Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Hillary Clinton begins Latin American tour

By Kim Ghattas
BBC News, Washington

File picture of Hillary Clinton speaking druing a briefing on US-Latin America relations
Mrs Clinton's Latin American tour will focus in part on Iran

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is starting a five-day tour of Latin America, with her first visit to countries like Chile and Brazil.

She will also attend the inauguration of the Uruguayan President and former guerilla fighter Jose Mujica.

The US secretary of state was expecting to spend a day in Chile on Tuesday.

State Department officials said she would still be stopping in Santiago, but the agenda of her visit may change in the wake of the earthquake there.

Hillary Clinton may be going to Latin America, but she will be partly focused on Iran.

Question time

Washington is pushing for a fourth round of UN sanctions against Tehran.

Brazil, a rising regional player with civilian nuclear power, currently sits on the UN Security Council and it has been reluctant to get tough with Iran.

The talks in Brasilia will be a test for Mrs Clinton as she seeks to revamp Washington's credibility south of its border.

After promising to turn a new page with its southern neighbours, the Obama administration has brought little change to US policies in Latin America and has paid little attention to the region.

Washington's policy of isolating Cuba is still the main sticking point, and Mrs Clinton is likely to face tough questions throughout her trip.

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