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Rafael Correa
The use of state-run media outlets has skyrocketed in Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua. What are the implications for freedom of the press?

Ecuador’s National Court of Justice upheld a ruling on Thursday that found a columnist and three publishers of the newspaper El Universo guilty of defaming President Rafael Correa.

At the conclusion of the Fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009, President Obama called for hemispheric partnership in place of “stale debates and old ideologies.”

Two journalists were ordered on Tuesday by Judge Maria Mercedes Portilla of the province of Pichincha to pay a total of $ 2 million to President Rafael Correa, on the grounds that they had caused him “moral damage.”

At a summit of the Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (Bolivarian Alternative to the Americas, or ALBA) this past weekend in Caracas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, ALBA’s founder, backed Argentina’s claims for sovereignty of the Malvinas (or Falklands) Islands.

The forty-second summit of members of the Southern Common Market (Mercado Común del Sur, or Mercosur) begins today in Montevideo, where Uruguay will hand the six-month presidency of the trade bloc over to Argentina.

Meeting yesterday in Quito, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño and his Colombian counterpart, María Ángela Holguín, reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen their countries’ bilateral relationship and to work together on issues of common concern.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has expressed optimism that the ongoing talks to restore U.S.-Ecuadorian diplomatic relations will be resolved before the end of this year.

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