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Mexican, Guatemalan presidents inaugurate cross-border power project

Oct 26, 2009 - Xinhua

Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his Guatemalan counterpart Alvaro Colom inaugurated a cross-border power project in the Guatemalan border state Retalhuleu on Monday, according to news reaching here.

"This is the start of a regional electricity market that will boost stability for both nations, creating income for Mexico and supplying Guatemala with the excess generated by dams and wind energy," Calderon told the audience at the ceremony.

"I hope that telecommunications connections can also soon be established, in order to bring prosperity and access to modernity for both nations," he added.

The 55-million-U.S. dollar power substation in the Los Brillantes municipality was developed as part of the Plan Puebla Panama, an initiative begun by Calderon's predecessor, Vicente Fox, to boost economic and cultural links in the region. The substation is the last step in a 103-km 400 kilowatt link that sends Mexican electricity to Guatemala.

Calderon will be in Guatemala for two days to sign a series of agreements covering development, aid, trade, tourism and anti-drug trafficking.

His team will also sign an information sharing agreement with Guatemalan officials who are now implementing the nation's freedom of information law. The two sides will also sign agreements to encourage home-building for Guatemala's low-income families and to validate academic qualifications.

Top-level Mexican officials have visited Guatemala six times since Calderon took office. Mexican firms have invested around 2.5 billion dollars in Guatemala. The two nation's trade volume almost tripled to nearly 1.9 billion dollars in 2008 from 664 million in 2001, the year when the two nations signed a free trade agreement.