Latin America sends condolences to Japan, offers help

12:23, March 12, 2011      

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Leaders from across Latin America on Friday sent condolences to Japan following the devastating 8.8-magnitude quake in the Asian country and offered to send teams to assist in rescue efforts as well as humanitarian aid to the victims.

Mexico sends "our sincere condolences to the people of Japan for the earthquake they have suffered," said Mexican President Felipe Calderon in a message on the social network site Twitter.

In a separate statement, Mexico's foreign ministry said it had offered to send rescue teams to Japan "or any other help the Japanese government requires" or asks for.

From across a continent which are vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural disasters, Latin American leaders were quick to express solidarity, while tsunami warnings were issued for the entire coastline from California in the north to Chile in the south.

"We want to show our most heartfelt words of condolences to the people of Japan, especially to the families of victims", said Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, while Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said "we regret the tragedy and express our solidarity with Japan."

Chavez said Venezuela was ready to send immediate humanitarian help to the victims as well as provide personnel, equipment and logistics needed to facilitate the rescue efforts underway to locate survivors in the rubble. Venezuela also offered help in the reconstruction.

Between 200 and 300 bodies were found in the immediate aftermath of the quake early Friday local time which Japanese officials said were one of the most powerful and damaging ever to hit the Asian nation, while hundreds are reported missing and feared dead.

The quake provoked tsunami warnings across the Pacific ring.

Bolivian President Evo Morales send condolences and said all Bolivians felt the pain the Japanese population was suffering. In a show of honor to the victims Morales said he had cancelled a working breakfast with Bolivia's national soccer team which had been scheduled for Friday morning.

The leaders also expressed concern for the well-being of the Latin American nationals living in Japan. Brazil has 254,000 nationals living in the Asian country, most of whom are residing in the southern part of Japan. There was no immediate reports of Latin American casualties from Friday's quake.

"The Brazilian government and people express their solidarity and most sincere condolences for the human losses caused by the earthquake," said Brazil's Foreign Ministry in a statement.

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Peru's President Alan Garcia, Panama's president Ricardo Martinelli and Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez all said they had been in contact with the government of Japan to express their condolences and solidarity to the Japanese people.

"We have informed the Prime Minister of Japan that we will start to cooperate with anyone assisting the victims, to see how we can help," said Fernandez from Buenos Aires.

In the Dominican Republic, President Leonel Fernandez said that despite the Caribbean island nation's struggle to deal with poverty at home, "we will put at disposal the modest resources that the Dominican Republic has available to help with the reconstruction" in Japan.

Source: Xinhua


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