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Panama and Colombia avert crisis

On 21 October Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree removing Panama from Colombia’s list of tax havens, averting a bilateral diplomatic crisis.

History-making Morales secures third straight term in Bolivia

President Evo Morales became Bolivia’s longest serving head of state with a resounding victory on 12 October. Morales secured re-election with a margin of victory of more than 30 percentage points over his closest rival, Samuel Doria Medina of Unidad Demócrata (UD). His ruling left-wing Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) strengthened its presence across Bolivia, winning eight of the nine departments, up from six in 2009. With the electoral authorities (TSE) due to announce the final results on 22 October - a delay which, along with other procedural problems, has been widely criticised (see sidebar) - the one uncertainty is whether Morales will achieve his goal of a two-thirds majority in the 166-member bicameral legislature.

Growing focus on ‘Marinaconomics’ as Brazil poll nears

After the tragic death of Eduardo Campos in an airplane crash in early August, Marina Silva, who stepped up from the number two spot to replace him as the Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB)’s presidential candidate, has blazed her way up the opinion polls and is a real contender to win the October race. Most analysts believe that the 2014 election has become a two-way affair between Silva and the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking a second term at the head of a sprawling coalition led by the leftist ruling Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). Brazil’s business community is not hiding its support for Silva. In fact, when Rousseff has done poorly in the opinion polls, the stock exchange has rallied, raising an interesting paradox of an anti-establishment politician who has become the darling of Brazilian business.

EPP split gives Cartes his first major coup against the guerrillas

The government of President Horacio Cartes has been celebrating one of its first substantial victories against the guerrillas of the Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo (EPP) — or, more precisely, against one of its former ‘cells’ that has broken away and renamed itself Agrupación Campesina Armada (‘Armed Peasant Association’). On 19 September the joint military police task force (FTC) operating in Concepción engaged this faction, killing three of its members and reportedly badly injuring one of its leaders.

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