Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters after voting in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Antonio Lacerda/EPA

Brazil’s local elections are an important leading indicator for general elections

Propaganda invites voters to turn out  in the elections for the National Assembly in Caracas. Photograph: Miguel Gutierrez

Maduro targets win in election deemed by rival a ‘farce’ and by EU not ‘free and fair’

 Diego Maradona confronted by a posse of Belgium defenders during the 1982 Wold Cup in Spain. File photograph: Allsport

Diego Maradona understood football was first and foremost about the people’s passion

 Former president of Brazil Lula adjusts his facial mask while talking to the press after voting in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, on November 15th. Photograph: Fernando Bizerra/EPA

Workers’ Party risks alienating potential allies by insisting on centrality of ex-president

Sao Paulo governor  Joao Doria and  mayor Bruno Covas: The most significant defeat on the night for the president was in the race for mayor of  the biggest city in South America. Photograph: Patricia Monteiro

Brazilian president’s power under attack as traditional right and centre-right to fore

Regina Bento Sequeira, a 59-year-old lawyer and candidate for the municipal elections in Brazil, poses for a picture in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP via Getty Images

Brazilian president has endorsed a number of candidates who are struggling in the polls

 Jair Bolsonaro: “You can’t have a judge deciding if you are going to take a vaccine or not,” said the Brazilian president. Photograph:  Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

President orders health minister to abandon plans to purchase a Chinese vaccine

People celebrate at Plaza Italia square after a national referendum vote in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday. Photograph: Cristobal Olivares/Bloomberg

78 per cent of people back a new charter to replace one imposed in Pinochet era

 Demonstrations  on the  first anniversary of the social uprising in Chile, in Santiago,  as the country prepares for a landmark referendum. Photograph:  Martin Bernetti/ AFP via Getty

Further unrest as protesters say they are living in a two-tier society

Luis Arce, presidential candidate for Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). Photograph: Juan Karita/AP Photo

Presidential candidate significantly increases party’s vote share with leader still in exile

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro: Last week said he had ended the country’s Car Wash anti-corruption drive “because there is no more corruption in government”. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP via Getty Images

Brazilian senator Chico Rodrigues found hiding money by police investigating corruption

Presidential candidate for the far right  Creemos party, Luis Fernando Camacho,  addresses supporters during a campaign rally in La Paz  ahead of the upcoming general election in Bolivia on October 18th. Photograph: Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty

Party of exiled former president Morales confident of outright victory in first round for its candidate Luis Arce

Relatives carry the coffin of a loved one to a section of a cemetery reserved for Covid-19 cases, in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Photograph: Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo

Volatile politics, uneven healthcare and inequality enable coronavirus to wreak havoc

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro raises an image of Jesus Christ during a gathering with Catholic and anti-abortion supporters in Brasilia earlier this year. File photograph: Getty

Girl became pregnant after years of abuse at the hands of her aunt’s partner, a drug dealer

Jair Bolsonaro: embracing populism. Photograph: Andre Borges/Bloomberg

São Paulo Letter: President gains in popularity among the poor with social payments

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro  on a visit to the city of Sao Raimundo Nonato, in the state of Piaui. Photograph: EPA/ Alan Santos

President criticised for ‘gross negligence’ in handling crisis, as deaths approach 100,000

Cattle graze with a burnt area in the background after a fire in the Amazon rainforest near Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil in 2019. Photograph: Joao Laet /AFP via Getty

São Paulo Letter: Jungle destruction prompts global pressure but makes little impact

Auditors found that the Brazilian health ministry reduced funding to state and municipal health systems in April when contagion was accelerating across the country. Photograph: AP Photo/Eraldo Peres

Federal auditors highlight chaos at heart of Jair Bolsonaro’s administration and its response to the crisis

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, delivers a speech during his isolation in Brasilia. Photograph: Andre Borges/EPA

Army high command growing increasingly uneasy at its association with Bolsonaro

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19. Photograph: Marcos Correa/AFP/ Getty

Right-wing leader has sought to minimise threat posed by coronavirus, comparing it to ‘mild flu’

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, at an event at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on June 30th. Photograph: Andre Borges/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Brazil’s mounting Covid-19 death toll is not the president’s biggest problem

Passengers at the Se metro station in downtown Sao Paulo. Brazil’s health ministry said recent data points to a “significant increase” in new cases of Covid-19. Photograph: Sebastiao Moreira/EPA

Rights groups warn of ‘catastrophe of worrying proportions’ in prisons due to virus spread

Fabricio Queiroz, a former political assistant of Flavio Bolsonaro, after being arrested. Photograph: Nelson Almeida/AFP via Getty

Brazilian president appears dejected as judicial siege tightens around administration

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro: The country leads the world for daily deaths from Covid-19. The official total death toll exceeds 40,000. Photograph: Joedson Alves

Brazil’s congress plans to block president’s move to use Covid-19 crisis to control colleges

Inmates and a hostage on the top of a tower of the Puraquequara prison during a rebellion during which seven prison guards were taken hostage, in Manaus. Photograph: Michael Dantas/AFP via Getty

Relatives of prisoners fearful loved ones will catch virus in chronically overcrowded jails

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro wears a protective mask during the national flag raising ceremony in Brasilia on Tuesday. Photograph: Andre Borges/Bloomberg

Bolsonaro says he will scrap cabinet meetings over leaked video as infections accelerate

Supporters of far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro taking part in a protest  in Brasilia on May 3rd. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Pandemic bearing down on region that spent 2019 racked by political crises and social unrest

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro shakes hands with his new attorney general Jose Levi Mello do Amaral jnr during his inauguration ceremony in Brasilia on Wednesday. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP via Getty Images

President faces fine of €825 a day if he fails to comply with court order

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro at a rally in Brasília on Sunday. Protesters demanded an end to the country’s Covid-19 shutdown and called for the military to intervene against congress.  Photograph: Joedson Alves/EPA

President spoke at far-right protest amid bitter political dispute over coronavirus

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro (left) greets the outgoing health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta during the swearing-in ceremony of the new minister, Nelson Teich, on Friday. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

President demands easing of Covid-19 measures and accuses congress of plot to oust him

Volunteers members of Associacao Acao Comunitaria Nova Heliopolis distribute food in Heliopolis favela  during the coronavirus pandemic in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photograph:  Rodrigo Paiva/Getty

Up to 40 million workers in informal sector hit particularly hard in Covid-19 crisis

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro: “The generals in the palace know Bolsonaro is completely out of his depth. He is the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time,” says political consultant André Pereira César.  Photograph: Adriano Machado/Reuters

Brazil’s president wary of the pandemic’s effect on his grip on power

A man in São Paulo bangs on a saucepan in protest during President Jair Bolsonaro’s TV address on Tuesday night.  Photograph: Carlos Menezes/EPA

President continues campaign against lockdown but moderates tone in national address

A file image of Machu Picchu in Peru. Image: iStock.

Some Irish people from Wexford, Louth and Belfast still stranded after Government-chartered flight left Lima at weekend

Passengers boarding the British Airways flight taking them from Lima to London. From there an Aer Lingus plane with take them to Dublin. Photograph: Gearóid McKendrick

Flight taking tourists left stranded by Covid-19 restrictions home via London

A file image of Machu Picchu in Peru. The Government has been given approval to send a repatriation flight to the country to pick up more than 100 Irish citizens who are stranded as a result of restrictions introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Image: iStock.

Around 135 citizens seeking way out of South American country amid pandemic restrictions

Nuns wearing protective masks  on a street in  Caracas on Wednesday. Photograph: Manaure Quintero/Reuters

Crisis-hit South American country among first in region to impose strict lockdown measures

Marie Barry and Andrew Cotter, both from Cork,  arrived in Peru from Bolivia two days before the national lockdown was announced.

Around 135 Irish tourists have registered for repatriation after country effectively seals borders

 A Peruvian soldier patrols during the COVID-19 restrictions in Lima, Peru. Photograph: Paolo Aguilar/EPA

Flight ‘will depend on how soon aircraft can be accommodated by Peruvian authorities’

Images are projected to protest against Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro during a lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus in Sao Paulo. Photograph: Rodrigo Paiva/Getty Images

Brazilian president champions anti-malaria medicine despite warning from health regulator

Gearóid McKendrick at Machu Picchu on March 16th, the day Peru announced national lockdown

Gearóid McKendrick has been holed up in hostel up all week and doesn’t know when he can return home

Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro has called demands that he self-isolate a ‘coup’ against him. Photograph: Reuters

Ex-ally’s plan to impeach is foiled after flight to capital falls victim to wave of cancellations

 President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro talks with Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes during the “Ceremony of the New Housing Credit Program” at the Planalto Palace  in Brasilia, Brazil. File Photograph: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

São Paulo Letter: Budget for Bolsa payment cut despite inequality gap increasing

Augusto Liberato, known to everyone as Gugu, was one of Brazil’s best-loved television personalities prior to his death last November.

São Paulo Letter: Augusto Liberato left nothing to the mother of his three children

Firefighters carry out rescue work in a flooded area after heavy rains, in Sao Paulo. Photograph: Sebastiao Moreira/EPA

São Paulo Letter: Scientists call extremes of drought and flooding the ‘new normal’

A poster depicting slain city councillor of the Municipal Chamber of Rio de Janeiro for the Socialism and Liberty Party  Marielle Franco: Adriano Nóbrega was a suspect in her murder. Photograph: Daniel Ramalho/AFP

Bolsonaro’s son employed Nóbrega’s wife and mother while he was a state deputy

Michael Dwyer was shot dead in Bolivia in 2009.

Tipperary man was shot dead during police raid on hotel in Santa Cruz 11 years ago

Dona Hermínia (played by comedian Paulo Gustavo), a housewife from Niterói, in My Mother is a Piece of Work 3. Photograph: Facebook

São Paulo Letter: Success of Dona Hermínia films notable in reactionary political times

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaidó is helped to climb a railing in an attempt to reach the National Assembly building in Caracas, on January 5th. Photograph: Federico Parra/AFP via Getty

Juan Guaidó prevented by security forces from entering national assembly session

Hundreds of thousands of protesters  took to the streets of  Santiago, capital of Chile, this year, many fighting running battles with police. Photograph: Claudio Reyes/AFP via Getty Images

Year in Review: Populists now dominate Latin America’s three largest economies

Brazil’s senator Flávio Bolsonaro and his father President Jair Bolsonaro have rejected allegations of involvement. Photograph: Reuters

Latest evidence surfaces after inquiry into alleged graft scheme run by president’s son

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and US president Donald Trump at the White House in March  2019. Bolsonaro was quick to embrace his nickname of “the Trump of the Tropics”, and has adopted his US peer as kind of political lodestar.   Photograph: Getty Images

The US president is only too willing to embarrass a supplicant foreign ally to shore up support at home

Andrés Manuel López Obrador salutes attendants after the elections for the presidency of Mexico in the Media Center at the Hilton Hotel in Mexico City in July 2018. Photograph: Getty Images

The world’s slowest growing region is also in political turmoil

Uruguay’s center-right National Party  presidential candidate Luis Lacalle Pou reacts as he greets supporters outside the party’s headquarters in Montevideo, Uruguay on Sunday. Photograph: Raul Martinez/EPA

Country’s electoral authorities to begin recount amid unexpectedly close contest

Conservative National Party challenger Luis Lacalle Pou says if he wins on Sunday he will reduce the role of the state in the economy and boost its competitiveness.  Photograph: Raul Martinez/EPA

National Party’s Luis Lacalle Pou well ahead in polls for Sunday’s presidential election

Fr Pat Clarke: ‘The whole capitalist system is a sophisticated seduction machine. You think you are being liberated by things which are actually enslaving you.’

Fr Pat Clarke to be among 10 recipients of Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad – for his work with the p(...)

Bolivian president Evo Morales. Photograph: HO/Bolivian Presidency/AFP via Getty

Morales and MAS party repeated most basic historical errors of Latin American populists

Brazil’s Supreme Court voted on Thursday to overturn a ruling requiring convicted criminals to go to jail after losing their first appeal, allowing former president Lula to be freed. File photograph: Nelson Almeida/AFP via Getty

Politically charged supreme court ruling could free other high-profile convicts

Last month’s presidential election has sparked a wave of protests in Bolivia. Photograph:  Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty Images

Counting in last month’s presidential election was mysteriously suspended for a day

Evo Morales (C) and Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera (L) in El Alto, Bolivia. A 30-strong Organisation of American States election audit team was dispatched to Bolivia this week. Photograph: Martin Alipaz/EPA

Evo Morales was declared the winner after a tortuous count declared a fraud by the opposition

The councilwoman  whose assassination convulsed Brazil. Marielle Franco was a rising force in Rio politics when she was killed by shots fired from a car which pulled alongside the one she was travelling in. Photograph:  Renan Olaz

Claim man charged with the murder visited Bolsonaro’s gated community hours before the killing

Alberto Fernandez with his running mate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Buenos Aires after winning Argentina’s presidential election. Photograph: Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images

Populist Alberto Fernández wins presidential election in first round

Peronist opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez and former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner:  Mr Fernandez leads opinion polls by up to 20 points. Photograph: Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

Voters turning again to populist force that has dominated politics for 75 years

Supporters of Bolivia’s opposition presidential candidate Carlos Mesa shout slogans against supporters of president and candidate Evo Morales. Photograph: Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty Images

Opposition candidate denounces ‘scandalous fraud’ as president set to avoid run-off poll

President of Bolivia Evo Morales: cult of personalty has developed around him after almost 14 years in power.  Photograph: Martin Alipaz

President Evo Morales aims for fourth term despite first-round victory appearing elusive

Brazilian far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro (left) with  supreme court president José Dias Toffoli. Photograph:  Sergio Lima/AFP/Getty Images

José Toffoli, head of the country’s supreme court, has positioned himself as a guarantor

Jair Bolsonaro ran last year on an anti-corruption platform; however, in office he has attacked anti-corruption organs as part of a campaign to undermine efforts to investigate his son for wrongdoing. Photograph: Alan Santos/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil’s president is a long-standing critic of country’s environmental protection regime

An aerial view of scorched areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil.  President Jair Bolsonaro has authorised deploying the armed forces to help combat raging fires. Photograph: Getty

Undermining institutions causing more concern in country than Amazon ablaze

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro speaks to army general Luiz Eduardo Ramos Baptista Pereira: the generals have been serially humiliated by the president and his sons. Photograph: Fernando Souza/AFP/Getty

São Paulo Letter: Far-right president distrusts army and sides with forces of paranoia

Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, currently a vice-presidential candidate, casting her vote in Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz province on Sunday. Photograph: Walter Diaz/AFP/Getty Images

President Mauricio Macri suffers crushing defeat ahead of October presidential elections

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro: “A scoundrel, to avoid a problem like this, he marries another scoundrel and adopts children in Brazil.” Photograph: Evaristo Sa

Glenn Greenwald cannot be expelled legally from Brazil, president admits

Brazil’s agriculture minister Tereza Cristinao: ‘There isn’t an agreement where only one side wins.’ Photographer: Andre Coelho/Bloomberg

Mercosur will have the right to export 99,000 tonnes of beef annually to the EU at a reduced tariff of 7.5 per cent

 Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral: has already been sentenced to 198 years in a series of trials following a corruption spree. Photograph: Pawel Kopczynski

Sérgio Cabral says he was advised to pay $2m to avoid Brazil’s early elimination in voting

The trade deal between the EU and South America’s Mercosur trade bloc has been greeted with anger by Irish beef farmers. File photograph: David Moir/Reuters

Mercosur countries show little euphoria following conclusion of beef agreement

A supporter of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva: the former president  denies all the charges against him and claims he is the victim of a judicial witch-hunt. Photograph: AP Photo/Eraldo Peres

Former president is serving eight years for corruption and money-laundering

Former judge Sérgio Moro,  who convicted Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2017. Lula was sentenced to nine years in jail for his part in a huge corruption scandal. Photograph:  Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Defence team of ex-president Lula to seek his release over claim judge was biased against him

Neymar  at the Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia earlier this month. His star may have dimmed in recent years but  for many  he is still the kid with the  fancy skills who loves to party. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

A rape allegation against Brazilian soccer star has led to the demonisation of his accuser

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro (right) continues to back justice minister Sergio Moro despite the Car Wash investigation revelations. File photograph: Adriano Machado/Reuters

Behaviour of former judge, now minister for justice, and prosecutors called into question

Brazilian justice minister Sergio Moro has sought to downplay the revelations, saying he sees ‘nothing much’ in them. Photograph: Getty

Revelations emerge about Bolsonaro favourite Sérgio Moro’s role in Car Wash inquiry

Protesters on the streets of São Paulo march against the slashing of education funding in Brazil. Photograph: Fabio Vieira/FotoRua/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Weintraub urges public to denounce students and teachers ‘stimulating’ demonstrations

A relative of an inmate reacts in front of a prison complex in the Brazilian state of Amazonas after prisoners were found strangled to death in four separate jails. Photograph: Bruno Kelly/Reuters

Most of the dead apparently strangled in their cells on Sunday and Monday

Supporters of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate along Paulista Avenue in São Paulo on Sunday. Photograph:  Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

President stokes stand-off with Congress after strong turnout for Sunday’s marches

Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro’s relationship with congress  hovers between dire and non-existent. Photgraph: Adriano Machado/Reuters

Brazil leader has only himself to blame for open chatter about possible impeachment

A bus in flames at a protest organised by the National Students Union in Rio de Janeiro: Students and teachers began a nationwide demonstration on Wednesday in “defence of education”. Photograph: Mauro Pimentel/AFP

Cuts to Brazil universities for promotion of ‘messing about’ instead of academic issues

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaidó speaks during a press conference at Altamira neighborhood in Caracas. Photograph: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

Edgar Zambrano towed away in his car as Venezuelan regime tries to quell uprising

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro attends a ‘march to reaffirm the absolute loyalty’ of the Venezuelan army. Photograph: HO/PresidencyGetty

Trump administration’s hawkish stance and Russian reaction ratchet up political pressure

A supporter of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro displays a picture of late leader Hugo Chavez during a rally on May Day in Caracas. Photograph: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Regime has faced down the latest challenge to its authority but there are likely to be more

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaidó (L) and  Leopoldo Lopez, greet supporters after being joined by members of the Bolivarian National Guard to oust Maduro, in Caracas,  April 30th. Photograph:  Cristian Hernandez /AFP/Getty

Guaidó’s appearance with soldiers sparks mass mobilisation of opposition supporters

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro,  vice-president Hamilton Mourão (left) and army commander Edson Pujol at a ceremony to mark Army Day, in Brasília earlier this month. File photograph: Getty

Former astrologer holds sway among president’s sons in campaign to vilify vice-president

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and  of military college students during a downpour as they attend a ceremony to mark Army Day, in Brasilia on Wednesday. Photograph: Sergio Lima/AFP/Getty Images

Far-right Brazilian president’s relationship with Congress suffers rapid deterioration

Michael Dwyer: The Bolivian state’s version of what happened leading up to and during the police raid in which Dwyer was killed has been contradicted by eyewitnesses and leaked video from inside the investigation.

Investigation into death of Michael Dwyer in police raid held up by ‘farcical’ related trial

 Sally O’Neill pictured at Áras An Uachtarain in March 2015 with President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins. Photograph: Maxwell’s

‘We are heartbroken by this news. Sally was the heartbeat of Trócaire for almost 40 years’

Supporters of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attend a vigil outside the federal police offices in Curitiba, Brazil on August 31st, 2018. Photograph: Rodolfo Buhrer

Continuing vigil marks deep loyalty to former Brazil president after first year in jail

 There is tension between the military wing of the new administration and Brazil’s president  Jair Bolsonaro (pictured).  Photograph:  Fernando Souza / AFP

Build-up to the date has been the most turbulent in years under president Jair Bolsonaro

People cross from Cucuta in Colombia back to San Antonio del Tachira in Venezuela after buying goods to resell, through an improvised bridge on  an illegal trail on the border between the two countries.  Photograph: Juan Pablo Bayona/AFP/Getty Images

South America’s principle international organisation is undergoing its death rattle

 Brazil’s then President Michel Temer gives a speech in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, on December 21st last. Photograph:  Andres Cristaldo/EPA

Judge describes as ‘convincing’ prosecutors’ case that Temer leads criminal organisation

Opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela Juan Guaidó said the opposition-controlled national assembly would organise freedom committees in every street to mobilise supporters to descend on the Miraflores palace in Caracas. Photograph: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty

Venezuela’s opposition leader issues rallying cry in bid to take presidential palace

Locals collect water from an underground water main pipeline in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

Hunt for saboteurs as much about galvanising regime as swerving responsibility

 Ronnie Lessa (left) and Elcio Vieira de Queiroz, two former police officers now under arrest as suspects in the 2018 execution of a Rio de Janeiro councilwoman. Photograph: Rio De Janeiro Police via The New York Times

City council member Marielle Franco was shot four times in 2018

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