LATAM POLITICS TODAY-Mexico's top court freezes controversial electoral reform
Salvadoran government weighs in on court abortion case
Brazil's Lula 'fine' after mild pneumonia diagnosis
Twist in Venezuela's Citgo saga may offer some creditors relief
(Updates with Mexican electoral reform)
March 24 (Reuters) - The latest in Latin American politics today:
Mexican Supreme Court freezes president's electoral reform
MEXICO CITY - Mexico's Supreme Court temporarily suspended parts of an electoral reform pushed by the president, while also confirming it will consider a lawsuit from independent electoral institute INE that seeks to overturn it.
The congressional electoral reform passed by allies of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador last month was a scaled-down version of a failed constitutional reform he originally sought, but it still managed to slash the institute's budget and headcount ahead of presidential elections next year.
The court stressed in a statement that it has frozen the articles of the reform challenged by INE.
El Salvador weighs in on high-profile court abortion case
SAN SALVADOR - The government of El Salvador asked an influential regional court to disregard unspecified "private agendas" when ruling on a high-stakes abortion case that has focused international attention on the country's strict ban on the procedure.
The San Jose-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights this week heard the case of a woman identified as "Beatriz," who was denied termination of a high-risk pregnancy a decade ago. Experts say the court's eventual ruling could have far-reaching implications on abortion rights across Latin America.
"El Salvador urges the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to resolve the Beatriz case based on the facts and not responding to private agendas," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Lula 'fine' after pneumonia diagnosis, will travel to China
BRASILIA - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been diagnosed with mild pneumonia and will delay a planned trip to China by a day, leaving on Sunday, the presidential palace and his doctor said.
Lula's physician, Roberto Kalil, told Reuters that the president is in good health after undergoing hospital tests on Thursday night and is responding well to antibiotics.
"The president is fine. He has already improved from yesterday to today. The trip on Sunday is maintained," Kalil said after visiting Lula at the presidential palace earlier on Friday.
Venezuela's Citgo saga offers some creditors possible relief
NEW YORK - A U.S. judge has granted four companies the right to seize shares in the parent of refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp to collect on debts owed by Venezuela, in the event U.S. sanctions on that country are modified.
The decision on Thursday is the latest blow to Venezuela's efforts to avoid a breakup of Citgo, which is owned by state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela and controlled by political opponents of the ruling socialists. (Compiled by Steven Grattan and Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Leslie Adler)