February 2, 1999
U.S. military expands Central America program

                  MIAMI (Reuters) -- The U.S. military said on Tuesday it would spend $70
                  million more to build schools, repair bridges and operate medical clinics in
                  Latin American nations hit hard last autumn by Hurricanes Georges and

                  Raul Duany, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command, said the money
                  would be spent to expand the military's New Horizon "nation-building"
                  programme under way in Honduras, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic,
                  Nicaragua and El Salvador.

                  The United States has stationed thousands of troops in Guatemala,
                  Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua since Hurricane Mitch swept through
                  in October, killing thousands and causing devastating infrastructure damage.

                  The Dominican Republic was struck in September by Hurricane Georges.

                  U.S. troops in the five countries were scheduled by the end of September to
                  build 33 schools and 12 medical clinics, repair 55 roads and bridges, drill 27
                  fresh-water wells and conduct 39 medical, dental and veterinary outreach
                  programmes, Duany said.

                  "What we're looking at is revitalising the economy and supporting the
                  infrastructure," Duany said.

                  The programme would rely mostly on National Guard and military reserve
                  troops, with 300 to 550 troops in any of the countries at any given time
                  between the end of February and the end of September, he said.

                  "We're looking at using about 23,000 reservists," Duany said.

                   Copyright 1999 Reuters.