South America

Left hopes for historic win in Colombia’s ‘change election’

by Mariëtte Le Roux and Lina Vanegas © Agence France-Presse Bogota, COLOMBIA (AFP) — Colombians go to the polls Sunday in a deeply polarized election that could see a leftist — and ex-guerrilla — become president for the first time in the history of the violence- and inequality-plagued country. A year after a brutal security crackdown on street protests fueled by deepening socio-economic woes, many voters are pinning their hopes on former Bogota mayor Gustavo […]

Update: Powerful 7.2-magnitude quake rocks southern Peru

A strong 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Peru on Thursday, the US Geological Survey said, with Peruvian authorities adding there were no dead or injured. The quake hit at 7:02 am local time (1202 GMT), at a depth of 218 kilometers (135 miles), according to the USGS, sending people fleeing into the streets. Peru‘s National Seismological Center said the quake had a magnitude of 6.9 and a depth of 240 kilometers. Its epicenter was 20 kilometers […]

WHO says monkeypox outbreak can still be contained

  The monkeypox outbreak that has been reported in 16 countries and several regions of the world can still be contained and the overall risk of transmission is low, the UN health agency said on Tuesday (24 May). “What we know from this virus and these modes of transmission, this outbreak can still be contained, it is the objective of the World Health Organization and Member States to contain this outbreak and to stop it,” […]

Ecuador’s ex-VP returns to prison in corruption case

  QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) — Authorities in Ecuador on Friday arrested and re-imprisoned former vice-president Jorge Glas, after a court ordered he must serve out the rest of a corruption sentence. Glas, 52, “was admitted” to prison in the central province of Cotopaxi, “but for security reasons and in accordance with the regulations in force, he will be transferred to prison 4” in Quito, the country’s interior ministry said in a tweet. Earlier, police arrested […]

Bolsonaro to meet Elon Musk in Brazil: government source

  Sao Paulo, BRAZIL (AFP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is set to meet with billionaire Elon Musk on Friday, according to a government source. The meeting will be held in Sao Paulo, a source with the Brazilian president’s office told AFP, without giving any details on what will be on the agenda. Earlier, Bolsonaro said that he had planned a private meeting in Sao Paulo “with a very important person who is recognized throughout […]

Brazil’s Lula ties the knot months before presidential election

  SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the front-runner in Brazil’s October presidential elections, took a break from campaigning Wednesday to marry his fiancee and fellow Workers’ Party member, sociologist Rosangela da Silva. The former president posted a photo on Instagram Wednesday night in which he appears to be saying his vows to Da Silva while placing a wedding ring on her finger. Lula, 76, and Da Silva, 55, tied the […]

Chile defense minister’s home robbed, presidential car stolen

  SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — The home of Chilean Defense Minister Maya Fernandez was robbed by attackers who beat her son and threatened her husband, authorities said Saturday. Fernandez, a granddaughter of former Socialist leader Salvador Allende, was not at home at the time of the attack late Friday in Santiago’s Nunoa neighborhood. A bodyguard in President Gabriel Boric’s security team was also shot in the arm by attackers who stole a presidential vehicle, as […]

Lima jolted by a 5.5-magnitude quake

A 5.5-magnitude earthquake shook Lima and a large surrounding area Thursday, alarming many locals but with no immediate reports of damage or injury, the National Seismological Center reported. The tremor was recorded at 4:55 p.m. local time (2155 GMT), with an epicenter 30 kilometers west of Chilca, a coastal town south of Lima, and 49 kilometers deep, the Center reported. “5.5 magnitude earthquake occurred 30 km W of Chilca, [province of] Canete. [In] Lima it […]

Ecuador prison riot leaves 43 dead, 108 on the run

  SANTO DOMINGO DE LOS COLORADOS, Ecuador (AFP) — At least 43 inmates died on Monday in Ecuador’s latest grisly prison riot, the public prosecutor said, as another 100 prisoners managed to escape. Authorities said a fight broke out between the rival Los Lobos and R7 gangs inside the Bellavista prison in Santo Domingo de los Colorados, in the center of Ecuador some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Quito. “For now there are 43 inmates […]

Three shot in Chile May Day clashes

  SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — Three people were wounded by gunfire and two arrested in clashes at May Day demonstrations in Chile, police said. The shooting occurred during a Sunday march called by a union in the capital Santiago as some protesters erected barricades and entered commercial premises, clashing with merchants. “There were clashes between street vendors who unfortunately used firearms and injured three people, two of them women and a third man was also […]

Billionaire Luiza Trajano, the businesswoman shaking up Brazil

by Luján Scarpinelli © Agence France-Presse SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — Brazilian businesswoman Luiza Trajano has made it onto a lot of lists: TIME’s most influential people, Forbes’ billionaires, the biggest fortunes in Brazil… But although she has been touted as a potential contender in Brazil’s presidential elections this year, there is one list she says she is determined to stay off: the ballot. With the country deeply polarized ahead of October’s polls, “I want […]

Bodyguards a status symbol amid Venezuela’s crime and poverty

  by Javier Tovar © Agence France-Presse CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — In a rich neighborhood east of Caracas, a bodyguard flashes his rifle as a private armored car with dark tinted windows speeds away under his intimidating watch. In Venezuela, one of the most violent countries in the world, having an armed escort has long been a shield against kidnapping, and worse. Today, it is increasingly also a display of status. In the well-to-do neighborhoods […]