August 20, 2020 – Bogota, Colombia, Latin America - Colombian president Ivan Duque said on Thursday that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's administration is looking to buy Iranian missiles and is handing over weapons made in Russia and Belarus to Colombian armed groups.
August 18, 2020 – BRASILIA - Flames are tearing through Brazil's Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, coming close to the region's main highway and threatening endangered species, as the area records the most fires in 15 years for the month of August so far.
Brazil's national space research agency Inpe has registered 3,121 fires in the first 15 days of August, nearly five times higher than the same period a year ago. At the current pace, fires could approach the all-time record for any month since records began in 1998.
"It is extremely difficult to combat, control and combat again a fire with the dimensions that we have seen here in the Pantanal," said Paulo Barroso, president of the local firefighting committee.
Firefighters in the area worked to douse smoldering earth that was charred black as clouds of smoke billowed hundreds of feet into the air.
Roughly 8,500 square kilometers, or nearly 6% of the Pantanal, has already burned in January to July, according to government data.
The Pantanal is 10 times the size of the Everglades wetlands in the U.S. state of Florida. The region is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet with more than 4,700 plant and animal species, including threatened ones like the jaguar, according to advocacy group WWF.
Most of the largest sanctuary for the blue Hyacinthine Macaw parrots has gone up in flames this year, Brazil's Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported.
The region has been suffering from below-average rainfall and higher-than-average temperatures in the past 30 days, according to data provider Refinitiv.
The blazes in the Pantanal come amid rising concerns about fires in the Amazon, its much larger neighbor to the north. Fires spiked in the first few days of August in the Amazon, but were down by 17% for Aug. 1-15, compared with the same period a year ago.
August 15, 2020 - SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - Almost half of Brazilians think President Jair Bolsonaro bears "no responsibility at all" for the country's more than 100,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic, the world's second highest death toll, according to a new Datafolha poll.
The poll was published on Saturday in Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper and says 47% of Brazilians do not assign him any blame for the body count, whereas 11% do.
Brazil has the world's worst outbreak outside of the United States and Bolsonaro's response to the pandemic has been widely condemned by health experts. Right-wing Bolsonaro has pushed for the use of unproven anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to fight the disease, replaced health ministers who opposed his agenda, encouraged Brazilians to oppose lockdown measures and shown indifference to the rising death toll.
Bolsonaro himself and several members of his family have gotten coronavirus. His current wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, got the disease in late July and her grandmother died from the disease this week.
Bolsonaro's fourth son, Jair Renan, who is 22, tested positive for coronavirus, his mother said on Instagram on Saturday.
"He is doing very well, taking hydroxychloroquine and will soon recover," the president's second wife said in the post, still signing her name as Cristina Bolsonaro.
Still, Bolsonaro is currently enjoying the highest popularity rating of his administration, according to the same Datafolha poll. Thirty-seven percent of Brazilians rated his term as great or good, compared with 32% in June.
The poll said that the spike in popularity can be explained by emergency payments the government has been making to low-income and informal workers set to expire in September. The government is currently considering whether to extend the payments.
As of Friday, Brazil had 106,523 deaths and 3,275,520 confirmed cases.
Datafolha interviewed 2,065 people Aug. 11-12, and the poll has a margin of error of two percentage points up or down.
August 13, 2020 – La Paz, Bolivia, Latin America - Hospital patients with respiratory issues suffer as Bolivia struggles with a lack of oxygen supply aggravated by demonstrators who have set up roadblocks to protest a delay in presidential elections.
August 13, 2020 – Brasilia, Brazil, Latin America - The local government in the Chinese city of Shenzhen on Thursday identified a Brazilian meat plant owned by Aurora, the country's third largest processor of chicken and pork, as the source of chicken wings that tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
August 13, 2020 – Bogota, Colombia, Latin America - Coronavirus is making it more difficult for indigenous Wayuu people in Colombia to survive, according to a report from advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW).
August 12, 2020 – Mexico City, Mexico, Latin America, North America - Mexican president says ex-presidents Calderon and Pena Nieto should be called to give evidence after a former Pemex chief implicated them in corruption.
August 12, 2020 – Havana, Cuba, Latin America - Official election results are due in the Trinidad and Tobago general election. Preliminary results gave the ruling party a narrow victory over the main opposition party, handing a second consecutive term to Prime Minister Keith Rowley. But the opposition and fringe parties asked for a recount for some seats that the ruling party won by only a narrow margin.
August 11, 2020 - Caracas, Venezuela, Latin America - Venezuelans are steadily losing access to subsidized public services such as running water that have for years helped them survive the country's economic crisis, piling pressure on a population already struggling under a coronavirus quarantine.
August 11, 2020 - Brasilia, Brazil, Latin America - Brazil is amassing a record government deficit and national debt, which many say threatens its financial and economic future. But interest rates have never been lower, the economy needs huge deficit spending, and the vast bulk of Brazil's debt is in its own currency and owed to its own citizens.