Chilean activists protested in Santiago against the signing of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, now rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11. Protesters outside La Moneda Palace, headquarters of the Chilean government, held banners reading "No to modern slavery, no to the TPP-11" and "The TPP and TPP-11 are the same!" Lucía Sepúlveda, leader of the organization Chile Mejor Sin TPP, said the agreement would "deliver full guarantees to foreign investors" at the expense of "rights and national interests." (Photo: Chile Mejor Sin TPP)
For the second year in a row, Brazil has witnessed a deadly prison riot on the first day of the year. A death toll of nine is reported from the central state of Goias. One inmate was decapitated. The violence began New Year's Day afternoon at the rural penitentiary in the outskirts of the state capital, Goiania. Rival criminal factions clashed, broke the barriers of the compound and escaped.
Brazilian authorities announced the apprehension of Rogerio Avelino da Silva AKA "Rogerio 157"—the fugitive gang leader said be behind a wave of paramilitary-style violence that prompted the national government to flood Rio de Janiero's favelas with army troops earlier this year. Nearly 3,000 officers from the Federal Police as well as army troops took part in the "mega-operation" that led to his arrest. (Photo: O Globo)
The 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization was held in Buenos Aires, marked by discord within the venue and angry protests in the streets. Inside, talks collapsed, while outside demonstrators clashed with police. The conference came amid ongoing protests against President Mauricio Macri's proposed legislation to take money from workers' pensions to close Argentina's fiscal deficit.
An Argentine judicial panel sentenced 29 former officials to life in prison, and 19 to between 8-25 years for murder and torture during the military junta's 1976-1983 "Dirty War." The sentencing concluded a five-year trial and represented Argentina's largest verdict to date for crimes against humanity. Collectively, the 48 defendants were charged with the deaths of 789 victims. The crimes were mostly committed at the notorious Higher Naval Mechanics School (ESMA).
An Argentine judge ordered the arrest of current senator and former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for her alleged involvement in a cover-up of Iran's participation in a 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center that left 85 people dead. Kirchner is alleged to have signed a deal with the Iranian government that would allow for Argentine magistrates to interview the officials suspected of ordering the attack in Tehran rather than in Buenos Aires in an attempt to impede the investigation.
Brazil's ongoing favela wars have taken a dramatic turn for the bloody—prompting the government to send military troops into Rio de Janiero's notorious Rocinha. This is the most violent of the city's sprawling favelas—informal urban settlements virtually abandoned by the government for anything other than militarized anti-drug operations. The violence in Rocinha is the deadliest since the launch of a "pacification" program in 2011 to push warring narco-gangs out of the city's favelas.
Tens of thousands of Argentines held protests across the country, demanding answers one month after the disappearance of an indigenous rights activist. Demonstrators held photos of Santiago Maldonado, who was last seen when border police evicted a group of indigenous Mapuche from lands in the southern Patagonia region. In Buenos Aires, protesters converged on the Plaza de Mayo, iconic for its role in the struggle to demand justice for the "disappeared" under the military dictatorship.
A court in the Argentine province of Mendoza sentenced four former federal judges to life in prison for crimes against humanity carried out during the country's 1976-1983 dictatorship. The judges were originally tried as accomplices for failure to investigate the abduction, torture and murder of dissidents. The prosecutors eventually charged the judges as principals, arguing that their inaction led to more disappearances.
Amid fast-escalating nightmarish narco-violence in Brazil, police in Rio de Janeiro seized 60 assault rifles hidden in a freight shipment that had just arrived on a flight from Miami.
At least one protestor was killed and the Congressional building set afire as ruling-party lawmakers in Paraguay moved to lift term limits for President Horacio Cartes.
Argentina's new restrictive immigration policy is drawing protests from neighboring Bolivia—and accusations that President Mauricio Macri is emulating Donald Trump.