Brazil, April 3:

Bolivian president Evo Morales arrived in Brazil to lobby the Inter-American Development bank (IDB) to forgive as much as $3.5 billion owed by the Andean nation and four other poor Latin American countries.

Morales, a strident leftist and Bolivia’s first Indian president, is expected to push for the five-nation debt relief package at the bank’s annual meeting starting today, one of the region’s most important economic forums.

But Latin America’s two biggest powerhouses — Brazil and Mexico — are balking at supporting the debt write-off for Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua unless richer nations foot the bill.

“This has to be talked about and negotiated because the question is, ‘Who is going to be responsible in financial terms?”’ Brazilian planning minister Paulo Bernardo said ahead of the event in this southeastern Brazilian city for top Latin American and Caribbean government finance officials.

Bolivia owes $1.6 billion of the total amount.