From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Fernández Pushes for New Central Bank Head
Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has sought to replace Central Bank Governor Martín Redrado after he turned down a presidential order to use $6.6 billion in reserves to pay off debt. Former Central Bank head Mario Blejer was named as a potential replacement. However, Redrado rejected the notion that he will resign and said that, according to the Bank’s charter, the decision to dismiss him lies with the Argentine Congress.
Buenos Aires Mayor Announces Presidential Bid
Mayor of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri announced intentions of a 2011 presidential bid this week. A member of the conservative Propuesta Republicana (PRO) party, Macri hopes to face Néstor Kirchner in a second round and insists the former president “could never win” a one-on-one election.
Looking Back on Washington’s 2009 LatAm Policy
Writing for the State Department’s Dipnote blog, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela reflects on U.S. engagement in the Americas during the first year of the Obama administration. After recounting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Mexico in March and the launch of the Inter-American Social Protection Network, Valenzuela concludes “2009 has been an exciting year in terms of our relationships—both bilaterally and multilaterally.”
President Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic and President René Préval of Haiti agreed on Thursday to work together to eliminate mosquito-transmitted diseases on the island. The deal was struck under the auspices of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The 10-year, $200 million program is focused on the eradication of malaria and filariasis.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti are the only Caribbean countries still affected by malaria. According to authorities from both countries, 33,000 malaria cases with 200 deaths were reported in 2007; 90 percent of the cases were on the Haitian side of the border.
A pilot project run by the Carter Center began in 2008 with a $200,000 investment in the border towns Dajabon, Dominican Republic, and Ouanaminthe, Haiti. Hopes are high for the program’s success, with only minimal resistance by a few government officials—a good sign considering the lack of political will in the past.
Repeated emphasis has been made on the need for binational cooperation. Malaria is a threat to both economies as well as to their tourism.