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Clinton arrives in Uruguay; plans Chile visit Tuesday

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a Latin American tour that includes Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Guatemala.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a Latin American tour that includes Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Guatemala.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on six-nation Latin American tour
  • She will go to quake-ravaged Chile on Tuesday
  • Also on Clinton's itinerary are Brazil, Costa Rica and Guatemala
  • She also will attend Pathways for Prosperity, a meeting of hemispheric officials

(CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed Monday in Montevideo, Uruguay, the first stop in a six-nation Latin American tour that will take her to quake-ravaged Chile on Tuesday.

Clinton attended the inauguration of President Jose Mujica, a former member of a radical guerrilla group who spent 14 years in prison. He was released in 1985 when democracy was restored to Uruguay after a 17-year dictatorship.

Mujica was minister of livestock and agriculture from 2005 to 2008 and a senator until his election to the presidency in November.

Clinton is expected to travel next to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and meet with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo.

The U.S. secretary of state is expected to arrive in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday, two days after her department "strongly" urged U.S. citizens to avoid tourism and nonessential travel to the South American nation and three days after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 700 people.

Video: Chile 'up and running'
Video: Assessing Chile's earthquake
RELATED TOPICS
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Chile
  • Uruguay
  • Brazil

On Sunday, the Chilean government requested medical and communication assistance from the United States. The State Department "is working closely with the U.S. military, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to identify appropriate medical resources and ensure their delivery as soon as possible," the department said Sunday in a written statement.

The U.S. military and USAID are trying to help Chilean communications in the form of satellite phones, it said.

The Latin American tour was scheduled prior to the quake, and Clinton is expected to bid farewell to Chile's president, Michelle Bachelet, who is leaving with high approval ratings for having steered the country through the global economic downturn and promoted progressive social reforms. Clinton will also meet with conservative billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera, who is to assume the office on March 11.

Also on Clinton's itinerary are Brazil, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Brazil, which will hold presidential elections in October, has one of the world's largest economies and will host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

There, Clinton is expected to talk with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva about his planned trip to Iran, which the United States and other nations believe has undertaken a program to build nuclear weapons, an assertion Iran denies.

In Costa Rica, which this month elected its first woman to the nation's top job, Clinton will meet separately with President Oscar Arias and President-elect Laura Chinchilla, who takes office in May.

She also will attend Pathways for Prosperity, a meeting of hemispheric officials. The initiative includes such things as microcredit and ways in which women can be empowered, a State Department spokesman told reporters last Friday.

"It all fits in within the theme of trying to look for ways to enhance competitiveness, with a significant component, too, of encouraging private-public partnerships in the search for greater competitiveness and to address issues of social inclusion," said Arturo Valenzuela, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. "Issues like corporate social responsibility, for example, are also on the table."

Clinton's final stop is Guatemala, a Central American nation beset by poverty and high crime. She will meet with Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom and leaders of other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic before returning to Washington.

CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this story.

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