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Latin America Calls Attack Against US ‘Barbaric’ - 2001-09-11

Latin American governments have reacted with dismay and condemnation to Tuesday's deadly terrorist attacks against the United States.

Countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Chile used terms such as "barbaric" and "cowardly" to describe and condemn the terrorist action.

Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso appeared before reporters in Brasilia late Tuesday to express his shock and dismay at what he called a "foul crime". Mr. Cardoso said he will try to contact President Bush personally to convey his indignation, and to express his country's solidarity with the American people and government.

The Brazilian leader went on to say the terrorist action is bound to have consequences.

"It is probable that because of these virulent acts, there will be consequences throughout the world - principally economic," Mr. Cardoso said. " Since Brazil is part of the international system, it could be directly or indirectly affected by this turbulence and by the difficulties that could eventually arise in the economic area. We are on guard not only in respect to our national interests, but also in regard to our diplomatic tradition of a country that respects peace and seeks to create conditions to overcome difficulties and conflicts. "

Earlier, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Lafer also expressed concern at what might happen next. In an interview with the Globo television network, Mr. Lafer said Tuesday's terrorist actions will have consequences even greater than the end of the Cold War.

"This event is a decisive one, it changes the way the international system functions," he said. " It places the shadows of incomprehension in the center of the world system, and it will have a great effect on everyone. This event is the most serious in recent times, and it will have a greater effect than the end of the cold war and the fall of the Berlin Wall."

There was other reaction elsewhere in South America. Argentine President Fernando de la Rua called for peace and a rejection of violence. In a letter to President Bush, Mr. de la Rua said his country knows about the pain caused by terrorism - referring to the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.

In Colombia, the office of President Andres Pastrana issued a statement condemning what it called the "cowardly and vile" attacks against the United States. The statement said nothing justifies the loss of life of hundreds of innocent people.

In Venezuela, a government spokesman expressed similar sentiments - calling the attacks a "miserable act". The spokesman said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke with the U.S. ambassador in Caracas Tuesday to condemn the actions, and to express his condolences to the families of the victims.

Aside from official reaction, many Latin American governments have reinforced security around the U.S. and Israeli embassies in their nations. Many of these embassies shut down for the day. Security also was upgraded at many airports in South America, and flights to the United States from the region were cancelled.

The stock markets in Argentina, Brazil, and other countries suspended trading for the day as television and radio stations throughout Latin America carried continuous reports of the attacks in the United States and their aftermath.