Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas (Image: Youtube, screenshot)

Top Story — Colombia’s government will deploy military aircraft to fight the three major drug trafficking and illegal mining gangs in the country, the BBC reported. The announcement, made by Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas on Friday, signals a renewed focus by the Colombian government to fight the powerful criminal gangs that emerged from right-wing…

Abdul Waked, father of Nidal Waked and president of Grupo Wisa. (Image: YouTube)

Top Story — Colombian police arrested a top Panamanian businessman whose extensive banking, real estate and retail businesses, U.S. authorities allege, were used by Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers to launder profits. Authorities announced on Thursday that Nidal Waked was apprehended by Colombian police in a Bogota airport the day before, while the U.S. Treasury…

MUD opposition party leader, Jesús Torrealba. (Image: Carlos Díaz/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

Top Story — The Venezuelan opposition coalition, MUD, submitted more than 1.8 million signatures to the country’s election council to initiate the recall referendum process for President Nicolás Maduro. The signatures, collected in just five days, were nearly nine times more than the 200,000 required by the council and mark the first steps to remove…

A Maracaibo Shop Manager Surveys Her Looted Store (Youtube)

Top Story — Venezuelans across the country protested on Tuesday night, lighting fires and looting stores for food in response to new energy-saving measures that will shorten the workweek of millions of government officials to two days. The protests were stoked after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced on Tuesday that government employees would only work…

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa briefs reporters on relief efforts following a deadly earthquake on April 16. (Image: Youtube, screenshot)

Top Story — Ecuador’s Attorney General’s Office on Thursday announced that the death toll from a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Saturday has reached at least 587. Although the government has set up temporary accommodations for at least 25,000 people in soccer stadiums and airports, Reuters reported, aid has not reached many of those worst affected, especially…

Damage from a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Ecuador over the weekend. (Image: YouTube)

Top Story — Residents of rural Ecuadorian towns west of Quito are reeling following the country’s most devastating earthquake in 40 years. The 7.8-magnitude quake struck Saturday night near the town of Muisne, although the greatest damage to life and infrastructure was felt in the coastal region of Manabí. Residents of Manabí’s regional capital Portoviejo,…

Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori. (Image: Organization of American States, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Top Story — The center-right candidate Keiko Fujimori won the first round of presidential elections in Peru on Sunday, during a weekend rocked by political violence that left three people dead, The Associated Press reported. After winning 40 percent of the vote, Fujimori will face off in a June runoff against the business-friendly centrist Pedro…

A 2013 LGBT rights march in Bogotá. (Image: Diego Cambiaso, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Top Story — Colombia’s constitutional court decided in a 6-3 vote Thursday against a ruling that defined marriage as only between heterosexual couples, positioning the country to become the fourth in Latin America to legalize gay marriage. “This is a victory against all the conservative political parties, against the Catholic church and everyone who tried…

ELN Commander-in-Chief, Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista. (Image: YouTube)

Top Story — The Colombian government and rebels from the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s second largest left-wing rebel group after the FARC, announced on Wednesday that they will hold official peace talks. The declaration during a press conference in Caracas, Venezuela, comes just one week after Colombian government and FARC negotiators in Havana…

Jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López. (Image: A. Davey, CC BY 2.0)

Top Story — A political showdown in Venezuela is likely to intensify after lawmakers in the National Assembly voted late on Tuesday to pass an amnesty bill covering jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López and more than 70 others, which President Nicolás Maduro said he will veto, The Associated Press reported. Before the bill passed, Venezuela’s…