Colombia

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COVID-19 has hit Latin America less hard than the rest of the world. But cases and deaths there are mounting – and governments are finding a good way to get the word out about protecting yourself is … music videos.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

When São Paulo, Brazil, reported Latin America’s first case of the new coronavirus last month, South Florida had reason to worry.

Manuel Rueda / WLRN.org

For weeks, people across Latin America and in the U.S. had been waiting for a major ruling on abortion from Colombia’s highest court. But the decision the justices issued Monday night was not all that major – and was an anti-climactic letdown for South Florida Latinos on both sides of the issue. 

Photos by Johnny White

On this Tuesday, Feb. 18, episode of Sundial:

Palm Beach County’s Election Concerns

Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Wendy Link told the Palm Beach Post last week that the county was targeted in a “ransomware” attack weeks before the 2016 presidential election. 

Manuel Rueda / For WLRN.org

Colombia’s highest court is about to issue a ruling that could return the country to a total ban on abortion – or bring it in line with Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. Either way, because Colombia is one of the region's largest and more culturally influential countries, the decision could have a profound effect on abortion rights in Latin America.

Ivan Valencia / AP

Colombia’s half-century-long civil war was fought mainly in its rural areas. And that’s where implementing the peace process that was signed a few years ago is most urgent. But on Tuesday the U.N. reported that’s in jeopardy — because a new kind of violence is terrorizing those regions.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

It's hard to wrap your arms around everything that happened 2019 in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's even harder to find any good news — from the violent political unrest that rocked capitals from La Paz to Port-au-Prince, to a record number of fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest.

MATIAS DELACROIX / AP

Senior Trump administration officials discussed plans to “increase pressure” over the coming year on Venezuela’s embattled ruler, Nicolás Maduro, with top opposition leaders at the State Department this week, Colombian and Venezuelan opposition officials confirmed to McClatchy and el Nuevo Herald.

The State Department hosted four of Venezuela’s largest opposition parties, starting with one-on-one sessions that began earlier this week before all the parties gathered together on Wednesday.

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez is wrapping up a trade mission to Colombia on Wednesday with a delegation that included 19 Florida companies hoping to start or expand trade with the South American country.

NEON

Midway through the new Colombian film “Monos,” there is a haunting moment that illuminates, literally, the evil of using children as soldiers.

Rafael Urdaneta Rojas / AP

Are Venezuela and Colombia headed for war? Believe it or not, that's the big worry in South America right now.

Updated at 6:13 p.m. ET Friday

Top rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have announced a "new stage of fighting," despite a peace accord that the leftist guerrilla group signed with the national government almost three years ago.

In a 32-minute YouTube video posted Thursday, more than 20 armed fighters stood in green fatigues and in front of a sign that read, "As long as there is a will to fight there will be hope for victory."

Yuletsy Martinez, 19, and her husband crossed the border into Colombia when she was pregnant with her second child. They left because they couldn't find food or medical care in Venezuela. Martinez gave birth at a hospital in Colombia. "They took good care of me. And they helped me there," Martinez told NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro in a report that aired on All Things Considered.

Ingebjorg Karstad / Norwegian Refugee Council

The U.N. announced last week it has to ramp up humanitarian aid to Venezuelans. But it admits this new effort to deliver more food, medicine and other essentials to Venezuela will be “modest in terms of responding to the scale of needs” there. A new survey shows as much as a fifth of Venezuela's population have fled the country – and that number is rising.

WLRN’s Luis Hernandez spoke with Americas editor Tim Padgett about where the Venezuela crisis is going – especially since the socialist regime critics say is responsible for the mess doesn't look to be going anywhere soon.

Martin Chahin / DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

The U.S. is working with Colombia, Brazil and other regional partners on how to assist Venezuela if the embargo-like sanctions announced by the White House this week ultimately force President Nicolás Maduro to step down, the head of the U.S. Southern Command said.

Navy Adm. Craig Faller, the Miami-based head of U.S. forces in South America, said the nations are working on “planning and discussing what we could do, and will do for the ‘day after Maduro,’ when there’s a legitimate government, when we can go in and really assist the people of Venezuela.”

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