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									BRIEFS                                                                                                                                                       8
Chile                                                                                                              THE COUNCIL ON
Jeanie Gong, Research Associate
                                                                                                                    HEMISPHERIC
   Following Chile’s recent devastating earthquake, President Sebastián Piñera is facing criticism for
his plans to reconstruct affected areas of the country. Piñera awarded $15 million in no-bid contracts
                                                                                                                       AFFAIRS
to three giant building-supply companies. These enterprises either have been run or represented by                         1250 Connecticut Ave. NW
several of Piñera’s cabinet members or other political appointees. Fernando Echeverria, a lobbyist                       Suite 1C Washington, DC 20036
for the building chamber, runs the company leading reconstruction efforts in Santiago. In the past,              phone: 202.223.4975 e-mail: coha@coha.org
Echeverria has successfully lobbied against a legislation that would have made companies liable for              fax: 202.223.4979      issn: 1275-559
faulty structures. Moreover, companies like Echeverria’s conduct private site studies through hired                 Washington Report on the Hemisphere
third-party engineers who aren’t held responsible for the results. Problems are further exacerbated                      © 2010 Published Biweekly
by the inability of Chilean cities to always ensure that the buildings are built according to code.                   (22 Issues per Year Plus an Index)
   Piñera’s choice of reconstruction companies also creates another issue: large corporations receive               by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
most of the business, depriving many local vendors of much-needed opportunities. The $15 million con-                 June 25, 2010 Vol. 30 No. 11
tracts are going to corporations that control more than half the Chilean market, rather than helping local
economies. These contracts, in fact, worsen the country’s already strained wealth disparity and make it         Chairperson: Judith Chiara
more difficult for smaller vendors to experience a fair share of the resulting growth in public expenditures.   Editor-in-Chief: Larry Birns
                                                                                                                Chief Copy Editor: Wendy Raymont
                                                                                                                Managing Editor: Katherine Charin
Panama                                                                                                          Associate Editor: Carl Patchen
                                                                                                                Assistant Managing Editor: Whitney Cole
Brendan Riley, Research Associate
                                                                                                                Illustrator: Margaret Scott
    On April 26th, the United States granted France’s extradition request for Manuel Noriega,                   Trustee Editorial Board: Peter G. Bourne, M.D.,
the former Panamanian dictator deposed by a U.S. invasion in 1989. Having already completed                     former member of Carter White House; Charles
a seventeen-year sentence for money laundering in the U.S., Noriega faces charges of purchas-                   B. Dale, former President, The Newspaper Guild;
ing French luxury apartments with millions of illegal drug dollars. Although Noriega’s defense                  Roger Wilkins, former editorial board member, The
objected to the current request due to his status as a prisoner of war, which had allowed him to                New York Times, Washington Times, Washington Star
serve his U.S. sentence with comfortable accommodations, it did not succeed in halting the extra-               Senior Research Fellows: Sean Burges, Ph.D;
dition. In early June, the Panamanian government requested Noriega’s extradition from France so                 Richard P. Claude, Ph.D; Susan Eckstein, Ph.D;
that he might be tried in Panama for charges of money laundering, corruption, and murder. Both                  Julie Feinsilver, Ph.D; John Foran, Ph.D; Hol-
countries have tried and convicted him in absentia of the currently filed charges but now vow to       
								
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