Satisfaction!

On March 25, just one day after the end of a historic visit from US President Barack Obama, who was the first US president to visit Cuba in 88 years, the Rolling Stones played Havana. Tens of thousands of Cubans poured into the Ciudad Deportiva stadium to cheer the cult British band’s first ever concert on Cuba.

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Evo forever?

In a constitutional referendum on February 24 the people of Bolivia voted decisively against a fourth term for President Evo Morales. The 57-year-old leader of the socialist MAS party, who has ruled Bolivia since 2006, acknowledged defeat. But since then he has announced his intention to stand again in 2019 despite the constitutional ban.

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Germany apologizes

At a meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on July 13, President Joachim Gauck apologized for the failure of German diplomats to intervene in Colonia Dignidad, a Bavarian-style agricultural community taken over by a German pedophile, Paul Schäfer, that served as a torture camp for the Chilean secret service during the Pinochet dictatorship. But there was no compensation for victims.

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The world comes to Rio

It was a festival of superlatives: Around 10,000 athletes and half a million spectators took part in the Olympic Games in Rio from August 5 to 21. The biggest sporting event in the world remained mercifully free of terrorist attacks, storms, epidemics and crime; but the IOC made negative headlines with yet another corruption scandal.

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Dilma Rousseff forced out

Not only was she the first woman president of Brazil, she was also the first woman president to be impeached. On August 31, the required two-thirds majority of the Brazilian senate voted for the 70-year-old Rousseff to be removed from office. Brazilian society is still divided over her impeachment.

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Colombia dares to make peace

A miracle comes true: After more than 50 years of civil war, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the FARC rebels, Rodrigo Londono, signed a historic peace agreement in Havana on September 26. Seven million people were internally displaced as a result of the Colombian civil war, which also claimed more than 200,000 lives.

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The people say no

But in a referendum on October 2 the Colombian people voted by a narrow margin to reject the peace agreement. President Santos renegotiated with FARC and presented a new agreement, which was approved by the Colombian Congress on December 1. Santos was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts

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SOS Venezuela

Venezuela at the edge of the abyss: Hunger, poverty and fear are rife in the country with the biggest oil reserves in the world. Mismanagement and the fall in the price of crude oil have caused a serious economic crisis. There are shortages of basic foodstuffs, medicines and electricity. In 2016, inflation was already more than 700 percent. Anyone who can is leaving the country.

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Trump: No thanks!

The election of Donald Trump as the next US president has cast a shadow over Latin America’s relations with its northern neighbor. Here, in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez, a street artist has sprayed a nine-meter caricature of the US president-elect on a concrete wall at the Rio Bravo canal.

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Tragedy strikes

Disaster in Colombia: A plane belonging to Bolivian airline LaMia crashed on approach to Medellin after running out of fuel. Some 71 people died, including 19 players of Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense Real. The footballers were en route to a Copa Sudamericana final match. There was worldwide consternation over the tragedy. Chapecoense were later declared the winners of the tournament.

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Elections in Haiti

After numerous failed attempts, a Haitian election finally produced a result. On November 20 the majority (55.7 percent) of Haitians elected the 48-year-old banana plantation owner Jovenel Moise to be their head of state. But the turnout was shockingly low: Only 1.3 million of the 6.2 million Haitians eligible actually cast their ballots.

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Farewell to Fidel

The death of Fidel Castro on November 25 marked the end of a political era for Cuba. Revolutionary, head of government, president, and first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, “El Comandante” was a worldwide figurehead for the Left. His resistance to the United States and to the trade embargo imposed by Washington turned his socialist island into a symbol of the Cold War.

From DW.com


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