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Articles on South America

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Maria Elena Paredes, coordinator of the Community Vigilance Committee for the Ashéninka community of Sawawo Hito 40, points to satellite images showing deforestation. Reynaldo Vela/USAID

Indigenous defenders stand between illegal roads and survival of the Amazon rainforest – elections in Brazil and Peru could be a turning point

Illegal roads have brought deforestation, fire and other environmental damage to the Amazon. Indigenous territory in many areas has blocked them.
NASA’s Landsat satellites have been monitoring changes on Earth’s landscape for 50 years. NASA illustration

Satellites over the Amazon capture the choking of the ‘house of God’ by the Belo Monte Dam – they can help find solutions, too

When Indigenous peoples lose their river flow to dams, satellite programs like Landsat – which is celebrating its 50th anniversary – can help them fight for their resources.
On the campaign trail, Pedro Castillo often wore a straw-palm hat typical of Peru’s rural Cajamarca region, where he is from. Ricardo Moreira/Getty Images

Peru has a new president, its fifth in five years – who is Pedro Castillo?

Castillo is a farmer and teacher who has never held national office. Peru is a nation in political turmoil, with the world’s worst COVID-19 death rate. Can this unlikely leader lead it through crisis?
A soldier stands guard in front of the Brazilian national flag on Army Day in Sao Paulo, 18 April 2019. Miguel Schincariol/AFP

Brazil: the road to Jair Bolsonaro’s militarised democracy

Don’t be fooled by the recent resignation of three members of the military in Brazil – the country is heading down an increasingly militarised path.
Coprophanaeus lancifer, a large seed-disperser dung beetle in the Amazon. Hannah Griffiths

Counting mammals, birds and dung beetles could be vital for saving the Amazon

We know surprisingly little about the millions of animals, plants and birds that live in the Amazon – here’s how we can understand them better.
With the evidence uncovered by paleontologists, an artist sketched El Bosque Petrificado Piedra Chamana as it might have looked long before humans. Mariah Slovacek/NPS-GIP

A volcanic eruption 39 million years ago buried a forest in Peru – now the petrified trees are revealing South America’s primeval history

Using remnants of fossilized trees, scientists and an artist figured out what the forest looked like long before humans existed.
A demonstration for peace in Buenaventura, Colombia, where a cartel turf war has left at least 30 people dead since the beginning of this year. Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Colombian city beset by crime declares ‘Black Lives Matter’

A lethal turf war between drug traffickers has terrorized Buenaventura, Colombia for months. Now protesters are demanding the government’s help to protect people in this mostly Black city.
A deforested piece of land in the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, in the state of Rondonia, in northern Brazil, on Aug. 23, 2019. Carl De SouzaA/FP via Getty Images

Brazil’s economic crisis, prolonged by COVID-19, poses an enormous challenge to the Amazon

Because Brazil’s economic prosperity in the last two decades is increasingly linked to the Amazon’s good health, restoring the country’s economy is a critical first step toward ending deforestation.
Venezuelans wait at the Colombian border to be processed and housed in tents in 2020. All Venezuelans now in Colombia will receive a 10-year residency permit. Schneyder Mendoza/AFP via Getty Images

Colombia gives nearly 1 million Venezuelan migrants legal status and right to work

Though not a rich country, Colombia is unusually well equipped to handle mass migration because of its own history with political strife and displacement.

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