSA, because of the relative
strength of the refiner's financial profile and the asset
protection afforded to CITGO creditors, if CITGO defaults for
PDVSA-specific reasons, for example, a Venezuela sovereign
default.  Nevertheless, CITGO could be challenged by events
surrounding PDVSA.

                 About Petroleo Brasileiro

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CITGO is owned by PDV America,
an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela
S.A., the state-owned oil company of Venezuela.

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

                        *    *    *

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

As reported on Feb. 16, 2006, Standard and Poor's Ratings
Services assigned a 'BB' rating on CITGO Petroleum Corp.

Standard & Poor's 'BB' rating on CITGO is higher than the 'B+'
corporate credit rating on PDVSA, because of the relative
strength of the refiner's financial profile and the asset
protection afforded to CITGO creditors, if CITGO defaults for
PDVSA-specific reasons, for example, a Venezuela sovereign
default.  Nevertheless, CITGO could be challenged by events
surrounding PDVSA.


PRODUTOS ALIMENTICIOS: Completes Restructuring of US$57M Debt
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Latin Lawyer online edition reports that Brazilian biscuit
and sweet manufacturer Industria de Produtos Alimenticios Cory
has successfully restructured 123 million reals (US$57 million)
in debts under the new Brazilian bankruptcy law.  Credits were
restructured for a term of 15 years at premium interest rates.

Among the company's creditors are:

   -- the State of Minas Gerais Development Bank,
   -- 13 banks,
   -- 328 commercial suppliers, and
   -- 150 employees.

A recovery plan was approved in a creditors' meeting on March
29.  Under the plan, banks were given:

   -- seats on the company's board of directors,
   -- the right to appoint executive officers, and
   -- the right to receive part of the proceeds of a possible
      sale of the company's equity.

"The biggest challenge of the transaction was to accommodate the
interests of a state development bank as well as those of
preferred and ordinary creditors, and to create mechanisms
allowing the creditors to participate in any possible
operational upside as well as developing corporate governance
rules which let them monitor the performance of the company,"
Antonio Carlos Mazzuco at Madrona, Hong, Mazzuco, Kawamura
Sociedade de Advogados, who represented Cory, was quoted by the
Latin Lawyer as saying.

Industria de Produtos Alimenticios is represented by:

    Antonio Carlos Mazzuco
    Deborah Lorenzi Marques
    Madrona, Hong, Mazzuco, Kawamura Sociedade de Advogados
    Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima
    Sao Paulo, Brazil

Industria de Produtos Alimenticios Cory is a family-owned,
traditional Brazilian biscuits and sweet manufacturer with
plants in the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.


USINAS SIDERURGICAS: Plans to Increase Capital to US$2.52 Bil.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Usiminas aka Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA disclosed to
Brazil's securities regulator -- Comissao de Valores Mobiliarios
-- its plan to increase capital from 2.4 billion reals to 5.4
billion reals (US$2.52 billion).

The capital increase will be made using investment reserves and
working capital worth 3 billion reals.

Headquartered in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Usiminas is among the
world's 20 largest steel manufacturing complexes, with a
production capacity of approximately 10 million tons of steel.
Usiminas System companies produces galvanized and non-coated
flat steel products for the automotive, small and large diameter
pipe, civil construction, hydro-electronic, rerolling,
agriculture, and road machinery industries. Brazil consumes 80%
of its products and the company's largest export markets are the
U.S. and Latin America.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 2, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed the 'BB' corporate
credit ratings of Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S.A. aka
Usiminas on CreditWatch with positive implications following the
raising of the foreign and local currency sovereign credit
ratings on Brazil.


VARIG: Crisis Proves Good for Gol's and Tam Airlines' Stocks
------------------------------------------------------------
Dow Jones Newswires reports that as the crisis on Viacao Aerea
Rio-Grandense or Varig deepened, the stocks in Gol Linhas Aereas
Inteligentes and TAM Airlines surged in contrast.

If and when Varig's crisis proceeds to a collapse of its
operations, the two airlines will take over most of Varig's
domestic flight schedules and may include some of the
international slots.

A growing speculation of Varig's flights to soon stop is being
supported by reasons that the airline has no credit access to
pay the operating costs and no sign of a government bailout is
in process.

Dow Jones reports that Brazil's National Civil Aviation
Authority is drafting a contingency plan in the eventuality that
Varig's planes will be grounded.

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

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

Each of the Debtors' Boards of Directors authorized Vicente
Cervo as foreign representative.  In this capacity, Mr. Cervo
filed a Sec. 304 petition on June 17, 2005 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Case
Nos. 05-14400 and 05-14402).  Rick B. Antonoff, Esq., at
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP represents Mr. Cervo in the
United States.  As of March 31, 2005, the Debtors reported
BRL2,979,309,000 in total assets and BRL9,474,930,000 in total
debts.



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


FK CAPITAL: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for May 4
----------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of FK Capital will gather for a final
meeting on May 4, 2006, at:

            Maples Finance Jersey Limited
            2nd Floor, Le Masurier House
            La Rue Le Masurier, St. Helier
            Jersey JE2 4YE

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 13, 2006,
FK Capital started liquidating assets on Feb. 8, 2006.
Creditors of the company were required to submit particulars of
their debts or claims on or before March 20, 2006, to Mr. Mark
Wanless and Mr. Liam Jones, the company's appointed liquidators.

Parties-in-interest may contact the liquidator at:

            Mark Wanless
            Maples Finance Jersey Limited
            2nd Floor, Le Masurier House
            La Rue Le Masurier, St. Helier
            Jersey JE2 4YE


GPF ALMATIS: Final Shareholders General Meeting Set for May 8
-------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of GPF Almatis Debt Limited will convene on
May 8, 2006, for an extraordinary final general meeting at 11:45
a.m. at the company's registered office.

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
six years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after such
period.

Any person who is entitled to attend and vote at this meeting
may appoint a proxy to attend and vote in his stead.  A proxy
need not be a member or a creditor.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 13, 2006,
creditors of GPF Almatis are given until April 24 to present
proofs of claim to Westport Services Limited, the company's
liquidator.  Failure to present claims would mean exclusion from
the benefit of any distribution that the company will make.

The company's liquidator can be reached at:

           Westport Services Limited
           Attention: Patricia Tricarico
           P.O. Box 1111
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Tel: (345) 949-5122
           Fax: (345) 949-7920


GPF ALMATIS HOLDINGS: Holds Last Shareholders Meeting on May 8
--------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of GPF Almatis Holdings Limited will gather on May
8, 2006, for a final general meeting at 11:45 a.m. at the
company's registered office.

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
six years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after such
period.

Any person who is entitled to attend and vote at this meeting
may appoint a proxy to attend and vote in his stead.  A proxy
need not be a member or a creditor.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 13, 2006,
GPF Almatis Holdings Limited started liquidating assets on March
13, 2006.  Verification of creditors' claims against GPF Almatis
Holdings will end on April 24, 2006.

The company's liquidators can be reached at:

           Westport Services Limited
           Attention: Patricia Tricarico
           P.O. Box 1111
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Tel: (345) 949-5122
           Fax: (345) 949-7920


LION HEART: Liquidator Presenting Liquidation Progress on May 4
---------------------------------------------------------------
The sole shareholder of Lion Heart Corporation will meet with
the company's liquidators, Richard Gordon and Jon Roney, for a
final meeting on May 4, 2006, at:

           Maples Finance Limited,
           Queensgate House, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.

The liquidators can be reached at:

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



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


* COLOMBIA: Venezuela Will Impose Trade Barriers Against Country
----------------------------------------------------------------
Peru, along with Colombia, will be barred from trading with
Venezuela after it signed the free-trade agreement aka FTA with
the US, the Associated Press reports.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said in a radio station on
April 13 that he would protect his country's economy by
preventing an invasion of subsidized North American products
coming through Peru and Colombia.

AP relates that President Chavez withdrew his country from the
Andean Community of Nations trade bloc due to Peru and
Colombia's decision to enter FTA.

According to Vheadline, President Chavez reasoned that the
withdrawal was a strategy aimed at protecting domestic
agricultural and industrial production.

Vheadline states that President Chavez argues that if Venezuela
stays in the trade bloc, it would be flooded by USA subsidized
products from Colombia.

Venezuela will not join the FTAA, President Chavez told
Vheadline.

President Chavez instead proposed the Bolivarian Alternative for
the Americas aka ALBA and is inviting Peru and Colombia to join,
Vheadline reports.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Peru:

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

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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

                        *    *    *

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 O S T A   R I C A
===================


* COSTA RICA: Limon & Moin Work Stoppage Dispute May Escalate
-------------------------------------------------------------
Disputes on work slowdown at the Limon and Moin docks between
the government of Costa Rica and union officials could
complicate into a full blown strike, Inside Costa Rica reports.

Talks between the government and the union have failed,
according to Inside Costa Rica.  An accord has been reached and
signed at Casa Presidencial on two occasions but still the
agreement went nowhere.

Among those who are leading the slowdown are:

       -- Mauricio Wilson of the Union de Transportistas del
          Caribe;

       -- Julio Jimenez of the Asociacion de Campesinos
          Limonenses; and

       -- Winston Norman of the Federaci¢n de Trabajadores
          Limonenses.

These leaders said to Inside Costa Rica that they are tired of
the promises and no action by government.

Inside Costa Rica relates that truckers demanding government
action have blocked the streets to the docks.  Among workers'
demands is the repair of the roads and bridges.

Making matters worse is Limon's Mayor Roger Rivera's
announcement of closing down the garbage dump on Monday.  The
anti-riot police who were called in to clear the docks earlier
last week have also angered workers, who resent their labor
rights being trampled.

However, Israel Oconitrillo -- a spokesperson for the Junta de
Administracion Portuaria y de Desarrollo Economico de la
Vertiente Atlantica aka Japdeva -- explained to Inside Costa
Rica that the police action was necessary to remove the
responsibility on Japdeva for the losses caused by the work
action.

According to Inside Costa Rica, the slowdown is causing hundreds
of thousands of dollars in losses especially to fruit exporters
who need to deliver their product to markets outside of Costa
Rica.

It is expected that many more will join the slowdown and
paralyze the Caribbean ports, Inside Costa Rica relates.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Mar. 10, 2006,
Fitch rated Costa Rica's foreign and local currency issuer
default ratings 'BB' and 'BB+', respectively.  Fitch said the
Rating Outlook is Negative.




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


* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Energy Sector Incurred Higher Losses
----------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Republic's losses in the energy sector has increased
10.4% in 2005, the Dominican Today reports.

From 2003 to 2005, losses in energy production and distribution
has raised to 44.6% from 38.4%, according to a report from the
Central Bank's National Accounts Department.

Official reports state that losses in transmission and
distribution are rising each year.

Dominican Today relates that the government has contributed
about US$1,000 million to sustain the weakening energy system
but the losses have not decreased.  The contributions have been
insufficient for distribution firms to reduce operational
losses.

Official reports indicate that, each year, losses in
transmission and distribution are on the rise, notwithstanding
that only during two years  -- 2005 and 2006 --  the government
has contributed over US$1,000 million to sustain the
deteriorated energy system.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on the Dominican Republic:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     B-       May 11, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B        May 11, 2005



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


* ECUADOR: Firms Will File Suit Over Reform on Oil Tax Law
----------------------------------------------------------
A lawsuit by the business community against the Ecuadorian
government is expected in the next few days due to the new oil
tax law passed by the nation's congress, Dow Jones Newswires
reports.

According to Dow Jones, the firms claim that the new law is
unconstitutional.

"In changing clauses in contracts signed long ago, the law
becomes retroactive, which is unconstitutional," Blasco
Penaherrera, head of a federation representing chambers of
commerce and business associations in Ecuador, told Dow Jones.

Mr. Penaherrera was quoted by Dow Jones saying that the lawsuit
seeks to protect fundamental free market principles and the rule
of law, which must come first in any country.

Dow Jones states that the law violates an international treaty,
which the government ratified in 1997 to protect foreign
investments.

Marti Estell, a US Embassy spokeswoman, told the Channel 4
television that the law violates a bilateral investment treaty
signed in August 1993 as the law was imposed in a unilateral
manner.  The treaty, which was created for the encouragement and
reciprocal protection of investment, stipulates that
disagreements should be first settled through consultation and
negotiation, suggesting the aid of an independent arbtitrator or
the courts as the last resort.

Mr. Penaherrera blames the law as the main reason that talks
seeking a free-trade deal with the US have been stagnant, Dow
Jones relates.  According to him, the Trade Minister Jorge
Illingworth said the negotiations were going well until the new
law was sent to the Congress.

However, Economy Minister Diego Borja, the author of the reform
on the tax law and one of its most passionate supporters,
rejected the idea that the new law had obstructed FTA talks,
according to Dow Jones.

There were several problems to be solved even before the reform,
Mr. Borja told Dow Jones.  He assured that the government will
continue to try to salvage the more than two years of FTA talks.

Dow Jones states that the law increases state revenue from
private oil firms by requiring them to share additional income
whenever oil prices rise above previously set contract prices.
The companies have to split half of that revenue with the
government.

Mr. Borja told reporters that as soon as the law takes into
effect the country will start receiving from the private oil
firms an additional US$2 million per day, which will go to a
special account to be used in social project or to be spent in
buying back debt.

"That is how much we were losing because the (foreign) oil
companies refused to negotiate," Mr. Borja commented to Dow
Jones.

The suit would be brought to the Ecuadorian constitutional court
as soon as the new law is printed in the official record and is
put into effect, Mr. Penaherrera revealed to Dow Jones.

Mr. Penaherrera was quoted by Dow Jones saying that the court
could make a decision in three to four months.

Energy Minister Ivan Rodriguez admitted to Dow Jones relates
that the government is seeking ways to soften the blow dealt to
private oil firms by the law.

Mr. Rodriguez informed Dow Jones on Thursday that the companies
are worried about the investments they made beyond what's
established in their contracts.  He said that the companies want
to be sure they will recover these investments.

Mr. Rodriguez assured that the government is going through the
numbers to, through regulation, guarantee the recovery and to
promote new investments, Dow Jones relates.

Dow Jones states that Mr. Rodriguez, who works alongside Mr.
Borja with the renegotiation, said that the companies' requests
are being studied in the ongoing contract renegotiation talks
between the private firms and the government and that
renegotiation could be completed in the next couple of months.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Ecuador:

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



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


* EL SALVADOR: Social Groups Rally Against Canadian Mining Firms
----------------------------------------------------------------
Social groups in El Salvador, along with environmentalists, held
demonstrations on Friday in front of the Canadian Embassy to
protest the exploitation of mines by Canadian mining companies,
Inside Costa Rica reports.

Inside Costa Rica relates that environmentalists and community
leaders demanded that the embassy and El Salvador's Economy and
Environment ministries halt the mining exploitation.

According to Inside Costa Rica, the demonstrators claimed that
Canadian Martinnique Minerals SA's activities are damaging the
environment in the northern part of the country, affecting the
ecosystem and the residents.

Canadian Marinnique is planning to launch mines in the states of
Chalatenango, Cabanas and Morazan, which prompted the Catholic
Church to support protesters in the communities, Inside Costa
Rica relates.

Inside Costa Rica states that the Center for Research on
Investment and Trade has repeatedly criticized mining, saying
that it is a new form of expropriation of the county's natural
resources.

Angel Ibarra, head of the Unidad Ecologic Salvadorena, expressed
her contempt of the free trade deal with the US that includes
mining in its scope, according to Inside Costa Rica.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on El Salvador:

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



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


* GUATEMALA: Seeks Deal to Buy Discounted Crude from Venezuela
--------------------------------------------------------------
President Oscar Berger of Guatemala plans to meet with
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to discuss a deal on the
purchase of discounted petroleum from Venezuela, Energy and
Mines Minister Luis Ortiz told the Associated Press.

The meeting is planned to be held in May in Costa Rica, AP
relates.

Mr. Ortiz was quoted by AP saying that President Berger wants
Venezuela to increase investments in Guatemala oil and natural
gas exploration.

According to AP, President Chavez has made deals to give oil
under preferential terms in the region.

                        *    *    *

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+

                        *    *    *

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.



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


ALMACENADORA SUR: Moody's Puts B2 Global Local Currency Rating
--------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's de Mexico assigned long- and short-term global local
currency issuer ratings of B2 and Not-Prime, respectively, to
Almacenadora Sur, S.A. or Alsur.  At the same time, Moody's
assigned long- and short-term Mexican National Scale issuer
ratings of Ba2.mx and MX-4, respectively, to Alsur.  The
outlooks on all these ratings are stable.

The ratings on Alsur reflect its small franchise and short-track
record under its actual ownership structure and relatively new
strategic goals.  The ratings are constrained by Alsur's low
profitability --a structural characteristic inherent to its
sector -- as well as by the company's developing franchise and
still-untested ability to generate stable and consistent
earnings.  Alsur's small business diversification and poor
client granularity are also rating considerations.

Moody's noted that the potential for synergies with companies of
its economic group should help develop Alsur's franchise.
Through a defined business model, Alsur plays an important role
in its economic group's vertical integration, therefore high
profitability would not necessarily be a strategic goal for
management, the rating agency added.

Moody's national scale ratings are intended for use primarily by
Mexican domestic investors, and thus they are not comparable to
the globally applicable ratings of Moody's Investors Service,
which do not carry the "mx/MX" notation.  National scale
ratings, therefore, rank Mexican issuers relative to each other,
but not relative to absolute default risks.  National Scale
ratings isolate systemic risks: they do not address loss
expectation associated with systemic events that could affect
all issuers, even those that receive the highest ratings on the
National Scale.  A Ba2.mx/MX-4 rating on Moody's Mexican
National Scale indicates an issuer or issue with below average
creditworthiness relative to the domestic market.

Almacenadora Alsur, S.A. is headquartered in Mexico City.  As of
December 2005, it ranked fourth in its sector, with a market
share of approximately 6% in terms of goods under custody.

The following issuer ratings were assigned:

   -- Long-term global local currency rating: B2
   -- Short-term global local currency rating: Not-Prime
   -- Long-term Mexican National Scale rating: Ba2.mx
   -- Short-term Mexican National Scale rating: MX-4

The outlooks on all these ratings are stable.


DIRECTV GROUP: Extends Service & Support Pact with TiVo
-------------------------------------------------------
Reuters reports that DirecTV Group Inc. and TiVO Inc. inked a
new deal that would expand their service and support agreement
for three years.

In August last year, DirecTV said it would stop
Satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV said last August that it would
no longer market TiVo's digital video recorders and would use
its own system made by News Corp. (NWS.N: Quote, Profile,
Research)-controlled NDS Group Plc (NNDS.O: Quote, Profile,
Research).

While DirecTV still will not be marketing TiVo, the two
companies extended a deal under which customers can receive TiVo
through DirecTV. Maintenance and support for the service will be
provided by TiVo, which would have been under no obligation to
service DirecTV customers without an extension to the agreement,
due to expire in 2007.

The statement from the two companies did not give financial
terms of the extension, but said "the recurring monthly
economics of the agreement are similar to the economics for
DirecTV receivers with TiVo service activated since 2003."

DirecTV is a top TiVo customer and the extension of the deal was
initially greeted positively on Wall Street, where there had
been concerns that DirecTV would transition their TiVo customers
to its own service if an extension was not reached.

DirecTV's decision to stop marketing TiVo and instead focus on
News Corp. technology is part of a broader plan to replicate
video-on-demand viewing, which has been a defining competitive
advantage of cable operators.

Satellite television technology only provides for a one-way
broadcast of video programming, unlike cable TV, which also lets
users send requests back to the cable system.

Cable customers are able to order movies and shows with a click
of their remote control.

Another part of Wednesday's deal includes a provision under
which TiVo and DirecTV agreed not to assert patent rights
against the other. TiVo is currently in a legal battle with
satellite television company EchoStar Communications Corp.
(DISH.O: Quote, Profile, Research) over patent claims.

In the case, TiVo charges EchoStar with stealing technology that
allows users to record one TV program while watching another via
a DVR.

The DIRECTV Group, Inc., formerly Hughes Electronics
Corporation, headquartered in El Segundo, California, is a
world-leading provider of multi-channel television
entertainment, and broadband satellite networks and services.
The DIRECTV Group, Inc. with sales in 2004 of approximately $11.4
billion is 34% owned by Fox Entertainment Group, Inc., which is
owned by News Corporation.  DIRECTV is currently available in Latin
American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua,
Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela and
several Caribbean island nations.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned on June 8, 2005, a Ba2 rating
on DirecTV Group Inc.'s US$1.0 billion senior unsecured notes.



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


* PANAMA: President Seeks Citizens' Support on Canal Expansion
--------------------------------------------------------------
Panama's President Martin Torrijos is seeking citizens' support
on the US$6 billion Panama Canal expansion project, the
Associated Press reports.

AP relates that the project would add a third series of locks
big enough to accommodate the world's biggest cargo ships and
another shipping lane.  These locks would be just under 180 feet
wide, to allow passage of big ships, which carry 8,000
containers.

According to AP, the biggest ships that can currently pass
through the canal's locks are the Panamax vessels that can carry
4,000 cargo containers.  They, however, barely fit in the 109
feet locks.

AP states that the government sees the wider locks in Panama
Canal are crucial to the income-generating capacity of the
canal.

AP recalls that in 2005, about 13,000 ships passed through the
waterway, paying US$1.2 billion for canal fees and maintenance
and other related services.

The government is also expecting that the construction, which is
expected to last at least five years, would bring in 7,000 new
jobs.

The project's estimated cost would be a big investment for
Panama, whose government budget is US$6.5 billion a year.
Officials are considering private bank financing, AP relates.

According to AP, recent polls showed:

    -- 56% of Panamanians support the expansion project,
    -- 19% are against it, and
    -- the rest are yet to decide.

Heated arguments are expected during the referendum that would
decide the canal's future, AP states.

Opponents of the project believe the expansion is unnecessary
because there are only about 300 mammoth ships operating and
their trade routes are mostly within the Pacific, AP reveals.
They also say that the project is risky because it is affected
by the growth of maritime world trade and the world economy.

Fernando Manfredo, former canal administrator, told AP that the
canal is not the most important natural resource but the
country's geographic position.

AP reports that the opposition group suggested that instead of
the canal's expansion, a $600 million megaport would be built at
the Pacific end of the canal.  They said it would allow the
bigger ships to transfer their loads to smaller vessels for
carrying through the canal and on to ports in the Atlantic.

The canal will remain the best alternative regardless of the
size of the ships," Mr. Manfredo told AP.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Panama:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BBB      Apr.  8, 2005
   Long Term IDR      BB+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR       B      Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     BB+      Dec. 14, 2005



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


* PERU: Venezuela Will Impose Trade Barriers Against Country
------------------------------------------------------------
Peru, along with Colombia, will be barred from trading with
Venezuela after it signed the free-trade agreement aka FTA with
the US, the Associated Press reports.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said in a radio station on
April 13 that he would protect his country's economy by
preventing an invasion of subsidized North American products
coming through Peru and Colombia.

AP relates that President Chavez withdrew his country from the
Andean Community of Nations trade bloc due to Peru and
Colombia's decision to enter FTA.

According to Vheadline, President Chavez reasoned that the
withdrawal was a strategy aimed at protecting domestic
agricultural and industrial production.

Vheadline states that President Chavez argues that if Venezuela
stays in the trade bloc, it would be flooded by USA subsidized
products from Colombia.

Venezuela will not join the FTAA, President Chavez told
Vheadline.

President Chavez instead proposed the Bolivarian Alternative for
the Americas aka ALBA and is inviting Peru and Colombia to join,
Vheadline reports.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Peru:

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

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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

                        *    *    *

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.



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


G+G RETAIL: Panel Hires Jaspan Schlesinger as Conflicts Counsel
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of G+G Retail,
Inc.'s chapter 11 cases, sought and obtained authority from the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of
New York, to retain Jaspan Schlesinger Hoffman LLP as conflicts
counsel.

The Committee selected Jaspan Schlesinger because of the firm's
extensive experience, expertise and knowledge in the field of
litigation in and outside of bankruptcy and in the fields of
debtors' and creditors' rights and business reorganizations
under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.

As conflicts counsel, Jaspan Schlesinger will:

   a) assist and advise the Committee in the investigation of
      the security interests, liens and claims of The CIT Group;

   b) commence, if necessary, and prosecute adversary
      proceedings against CIT;

   c) attend meetings and negotiate with the representatives of
      the Debtor or any party which is the subject of
      investigation by the Committee or against which the
      Committee may commence an adversary proceeding;

   d) take all necessary action to protect and preserve the
      interests of the Committee and unsecured creditors,
      including:

      * the prosecution of actions on their behalf; and

      * negotiations concerning litigation in which the
        Debtor is involved; and

   e) prepare on behalf of the Committee all necessary adversary
      complaints and related motions, applications, answers,
      orders, reports and other papers in support of positions
      taken by the Committee.

The CIT Group is a duly appointed co-chairperson to the
Committee and is represented by Patrick Rohan.

To the best of the Committee's knowledge, Jaspan Schlesinger
does not hold or represent any interest adverse to the Debtor
and is "disinterested" pursuant to Sec. 101(14) of the
Bankruptcy Code.

Jaspan Schlesinger's professionals bill:

           Professional                Hourly Rate
           ------------                -----------
           Partners/Counsel            $415 - $525
           Associates                  $250 - $390
           Legal Assistants                $185

Founded in 1946, Jaspan Schlesinger Hoffman LLP --
http://www.jshllp.com/-- is a general practice law firm, with a
substantial bankruptcy law practice.  The firm is also active in
estate and tax planning, probate, education and municipal
matters, tax certiorari and condemnation matters, commercial and
corporate matters, litigation, real estate, zoning,
environmental, international transactions, securities, lending,
intellectual property, and matrimonial and family matters.  The
firm maintains offices in Garden City, New York and Wilmington,
Delaware.

Headquartered in New York, New York, G+G Retail Inc. retails
ladies wear and operates 566 stores in the United States and
Puerto Rico under the names Rave, Rave Girl and G+G.  The Debtor
filed for Chapter 11 protection on Jan. 25, 2006 (Bankr.
S.D.N.Y. Case No. 06-10152).  William P. Weintraub, Esq., Laura
Davis Jones, Esq., David M. Bertenthal, Esq., and Curtis A.
Hehn, Esq., at Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young & Jones P.C.
represent the Debtor in its restructuring efforts.  When the
Debtor filed for protection from its creditors, it estimated
assets of more than US$100 million and debts between US$10
million to US$50 million.


GLOBAL HOME: Section 341(a) Meeting Scheduled for May 8
-------------------------------------------------------
Kelly Beaudin Stapleton, the U.S. Trustee for Region 3, will
convene a meeting of Global Home Products, LLC, and its debtor-
affiliates' creditors at 2:00 p.m., on May 8, 2006, at Room
2112, Second Floor, J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building, 844 King
Street in Wilmington, Delaware.  This is the first meeting of
creditors required in all bankruptcy cases under Section 341(a)
of the Bankruptcy Code.

All creditors are invited, but not required, to attend.  This
Meeting of Creditors offers the one opportunity in a bankruptcy
proceeding for creditors to question a responsible office of the
Debtor under oath about the company's financial affairs and
operations that would be of interest to the general body of
creditors.

Headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, Global Home Products, LLC
-- http://www.anchorhocking.com/and http://www.burnesgroup.com/
-- sells houseware and home products and manufactures high
quality glass products for consumers and the food services
industry.  The company also designs and markets photo frames,
photo albums and related home decor products.  The company and
16 of its affiliates, including Burnes Puerto Rico, Inc., and
Mirro Puerto Rico, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 protection on Apr.
10, 2006 (Bankr. D. Del. Case No. 06-10340).  Laura Davis Jones,
Esq., Bruce Grohsgal, Esq., James E. O'Neill, Esq., and Sandra
G.M. Selzer, Esq., at Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young, Jones &
Weintraub LLP, represent the Debtors.  When the company filed
for protection from their creditors, they estimated assets
between $50 million and $100 million and debts of more than $100
million.


OCA INC: Panel Taps Loughlin Meghji+Company as Financial Advisor
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of OCA, Inc., and
its debtor-affiliates asks the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
Eastern District of Louisiana for authority to retain Loughlin
Meghji+Company as its financial advisor.

Loughlin will:

     a) evaluate the assets and liabilities of the Debtor;

     b) analyze and review the financial and operating
        statements of the Debtor;

     c) analyze the business plans and any financial and cash
        flow forecasts of the Debtor;

     d) review contractual arrangements between the Debtor and
        related entities;

     e) review and assist with the claims resolution process and
        distributions;

     f) review cash flow forecasts and other related issues;

     g) provide valuation and other financial analysis as the
        Committee may require;

     h) assess various strategic alternatives proposed by the
        Debtor and evaluate these alternatives, including:

           -- the Debtor's viability as a standalone entity;

           -- sale of all or some of the assets of the
              Debtor's estate; and

           -- any plan of reorganization proposed by the Debtor.

      i) provide testimony in Court on behalf of the Committee;
         and

      j) provide other appropriate and necessary services as
         requested by the Committee.

Loughlin will charge an advisory fee of $75,000 per month for
the first three months of its engagement.  The firm will charge
$50,000 in the succeeding months.

Mohsin Y. Meghji, a principal at Loughlin, assures the
Bankruptcy Court that his firm does not hold any interest
materially adverse to the Debtor's estate and is disinterested
as that term is defined in Section 101(14) of the Bankruptcy
Code.

A full-text copy of the Committee's eight-page engagement
agreement with Loughlin is available for free at:

               http://researcharchives.com/t/s?806

Based in Metairie, Louisiana, OCA, Inc. -- http://www.ocai.com/
-- provides a full range of operational, purchasing, financial,
marketing, administrative and other business services, as well
as capital and proprietary information systems to approximately
200 orthodontic and dental practices representing approximately
almost 400 offices.  The Company's client practices provide
treatment to patients throughout the United States and in Japan,
Mexico, Spain, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

The Company and its debtor-affiliates filed for Chapter 11
protection on March 14, 2006 (Bankr. E.D. La. Case No.
06-10179).  William H. Patrick, III, Esq., at Heller Draper
Hayden Patrick & Horn, LLC, represents the Debtors.  When the
Debtors filed for protection from their creditors, they listed
$545,220,000 in total assets and $196,337,000 in total debts.



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


CITGO: Hires Morgan Stanley as Refinery Sale Financial Adviser
--------------------------------------------------------------
Citgo Petroleum Corp., the US refining arm of Venezuelan state-
owned oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela aka PDVSA, and Lyondell
Chemical Co. appointed Morgan Stanley as financial adviser for
the proposed sale of jointly owned Lyondell-Citgo Refining L.P.,
Reuters reports.

Citgo and Lyondell said in a statement that they will work with
Morgan Stanley to prepare an offering memorandum and establish a
data room for interested bidders.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 10, 2006,
Citgo signed a letter of intent with Lyondell to jointly explore
the sale of their Lyondell-Citgo Refining L.P.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, PDVSA said last September that
it wanted to sell its stake in the refinery to recover its $5
billion investment.

According to the Associated Press, Venezuela's President Hugo
Chavez said the Citgo refineries have been a bad deal for his
country because they buy Venezuelan oil at a discount while
paying taxes in the US, the largest buyer of Venezuelan crude.
President Chavez has been vocal with his contempt of the US and
had repeatedly threatened halt on supplying oil to the country,
saying that Venezuela has been looking for new markets.

Lyondell, Citgo and PDVSA has resolved all litigation related to
the refinery, Dow Jones states.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported on April 21, 2006,
that Citgo will pay Lyondell US$50 million in fuel supplies to
silence disputes and go on with the sale of jointly owned
Lyondell-Citgo Refining L.P.

"The dispute was resolved.  We agreed it was an exaggerated sum
and we are paying $50 million not in cash but in consumables,"
Mr. Ramirez said during an interview with newspaper El
Universal.

Dow Jones recalls that Lyondell had sued PDVSA in February 2002
for $90 million.  Lyondell claimed that the Venezuelan firm had
ceased supplying feedstock to the refinery, violating a long-
term crude supply contract.

Lyondell had demanded a sum that was too high as compensation
for disrupted Venezuelan crude oil supplies during a crippling
2002-2003 oil strike that virtually paralyzed exports, Mr.
Ramirez told El Universal.

Dow Jones adds that the US Department of Labor issued in March
citations against Lyondell-Cito Refining L.P. for health and
safety violations.  It fined the venture about $55,000.

PDVSA, Citgo and Lyondell planned to move diligently to solicit
offers for the refinery and it was decided any deal would be
subject to approval by the appropriate governing bodies, Dow
Jones reports.

According to Dow Jones, the Houston-based refinery was created
in 1993, with Lyondell having a 58.75% stake and Citgo owning
about 41.25%.  The plant has a crude oil processing capacity of
268,000 barrels a day.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CITGO is owned by PDV America,
an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela
S.A., the state-owned oil company of Venezuela.

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

                        *    *    *

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

As reported on Feb. 16, 2006, Standard and Poor's Ratings
Services assigned a 'BB' rating on CITGO Petroleum Corp.

Standard & Poor's 'BB' rating on CITGO is higher than the 'B+'
corporate credit rating on PDVSA, because of the relative
strength of the refiner's financial profile and the asset
protection afforded to CITGO creditors, if CITGO defaults for
PDVSA-specific reasons, for example, a Venezuela sovereign
default.  Nevertheless, CITGO could be challenged by events
surrounding PDVSA.


CITGO: Valero Energy May Present Bid for Houston Refinery
---------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, Citgo Petroleum Corp. signed early this
month a letter of intent with Lyondell Chemical Company to study
the sale of their refining plant in Houston, Texas.

Valero Energy Corporation said it would consider buying the
Lyondell-Citgo refinery for a fair price, the Wall Street
Journal reports.

Valero Energy did not say how much it is willing to pay for the
refinery.  Analysts have pegged the price from US$3.5 billion to
US$5 billion.

In a separate report from El Universal, Valero's vice president
Mary Brown said that the company is interested in the refinery
even if it has to acquire the crude "from other sources."  The
refinery will no longer receive discounted crude from its parent
-- Petroleos de Venezuela SA.

According to the Journal, the 268,000 barrel-a-day Lyondell-
Citgo refinery is among the more problematic Gulf Coast
refineries in terms of operations.  The most recent major
accident in the refinery happened in Oct. 16, 2005, when
explosion and fire ravaged the plant as a result of a botched
restart operation following the pre precautionary shutdown ahead
of Hurricane Rita.  The U.S. Labor Department fined the refinery
US$55,000 for the incident.

After a 1997 major upgrade, the Houston refinery has the ability
to transform very heavy high-sulfur crude oil into clean fuels
including reformulated gasoline and low-sulfur diesel as well as
other high-value products such as jet fuel and aromatics, El
Universal relates.

Lyondell holds a 58.75% interest in the partnership and Citgo
the remaining 41.25%.

Venezuela's daily delivery of one million barrels of crude and
liquid fuels to the United States end up being processed by
Citgo's eight facilities or by some other PDVSA-affiliated
refineries such as Chalmette, Sweeney or Hovensa.  The resulting
fuels are then marketed through the 14,000 gas stations Citgo
banners in the U.S., El Universal says.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CITGO is owned by PDV America,
an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela
S.A., the state-owned oil company of Venezuela.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Feb. 16, 2006, Standard and Poor's Ratings
Services assigned a 'BB' rating on CITGO Petroleum Corp.

Standard & Poor's 'BB' rating on CITGO is higher than the 'B+'
corporate credit rating on PDVSA, because of the relative
strength of the refiner's financial profile and the asset
protection afforded to CITGO creditors, if CITGO defaults for
PDVSA-specific reasons, for example, a Venezuela sovereign
default.  Nevertheless, CITGO could be challenged by events
surrounding PDVSA.


EMPRESAS ICA: Venezuelan Unit Inks Four Civil Construction Deal
---------------------------------------------------------------
Empresas ICA, S.A. de C.V., reported Monday the signing of four
civil construction contracts for a total of MXN1,324.4 million.
The projects include:

   -- Expansion and renovation of the Cachamay Sports Complex,
      with a capacity of 40,000 persons, located in Puerto
      Ordaz, Independent Municipality of Caroni, Bolivar State,
      Venezuela and the construction of access roads.

      The VEB106,000 million contract was awarded by the State
      of Bolivar to ICA Venezuela in a public bidding process.
      The unit price contract is expected to be completed in May
      2007.

      The project is part of the Venezuelan government's
      initiative to update the sports infrastructure for the
      Americas Soccer Cup, which it will host in 2007.  The
      Government of Bolivar has deposited the required economic
      resources in a trust to ensure the continuous execution of
      the project.


   -- Construction of the Rio de la Compania Tunnel, in the
      State of Mexico.  The MXN437 million contract was awarded
      to ICA by the National Water Commission, through the Trust
      1928, in a public biding process.

      The unit price, fixed term contract will be executed over
      a period of 817 days.  The project is part of the drainage
      works in the Valley of Mexico and will provide significant
      relief from rain and waste water in the Chalco and
      Ixtapaluca Valleys and for the urban settlements along the
      Mexico City-Puebla highway corridor.

      The tunnel, with a total length of 6.78 km and an external
      diameter of 6.24m, will be constructed along the left bank
      of the Rio de la Compania, from the Municipality of Valle
      del Chalco-Solidaridad to the Municipality of Ixtapaluca,
      where it will empty into the Rio de la Compania.

   -- Construction of the Ricardo Flores Magon Interchange,
      located where Flores Magon Avenue crosses the railway in
      the Cuauhtemoc district of Mexico City.  The contract for
      MXN195 million was awarded to ICA by the Ministry of
      Communications and Transport in a public bidding process.
      The unit price, fixed term contract will be executed over
      a 425 day period.

   -- Construction of the Michoacon Regional Center for the Arts
      and renovation of the Obrero Theater in Zamora, Michoacan.
      The contract for MXN137.4 million was awarded to ICA by
      the Administrative Committee of the Federal School
      Construction Program.  The unit price, fixed term contract
      will be executed over a period of 187 days.

Empresas ICA -- http://www.ica.com.mx/-- the largest
engineering, construction, and procurement company in Mexico,
was founded in 1947.  ICA has completed construction and
engineering projects in 21 countries.  ICA's principal business
units include civil construction and industrial construction.

Through its subsidiaries, ICA also develops housing, manages
airports, and operates tunnels, highways, and municipal services
under government concession contracts and/or partial sale of
long-term contract rights.

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's assigned these ratings to Empresas ICA, with
stable outlook:

   -- LT Foreign Issuer Credit B; and
   -- LT Local Issuer Credit B.


* VENEZUELA: Guatemala Seeks Deal to Buy Discounted Crude
---------------------------------------------------------
President Oscar Berger of Guatemala plans to meet with
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to discuss a deal on the
purchase of discounted petroleum from Venezuela, Energy and
Mines Minister Luis Ortiz told the Associated Press.

The meeting will is planned to be held in May in Costa Rica, AP
relates.

Mr. Ortiz was quoted by AP saying that President Berger wants
Venezuela to increase investments in Guatemala oil and natural
gas exploration.

According to AP, President Chavez has made deals to give oil
under preferential terms in the region, particularly Cuba.

                        *    *    *

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+

                        *    *    *

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: Sudeban Proposes to Supervise Microbanks
-----------------------------------------------------
Venezuela's local daily El Universal reports that the country's
banking regulator Sudeban has submitted a proposal to oversee
community microbanks.

The Venezuelan government said in March that it has plans to
create 800 community microbanks that have an investment of 480
billion bolivars or about US$223 million.  Community council
members will run the banks that will grant loans to projects
that will be useful to the community.

The microbanks are not created under the banking law but their
operations are under the microfinance law.

Sudeban head Trino Alcides told El Universal that Sudeban should
in some way supervise the operations of the microbanks even
though they are not under the banking law because they will
grant loans.

The banks are also entitled to receive funds from public
resources such as the National Community Councils Fund that will
provide 2.7 trillion bolivars this year.  Hence, they should
report on their balance sheets and the management of the public
fund must be administered, Mr. Alcides told El Universal.

                        *    *    *

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


* VENEZUELA: Will Impose Trade Barriers on Colombia & Peru
----------------------------------------------------------
Peru, along with Colombia, will be barred from trading with
Venezuela after it signed the free-trade agreement aka FTA with
the US, the Associated Press reports.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said in a radio station on
April 13 that he would protect his country's economy by
preventing an invasion of subsidized North American products
coming through Peru and Colombia.

AP relates that President Chavez withdrew his country from the
Andean Community of Nations trade bloc due to Peru and
Colombia's decision to enter FTA.

According to Vheadline, President Chavez reasoned that the
withdrawal was a strategy aimed at protecting domestic
agricultural and industrial production.

Vheadline states that President Chavez argues that if Venezuela
stays in the trade bloc, it would be flooded by USA subsidized
products from Colombia.

Venezuela will not join the FTAA, President Chavez told
Vheadline.

President Chavez instead proposed the Bolivarian Alternative for
the Americas aka ALBA and is inviting Peru and Colombia to join,
Vheadline reports.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Peru:

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

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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

                        *    *    *

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.  Marjorie C. Sabijon, Sheryl Joy P. Olano, and
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
to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

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           * * * End of Transmission * * *