Morales faces military unrest

On 23 April Bolivia’s armed forces (FFAA) sacked nine air-force officials for “sedition and disrespect”.

Sánchez Cerén faces resurgence of violence in El Salvador

Of the many challenges which El Salvador’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén will face when he takes office on 1 June there is none so pressing as that posed by an escalation in violent crime and extortion associated with the country’s mara gangs. Homicides are on the increase and in recent weeks gangs have carried out a series of brazen attacks on police, prompting one former head of the national police (PNC) to warn that El Salvador is at risk of becoming a “failed State”. Just as there are marked differences between politicians about how to deal with the maras - more repression or more emphasis on prevention and reinsertion - two separate peace plans have emerged in the last week: one tabled by the current justice and public security minister, Ricardo Perdomo; and one by nine different churches, including the original two mediators of the March 2012 gang truce.

Moderate growth, with things to worry about

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) published its annual report on Latin American and the Caribbean in late March. Its key message - things are looking moderately alright, with regional GDP growth set to pick up to 3% this year, and to 3.3% in 2015. Yet behind that lurk some quite serious worries about how the region will respond to the ‘tapering’ of monetary incentives in developed economies, and about its reduced resilience to possible external shocks.

Two months on, the upheaval in Venezuela is still smouldering

Calm had not quite returned to Venezuela, after more than a month of riotous confrontations, when a delegation of foreign affairs ministers from Union of South American Nations (Unasur) turned up on 25 March in an ostensible attempt to broker a dialogue between government and opposition. By then at least 30 deaths were being attributed to the unrest, more than 300 people had been injured and more than 100 had been arrested and charged with criminal offences. The government says it is still facing an attempted ‘soft coup’ orchestrated from abroad, while the more militant wing of the opposition says it will continue to exercise its right to protest on the streets until the government steps down.

Election countdown begins, but without a ‘K’ candidate

With just sixteen months until Argentina's presidential elections, potential candidates are starting to emerge. Six contenders were identified by public consulting firm, Poliarquía, in a recent survey; but the firm acknowledged one glaring omission: President Cristina Fernández’s chosen candidate. With a seemingly indestructible core vote of between 20-25% of the electorate, whoever eventually earns Fernández’s blessing will be a serious contender.

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