President Michael D Higgins began a two-week official visit to South America today.

He will attend a series of engagements in Brazil, Argentina and Chile with the aim of boosting trade and historical links with the countries.

Chile is considered the region's best-run economy and Brazil is the economic powerhouse of South America.

However, Argentina is still feeling the effects of defaulting on its debts a decade ago.

The President delivered a speech tonight in Chile on what Latin America can teach the rest of the world about economics and ethics. 

There are important historical connections between all three countries and Ireland to be renewed.

But Chile holds a special interest for the President.

The last time he was there he was an election observer during the vote that ended the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

President Higgins has many personal connections with the movement that restored democracy to the country.