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On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez warned the United States' Fourth Fleet to steer clear of Venezuelan waters. The U.S. Navy officially reestablished the Fourth Fleet on June 12 of this year. According to a U.S. Southern Command press release, the Fourth Fleet will be headquartered in Mayport, Florida, and "will not involve an increase in forces assigned in Mayport, or result in any permanently...

The graphics below depict overall U.S. military and police aid to Latin America and the Caribbean since 1997, including estimates for 2008 and the Bush administration's request for 2009. Each of the region's top five aid recipients during this period gets its own color: Colombia (blue), Mexico (red), Peru (yellow), Bolivia (green) and Ecuador (purple).

These charts were created entirely with information presented on this site's "Aid By Country" page. All figures are in nominal dollars. Congress is likely to change the 2009 numbers...

Ecuador's non-renewal of the U.S. presence at its Manta air base is not breaking news. President Rafael Correa has promised to close the U.S. counter-drug "Forward Operating Location" since he began his campaign for president in 2006, and its potential closing has been in the news for months

The feud between Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos continues after Santos returned from a five day visit to Washington.

Yesterday, Ecuador's Minister of Internal and External Security, Gustavo Larrea, was in Washington to meet with various members of Congress, the media, and to speak at an event hosted by CSIS and the Inter-American Dialogue. It seems that Larrea's visit was timed such that he could promote Ecuador's new Constitution, approved by the constituent assembly yesterday and up for referendum vote in September, and to make clear that while Ecuador hopes to maintain bilateral relations with the United States, it also will uphold its sovereignty. You can listen to Larrea's presentation at the CSIS and Dialogue event (in Spanish) here.

Here is how the Bolivian government's press agency (Agencia Boliviana de Información, ABI) portrayed yesterday's visit to La Paz of Thomas Shannon, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemishere Affairs. 

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