LATAM POLITICS TODAY-Mexico to pay off more Pemex debt in latest show of support


New Venezuelan leader confident U.S. will protect assets


Peru elections could come as soon as later this year


New U.S. migrant rules push down traffic in Darien Gap

Jan 27 (Reuters) - The latest in Latin American politics today:

Mexico giving 'complete support' to Pemex debt payments

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's government will provide more support to state oil company Pemex with a plan to ensure that pending bond payments due this year are met, the president said, underscoring one of the leftist's top political priorities.

Pemex's debt obligations are being paid on time with the government's assistance, and the finance ministry and Pemex's leadership are working out the schedule for this year's payments, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at a news conference.

The government will continue to reduce the tax burden on Pemex, alongside other measures, Lopez Obrador said, noting that the ministry would explain soon how debt payments would be met.

Venezuelan opposition leader expects protection for assets

MADRID - The new president of Venezuela's opposition legislature is confident the United States will back the body by continuing to protect foreign assets like oil refiner Citgo Petroleum from creditors, she said.

Dinorah Figuera, a 61-year-old doctor from the Primero Justicia party, was chosen to lead the opposition's national assembly earlier this month as it prepares to pick a presidential candidate and pushes for renewed talks with the ruling socialists.

Figuera, who lives in exile in Spain, told Reuters in an interview that the assembly's new triumvirate of women leaders will be able to confront President Nicolas Maduro, whom the United States and other countries consider a dictator, and protect assets like Citgo and nearly $2 billion in gold at the Bank of England from creditors.

Peru elections may move up to this year, says president

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte said she was considering moving up general elections to later this year, as the new leader struggles to contain protests demanding her resignation that have left dozens dead.

Congress is set to debate a proposal later on Friday to move national elections forward to April 2024, from 2026, but several legislators have proposed moving up the elections even earlier, to late 2023.

Boluarte became president in December after her predecessor Pedro Castillo attempted to illegally dissolve Congress, after which he was ousted and detained.

New U.S. migrant rules push down traffic in Darien Gap

BRASILIA - The number of people making a perilous crossing on foot of the Darien Gap jungle between Colombia and Panama as they head north for the United States has dropped significantly since the U.S. government tightened rules on migrants, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

Earlier this month Washington expanded COVID-19 pandemic-era restrictions to include migrants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua and not just Venezuelans as people who can be expelled back to Mexico if caught crossing the border into the United States. The restrictions are known as Title 42. (Compiled by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)