LATAM POLITICS TODAY-Cuba cracks open door to foreign investment in domestic trade

·3 min read

* In northern Chile, miners ask government to curb crime

* Argentina's Massa meets with farm chiefs ahead of IMF deadline

* Caribbean nations should push for climate finance at COP27

* Blockage halts production at Zijin's Colombia mine

Aug 16 (Reuters) - The latest in Latin American politics today:

Cuba cracks open door to foreign investment in domestic trade

HAVANA - Cuba plans to allow some foreign investment in local wholesale and retail trade for the first time since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, the government said late on Monday, in a bid to dig out of the island nation's worst economic crisis in decades.

Deputy Trade Minister Ana Teresita Gonzalez said on an evening TV talk show that foreign investors would be allowed to fully own local wholesalers for the first time or enter the market through joint ventures. Retail would be more restricted but she opened the door to some public/private ventures in that space as well.

As economy wilts, Argentina's Massa seeks to sow hope with farm chiefs

BUENOS AIRES - The "superminister" tasked with rescuing Argentina's crisis-racked economy needs cash now, and so just days into the job he has launched a charm offensive to win over farm industry titans to access crucial debt forgiveness ahead of a looming deadline.

Economy Minister Sergio Massa - whose unusually wide remit also extends to agriculture and trade - began wooing the farm chiefs, long at odds with the ruling center-left Peronists, at a traditional "asado" barbecue late last week.

Massa's hours-long lunch with four powerful farm association leaders took place just outside Buenos Aires last Friday, with everyone at the table almost certainly aware of the government's desperation for U.S. dollars to meet the terms of Argentina's $44 billion debt deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In northern Chile, miners ask government to curb crime, robberies

SANTIAGO - The mining industry in Chile, the world's largest copper producer, has called on the government to take action to stop an "escalation of crime" that has hit operations in the country's far north.

The call comes after the robbery last week of some 500 ounces of gold worth the equivalent of $1 million from the premises of a company, in addition to attempts to rob copper trucks and a train transporting copper cathodes, according to the National Mining Society (Sonami).

Caribbean nations should push for climate finance at COP27, Bahamas PM says

NASSAU - Caribbean countries should pressure developed nations to provide more financing to mitigate the effects of climate change at the upcoming COP27 climate talks, the prime minister of The Bahamas said at a summit of regional officials.

The members of the Caribbean community need to ensure that developed countries honor past pledges for climate assistance and create new criteria for determining which countries can obtain such aid at the November climate talks in Egypt, Bahamian PM Philip Davis said in a speech.

Blockade over alleged missing miners halts Zijin's Colombia mine production

BOGOTA - A days-long community road blockade has halted production at Zijin Mining's Colombia gold project due to allegations that informal miners are trapped in tunnels on its land, the Chinese company has said.

Those holding the blockades, which began on Aug. 12, are demanding the national mining agency verify whether any miners are trapped, Zijin said, adding it supports an inspection as soon as possible.

Thousands of wildcat miners work in sometimes-deadly conditions in dozens of informal tunnels in Buritica municipality in northwestern Colombia, including many within or adjoining Zijin's concession. (Compiled by Steven Grattan)