TCRLA_Public/060517.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, May 17, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 97

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

BANCO RIO: Fitch Affirms E Individual Rating
CARTEX S.A.: Court Closes Bankruptcy Case
HOUCER S.R.L.: Verification of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 29
HSU LIANG HSIEN: Asks Court's Permission to Reorganize Business
INDIECITO S.A.: Seeks Court Approval to Restructure Debts

INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 30
LLAFE S.A.: Last Day for Claims Verification Is on May 24
LUICAR S.R.L.: Court Concludes Reorganization Proceeding
METALURGICA SI-CA: Proofs of Claim Filing Ends on May 23
NAVICON LOGISTICA: Court Ends Reorganization Proceeding

RECYCLING EXPRESS: Proofs of Claim Filing Deadline Is Aug. 11
REPSOL YPF: Considers Argentine Unit Spin Off
SALVADOR MARINARO: Court Closes Reorganization Proceeding

* ARGENTINA: Continues Receiving Natural Gas from Bolivia

B E R M U D A

PXRE GROUP: Fitch Maintains Watch Negative on Ratings

B O L I V I A

PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: May Receive Compensation from Bolivia

* BOLIVIA: Gas Flow to Brazil & Argentina Stays Normal

B R A Z I L

BANCO DO BRASIL: Reports US$1.1 Billion First Quarter Net Income
BANCO DO ESTADO: Fitch Affirms Low B Issuer Default Ratings
BANCO SANTANDER BRASIL: Fitch Affirms Low B Issuer Ratings
BANCO SANTANDER MERIDIONAL: Fitch Affirms Low B Issuer Ratings
CAIXA ECONOMICA: Approves 90-Day Contract Extension with GTECH

COMPANHIA VALE: Settles 2006 Iron Ore Prices with Thyssen Krupp
DRESSER-RAND: Reports US$12 Mil. First Quarter 2006 Net Income
GENERAL MOTORS: Brazilian Unit Cutting Exports & Firing Workers

* BRAZIL: Continues to Receive Natural Gas from Bolivia

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

BLENTARP INVESTMENTS: Schedules May 18 Final General Meeting
GLORYLAND HOLDINGS: Holds Last Shareholders Meeting on May 18
MEGASHIELD HOLDINGS: Sets Final Shareholders Meeting on May 18
RIGEL LIMITED: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 18
SOLID SQUARE: Validation of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 18

C H I L E

ELECTROANDINA: Fitch Affirms BB Foreign & Local Currency Ratings

C O S T A   R I C A

* COSTA RICA: Brazilian Firms Eager to Expand Businesses
* COSTA RICA: Trade with European Union to Boost Economy

C U B A

BANCO INDUSTRIAL: Starts Processing & Approving Loans in Cuba

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

FALCONBRIDGE LTD: Receives Raised Purchase Offer from Inco
TRICOM SA: Unfazed by New Player's Entry into Dominican Republic

E C U A D O R

PETROECUADOR: Rejects US Firm's Contract Renegotiation Proposal

G R E N A D A

* GRENADA: Paris Club Creditors Agree to Restructure Public Debt

G U A T E M A L A

* GUATEMALA: Declares Emergency Due to Rainy Season Delay

H A I T I

* HAITI: Receives Oil Shipment from Venezuela

H O N D U R A S

PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Eager to Buy Honduran Import Fuel Firm

* HONDURAS: Sees Continued Economic Growth

J A M A I C A

NCB JAMAICA: Paying J$345,346,795 in Dividends on May 26
KAISER ALUMINUM: District Court Affirms Confirmation Order

M E X I C O

BANCO SANTANDER SERFIN: Fitch Affirms C Individual Rating
COMISION FEDERAL: Starts Mexicali Transmission Line Construction
GRUPO MEXICO: Workers Cease Strike at Zacatecas Mine
HIPOTECARIO CREDITO: Moody's Changes Rating Outlook to Stable
J.L. FRENCH: Court Approves Second Amended Disclosure Statement

N I C A R A G U A

* NICARAGUA: Inks Accord with US Firm for Oil & Gas Concessions

P A N A M A

* PANAMA: Banana Workers Seek Mega Tres Plantations Confiscation

P A R A G U A Y

* PARAGUAY: Supports Uruguay in Pulp Mill & Mercosur Conflict

P U E R T O   R I C O

FIRST BANCORP: Gets Approval to Pay Preferred Dividends

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

REPUBLIC BANK: Fitch Affirms C Individual Rating

U R U G U A Y

* URUGUAY: European Union Backs Country in Pulp Mill Conflict
* URUGUAY: Has Paraguay's Support in Pulp Mill Conflict

V E N E Z U E L A

BANCO DE VENEZUELA: Fitch Affirms Low B Issuer Ratings
PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Minister Explains Oil Extraction Tax

* VENEZUELA: Imposing 33% Oil Extraction Tax on Orinoco Firms



                          - - - - -   


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


BANCO RIO: Fitch Affirms E Individual Rating
--------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the debt and Issuer Default Ratings
for Banco Santander Central Hispano's Latin American
subsidiaries following the recent upgrade of the Spanish parent
bank's IDR to 'AA' from 'AA-'.

The Foreign Currency IDRs of the subsidiaries in Brazil and
Mexico are constrained by the country ceiling. Local Currency
IDRs, already higher than the sovereign local currency rating in
Brazil and Mexico, as well as the ratings of the Chilean
subsidiary, are underpinned by support, making downward rating
movements unlikely absent parent deterioration.  Upside
potential for the Local Currency IDRs would be driven
principally by further strengthening in the financial
fundamentals embodied in the Individual ratings.

Fitch has affirmed these ratings of Banco Rio de la Plata:

   -- Individual 'E'; and
   -- Support '5'.


CARTEX S.A.: Court Closes Bankruptcy Case
-----------------------------------------
The bankruptcy proceeding of Cartex S.A. has been concluded.  
Data revealed by Infobae on its Web site indicated that the
process was concluded after Buenos Aires' Court No. 7, with
assistance from Clerk No. 14, homologated the debt agreement
signed between the company and its creditors.

Cartex's creditors had approved the company's settlement plan
during the informative assembly on Sept. 13, 2005.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Aug. 25, 2004,
Cartex S.A., a sports token manufacturer in Buenos Aires,
requested for reorganization after failing to pay its
liabilities since May 31, 2004.

On Oct. 6, 2004, the Troubled Company Reporter stated that Judge
Gutierrez Cabello of Buenos Aires' Court No. 14 approved the
reorganization petition filed by Cartex S.A.  Accounting firm
Estudio Aguilar Pinedo, Rascado, Fernandez y Asociados was
appointed as trustee.

Creditors' proofs of claim were verified until Dec. 3, 2004.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Oct. 26, 2004,
the trustee submitted the validated individual claims for court
approval on Feb. 15, 2005.  A general report on the case was
also presented in court on March 25, 2005.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Cartex S.A.
         Marcos Sastre 4994
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

        Estudio Aguilar Pinedo, Rascado
        Fernandez y Asociados
        Montevideo 1723
        Buenos Aires, Argentina


HOUCER S.R.L.: Verification of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 29
-------------------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims for the Houcer S.R.L.
insolvency case is set to end on May 29, 2006, states Infobae.  
Claims must be submitted to Susana Gonzalez, the court-appointed
trustee, before the verification deadline.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Houcer S.R.L.
         H. Yrigoyen 184
         General Madariaga
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Susana Gonzalez
         Buenos Aires 595, Dolores
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


HSU LIANG HSIEN: Asks Court's Permission to Reorganize Business
---------------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires' Court No. 25 is studying the request for
reorganization submitted by local company Hsu Liang Hsien, says
La Nacion.  If the reorganization petition is approved, it will
allow the company to avoid bankruptcy by negotiating a
settlement with its creditors.

The report adds that the company filed the reorganization
petition following cessation of debt payments on April 20, 2005.

The city's Clerk No. 49 assists the court on this case.


INDIECITO S.A.: Seeks Court Approval to Restructure Debts
---------------------------------------------------------
A Buenos Aires court is reviewing the merits of Indiecito S.A.'s
petition to reorganize.  Infobae recalls that the company filed
the petition following cessation of debt payments.  

Reorganization will allow Indiecito to avoid bankruptcy by
negotiating a settlement with its creditors.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Indiecito S.A.  
         Fray Justo Santa Maria de Oro 1971
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 30
--------------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Nestor Agustin Iribe will be validating
creditors' proofs of claims against International Center Food
S.A. until May 30, 2006.  Creditors with unverified claims will
be disqualified from receiving any distribution that the company
will make.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 4 converted the company's ongoing
bankruptcy case into reorganization, with the assistance of
Clerk No. 7, states Infobae.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Nestor A. Iribe
         Avenida Corrientes 1250
         Buenos Aires


LLAFE S.A.: Last Day for Claims Verification Is on May 24
---------------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims for the Llafe S.A.
bankruptcy case will end on May 24, 2006, states Infobae.  
Estudio Manfredi-Gonzalez Sturla will stop accepting claims
after May 24.  Creditors with unverified claims will be
disqualified from receiving any distribution that the company
will make.

Argentine bankruptcy law requires the trustee to provide the
court with individual reports on the forwarded claims and a
general report containing an audit of the company's accounting
and business records.  The dates of submission for these reports
are yet to be disclosed.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Llafe S.A.
         25 de Mayo 158
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Estudio Manfredi - Gonzalez Sturla
         Avenida Rivadavia 789
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


LUICAR S.R.L.: Court Concludes Reorganization Proceeding
--------------------------------------------------------
The reorganization of Buenos Aires-based Luicar S.R.L. has
ended.  Data revealed by Infobae on its Web site indicated that
the process was concluded after Buenos Aires' Court No. 9, with
assistance from Clerk No. 17, homologated the debt agreement
signed between the company and its creditors.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 10, 2005,
the court approved the reorganization petition filed by Luicar.  
Ruben Leonardo Kwasniewski was appointed as trustee.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Ruben Leonardo Kwasniewski
         Montevideo 536
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


METALURGICA SI-CA: Proofs of Claim Filing Ends on May 23
--------------------------------------------------------
The verification phase for the claims submitted by Metalurgica
SI-CA S.R.L.'s creditors has started, Argentine daily Infobae
reports.  Verification will end on May 23, 2006.  

Creditors who are unable to submit claims after May 23 will be
excluded from receiving any distribution or payment that the
company will make.

Metalurgica was declared bankrupt by a Buenos Aires court.  The
court selected Francisco Grossi as the company's trustee.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Metalurgica SI-CA S.R.L.
         San Geronimo 2725
         Santa Fe, Argentina   

The trustee can be reached at:

         Francisco Grossi        
         Obispo Gelabert 2478
         Santa Fe, Argentina


NAVICON LOGISTICA: Court Ends Reorganization Proceeding
-------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based company Navicon Logistica Global S.A.
concluded its reorganization process, according to data released
by Infobae on its Web site.  The conclusion came after a Buenos
Aires court homologated the debt plan signed between the company
and its creditors.


RECYCLING EXPRESS: Proofs of Claim Filing Deadline Is Aug. 11
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of bankrupt company Recycling Express S.R.L. are
required to present proofs of their claim to Luciano Melegari,
the court-appointed trustee, on or before Aug. 11, 2006, La
Nacion reports.  Creditors who fail to submit the required
documents by the said date will not qualify for any post-
liquidation distributions.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 16 declared the company bankrupt in
favor of Monica del Carmen Martinez, whom the company owes
US$9,612.76.

Clerk No. 32 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Recycling Express S.R.L.
         Paso 587
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Luciano Melegari
         Mitre 1131
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


REPSOL YPF: Considers Argentine Unit Spin Off
---------------------------------------------
Repsol YPF chairman, Antonio Brufau, disclosed during a
conference call that the company's intention to spin off its
Argentine unit in a public offering.

Mr. Brufau said that Repsol might sell 15% to 20% in Yacimientos
Petroliferos Fiscales -- YPF.

Analysts cited by the Financial Times believed that the proposed
spin off will try to cushion Repsol against the effects of
nationalization that is sweeping across Latin America.

The FT says that Repsol's shares have weakened after Bolivia's
nationalization of its hydrocarbons sector on May 1.

Repsol bought YPF in 1999 for US$15 billion in cash.

Analysts suggested that after Argentina's financial collapse,
Repsol might be seeking to establish a market value for Repsol's
assets in Argentina, the FT says.

Repsol is Europes fifth largest oil company, with a market value
of US$35 billion.  In Bolivia, Repsol has about 18% of its
proven reserves and 11% of production, and owns 50% of Andina, a
big gas operator, the FT says.

                        *    *    *

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

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


SALVADOR MARINARO: Court Closes Reorganization Proceeding
---------------------------------------------------------
The reorganization of Salvador Marinaro e Hijo S.R.L. has been
concluded.  Data revealed by Infobae on its Web site indicated
that the process was concluded after a court in Salta, Distrito
Judicial del Centro, approved the debt agreement signed between
the company and its creditors.

The debtor can be reached at:

       Salvador Marinaro e Hijo S.R.L.
       Corrientes 953, Ciudad de Salta
       Salta, Argentina


* ARGENTINA: Continues Receiving Natural Gas from Bolivia
---------------------------------------------------------
The flow of the Bolivian natural gas exports to Argentina and
Brazil are expected to stay normal despite the nationalization
of the gas and oil industry in the Andean nation on May 1,
Energy Minister Andres Soliz Rada told Dow Jones Newswires.

"The flow of gas to Argentina and Brazil continues without
change," an official of the Energy Ministry told Dow Jones
Newswires by telephone from La Paz.  "There are no plans to
change flows for now," said the official who wished not to be
named.

Dow Jones says that both countries have contracts to import
natural gas from Bolivia.  Brazil's contract is slated until
2019 to import 24 million to 30 million cubic meters a day.  On
the other hand, Argentina imports up to 6 million cubic meters
per day until the end of 2006.

Only 8% of the demand in Argentina is compensated by the
Bolivian gas shipment.  Argentine Officials have been trying to
negotiate with the Bolivian officials for weeks to extend its
import contract with the government, Dow Jones relates.

Dow Jones also adds that Argentine energy planners wish to
construct a new Bolivian pipeline in Northern Argentina as to
add another 20 million cubic meters to its demand.

The Argentine nation has faced gas restrictions since 2004 in
the June-September winter.  The country relied on more expensive
fuel oil to be able to generate electricity and run industry,
Dow Jones says.

The nation also experienced reduced shipment from Bolivia when
the Bolivian pipeline that enables the gas flow was damaged in
April.  At that time, gas flow fell from 5 million cubic meters
a day on April 1 to zero cubic meters a day for a period of 10
days.  As to meet its demands, the country immediately reduced
gas flow to Chile, Dow Jones relates.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Argentina:

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


                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Brazil:

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

                        *    *    *

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


PXRE GROUP: Fitch Maintains Watch Negative on Ratings
-----------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings said that its existing ratings of PXRE Group Ltd.
will remain on Rating Watch Negative following several recent
announcements by the reinsurer.

Fitch placed PXRE on Rating Watch Negative on Feb. 17, 2006.

Specifically, Fitch's ratings remain on Rating Watch Negative
due to the following key factors:

   -- Continued uncertainty related to PXRE's future viability
      and business direction as the company continues to
      explore strategic alternatives.  Fitch believes such
      actions often signal a distressed situation and potential
      run-off;

   -- Additional disruptions in senior management.  Fitch notes
      that the company's Chief Operating Officer has given
      notice of his resignation effective July 17, 2006.

   -- Shareholder lawsuits that Fitch anticipated have now
      become reality, with their ultimate financial impact
      unknown.

   -- Concerns regarding the company's ability to continue to
      operate profitably given its reduced premium base and
      the potential for inadequately set reserves.  Roughly
      65% of PXRE's in-force business as of Jan. 1, 2006 has
      either been non-renewed or cancelled.

   -- Fitch's belief that PXRE has limited financial
      flexibility going forward.

However, positively, through the first quarter of 2006, PXRE
did not experience adverse loss reserve development related to
its 2005 hurricane losses, and its catastrophe risk has been
reduced since a large amount of its premium base has non-renewed
or cancelled.  Fitch expects this will continue to be the trend.

Fitch originally placed the ratings on Rating Watch Negative on
Feb. 17, 2006, following PXRE's announcement that the company
had increased its pre-tax net loss estimates for hurricanes
Katrina, Rita, and Wilma by US$281 million to US$311 million,
and decided to explore strategic alternatives.  Fitch
concurrently downgraded its Insurer Financial Strength rating on
PXRE's lead operating subsidiaries, PXRE Reinsurance Ltd. and
PXRE Reinsurance Company, to 'BB+' from 'BBB+'.

These ratings remain on Rating Watch Negative:

   PXRE Group Ltd.

      -- Issuer Default Rating: 'BB'.

   PXRE Capital Trust I

      -- Trust preferred securities US$100 million 8.85% due
         Feb. 1, 2027: 'B+'.

   PXRE Reinsurance Company
   PXRE Reinsurance Ltd.

      -- IFS: 'BB+'.




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


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: May Receive Compensation from Bolivia
----------------------------------------------------------
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with his
Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, on Saturday to discuss the
conflict resulting from Bolivia's oil nationalization and the
question of possible compensation for Petroleo Brasileiro SA aka
Petrobras, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told said in a separate
report that Bolivia must compensate Petroleo Brasileiro if it
were to take over the company's oil and gas production and seize
the company's assets.

"If investments (assets) are passed to a different owner, they
need to be compensated," Minister Amorim said at a press
briefing during a summit of the European Union, Latin America
and the Caribbean held in Vienna Thursday through Saturday.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 3, 2006,
Bolivian President Evo Morales declared on May 1, the
nationalization of his country's hydrocarbons industry.  

The state reclaimed control of energy companies privatized
in the 1990s.  President Morales ordered the military to seize
gas fields and asked foreign energy companies to send their
locally produced supplies to the state or exit Bolivia within
six months.  

Among the companies affected was Brazil's state-run company
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, which has invested more than US$1.5
billion in Bolivia since 1996.

President Morales declared last week that there is no reason for
Bolivia to compensate foreign energy companies if they have
already recovered investments and accrued some earnings.

Dow Jones relates that minister Amorim revealed during the
briefing that the compensation had not been discussed much with
the government officials of Bolivian.  However, he said that in
previous talks Bolivia did consider compensation.

Mr. Amorim explained to Dow Jones that there was a distinction
between compensation for lost production rights and compensation
for company assets.  The minister said that he had read that
Bolivia would allow for a compensation of assets.

Mr. Amorim was quoted by Dow Jones saying that Petrobras had
judicial means at hand, which will be acted on if there were to
be no agreement reached with Bolivia.  The minister said that
his country prefers a good neighborhood policy but will defend
its interests firmly.

Presidents Morales and Lula did not reveal the exact content of
their talks nor did they mention the issue of compensation for
Petrobras, Dow Jones reports.

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        US$400,000,000    9%          BB-
  July   2, 2013        US$750,000,000    9.125%      BB-
  Sept. 15, 2014        US$650,000,000    7.75%       BB-
  Dec.  10, 2018        US$750,000,000    8.375%      BB-


* BOLIVIA: Gas Flow to Brazil & Argentina Stays Normal
------------------------------------------------------
The flow of the Bolivian natural gas exports to Argentina and
Brazil are expected to stay normal despite the nationalization
of the gas and oil industry in the country on May 1, Energy
Minister Andres Soliz Rada told Dow Jones Newswires.

"The flow of gas to Argentina and Brazil continues without
change," an official of the Energy Ministry told Dow Jones
Newswires by telephone from La Paz.  "There are no plans to
change flows for now," said the official who wished not to be
named.

Dow Jones says that both countries have contracts to import
natural gas from Bolivia.  Brazil's contract is slated until
2019 to import 24 million to 30 million cubic meters a day.  On
the other hand, Argentina imports up to 6 million cubic meters
per day until the end of 2006.

Only 8% of the demand in Argentina is compensated by the
Bolivian gas shipment.  Argentine Officials have been trying to
negotiate with the Bolivian officials for weeks to extend its
import contract with the government, Dow Jones relates.

Dow Jones also adds that Argentine energy planners wish to
construct a new Bolivian pipeline in Northern Argentina as to
add another 20 million cubic meters to its demand.

The Argentine nation has faced gas restrictions since 2004 in
the June-September winter.  The country relied on more expensive
fuel oil to be able to generate electricity and run industry,
Dow Jones says.

Argentina also experienced reduced shipment from Bolivia when
the Bolivian pipeline that enables the gas flow was damaged in
April.  At that time, gas flow fell from 5 million cubic meters
a day on April 1 to zero cubic meters a day for a period of 10
days.  As to meet its demands, the country immediately reduced
gas flow to Chile, Dow Jones relates.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Argentina:

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


                       *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Brazil:

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

                        *    *    *

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: Reports US$1.1 Billion First Quarter Net Income
----------------------------------------------------------------
Banco do Brasil SA, Latin America's largest bank, said profit
more than doubled in the first quarter on increased lending and
service-fee revenue, Bloomberg News reports.

Net income climbed to 2.3 billion reals (US$1.1 billion) from
965 million realis in the same period in 2005.

Banco do Brasil said in a regulatory filing that lending rose
13% to 105.5 billion reals from 93.3 billion reals a year
earlier.  The increase was led by a 20% jump in agricultural
lending to 37.1 billion reals.  Banking service fees rose 19% to
2.1 billion reals.

"Lending growth is fundamental for the bank industry," Paulo
Werneck, investment director at ABN Amro Asset Management in Sao
Paulo, said in an interview with Bloomberg.  He expects bank
shares this year to outperform the benchmark stock index.

Banco do Brasil's common shares gained 24 centavos, or 0.4%, to
64.49 reals on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange on May 12, Bloomberg
reports.

                        *    *    *

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


BANCO DO ESTADO: Fitch Affirms Low B Issuer Default Ratings
-----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the debt and Issuer Default Ratings
for Banco Santander Central Hispano's Latin American
subsidiaries following the recent upgrade of the Spanish parent
bank's IDR to 'AA' from 'AA-'.

The Foreign Currency IDRs of the subsidiaries in Brazil and
Mexico are constrained by the country ceiling.  Local Currency
IDRs, already higher than the sovereign local currency rating in
Brazil and Mexico, as well as the ratings of the Chilean
subsidiary, are underpinned by support, making downward rating
movements unlikely absent parent deterioration.  Upside
potential for the Local Currency IDRs would be driven
principally by further strengthening in the financial
fundamentals embodied in the Individual ratings.

Fitch has affirmed these ratings of Banco do Estado de San Paulo
S.A. or Banespa:

   -- Issuer Default Rating: 'BB-' with Positive Outlook;
   -- Short-term issuer: 'B';
   -- Local currency IDR: 'BB+' with Positive Outlook;
   -- Local currency short-term issuer: 'B';
   -- Individual 'C'; and
   -- Support '3'.


BANCO SANTANDER BRASIL: Fitch Affirms Low B Issuer Ratings
----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the debt and Issuer Default Ratings
for Banco Santander Central Hispano's Latin American
subsidiaries following the recent upgrade of the Spanish parent
bank's IDR to 'AA' from 'AA-'.

The Foreign Currency IDRs of the subsidiaries in Brazil and
Mexico are constrained by the country ceiling. Local Currency
IDRs, already higher than the sovereign local currency rating in
Brazil and Mexico, as well as the ratings of the Chilean
subsidiary, are underpinned by support, making downward rating
movements unlikely absent parent deterioration. Upside potential
for the Local Currency IDRs would be driven principally by
further strengthening in the financial fundamentals embodied in
the Individual ratings.

Fitch has affirmed these ratings of Banco Santander Brasil S.A.:

   -- Issuer Default Rating: 'BB-' with Positive Outlook;
   -- Short-term issuer: 'B';
   -- Local currency IDR: 'BB+' with Positive Outlook;
   -- Local currency short-term issuer: 'B';
   -- Individual 'C/D'; and
   -- Support '3'.


BANCO SANTANDER MERIDIONAL: Fitch Affirms Low B Issuer Ratings
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the debt and Issuer Default Ratings
for Banco Santander Central Hispano's Latin American
subsidiaries following the recent upgrade of the Spanish parent
bank's IDR to 'AA' from 'AA-'.

The Foreign Currency IDRs of the subsidiaries in Brazil and
Mexico are constrained by the country ceiling.  Local Currency
IDRs, already higher than the sovereign local currency rating in
Brazil and Mexico, as well as the ratings of the Chilean
subsidiary, are underpinned by support, making downward rating
movements unlikely absent parent deterioration.  Upside
potential for the Local Currency IDRs would be driven
principally by further strengthening in the financial
fundamentals embodied in the Individual ratings.

Fitch has affirmed these ratings of Banco Santander Meridional:

   -- Issuer Default Rating: 'BB-' with Positive Outlook;
   -- Short-term issuer: 'B';
   -- Local currency IDR: 'BB+' with Positive Outlook;
   -- Local currency short-term issuer: 'B';
   -- Individual 'D'; and
   -- Support '3'.


CAIXA ECONOMICA: Approves 90-Day Contract Extension with GTECH
--------------------------------------------------------------
Caixa Economica Federal, the administrator of the National
Lottery in Brazil, notified GTECH Brazil Ltda., a wholly-owned
subsidiary of GTECH Holdings Corporation, has approved a 90-day
contract extension.
    
Under the terms of the contract extension, which commenced upon
termination of the Caixa contract on May 14, 2006, GTECH will
continue to operate the existing lottery and financial
transaction processing systems for Caixa.  The contract
extension retains all of GTECH's service offerings, and the
fixed and variable fee structure, currently in place.

                        *    *    *

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

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


COMPANHIA VALE: Settles 2006 Iron Ore Prices with Thyssen Krupp
---------------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce aka CVRD concluded the iron ore price
negotiations for 2006 with Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG aka Thyssen
Krupp, the largest German steel maker.  As an outcome of the
negotiations, iron ore prices for Carajas aka SFCJ and Southern
System aka SSF fines increased by 19.0% relatively to 2005.  
Blast furnace pellets, both from Tubarao and Sao Luis, will be
reduced by 3.0%.
    
CVRD reinforces its long-term commitment with clients, investing
a significant amount of resources, despite of rising investment
costs, in the production and logistics of iron ore.  For 2006,
CVRD capex budget allocated US$2.1 billion for investments in
ferrous minerals.  Currently, CVRD is developing seven projects
for iron ore and pellet production capacity expansion, which
will come on stream between 2006 and 2008.
    
The iron ore price settlement with a traditional customer like
Thyssen Krupp, with whom CVRD has several decades of commercial
relationship, is an evidence of the weight of the long-term view
involved in these negotiations.

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

                        *    *    *

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

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

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


DRESSER-RAND: Reports US$12 Mil. First Quarter 2006 Net Income
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dresser-Rand Group Inc., a global supplier of rotating equipment
and aftermarket parts and services, reported net income of
US$12.3 million, or US$0.14 per diluted share, for the first
quarter 2006.  This compares to a net loss of US$4.0 million, or
a loss of US$0.07 per diluted share, for the first quarter 2005.  
First quarter 2006 net income included two unusual items.  
First, the Company recorded a curtailment gain of US$7.9 million
after-tax, reflecting a reduction in the estimated future cash
costs of certain previously recorded retiree healthcare benefits
resulting from a recently negotiated labor agreement.  Second,
the Company had a write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs
of approximately US$0.7 million after-tax in connection with the
prepayment of US$50.0 million of debt in the first quarter. The
net effect of these unusual items on net income was US$7.2
million or US$0.08 per diluted share.
    
Vincent R. Volpe, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of
Dresser- Rand, said, "We are pleased with our first quarter 2006
earnings. While the first quarter is seasonally our weakest
quarter, this year's results were significantly better than the
corresponding period in 2005.  Revenues increased 25%, operating
income (including the non-cash curtailment gain) more than
tripled and our backlog grew 17% over the year ago period.  We
continue to benefit from strong industry fundamentals, a leading
market position and the positive effects of operating leverage
from higher volume and improving prices for our equipment, parts
and services."
    
Revenues for the first quarter 2006 of US$291.6 million
increased US$57.6 million compared to US$234.0 million for the
first quarter 2005.  Revenues for the first quarter 2006 were
US$70.4 million or 19% lower than the seasonally strong fourth
quarter of 2005.  Total operating income for the first quarter
2006 was US$30.2 million including the non-cash curtailment gain
mentioned above of US$11.8 million (pre-tax).  This compares to
operating income of US$8.7 million for the first quarter 2005
and US$50.8 million for the seasonally strong fourth quarter
2005.  First quarter 2006 operating income increased from the
year ago quarter due to volume leverage, improved pricing and
the non-cash curtailment gain.
    
Bookings for the first quarter 2006 were US$365.3 million, which
was US$85.1 million lower than the first quarter 2005.  In the
first quarter 2005, an unusually large order of $89 million was
booked for equipment being supplied to the largest Floating,
Production, Storage and Offloading project in the world.  The
backlog at the end of March 2006 was a record US$993.8 million
or 17% higher than the backlog at the end of March 2005.
    
                         New Units
    
New unit revenues for the first quarter 2006 of US$139.1 million
increased US$50.8 million from the first quarter 2005 but were
US$38.5 million lower than the fourth quarter 2005.  Continued
strength in worldwide demand for rotating equipment contributed
to the increase in revenue compared to the corresponding period
in 2005.
    
New unit operating loss of US$1.3 million for the first quarter
2006 compares to an operating loss of US$6.1 million for the
first quarter 2005.  For the fourth quarter 2005, operating
income was US$16.1 million.  This segment's operating margin of
(0.9)% compares to (6.9)% for the first quarter 2005 and 9.1%
for the fourth quarter 2005.  The increase from the
corresponding period in 2005 is attributable to operating
leverage from higher volume and higher pricing.
    
Bookings for the three months ended March 31, 2006, of US$165.5
million were 44% lower than the bookings for the corresponding
period in 2005.  The reduction in bookings for the first quarter
2006 compared to a year ago is a reflection of the size and
scope of new unit bookings and the uneven nature of this
segment's order pattern.  The record backlog at March 31, 2006,
of US$749.8 million was 8% above the US$692.7 million backlog at
March 31, 2005.  This increase is due to continuing strong
worldwide demand for rotating equipment and the acquisition of
certain assets of Tuthill Energy Systems in September 2005.
    
The refinery market has been strong in recent years and, because
of the current high utilization rates and planned capacity
increases, this market is expected to continue to grow.  
Dresser-Rand was recently selected as the sole source supplier
of compression equipment on a major refinery expansion project.  
This represents approximately $100 million of equipment orders
to be released the latter part of this year.  Project details
will be disclosed in the near-term.
    
               Aftermarket Parts and Services

Aftermarket parts and services revenues for the first quarter
2006 of US$152.5 million compares to US$145.7 for the first
quarter 2005 and US$184.4 million for the fourth quarter 2005.
    
Aftermarket operating income for the first quarter 2006 of
US$34.4 million compares to US$23.8 million for the first
quarter 2005 and US$48.2 million for the fourth quarter 2005.  
This segment's operating margin of approximately 22.5% compares
to 16.4% for the first quarter 2005 and 26.1% for the fourth
quarter 2005.  The increase from the corresponding period in
2005 is attributable to operating leverage from higher volume
and higher pricing for parts and services.
    
Bookings for the three months ended March 31, 2006 of US$199.8
million were 29% above bookings for the corresponding period in
2005.  The record-level backlog at March 31, 2006 of US$244.0
million was 54% above the US$158.9 million backlog at March 31,
2005.
    
              Liquidity and Capital Resources
    
As of March 31, 2006, cash and cash equivalents totaled US$58.7
million and borrowing availability under the US$350 million
revolving credit portion of the Company's senior credit facility
was US$151 million, as US$199 million was used for outstanding
letters of credit.
    
In first quarter 2006, cash provided by operating activities was
US$12.5 million.  In the first quarter 2006, capital
expenditures totaled US$3.2 million, approximately 1.1% of total
revenues, and US$50.0 million was used to reduce total debt.  As
of March 31, 2006, total debt, net of cash and equivalents was
approximately US$491.1 million.  The Company anticipates that
during 2006, operations will generate strong cash flows in
excess of its capital spending needs.
    
As a result of reducing total debt by US$50 million in the first
quarter 2006, annual interest expense will be reduced by
approximately US$2.8 million.  A non-cash charge was incurred in
the first quarter 2006 relating to the write- off of unamortized
debt issuance costs of approximately US$1.1 million (pre- tax).  
The Company plans to further reduce debt this year.

                      Secondary Offering

On May 3, 2006, the Company completed a registered secondary
offering of its common stock.  D-R Interholdings, LLC, sold 27.6
million shares including the underwriters over-allotment option
of 3.6 million shares at a public offering price of US$24.50 per
share.  Dresser-Rand did not receive any proceeds from the sale
of shares in the offering.  After underwriting discounts and
before expenses, the selling stockholder distributed the
aggregate proceeds of US$652.5 million to affiliates of First
Reserve Corporation and certain members of the Company
management.  In connection with the secondary offering, exit
units for certain members of Company management vested resulting
in a pre-tax and after-tax, non-cash compensation expense
estimated to be approximately US$9.1 million or US$0.11 per
diluted share, which will be reflected in the Company's second
quarter 2006 results.
    
                          Outlook

Demand for rotating equipment and aftermarket parts and services
continues to be strong.  The backlog of orders has continued to
increase to record levels.  At March 31, 2006, 22% of the
backlog of US$993.8 million is scheduled to ship next year.  
Bookings for second quarter 2006 are expected to be higher than
first quarter 2006 and higher than bookings in the corresponding
quarter in 2005.
    
The Company expects second quarter 2006 earnings per share,
including the non-cash compensation expense of US$0.11 per
diluted share for the vesting of exit units mentioned above, to
be in the range of US$0.13 to US$0.15.  The non-cash
compensation expense is not tax deductible.  As a result, the
effective tax rate in the second quarter 2006 will be higher
than the U.S. federal statutory rate.
    

Results Summary (dollars in millions, except share data):

                                 First Quarter  Fourth Quarter
                                   2006    2005      2005

Total Revenues                    $291.6  $234.0    $362.0
Operating income                   $30.2    $8.7     $50.8
Net income (loss)                  $12.3   ($4.0)    $32.2
Basic and Diluted EPS               $0.14  ($0.07)    $0.38
Shares used to compute EPS (000)   85,445  54,319    85,445


Dresser-Rand is among the largest suppliers of rotating
equipment solutions to the worldwide oil, gas, petrochemical,
and process industries.  It operates manufacturing facilities in
the United States, France, Germany, Norway, India, and Brazil,
and maintains a network of 24 service and support centers
covering 105 countries.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 1, 2005,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'B+' corporate
credit rating on compression equipment maker Dresser-Rand Group
Inc. and revised the outlook on the company to positive.

As of Sept. 30, 2005, the Olean, New York-based company had
about US$600 million of debt.


GENERAL MOTORS: Brazilian Unit Cutting Exports & Firing Workers
---------------------------------------------------------------
General Motors Corp.'s Brazilian unit plans to cut exports and
fire 960 workers, Bloomberg News reports, citing a company
spokesman.  

Accordng to the same report, the unit's move came as a result of
stronger currency making GM's vehicles uncompetitive.

GM will fire the workers from a plant in Sao Jose dos Campos, in
the interior of Sao Paulo state, said the spokesman who declined
to be identified, Bloomberg relates.

Meanwhile, GM plans to launch a small car in Brazil in 2007.  
The cars will be assembled in GM's plant in Gravatai.  As a
result, 970 jobs will be created in the Gravatai plant plus 300
more at the automaker's design center, Bloomberg says.

                   About General Motors

General Motors Corp. -- http://www.gm.com/-- the world's  
largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for
75 years.  Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000
people around the world.  With global headquarters in Detroit,
GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries including
Mexico.  In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold
globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet,
GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and
Vauxhall.  GM operates one of the world's leading finance
companies, GMAC Financial Services, which offers automotive,
residential and commercial financing and insurance.  GM's OnStar
subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security
and information services.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 7, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service reviews for possible downgrade General
Motors Acceptance Corporation's Ba1 long-term rating.  Moody's
retained Residential Capital Corporation's Baa3 long-term and
Prime-3 short-term ratings.   The action followed General
Motors's decision to sell a 51% stake in GMAC to a consortium
led by Cerberus Capital Management L.P.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 5, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services held its ratings on General
Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC; 'BB/B-1') and on GMAC's
subsidiary, Residential Capital Corp. (ResCap; 'BBB-/A-3'), on
CreditWatch with developing implications after General Motors
Corp. disclosed the proposed sale of its 51% ownership stake in
GMAC to a consortium headed by Cerberus Capital Management L.P.


* BRAZIL: Continues to Receive Natural Gas from Bolivia
-------------------------------------------------------
The flow of the Bolivian natural gas exports to Argentina and
Brazil are expected to stay normal despite the nationalization
of the gas and oil industry in the country, which was decreed on
May 1 by Pres. Evo Morales, Energy Minister Andres Soliz Rada
told Dow Jones Newswires.

"The flow of gas to Argentina and Brazil continues without
change," an official of the Energy Ministry told Dow Jones
Newswires by telephone from La Paz.  "There are no plans to
change flows for now," said the official who wished not to be
named.

Dow Jones says that both countries have contracts to import
natural gas from Bolivia.  Brazil's contract is slated until
2019 to import 24 million to 30 million cubic meters a day.  On
the other hand, Argentina imports up to 6 million cubic meters
per day until the end of 2006.

Only 8% of the demand in Argentina is compensated by the
Bolivian gas shipment.  Argentine Officials have been trying to
negotiate with the Bolivian officials for weeks to extend its
import contract with the government, Dow Jones relates.

Dow Jones also adds that Argentine energy planners wish to
construct a new Bolivian pipeline in Northern Argentina as to
add another 20 million cubic meters to its demand.

The Argentine nation has faced gas restrictions since 2004 in
the June-September winter.  The country relied on more expensive
fuel oil to be able to generate electricity and run industry,
Dow Jones says.  The nation also experienced reduced shipment
from Bolivia when the Bolivian pipeline that enables the gas
flow was damaged in April.  At that time, gas flow fell from 5
million cubic meters a day on April 1 to zero cubic meters a day
for a period of 10 days.  As to meet its demands, the country
immediately reduced gas flow to Chile, Dow Jones relates.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Argentina:

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


                       *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Brazil:

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

                        *    *    *

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




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


BLENTARP INVESTMENTS: Schedules May 18 Final General Meeting
------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Blentarp Investments Ltd. will gather for a
final meeting on May 18, 2006, at 10:30 a.m. at:

            Deloitte
            Fourth Floor, Citrus Grove,
            P.O. Box 1787, George Town
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

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

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 14, 2006,
FK Capital started liquidating assets on Dec. 15, 2005.  
Creditors of the company were required to submit particulars of
their debts or claims on or before March 20, 2006, to Mr. Ian
Wight and Mr. Stuart Sybersma, the company's appointed
liquidators.

Parties-in-interest may contact the liquidators at:

             Ian Wight  
             Stuart Sybersma
             Attention: Joshua Taylor
             Deloitte & Touche
             P.O. Box 1787, George Town  
             Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
             Tel: (345) 949 7500
             Fax: (345) 949 8258


GLORYLAND HOLDINGS: Holds Last Shareholders Meeting on May 18
-------------------------------------------------------------
Gloryland Holdings Limited will hold a final meeting of the
shareholders on May 18, 2006, at:

          Cititrust (Cayman) Limited
          CIBC Financial Centre, George Town
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

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

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 12, 2006,
Gloryland Holdings Limited started liquidating assets on
April 7, 2006.  Verification of creditors' claims against the
company will end on May 18, 2006.  

The company's liquidator can be reached at:

           Buchanan Limited
           P.O. Box 1170, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


MEGASHIELD HOLDINGS: Sets Final Shareholders Meeting on May 18
--------------------------------------------------------------
Megashield Holdings Limited will have a final shareholders
meeting on May 18, 2006, at:

           Cititrust (Cayman) Limited,
           CIBC Financial Centre, George Town
           Grand Caymanm, Cayman Islands

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

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 12, 2006,
creditors of the company were required to submit particulars of
their debts or claims on or before May 18, 2006 to the company's
appointed liquidator, Buchanan Limited.

The liquidator can be reached at:

           Buchanan Limited
           P.O. Box 1170, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


RIGEL LIMITED: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 18
--------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Rigel Limited are required to prove their claims to
Glen Trenouth, the company's liquidator, on or before May 18,
2006, or be excluded from receiving any distribution or payment
that the company will make.

Creditors are required to send by May 18 their full names,  
addresses, descriptions, the full particulars of their debts or  
claims, and the names and addresses of their lawyers, if any, to  
the liquidators.

The liquidator can be reached at:

        Glen Trenouth
        P.O. Box 31118 SMB
        Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
        Tel: (345) 943-8800
        Fax: (345) 943-8801


SOLID SQUARE: Validation of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 18
----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Solid Square Holdings Co., Ltd., which is being
voluntarily wound up, are required to present proofs of claim on
or before May 18, 2006, to Mark Wanless and Liam Jones, the
company's liquidators.

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

The company started liquidating assets on April 5, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

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




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


ELECTROANDINA: Fitch Affirms BB Foreign & Local Currency Ratings
----------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'BB' foreign and local currency
Issuer Default Ratings of Electroandina S.A.  The Ratings
Outlook remains Stable.

The ratings reflect Electroandina's business position, which
benefits from its long-term power purchase agreements with
financially strong industrial and mining companies, well
diversified fuel generation mix, and sound operating strategy.  
The company's credit profile is strengthened by the inherent
support from its controlling shareholder, Suez Energy Andino
S.A. and additional shareholder, Corporacion Nacional del Cobre
de Chile or Codelco.  Both of the shareholders have actively
participated in the capital structure of the company as
guarantors and via direct loans.  The assigned ratings continue
to be constrained by exposure to natural gas supply availability
from Argentina and the evolution of energy fuel prices, mainly
coal and diesel.  Liquidity concerns remain as the company faces
amortizations of US$23.7 million in 2006 and 2007.

As expected by Fitch, on July 15, 2005, Electroandina
renegotiated its US$122.6 million syndicated loan with ABN AMRO
due in July 2007, extending the maturity until July 2009.  As
part of the negotiation, Electroandina's shareholders, on a
several basis, provided a combined US$45 million guarantee, in
proportion distributed to their corresponding equity
contribution.  This support may be used only in the event of
cash shortfalls for debt service of the Tranche A for US$100
million of the mentioned ABN AMRO syndicated loan.

In 2005, Electroandina's 6.8% increase in EBITDA, coupled with
debt reduction of $13.5 million, strengthened Electroandina's
financial profile in line with Fitch expectations.  The EBITDA
growth was mainly the result of the company's newly reached
agreements with Chuquicamata's and Radomiro Tomic PPAs - owned
by Codelco (72% of Electroandina's contracted position) and Gas
Transportation Agreements with Gasoducto Norandino, which is
owned by SEA, in December 2005, retroactive to the beginning of
the year.  These agreements contemplate a structural tariff
adjustment and a cost reduction.

Consolidated leverage ratio as measured by debt-to-EBITDA
decreased to 6.1x in 2005, compared with 7.0x in 2004.  
Consolidated leverage ratio as measured by debt (excluding
subordinated debt and shareholder guarantee debt)-to-EBITDA was
1.9x in 2005, compared with 4.3x in 2004.

Although Fitch remains concerned about the ongoing risk of
Argentine natural gas supply interruptions, Electroandina's
consolidated financial flexibility and credit protection
indicators are expected to strengthen during 2006.  The
anticipated improvement is based on the cash generation benefits
from renegotiated PPAs, additional debt reduction and the
company's position as net seller of energy into the spot market
during periods of natural gas restrictions.

Electroandina is the largest generator in Chile's northern
interconnected transmission system and the third largest overall
with installed capacity of 984 MW, including a 400 MW Tocopilla
combined-cycle unit that began commercial operations in February
2001.  The company is owned by Codelco Chile (66.75%) and Suez-
Tractebel S.A. (33.3%), which has management control.  Suez-
Tractebel S.A. is an experienced operator and has a proven track
record of successfully operating private electric utilities
worldwide.




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


* COSTA RICA: Brazilian Firms Eager to Expand Businesses
--------------------------------------------------------
About 50 Brazilian firms have shown interest in expanding
commercial activities in Costa Rica, Inside Costa Rica reports.

According to Inside Costa Rica, businessmen from Brazil will
visit Costa Rica on May 30 to meet with Camara de Comercio
Exterior de Costa Rica y de Representantes de Casas Extranjeras
aka Crecex, a panel of private firms, to explore the possibility
of expanding market participation.  The meeting will be part of
a seven-day mission tour through Central America.

Inside Costa Rica relates that the mission is organized by:

    -- Ministerio de Desarrollo,

    -- Industria y Comercio Exterior de Brasil,

    -- Agencia de Promocion de Exportaciones e Inversiones de
       Brasil aka APEX, and

    -- Ministerio de Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica.

Inside Costa Rica states that the Brazilian entities are
interested in the sectors of:

    -- construction,
    -- automotive,
    -- telecommunications,
    -- electronics,
    -- textiles,
    -- medical equipment and care,
    -- renewable energy,
    -- oil production, and many other industries.

Olga Rodriguez -- the executive director of Crecex -- informed
Inside Costa Rica that the Brazilians were mainly interested in
developing and reaching accords for distribution, importation
and representation of Brazilian products in Costa Rica.  

The products already exported from Brazil to Costa Rica are:

    -- gasoline,
    -- ethanol,
    -- aluminium,
    -- oil, and
    -- steel products.

                        *    *    *

Costa Rica is rated by Moody's:

   -- CC LT Foreign Bank Depst Ba2
   -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt  Ba1
   -- CC ST Foreign Bank Depst NP
   -- CC ST Foreign Curr Debt  NP
   -- Foreign Currency LT Debt Ba1
   -- Local Currency LT Debt   Ba1

Fitch assigned these ratings to Costa Rica:

   -- Foreign currency long-term debt, BB
   -- Local currency long-term debt, BB
   -- Foreign currency short-term debt, B

Costa Rica carries these ratings from Standard & Poor's:

   -- Foreign Currency LT Debt BB
   -- Local Currency LT Debt   BB+
   -- Foreign Currency ST Debt B
   -- Local Currency ST Debt   B


* COSTA RICA: Trade with European Union to Boost Economy
--------------------------------------------------------
Joining the European Union-Central America trade deal would help
Costa Rica improve its economy, the country's politicians and
businessmen told Xinhua News Agency.

Xinhua relates that EU and Central American senior officials
agreed during the EU-Latin American Summit held in Vienna on
Thursday to start negotiations on the possibility of a free
trade pact between the regions.

The agreement would cover trade as well as aid, environment and
issues related to laborers, Antonio Burges, who heads the Costa
Rica Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua.

President Oscar Arias was quoted by the La Nacion newspaper
saying that it was urgent to start talks on a free trade deal
with the EU.  The Costa Rican leader believed that it should
have been done a long time ago.

                        *    *    *

Costa Rica is rated by Moody's:

   -- CC LT Foreign Bank Depst Ba2
   -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt  Ba1
   -- CC ST Foreign Bank Depst NP
   -- CC ST Foreign Curr Debt  NP
   -- Foreign Currency LT Debt Ba1
   -- Local Currency LT Debt   Ba1

Fitch assigned these ratings to Costa Rica:

   -- Foreign currency long-term debt, BB
   -- Local currency long-term debt, BB
   -- Foreign currency short-term debt, B

Costa Rica carries these ratings from Standard & Poor's:

   -- Foreign Currency LT Debt BB
   -- Local Currency LT Debt   BB+
   -- Foreign Currency ST Debt B
   -- Local Currency ST Debt   B




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


BANCO INDUSTRIAL: Starts Processing & Approving Loans in Cuba
-------------------------------------------------------------
Venezuela's state-owned Banco Industrial SA has started to play
its role as a financial bridge between the Venezuelan and Cuban
economies, according to El Universal.

Bank president Luis Quiaro explained that the bank's branch
office in CUba is already processing loan applications for US$28
million and has already granted loans for US$2 million at a
seven percent interest rate.

Venezuela and Cuba has recently signed the Bolivarian
Alternative for the Americas trade bloc along with Bolivia.

                  *    *    *

On March 20, 2006, Moody's Ratings Services affirmed Banco
Industrial S.A.'s 'D' bank financial strength rating.

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




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


FALCONBRIDGE LTD: Receives Raised Purchase Offer from Inco
----------------------------------------------------------
Falconbridge Limited has amended the terms of its Support
Agreement with Inco Limited where it has agreed to recommend an
increased offer from Inco to acquire all outstanding common
shares of Falconbridge. Under the revised terms, Inco's take-
over offer will be amended to increase the amount of cash to be
received by Falconbridge shareholders by CDN$5.00 per share,
assuming full pro-ration.

"We continue to believe in the compelling strategic and economic
rationale of combining Falconbridge with Inco and the revised
offer terms reflect Falconbridge's excellent financial results
and tremendous prospects given the increases in metal prices and
very strong market fundamentals," said Derek Pannell, Chief
Executive Officer of Falconbridge.

"The added cash will provide our shareholders with about CDN$1.9
billion more in value compared with the original deal negotiated
with Inco.  In addition, the tangible synergies available to the
combined company are much greater under current metals prices
than previously estimated and are focused directly on enhancing
our operating platform, rather than simply eliminating corporate
overlap and jobs.  Assuming completion of this deal,
Falconbridge shareholders will own approximately 47% of the
combined company and will continue to benefit from increased
earnings due both to higher metals prices and to the very
significant operating synergies that will result from combining
our two great companies."

Inco and Falconbridge have amended the Support Agreement to
revise the terms of Inco's offer such that each Falconbridge
common shareholder may elect to receive either 0.6927 Inco
common shares plus CDN$0.05 or CDN$51.17 per share, subject to a
maximum number of shares and cash, and subject to pro-ration.  
The maximum amount of cash available is approximately CDN4.8
billion and the maximum amount of Inco common shares available
is unchanged at approximately 201 million.  Assuming all
shareholders tender for the cash option or all shareholders
tender for the share option, each shareholder would be entitled
to receive 0.524 Inco shares plus CDN$12.50.  Among other
amendments to the Support Agreement, Falconbridge has agreed to
a "break fee" in the amount of US$450 million, payable to Inco
if a competing offer is recommended by Falconbridge and in
certain other events.

"We have always believed that combining Falconbridge with Inco
makes the best strategic and economic sense for Falconbridge and
its shareholders.  The pro forma balance sheet of the combined
company will not be stressed by the increased cash payment to
our shareholders given the continued improvements in metal
prices.  We remain confident that regulatory approval will be
received soon and look forward completing this outstanding
transaction," said Mr. Pannell.  "The Falconbridge management
team is committed to this deal and to ensuring that the
synergies identified can be delivered by the new Inco."

Inco and Falconbridge continue to work with the U.S. Department
of Justice and the European Commission in connection with their
respective reviews of our pending transaction.

                        About Inco

Inco Limited -- http://www.inco.com/-- is the world's #2  
producer of nickel, which is used primarily for manufacturing
stainless steel and batteries.  Inco also mines and processes
copper, gold, cobalt, and platinum group metals.  It makes
nickel battery materials and nickel foams, flakes, and powders
for use in catalysts, electronics, and paints.  Sulphuric acid
and liquid sulphur dioxide are produced as byproducts.  The
company's primary mining and processing operations are in
Canada, Indonesia, and the UK.

                    About Falconbridge

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

                        *    *    *

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


TRICOM SA: Unfazed by New Player's Entry into Dominican Republic
----------------------------------------------------------------
Tricom SA is not worried about the entry of America Movil -- the
new owner of Verizon -- into the Dominican Republic, the
Dominican Today reports.

Jose Augusto Salce, Tricom's vice president, told Dominican
Today that the company welcomes the telecom company's arrival.

Tricom will not change its merchandising, with all its
incentives and tariffs, Mr. Salce was quoted by Dominican Today
saying.  The company believes that it is offering the best to
the Dominican telecommunications market without the need to
react to the newcomer's strategy.

Mr. Salce informed Dominican Today that Tricom was formed in
1988 to fulfill the need for better service at lower prices.  It
signed in 1990 an accord with the government that has developed
into good service and has lowered prices to the consumer.

Mr. Salce said the company believes that competition forces all
firms to better services and lower prices, according to
Dominican Today.

                     About America Movil

America Movil S.A. de C.V. is a provider of wireless
communications services in Mexico and Latin America.  Through
its subsidiary Radiomovil Dipsa S.A. de C.V., which operates
under the trademark of Tercel, the Company provides wireless
telecommunications services in all nine regions in Mexico.  The
company has two affiliates and operates a total of 39
subsidiaries and joint ventures in the telecommunication sector
in Guatemala, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela,
the United States and Spain.

                      About Tricom SA

Tricom, S.A. -- http://www.tricom.net/-- is a full service
communications services provider in the Dominican Republic.  The
Company offer local, long distance, mobile, cable television and
broadband data transmission and Internet services.  Through
Tricom USA, the Company is one of the few Latin American based
long distance carriers that is licensed by the U.S. Federal
Communications Commission to own and operate switching
facilities in the United States.  Through its subsidiary, TCN
Dominicana, S.A., the Company is the largest cable television
operator in the Dominican Republic based on its number of
subscribers and homes passed.   The Company's securities are
traded in the United States.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investors Service assigned a Ca issuer and senior
unsecured rating.  Moody's said the outlook is stable.




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


PETROECUADOR: Rejects US Firm's Contract Renegotiation Proposal
---------------------------------------------------------------
Fernando Gonzalez -- the chairman of Petroecuador, the state-run
oil firm of Ecuador -- rejected the proposal made by Occidental
Petroleum Corporation aka Oxy to renegotiate its contract with
the firm, Prensa Latina reports.

Mr. Gonzalez said in a statement, "For being contrary to law,
for being unviable and against the interests of my client and
thus the State, I reject the transnational proposal from Oxy."

Mr. Gonzalez sent a document to Ivan Rodriguez, the energy
minister of Ecuador, saying that it is impossible for the state
oil company to sign any transnational agreement with Oxy,
according to Article 79 of the Hydrocarbon Act.

In 2000, Oxy transferred 40% of its rights and obligations to
Canadian firm EnCana, failing to notify the government first,
the Petroecuador head recalled.  In the Ecuadorian law, there is
no option but to declare the expiration of the agreement made by
Oxy with the State.

Mr. Gonzalez refused to accept any kind of negotiation or
transaction with Oxy, Prensa Latina relates.

The government of Ecuador cancelled the contract with Oxy, after
nearly two years of legal dispute, Minister Rodriguez told Dow
Jones Newswires.

                        *    *    *

The Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America reported on
May 8, 2006, that Petroecuador's employees are threatening to
launch a strike if the government won't provide funding
necessary for the company's operations.  Reports said that
Petroecuador has no funds for maintenance and no funds to repair
pumps in diesel, gasoline and natural gas refineries.

Ecuador's Economy Minister Diego Borja demanded more efficiency
from the state oil company as well as transparency in its
accounts.

Petroecuador has asked the government for US$279 million to pay
debts to suppliers, outsourcing firms and other creditors
threatening to halt services.




=============
G R E N A D A
=============


* GRENADA: Paris Club Creditors Agree to Restructure Public Debt
----------------------------------------------------------------
Paris Club creditors agreed on May 12, 2006, with the Government
of Grenada to a restructuring of its external public debt.  This
agreement follows the International Monetary Fund's approval of
Grenada's arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth
Facility on April 17, 2006.  

This agreement reduces by over 90% the debt service due to the
Paris Club creditors during the Fund supported program under the
PRGF.  It rescheduled roughly US$16 million consisting of
arrears (roughly US$12 million, including late interest) due as
of January 1, 2006 as well as maturities falling due from
January 1, 2006 up to December 31, 2008 (roughly US$4 million).  

The rescheduling is conducted under these terms:

   -- medium and long term claims are to be repaid progressively
      over 12 years, including 5 years of grace;
   -- ODA loans will be rescheduled at a rate not higher than
      the interest rate of the original loans; and
   -- other loans will be rescheduled at a market interest rate
      defined on the basis of risk-free rates for the currency  
      considered.

On an exceptional basis and considering Grenada's very low
capacity of payment, this agreement also defers a very
substantial part of the moratorium interest due under this
rescheduling and defers until 2009 through 2013 the repayment of
arrears accumulated on short term debt. Grenada agreed to seek
comparable treatment from its other creditors. The principle of
comparability of treatment aims to ensure a balanced treatment
among all external creditors of the debtor country.  The Paris
Club agreed in principle to consider, if needed, a new treatment
of Grenada's debt after December 31, 2008 if Grenada fulfils the
commitments under the present rescheduling and concludes a new
agreement with the IMF.  

An arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility
was approved by the International Monetary Fund on April 17,
2006.  The stock of debt owed by Grenada to Paris Club creditors
as of January 1, 2006, was estimated to be US$17 million
entirely concluded prior to the cut off date. The cut off date,
which is June 30, 2004 for Grenada, is used by Paris Club
creditors for the sole internal purposes of the Paris Club
agreement for official bilateral creditors.  When a debtor
country first meets with Paris Club creditors, the "cut off
date" is defined and is not changed in subsequent Paris Club
treatments and credits granted after this cut off date are not
subject to rescheduling.  Thus, the cut off date helps restore
access to credit for these debtor countries.

The Paris Club was formed in 1956.  It is an informal group of
creditor governments from major industrialized countries.  It
meets on a monthly basis in Paris with debtor countries in order
to agree with them on restructuring their debts.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 21, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'B-' long-term
and 'C' short-term sovereign credit ratings on Grenada.  S&P
said the outlook on the long-term ratings remains stable.

The ratings on Grenada are constrained by large government debt,
which, at an estimated 118% of GDP in 2006 (98% of GDP on a net
basis), is one of the highest among the 110 sovereigns rated by
Standard & Poor's.  The debt burden has been partly alleviated
by the restructuring completed in November 2005, which extended
the maturity of roughly US$261 million (or 44% of the total) in
debt to 2025 and reduced the interest payment by more than half,
to about 2.5% of GDP in 2006.




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


* GUATEMALA: Declares Emergency Due to Rainy Season Delay
---------------------------------------------------------
The government of Guatemala, in accordance to the electric
framework law, declared a national emergency to protect
hydroelectric resources, Luis Ortiz, the energy and mines
minister, told the country's official gazette.

According to Business News Americas, the lack of rain due to a
delay of rainy season as well as an increase in power demand may
cause a crisis on electricity, as in the case of Uruguay.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 12, 2006,
Uruguay is being threatened by a possible shortage in
electricity.  The lack of rainfall as well as lesser regional
solidarity has forced Uruguay to save electricity and come up
with an emergency alternative, according to a report by the
government-run energy company UTE.  Uruguay is forced to turn on
a fossil fueled plant that cost US$1 million daily.  The country
is hoping for more rainfall to help fill the several dams that
are out of service or working at a minimum due to insufficient
water supply.

Argentina and Brazil are also threatened by a shortage in
electricity.

Jorge Lepra, the industry minister of Uruguay, had told Merco
Press that the energy situation with no rainfall is quite
delicate until the end of August or early September.

CNEE, the national electric energy commission, will take control
of the Guatemalan market, BNamericas relates.

                        *    *    *

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+




=========
H A I T I
=========


* HAITI: Receives Oil Shipment from Venezuela  
---------------------------------------------
About 40,000 barrels of gas and 60,000 barrels of diesel from
Venezuela have reached Haitian shores through the oil tanker
Neptuno, Prensa Latina relates.

According to Prensa Latina, this was Venezuela's first shipment
to Haiti under the Petrocaribe energy supply program.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 15, 2006,
Vice President Rangel had told the Associated Press that about
100,000 barrels of diesel fuel and gasoline from Venezuela would
arrive in Haiti on May 13 as part of a preferential fuel pact
between the two countries.

The Associated Press recalls that President Hugo Chavez of
Venezuela had offered to Haitian President-elect Rene Preval in
April:

   -- free diesel fuel for hospitals and schools,

   -- low-interest loans, and

   -- generously financed oil sales under Venezuela's
      Petrocaribe accord, allowing for deferred payment and
      long-term financing for fuel shipments.

Haiti became an official member of the Petrocaribe on Sunday,
Business News Americas relates.  President Rene Preval and
Venezuela's Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel signed the act of
agreement for Haiti's membership in Port-au-Prince.

BNamericas states that under the Petrocaribe agreement, Haiti
will receive 7,000 barrels a day (b/d) of fuel, while 4,000b/d
will come through the San Jose pact, which is an older energy
cooperation scheme with different conditions.

Haiti will pay market prices for the fuel, financing up to 60%
of the bill over 90 days, BNamericas reports.  The remaining 40%
will be financed over 25 years, with a grace period of two years
and a 1% annual interest rate.

The Troubled Company Reporter states that Petrocaribe allows
other countries to initially pay a portion of the oil bill.  The
remainder will be financed through low-interest loans over 25
years.  Some are also allowed to pay partly in agricultural
goods.

                       *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 12, 2006,
president-elect Preval appealed for urgent international help to
spur development in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country and
called on all Haitians to join in a national dialogue to promote
peace, democracy and stability.

"Poverty, widespread unemployment, the state of dilapidation of
basic infrastructures that are necessary for development,
chronic insecurity - these are all the major challenges to be
faced by the next government," President Preval was quoted by
the Associated Press as saying.

President Preval explained that increased international
assistance is "indispensable" to Haiti's economic recovery, to
create conditions for investment and job creation, to improve
social services, and to reform democratic institutions including
parliament, municipalities, the judicial system, and the
national police, the AP relates.




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


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Eager to Buy Honduran Import Fuel Firm
--------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleos de Venezuela SA aka PDVSA, Venezuela's state oil
company, wants to buy DIPPSA, the only import Honduran fuel
firm, La Tribuna reports.

According to La Tribuna, DIPPSA is valued at HNL1 billion.

La Tribuna relates that PDVSA executives expressed their
interest in acquiring the capital and stock of DIPPSA to Rixi
Moncada, the Secretary of Labor of Honduras, during his visit to
Venezuela.

Henry Arevalo, the head of DIPPSA, however denied to La Tribuna
that the company is for sale.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA aka 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, 2006, 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
pgrade of Venezuela's sovereign rating.


* HONDURAS: Sees Continued Economic Growth
------------------------------------------
Honduran Vice President Elvin Santos was quoted by the La
Tribuna as saying that the economic growth in the country is
increasing.  

In particular, the Vice President noted growth in the textile
industry as a result of increased investments in that sector.

Furthermore, reports from the first economic trimester show that
there has also been a rise in demand for construction materials,
which indicates that Honduras' building industry is growing too,
La Tribuna says.

However, the Vice President warned that continued economic
growth can't be sustained if social factions fail to compromise.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings on Honduras:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Senior Unsecured    B2       Sept. 29, 1998
   Long Term IDR       B2       Sept. 29, 1998




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


NCB JAMAICA: Paying J$345,346,795 in Dividends on May 26
--------------------------------------------------------
At the Board of Directors meeting held April 27, 2006, an
interim dividend of 14 cents per share (total payout
J$345,346,795.92) was approved.  The dividend is payable on May
26 2006, for shareholders on record as of May 12, 2006.

Established in 1837, NCBJ is the second largest bank in the
system with market shares of loans and deposits of 29.1% and
35.1%, respectively, at the end of Sep. 2005.  NCBJ boasts the
largest network in Jamaica with 47 branches and 130 ATMs at end-
Sept. 2005 and offers banking services to all market segments,
as well as an array of specialized financial services through
subsidiaries.

During the last banking crisis, NCBJ was intervened on by the
government, which injected JMD19.5 billion in bonds to clean the
balance sheet and restore capital.  In 2002, a majority stake in
the bank was sold to Advantage Investment Corporation -- one of
Canada's largest privately held mutual fund management company.

                        *    *    *

On Feb. 13, 2006, Fitch initiated rating coverage on Jamaica's
National Commercial Bank Jamaica, Ltd., by assigning 'B+'
ratings on the bank's long-term foreign currency.  Other ratings
assigned by Fitch are:

   -- Long-term local currency 'B+';
   -- Short-term foreign currency 'B';
   -- Short-term local currency 'B';
   -- Individual 'D';
   -- Support '4'.

Fitch said the ratings have a stable rating outlook.


KAISER ALUMINUM: District Court Affirms Confirmation Order
----------------------------------------------------------
Judge Joseph Farnan of the U.S. District Court affirmed Judge
Judith K. Fitzgerald's Order confirming Kaiser Aluminum
Corporation's Plan of Reorganization dated Feb. 6, 2006.

The District Court adopts the Bankruptcy Court's findings of
fact and conclusions of law regarding the Confirmation Order.

In a 16-page Memorandum Opinion, Judge Farnan concludes that the
insurance policies are properly considered "property of the
estate" pursuant to Section 541.  Thus, the Bankruptcy Court had
in rem subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the assignment
issues related to those policies.

Judge Farnan says he reviewed the cases cited by the Insurers
and found them to be inapplicable to the circumstances in the
case.

"While there is a split among the courts regarding whether these
policies are properly considered property of the estate, that
division of authority is based on the issue of whether those
policies truly benefit the estate, a debate which does not exist
in the context of general or product liability insurance
policies," Judge Farnan explains.

The other cases either involves Chapter 7 cases, the obligations
of the insurer to pay on policies, or lien priority and
attachment issues, all of which are irrelevant to the case,
Judge Farnan notes.

Judge Farnan points out that the Pacific Gas decision was issued
a year before the Third Circuit's decision in Combustion
Engineering.  In any event, the Pacific Gas decision is not
binding on the District Court.

Hence, the District Court finds that the Bankruptcy Court did
not err in concluding that the Bankruptcy Code preempts the
anti- assignment clauses in the Reorganizing Debtors' insurance
policies.

A full-text copy of the Judge Farnan's Memorandum Opinion and
Order is available for free at:

      http://bankrupt.com/misc/FarnanAffirmMemo&Order.pdf

                 Insurers File Reply Briefs

Before the District Court's plan confirmation, Thomas G. Whalen,
Jr., at Stevens & Lee, P.C., in Wilmington, Delaware, asserts
that the Plan Proponents and the Future Claimants Representative
simply sidestep the main issue on the case -- that the
Bankruptcy Court did not have jurisdiction to make Confirmation
Findings that permitted the assignment of rights to receive
insurance proceeds for claims that can now only be asserted
against the Funding Vehicle Trust.

Mr. Whalen, on behalf of the Century Insurers, explains that
Judge Fitzgerald did not have that jurisdiction because the
Bankruptcy Court's subject matter jurisdiction is limited to
property of the Debtors' estate.

Mr. Whalen asserts that the rights to receive insurance proceeds
for Channeled Personal Injury Claims that can only be asserted
against the Funding Vehicle Trust are not "property of the
estate" because:

    -- these rights never existed as of the commencement of the
       Reorganizing Debtors' cases; and

    -- under the structure of the Plan of Reorganization, these
       rights can never exist under applicable California law.

As a matter of procedural due process, any determination of the
extent of the Reorganizing Debtors' state law rights in the
property requires a declaratory judgment, which could be done
under an adversary proceeding, Mr. Whalen further asserts.

The Confirmation hearing, however, was not an adversary
proceeding, Mr. Whalen contends.  The Confirmation hearing was a
contested matter under Rule 9014 of the Federal Rules of
Bankruptcy Procedure.  Hence, the Bankruptcy Court lacked
jurisdiction to summarily issue declaratory relief as to whether
these rights existed.

For these reasons, the Century Insurers ask the District Court
to reverse the portion of the Confirmation Order permitting
assignment of rights to receive insurance proceeds,
notwithstanding anti-assignment provisions in the policies and
otherwise applicable state law.

The CNA Insurers, on the other hand, ask Judge Farnan to reject
the memoranda submitted by the Reorganizing Debtors' Plan
constituencies.

The CNA Insurers' attorney, Norman Monhait, Esq., at Rosenthal,
Monhait & Goddess, P.A., in Wilmington, Delaware, tells the
District Court that Judge Fitzgerald's rulings on preemption of
the CNA Insurers' contract rights pursuant to Section
1123(a)(5):

    (a) attempt to override their insurance contracts with the
        Reorganizing Debtors in violation of the fundamental
        bankruptcy principles;

    (b) ignore canons of statutory construction in reading new
        powers for the debtor-in-possession and the Bankruptcy
        Court into Section 1123(a)(5) not intended by Congress;
        and

    (c) ignore the constitutional and statutory limits on the
        Bankruptcy Court's Article I power.

For these reasons, the CNA Insurers ask the District Court to:

    -- reverse the Bankruptcy Court's determination that the
       Bankruptcy Code preempts certain insurers' "no
       assignment" clauses contained in their insurance
       policies; and

    -- affirm the balance of the Bankruptcy Court's rulings.

The CNA Insurers believe that the dispute with the Reorganizing
Debtors can and should be resolved as part of the on-going
"Coverage Litigation" initiated by Kaiser Aluminum Corporation,
et al., in the state court prior to the Petition Date.

Republic Insurers' attorney, Christopher M. Winter, Esq., at
Duane Morris LLP, in Wilmington, Delaware, tell Judge Farnan
that the assignment of the Insurers' rights will harm the
Republic Insurers in several ways.

Mr. Winter argues that the assignment of the Republic Insurers'
rights will radically alter the relationships on which the
insurance contracts are based.  The assignment will also:

    -- eliminate the Republic Insurers' contractual rights to
       obtain the cooperation of the insureds and participate in
       and control the defense, litigation, and settlement of
       asbestos claims; and

    -- increase the number of insureds under the insurance
       contracts.

The Republic Insurers are concerned that their rights will be
replaced with a lenient administrative process that would
exclude insurers, process and pay claims that would never be
paid in the tort system under the influence of plaintiff lawyers
who are seeking payment on asbestos claims, Mr. Winter relates.

Moreover, Mr. Winter asserts that In re Combustion Eng'g, Inc.,
391 F.3d 190 (3d Cir. 2005), did not decide the preemption issue
under Section 1123(a)(5).  To the contrary, the Third Circuit,
in the Combustion Engineering case, neither analyzed nor decided
the preemption issue.  Rather, In re Pacific Gas & Electric
Corp., 350 F.3d 932 (9th Cir. 2003), is the only case that
actually addressed the scope of preemption under Section
1123(a)(5).

The Plan Proponents' interpretation of Section 1123(a)(5)
conflicts with the other provisions of the Bankruptcy Code and
would lead to absurd results, Mr. Winter says.

                    About Kaiser Aluminum

Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Kaiser Aluminum  
Corporation -- http://www.kaiseraluminum.com/-- is a leading     
producer of fabricated aluminum products for aerospace and high-  
strength, general engineering, automotive, and custom industrial  
applications.  The Company, along with its Jamaican subsidiaries  
-- Alpart Jamaica Inc. and Kaiser Jamaica Corporation -- filed  
for chapter 11 protection on February 12, 2002 (Bankr. Del. Case  
No. 02-10429), and has sold off a number of its commodity  
businesses during course of its cases.  Corinne Ball, Esq., at  
Jones Day, represents the Debtors in their restructuring  
efforts.  On June 30, 2004, the Debtors listed US$1.619 billion  
in assets and US$3.396 billion in debts.  (Kaiser Bankruptcy  
News, Issue No. 94; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc.,  
215/945-7000)




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


BANCO SANTANDER SERFIN: Fitch Affirms C Individual Rating
---------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the debt and Issuer Default Ratings
for Banco Santander Central Hispano's Latin American
subsidiaries following the recent upgrade of the Spanish parent
bank's IDR to 'AA' from 'AA-'.

The Foreign Currency IDRs of the subsidiaries in Brazil and
Mexico are constrained by the country ceiling. Local Currency
IDRs, already higher than the sovereign local currency rating in
Brazil and Mexico, as well as the ratings of the Chilean
subsidiary, are underpinned by support, making downward rating
movements unlikely absent parent deterioration.  Upside
potential for the Local Currency IDRs would be driven
principally by further strengthening in the financial
fundamentals embodied in the Individual ratings.

Fitch has affirmed these ratings of Banco Santander Serfin:

   -- Issuer Default Rating: 'BBB+'with Stable Outlook;
   -- Short-term issuer: 'F2';
   -- Local currency IDR: 'A-' with Stable Outlook;
   -- Local currency short-term issuer 'F2';
   -- Individual 'C'; and
   -- Support '2'.


COMISION FEDERAL: Starts Mexicali Transmission Line Construction
----------------------------------------------------------------
CFE aka Comision Federal de Electricidad, the state electric
power firm of Mexico, said in a statement that it has started
constructing an 18km transmission line in Mexicali, Baja
California.

According to CFE, the ARS80.5 million transmission line will
benefit 22 low-income neighborhoods in Mexicali.  

The 161kW Santa Isabel line project is part of the CFE's efforts
to strengthen Mexico's power infrastructure and aims to bring in
industry and other services, Business News Americas relates.

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

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


GRUPO MEXICO: Workers Cease Strike at Zacatecas Mine
----------------------------------------------------
The strike at the Zacatecas zinc mine of Grupo Mexico SA de CV
ended, a company official told Dow Jones Newswires.

Dow Jones relates that the strike in Zacatecas, San Martin,
began on Feb. 28 and lasted for 10 weeks.  According to the
official, the company had considered shutting down the mine,
which could affect an estimated 460 unionized workers.

Dow Jones recalls that Grupo Mexico cited last week the lack of
legal security in announcing a decision to shut the mine.

However, plans of the mine's shutdown has been abandoned.  Juan
Rebolledo, Grupo Mexico's vice president for international
affairs, informed Dow Jones that an agreement was reached
between the management of the mine and the local section of the
National Mining and Metal Workers Union.  The agreement restores
the necessary legal conditions to keep it operating -- the same
terms negotiated in February.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 12, 2006,
Grupo Mexico SA de CV closed its San Martin zinc mine as a
consequence of a strike since March.  The company made the
decision after production was halted due to the strike.

The miners commenced the strike after the Mexican government
didn't recognize Napoleon Gomez Urrutia as union leader of the
Miner and Steelworkers Union.  Mexico's Labor Ministry on Feb.
17 had recognized Elias Morales as the union's leader in place
of Napoleon Gomez, citing allegations of embezzling US$55
million.  But union members asserted that deposing Mr. Gomez
without a hearing is not legal.  Grupo Mexico backs the
government's recognition of Mr. Morales as union leader.

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

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings to Grupo Mexico SA de C.V.:

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


HIPOTECARIO CREDITO: Moody's Changes Rating Outlook to Stable
-------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's de Mexico has revised the rating outlook of Hipotecaria
Credito y Casa, S.A. De C.V.'s national scale issuer rating to
stable from positive.  Hipotecario Credito's rating outlook for
its global scale local currency issuer rating remains stable.  
Moody's revision of Hipotecario Credito's national scale issuer
rating reflects:

   -- weaker operating margins,
   -- depleted capital and
   -- heightened portfolio delinquencies.

These resulted in part from the integration of the company's new
operating and portfolio management systems, which has taken and
proved more costly than expected.  In addition, Hipotecario
Credito spend much of the last twelve months entertaining a
purchase offer from Scotiabank Group, and, although it was not
completed, this shifted focus somewhat from operations.  While
Moody's believes that the company's management has taken the
appropriate steps to mitigate the aforementioned operating
challenges, it will take at least twelve months for the company
to overcome all of its operating and portfolio challenges.

Moody's B1 global local currency issuer rating, Baa2.mx national
scale issuer rating, Not Prime global local currency short-term
rating and MX-2 national scale short-term rating reflect
Hipotecario Credito's strong market position, with a market
share of 13%, based on its total mortgage portfolio, including
the company's Prosavi off-balance sheet loans, making it the
third-largest mortgage Sofol in Mexico.  In addition,
Hipotecario Credito has sufficient liquid assets, availability
on its bank lines and accounts receivables for which it can
accelerate collections, which provide 2x coverage on its
outstanding short-term debt.

Moody's stated that although there is competition, Hipotecario
Credito has a strong infrastructure to maintain its mortgage
portfolio.  It also has good relationships in the housing
industry, particularly with developers that solidify its
position.  Nevertheless, like all mortgage Sofoles, it relies on
Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal and developers for its business,
which Moody's views as a risk for Sofoles.  In addition,
Hipotecario Credito is still a small company with a modest asset
valuation and equity capital base.  Although it is one of the
largest mortgage Sofoles, it has only been operating as the
third-largest mortgage Sofol for four years, and has not as of
yet faced an economic and or political crisis.  Other credit
concerns include a monoline business with dependency on home
financing which comprises:

   -- almost 100% of all loans,
   -- weak fixed charge coverage at 1.13x, and
   -- debt to assets at a high 92%.

The stable rating outlooks for both the national scale and
global local currency ratings reflect Moody's expectation that
Hipotecario Credito's management will continue to grow the
company prudently, and diversify successfully, while improving
its operating margins and its delinquent portfolio.

Moody's stated that rating improvements for the company's
Baa2.mx national scale issuer rating will reflect its ability to
successfully increase market share above 20% (based on total
loan portfolio), while increasing net operating margins to the
teens, maintaining its portfolio quality, and bringing its pre-
tax fixed coverage closer to 1.3x.  The company's ability to
continue to improve efficiencies and portfolio defaults, while
growing and diversifying its product mix, as well as
demonstrating abilities to continue to fund itself without
direct lending from SHF, are factors that will contribute to
rating improvement.

Lack of improvement in portfolio diversification efforts and
access to capital sources independent from SHF would be negative
rating factors. Significant restructuring of SHF and the housing
finance system, a deterioration of pre-tax fixed charge coverage
below 1.2x, pre-tax net operating margins below 8%, a
substantial increase in the level of short-term credit-sensitive
debt, or a substantial deterioration in asset quality, driving
its defaulted portfolio above 5% of its total portfolio, would
result in negative pressure to the ratings.

This rating outlook was revised to stable from positive:
  
   -- Baa2.mx national scale issuer rating.

Moody's last rating action regarding the company occurred on May
04, 2005 when the rating agency confirmed Hipotecaria Credito's
ratings after Scotiabank Group announced that it had decided not
to continue with its planned majority-share purchase of
Hipotecario Credito.

Hipotecaria Credito y Casa, based in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico,
started operations in 1997 as a non-bank financial
institution/Sofol Mortgage Company. It extends mortgages
financed by monies from SHF to low income households.  As of
December 31, 2005, the company reported assets of MXN18.9
billion and MXN1.2 billion in equity.


J.L. FRENCH: Court Approves Second Amended Disclosure Statement
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Honorable Mary F. Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for
the District of Delaware approved, on May 12, 2006, the Second
Amended Disclosure Statement explaining the Second Amended Plan
of Reorganization filed by J.L. French Automotive Castings,
Inc., and its debtor-affiliates.

Judge Walrath determined that the Disclosure Statement contained
adequate information -- the right amount of the right kind of
information necessary to allow creditors to make an informed
decision -- as required under Section 1125 of the Bankruptcy
Code.

With an approved Disclosure Statement in hand, the Debtors will
begin soliciting acceptances of the Plan of Reorganization from
impaired classes of creditors.  All votes are due on June 14,
and the rights offering will commence within a week after that.
Concurrently with the solicitation of plan acceptances, the
company will also conduct its rights offering, which is expected
to raise between US$110 million and US$130 million.  The company
anticipates a confirmation hearing on June 21 with a plan
effective date on or about June 30.

                     Terms of the Plan

The Plan is premised on substantive consolidation of all the
Debtors.  The Plan incorporates the terms of a settlement
between the company, the official committee of unsecured
creditors and the second lien agent, on behalf of the required
backstop parties.

The Plan calls for the repayment in full of secured claims
amounting to US$7.7 million and the first lien debt totaling
approximately US$294 million.  All classes related to the
payment of debtor-in-possession financing claims, administrative
expenses, priority claims and capital leases and other secured
claims will be paid in full.

Under the Plan, the second lien notes claims, which total
approximately US$177 million, will be converted into 8%-22% of
the new common stock and three tranches of warrants for new
common stock in the reorganized company.  The warrants will have
strike prices ranging from US$195 million to US$295 million in
equity value.  Holders of second lien notes claims may also
participate in a Rights Offering that will raise between US$110
million and US$130 million in exchange for 78%-92% of the new
equity.  This cash will help finance the reorganized company's
exit from Chapter 11.  

Trade creditors will receive 100% of the face amount of their
claims, but will not receive interest on those claims.  General
unsecured creditors other than holders of senior subordinated
11-1/2% notes and trade creditors will receive their pro rata
shares of the greater of US$50,000 or common stock having a
value equal to certain property unencumbered by liens.

The subordinated 11-1/2% notes are contractually subordinated to
the second lien notes claims, and holders of those notes will
not receive any distributions unless the second lien notes
claims have been satisfied in full.  Preferred and common equity
holders will receive no distribution under the Plan.

Distributions under the Plan will be made through new cash
investment, as well as exit financing of no less than
US$255 million, of which US$205 million will be a term loan and
a revolver of US$50 million, with at least US$30 million
unfunded capacity at the time the Plan becomes effective.  The
company is considering several exit financing proposals and
expects to have an exit financing commitment shortly.

As of Dec. 31, 2005, J.L. French had approximately US$465
million in first and second lien senior secured debt and US$28.9
million in 11.5% senior subordinated unsecured notes due 2009.  
The company incurred the majority of this debt as a result of an
expansion and acquisition program in the late 1990s.  When J.L.
French completes its reorganization, it anticipates long-term
debt of approximately US$26 million, in addition to the new
US$205 million term facility that will be added to the balance
sheet.  As of Dec. 31, 2005, the company had approximately
US$268 million in consolidated net operating losses.

                 Terms of the Settlement

The settlement provides, among other things, for a distribution
of warrants to holders of the 11-1/2% subordinated notes, as
well as a distribution of certain potential litigation
recoveries to general unsecured claims holders and the note
holders.  These distributions will be in addition to the
recoveries contemplated by the Plan of Reorganization as
originally filed.

A full-text copy of the Second Amended Disclosure Statement is
available for a fee at:

  http://www.researcharchives.com/bin/download?id=060516220019

Headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, J.L. French Automotive
Castings, Inc. -- http://www.jlfrench.com/-- is one of the
world's leading global suppliers of die cast aluminum components
and assemblies.  There are currently nine manufacturing
locations around the world including plants in the United
States, United Kingdom, Spain, and Mexico.  The company has
fourteen engineering/customer service offices to globally
support its customers near their regional engineering and
manufacturing locations.  The Company and its debtor-affiliates
filed for chapter 11 protection on Feb. 10, 2006 (Bankr. D. Del.
Case No. 06-10119 to 06-06-10127).  James E. O'Neill, Esq.,
Laura Davis Jones, Esq., and Sandra G.M. Selzer, Esq., at
Pachulski Stang Ziehl Young & Jones, and Marc Kiesolstein, P.C.,
at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, represent the Debtors in their
restructuring efforts.  When the Debtor filed for chapter 11
protection, it estimated assets and debts of more than US$100
million.




=================
N I C A R A G U A
=================


* NICARAGUA: Inks Accord with US Firm for Oil & Gas Concessions
---------------------------------------------------------------
The government of Nicaragua signed exploration and production
contracts with Infinity Energy Resources Inc. -- a company based
in Denver, Colorado -- for two large oil and gas concessions off
the coast of Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea's Tyra and Perlas
blocks, Real Time Traders reports.

As agreed, Infinity Energy will explore the area for six years,
with an extension of five years for production, RTT relates.  
The company will pay an initial government royalty of 5% --
which will increase to a maximum of 15% -- and graduated income
tax rates.

According to RTT, Infinity expects initial capital costs to be
about US$1.0 million during the first twelve months, and US$2.0
million during the second twelve months for:

     -- environmental studies,
     -- geological and geophysical analysis,
     -- acquisition of seismic data, and
     -- other operational expenses.

Business News Americas recalls that Infinity Energy and INE --
the energy regulator of Nicaragua -- started negotiations in May
2003.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings on Honduras:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Senior Unsecured    B2       Sept. 29, 1998
   Long Term IDR       B2       Sept. 29, 1998




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


* PANAMA: Banana Workers Seek Mega Tres Plantations Confiscation  
----------------------------------------------------------------
The government of Panama is being asked by former plantation
workers from Baru to confiscate and turn over the Mega Tres
plantations of more than 1000 hectares to them, Fresh Plaza
reports.

According to Fresh Plaza, the request has been made for the
fourth time by about 200 former laborers.

The former workers, says Fresh Plaza, want to claim the
plantations:

     -- Jocote,
     -- Lechoza,
     -- Guayacan, and
     -- Ceiba.

However, the land belongs to Cooperativa de Servicios Multiples
de Puerto Armueles and the plantations are used as bank
guarantee for a loan that the National bank has issued to the
cooperative, Fresh Plaza relates.

Fresh Plaza recalls that the Puerto Armuelles Fruit Company
ceased operations at the Mega Tres plantations in 2002.  Since
then, the workers have continued to plant several crops like
bananas, yucca and beans on the acreage.  

                        *    *    *

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


* PARAGUAY: Supports Uruguay in Pulp Mill & Mercosur Conflict
-------------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez told Merco Press that
Paraguay's President Nicanor Duarte Flores has expressed full
support with Uruguay's position in the pulp mill conflict with
Argentina.

Merco Press reports that after meeting with Peter Mandelson, the
trade commissioner of the European Union, President Vazquez met
with the Paraguayan leader.

President Flores also believes in battling for better conditions
in Mercosur, a trade bloc by South American nations, for junior
partners, President Vazquez informed Merco Press.

President Flores told Merco Press that he shares President
Vazquez's position in striving for a more genuine and fair
integration and in taking measures to formalize trade agreements
with other countries.

"Mercosur junior members have always been marginalized and if
this continues I don't know what's going to happen with
Mercosur, even when global trade affairs are increasingly
addressed by blocks," President Flores was quoted by Merco Press
saying.

According to Merco Press, the Paraguayan leader believes that
the future of Mercosur is uncertain and is even pessimistic
about it.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

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


                        *    *    *

Moody's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

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

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

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




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


FIRST BANCORP: Gets Approval to Pay Preferred Dividends
-------------------------------------------------------
First BanCorp has received regulatory approval for the payment
of dividends on its Series A through E preferred stock.  The
corresponding amounts, record dates and payment dates are:

Series      $Per/share        Record Date        Payment Date
   A           $0.148          May 26, 2006       May 31, 2006
   B           $0.173          May 15, 2006       May 31, 2006
   C           $0.154          May 15, 2006       May 31, 2006
   D           $0.151          May 15, 2006       May 31, 2006
   E           $0.145          May 15, 2006       May 31, 2006

The regulatory approvals were received in accordance with First
BanCorp's previously announced agreements with the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation and Commissioner of Financial Institutions
of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
    
"Our continued payment of dividends is another important
component of First BanCorp upholding its commitments to
shareholders and regulators," said Luis Beauchamp, First BanCorp
President and CEO.
    
As previously announced, First BanCorp is in the process of
preparing restated financial statements.  First BanCorp still
plans to file those financial statements in the summer of 2006.  
Thereafter, First BanCorp expects to file the 2005 annual report
on Form 10-K.

                    About First BanCorp

First BanCorp is the parent corporation of FirstBank Puerto
Rico, a state chartered commercial bank with operations in
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and in the state of Florida;
of FirstBank Insurance Agency; and of Ponce General Corporation.
First BanCorp, FirstBank Puerto Rico and UniBank, the thrift
subsidiary of Ponce General, all operate within U.S. banking
laws and regulations. The Corporation operates a total of 140
financial services facilities throughout Puerto Rico, the U.S.
and British Virgin Islands, and Florida (USA). Among the
subsidiaries of FirstBank Puerto Rico are Money Express, a
finance company; First Leasing and Car Rental, a car and truck
rental leasing company; and FirstMortgage, a mortgage banking
company. In the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, FirstBank
operates FirstBank Insurance VI, an insurance agency; First
Trade, Inc., a foreign corporation management company; and First
Express, a small loan company. First BanCorp's common and
preferred shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange, under the
symbols FBP, FBPPrA, FBPPrB, FBPPrC, FBPPrD and FBPPrE.

                      *   *   *

As reported by the Troubled company Reporter on March 21, 2006,
Fitch Ratings assigned the following ratings on First BanCorp
and FirstBank Puerto Rico:

  First BanCorp

    -- Long-term IDR at 'BB';
    -- Short-term at 'B';
    -- Individual at 'C/D';
    -- Support '5'.

  FirstBank Puerto Rico

    -- Long-term IDR at 'BB';
    -- Long-term deposit obligations at 'BB+';
    -- Short-term deposit obligations at 'B';
    -- Short-term at 'B';
    -- Individual at 'C/D';
    -- Support at '5'.




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


REPUBLIC BANK: Fitch Affirms C Individual Rating
------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has upgraded the long-term Issuer Default Rating
of Republic Bank Limited to 'BBB' from 'BBB-' and upgraded the
Support rating to '2' from '3'.  The short-term issuer rating of
'F3' and the Individual rating of 'C' are affirmed.  The Rating
Outlook is Stable.

The upgrade of the Support rating reflects the greater capacity
of government support in the event of need, given strengthening
government finances and an improving economic environment.  The
upgrade of the long-term IDR stems from the enhanced capacity of
support combined with Republic's sound overall financial
condition and its important position within the banking system
of Trinidad and Tobago.

Fitch has upgraded these ratings:

       -- Long-term Issuer Default Rating to 'BBB'
          from 'BBB-'; and

       -- Support rating to '2' from '3'.

Fitch has also affirmed these ratings:

       -- Short-term issuer rating of 'F3'; and

       -- Individual rating of 'C'.

The Rating Outlook is Stable.




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


* URUGUAY: European Union Backs Country in Pulp Mill Conflict
-------------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay has the support of the European Union in the pulp mill
dispute with Argentina, the country's President Tabare Vazquez
told Merco Press after meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Peter
Mandelson.

President Vazquez was quoted by Merco Press saying, "Members of
the EU will tilt the scale towards Uruguay in the conflict with
Argentina, and the EU Trade Commissioner will intercede before
the World Bank."

Peter Mandelson, the trade commissioner of EU, will be sending a
letter to the World Bank requesting a date for the presentation
of all reports to the International Finance Corporation aka IFC
-- the private arm of World Bank -- and stressing that the
construction of the two pulp mills in the Uruguay River are of
excellent quality with minimum contamination, as researched and
confirmed, President Vazquez informed Merco Press.

Merco Press relates that IFC -- which promotes sustainable
private sector investment in developing countries providing
loans, equity, structured finance and risk management products,
and advisory services -- has promised substantial loans for the
pulp mills under construction in Uruguay.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

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


* URUGUAY: Has Paraguay's Support in Pulp Mill Conflict
-------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez told Merco Press that
Paraguay's President Nicanor Duarte Flores has expressed full
support with Uruguay's position in the pulp mill conflict with
Argentina.

Merco Press reports that after meeting with Peter Mandelson, the
trade commissioner of the European Union, President Vazquez met
with the Paraguayan leader.

President Flores also believes in battling for better conditions
in Mercosur, a trade bloc by South American nations, for junior
partners, President Vazquez informed Merco Press.

President Flores told Merco Press that he shares President
Vazquez's position in striving for a more genuine and fair
integration and in taking measures to formalize trade agreements
with other countries.

"Mercosur junior members have always been marginalized and if
this continues I don't know what's going to happen with
Mercosur, even when global trade affairs are increasingly
addressed by blocks," President Flores was quoted by Merco Press
as saying.

According to Merco Press, the Paraguayan leader believes that
the future of Mercosur is uncertain and is even pessimistic
about it.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

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


                        *    *    *

Moody's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

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

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

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




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


BANCO DE VENEZUELA: Fitch Affirms Low B Issuer Ratings
------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the debt and Issuer Default Ratings
for Banco Santander Central Hispano's Latin American
subsidiaries following the recent upgrade of the Spanish parent
bank's IDR to 'AA' from 'AA-'.

The Foreign Currency IDRs of the subsidiaries in Brazil and
Mexico are constrained by the country ceiling. Local Currency
IDRs, already higher than the sovereign local currency rating in
Brazil and Mexico, as well as the ratings of the Chilean
subsidiary, are underpinned by support, making downward rating
movements unlikely absent parent deterioration. Upside potential
for the Local Currency IDRs would be driven principally by
further strengthening in the financial fundamentals embodied in
the Individual ratings.

Fitch has affirmed these ratings Banco de Venezuela:

   -- Issuer Default Rating: 'B+' with Negative Outlook;
   -- Short-term issuer: 'B';
   -- Local currency IDR: 'B+' with Negative Outlook;
   -- Local currency short-term issuer: 'B';
   -- Individual 'C/D'; and
   -- Support '5'.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Minister Explains Oil Extraction Tax
------------------------------------------------------------
Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela's energy and petroleum minister and
Petroleos de Venezuela SA's president, gave details on the new
33.3% oil production tax President Hugo Chavez announced on
Sunday.

In a news conference, Mr. Ramirez said that the new tax was
submitted to the National Assembly on Friday for approval, El
Universal reports.

The new tax will be levied on "all oil operators, both private
and state-owned" in Venezuela, and it will be deducible from
royalties, Mr. Ramirez was quoted by El Universal as saying.

Under the 2001 hydrocarbons law, joint ventures organized as of
April 1 have to pay a 33.3% royalties, while the firms drilling
along the Orinoco Oil Belt pay royalties of 16.6%, El Universal
relates.

Joint ventures are not required to pay oil production taxes, as
"they pay royalties of 33.3 percent," the same rate as the newly
created tax, El Universal says.

"With regard to the partnerships operating at the Orinoco Oil
Belt, which are currently paying (royalties of) 16.6 percent,
now they will have to pay the difference for 33.3 percent, i.e.
16.7 percent," Mr. Ramirez explained during the press
conference.

Petroleos de Venezuela has a minority stake in such
partnerships, together with French Total, Norwegian Statoil, US
ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Exxon, and British BP.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA aka 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, 2006, 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
pgrade of Venezuela's sovereign rating.


* VENEZUELA: Imposing 33% Oil Extraction Tax on Orinoco Firms
-------------------------------------------------------------
Venezuela will impose a 33% extraction tax on oil companies
operating at the Orinoco Oil Strip, according to published
reports.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said in a news conference last week
that the new oil levy will bring in US$1.2 billion in revenues.

President Hugo Chavez announced the new tax during his Sunday
television program, calling it "the continuance of the full
recovery of oil sovereignty."  He has accused foreign oil majors
of exploiting his country's petroleum reserves.

The president also said that Venezuela plans to hike income
taxes to 50% from 34% for firms pumping oil along the Orinoco
region.

This new tax announcement comes a month after Venezuela has
created joint venture pacts voiding 32 operating contracts.  
Under the joint ventures, state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA
obtained at least 60% stake in each oil field.  Additionally,
oil royalties were sharply increased and drilling acreage was
greatly reduced.

                        *    *    *

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


                       ***********


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, Stella
Mae Hechanova, and Christian Toledo, Editors.

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

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