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By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, has visited Brazil as part of a wider Latin American tour which also takes in Colombia and Chile. The visit, his first both to Brazil and Latin America in the role, was touted as an attempt to fight crime in Central America and to forge deeper military ties with the region, but Mr. Panetta has also pressed for the U.S. and Brazil to sign off on two stalled defense contracts.

He expressed his admiration for Brazil, describing it as "a very . . .

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