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RICE TELLS LATIN AMERICA TO STICK WITH DEMOCRACY

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered a message Wednesday aimed at the tens of millions of Latin Americans who have yet to benefit from the region's democratic transformation: "Do not lose your hope. Do not lose your courage. And most of all, do not turn back now."

In a speech at the close of a 30-hour visit here, Rice said the poverty that pervades Brazil and other countries in the region represents a significant challenge.

"The answers are to be found in more democratic reform," she said. "In time, the blessings of democracy come to everyone who keeps the faith with the principles of democracy."

She later flew to Colombia, where she met President Alvaro Uribe and defended U.S. aid despite disappointing results from an American-backed coca eradication program.

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