A protest against police violence and racism in Rio de Janeiro.

RIO DE JANEIRO — After celebrating 16-year-old Roberto de Souza Penha’s first paycheck on a late November night, Souza and his four friends were shot to death in their car while passing a military police patrol in Rio de Janeiro. As the black youth were driving back home, police allegedly fired on their car over…

Julián Bedoya, the mayor of the town of Toro, who was Colombia's first openly gay candidate for political office. (Image: YouTube, screenshot)

The past few weeks have been incredibly important for Colombia’s LGBT community. Last month, the country’s first openly gay candidate for political office was elected mayor in the southern city of Toro. Then, last Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that adoption agencies can not discriminate against LGBT couples. These events come during a time of…

U.N High Commissioner for Human Rights António Guterres. (Image:  U.S. Government, Public Domain)

WASHINGTON — Norma witnessed routine gunfights and murders when she lived in El Salvador. She paid a biweekly cuota, or street tax, to the Barrio 18 gang members controlling her neighborhood to avoid any trouble. Norma, the wife of a police officer, was the victim of a rape, which she told interviewers from the U.N….

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NEW YORK — Walking down Junction Boulevard toward Corona Avenue in Queens is akin to exploring a microcosm of Latin America: Mexican and Guatemalan eateries are clustered close to Roosevelt Avenue, then come Dominican phone shops, followed by Colombian and Peruvian bakeries further south until the scenery turns Argentine. Tree trunks are painted sky blue, white,…

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos shakes hands with FARC commander Timochenko after their announcement Wednesday of an imminent peace deal. (Image: César Carrión, public domain)

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — September 23 marked a historical day for the ongoing peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. After an hour-long private meeting in Havana, Cuba, President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Timoleón Jiménez, alias Timochenko, publicly announced that a peace treaty between the two…

The presidents of Venezuela, Uruguay, Ecuador and Colombia at a meeting Monday to resolve a border dispute between Venezuela and Colombia. (Image: public domain)

NEW YORK — In Quito on Monday, President Nicolás Maduro, of Venezuela, and President Juan Manuel Santos, of Colombia, finally brokered a set of agreements to resolve the crisis on their shared border. Their new settlement consists of seven compromises that span from investigating the social problems at the border to reinstating ambassadors who were…

Rousseff during her 2013 speech to the United Nations General Assembly. (Image: Youtube, screenshot)

NEW YORK — Since 1947, a Brazilian leader has traditionally given the first speech of the United Nations General Assembly debate, a tradition reflecting the storied reputation of the country’s diplomatic service. This year, however, President Dilma Rousseff’s speech, and her UN delegations’ priorities, are expected to take a backseat to the domestic crisis roiling Brazil’s…

Protesters on Sunday in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba

SÃO PAULO — Hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of major Brazilian cities on Sunday for the third time in 2015, demanding an end to corruption and the ousting of President Dilma Rousseff. The protests were closely monitored to determine the populace’s state of discontent against the embattled Rousseff, who faces calls for…

Angelika Rettberg, director of the Armed Conflict and Peacebuilding Research Program at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. (Image: YouTube)

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — On Sunday, diplomats in Havana, Cuba announced that the Colombian government will de-escalate its military campaign against the FARC rebel group, if that group adheres to the unilateral ceasefire it is set to observe from July 20 onward. The announcement, made by the Cuban and Norwegian diplomats mediating peace talks between the…