Brazil, Venezuela to Lend Bolivia US$530 Million for Cross-Continent Road

RIBERALTA, Bolivia-- Brazil and Venezuela are promising US$530 million in low-interest loans for Bolivia to complete a highway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Brazil is pledging a 20-year, US$230 million loan to pave 315 miles (510 kilometers) of roadway, while Venezuela is promising US$300 million for the rest.

Presidents from all three countries inked the deal Friday in rural Bolivia.

The 3,800 mile (6,100 kilometer) road stretches from the Brazilian
port of Santos to Arica in Chile, boosting cross-continent trade. More
than half the highway's path through Bolivia is still unpaved.

The aid could bolster Bolivian President Evo Morales ahead of an August recall referendum.