Colombian military officers head to Havana as peace talks enter critical stage

On 20 August the Colombian government led by President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that a sub-commission comprising four military officers will travel to Havana, Cuba, to take part in the peace talks with the country’s main guerrilla group, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc).

Marina Silva jumps into second place in Brazilian race

Marina Silva has officially become the presidential candidate of the Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB), replacing Eduardo Campos, who was killed in a plane crash last week. The party’s vice-presidential candidate is Beto Albuquerque, the leader of the PSB in congress. Campos was running a distant third to President Dilma Rousseff, of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) and Aécio Neves, of the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB); but a Datafolha opinion poll published over the weekend showed Silva leapfrogging Neves into second place in the first round, and tying a potential second round with Rousseff. Clearly Campos’ death has had a major impact on voters’ intentions. The question now being asked by all of the participants is whether this support is sustainable.

BRAZIL: After football and politics – the economy

Brazilian growth has disappointed this year. Many economists argue that the country needs new and more dynamic ‘pro-growth’ policies. But the country has been distracted; first by the Fifa World Cup, and second by the long presidential election campaign, which most likely will stretch to two rounds, with a run-off in late October. The result is that major new policy announcements are not likely until early 2015.

Rio police bring charges against planners of World Cup violence

When on the eve of the World Cup final the police in Rio de Janeiro arrested 28 people on charges of conspiring to commit acts of violence, there was instant uproar among rights advocacy groups and social organisations. The police were accused of acting without any solid evidence with the sole purpose of repressing social protests. Just over a week after the event, when the media gained access to the report on the police investigation, the picture had changed dramatically: either there was fabrication of evidence on a grand scale, or there had indeed been a substantial organised attempt to disrupt the event with violence.

Ollanta bounces back - but for how long?

President Ollanta Humala is bouncing back in the opinion polls. His approval rating has moved up for two months in a row. He may be benefiting from the popularity of his new interior minister, Daniel Urresti, and his new prime minister, Ana Jara. Analysts are unsure whether he is on a sustainable path of improvement, or just on a smooth section of Peru’s rollercoaster political cycle.

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