• Meeting in Cancún, Mexico, the OAS General Assembly failed to pass a resolution on Venezuela. The resolution called on the Venezuelan government to release political prisoners, end violent repression of protests, and desist from holding a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. The votes of small Caribbean states, and low-energy U.S. diplomacy, get some blame.
  • A rogue police pilot flew a helicopter that dropped grenades over Venezuela’s Supreme Court building. He also released a video attacking the Nicolás Maduro regime. Some suspected a government stunt to justify a further crackdown.
  • Security forces stood aside as a pro-government mob went on a rampage in Venezuela’s opposition-majority National Assembly. The mayhem injured at least 15 people, including some legislators.
  • The government suddenly transferred Venezuela’s best-known political prisoner, opposition leader Leopoldo López, from jail to house arrest.
  • Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega, who has become a vocal critic of the Maduro regime, faces trumped-up criminal charges. She refuses to vacate her position.
  • The opposition held an unofficial vote opposing the government’s planned constituent assembly. More than 7 million ballots were cast.
  • Venezuelan major-league baseball players are becoming more vocal about the political situation in their homeland.


  • Brazil’s attorney general accused President Michel Temer of taking a bribe from a meat-packing corporation.
  • Despite Temer’s 7 percent approval rating, the Wall Street Journal reported that most Brazilians are “too weary to protest.”
  • An anti-corruption judge sentenced ex-President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva to 10 years in prison. The case involves a construction company and improvements to a beachfront apartment. The popular politician is appealing the charges and aspiring for reelection next year.


  • The New York Times broke the story that Mexico’s government used spyware to hack the phones of corruption investigators, journalists, human rights defenders, and their families. Later, the Times revealed that the government even tried to hack members of an OAS commission investigating the 2014 disappearance of 43 teacher’s college students.
  • “[President Enrique] Peña Nieto’s presidency has been marked by exposed acts of corruption, incompetence and negligence; the country has been battered by shocking crimes that remain unsolved,” author Francisco Goldman wrote in the New York Times.


  • Peruvian prosecutors asked that ex-President Ollanta Humala be jailed pending trial for corruption. The case involves the notorious Brazilian infrastructure firm Odebrecht.
  • Peru is rife with speculation—and alarm—that President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski might pardon jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori. The octogenarian authoritrarian is serving sentences for human rights crimes.


  • The daughter of Berta Cáceres, the environmental leader murdered in her home in March 2016, survived an armed attack on a rural road.


  • With no overwhelming frontrunner for Colombia’s May 2018 presidential elections, Holly Sonneland looks at the latest polls and the main candidates at Americas Quarterly.