Mexico: The homicide rate begins to rise again

Data published by the government indicates that the number of homicides increased in the first half of this year relative to the same period of last year – the first time this has happened in four years.

Troubles mount for Brazil’s Rousseff

Rock-bottom approval ratings, an economy in recession and an increasingly hostile congress are not on their own sufficient to initiate impeachment proceedings against Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. However, they make the conditions for such a process more likely. In another bad week for Rousseff, her mentor and predecessor, Lula da Silva (2003-2011), faced a criminal investigation; an opinion poll found that just 7.7% of Brazilians approved of her administration; the government was forced to revise down its fiscal surplus target (with the domestic economy now predicted to shrink by 1.49% this year), and the speaker of the federal lower chamber of congress, Eduardo Cunha, declared his open opposition to the executive.

Corruption embedded in Latin American football business model?

On 27 May the US attorney general Loretta Lynch filed a 160-page indictment against 14 top officials in FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the world football’s top body. Senior FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland or put on Interpol’s wanted lists. Lynch alleged that corruption was deeply embedded in FIFA’s affairs. According to the indictment, much of the foul play has taken place in Latin American and Caribbean football. Despite initially shrugging off the scandal and securing his re-election, the longstanding FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, was days later forced to announce that he would step down by the end of this year (although his actual departure still looks to be up in the air). Here, we look at the state of the regional football business.

Venezuela’s new ‘maritime defence zones’ encroach upon Guyana and Colombia

On 27 May Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro issued a decree establishing  four ‘operational integral defence maritime and insular defence zones’ (Zodimains in the Spanish acronym). The easternmost of these cover the seas off the states of Sucre and Delta Amacuro and what figures in Venezuelan maps as the ‘Reclamation Zone’ ― the territory administered by Guyana which Venezuela considers its own. This last part would leave Guyana without its maritime exclusive economic zone, in which Mobil recently announced that it had found oil. The westernmost Zodimain encroaches upon the Gulf of Venezuela, or Coquivacoa, as it is called in Colombia, which disputes sovereignty with Venezuela over oil-bearing areas and fisheries.

Vargas Lleras reveals his hand

Vice-President German Vargas Lleras is one of the great chameleons of Colombian politics. Since 2000, the grandson of former president Carlos Lleras Restrepo (1966-1970) has expertly navigated the country's political tides, siding with the Partido Liberal dissident Alvaro Uribe prior to the former's election in 2002 and then hitching his Cambio Radical party to Juan Manuel Santos' 2010 campaign. With local elections due in October, Vargas Lleras has spent much of this year building powerful alliances that could strengthen his expected presidential bid in 2018.

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