Colombia conflict victim urges 'no' voters to forgive Farc

Man with two daughters
Image caption Edgar Bermudez was blinded after stepping on a landmine

If anyone has the right to feel angry and not to forgive, it is Edgar Bermudez.

At the height of the conflict between the Colombian government and left-wing Farc guerrillas, Mr Bermudez - then a 26-year-old policeman - was on patrol in a rural area in the south of the country when he stepped on a land mine.

The explosion left him completely blind and with terrible facial injuries.

Eleven years and dozens of medical procedures later, Mr Bermudez is no longer angry with the guerrillas who probably laid the mine that maimed him but he is frustrated with a deeply divided society, which he says has missed a chance to move on and pursue a lasting peace.

"If I and all the other victims of violence can find the strength to forgive and to compromise then those people, sitting behind their desks in the cities, who have not suffered in the same way can surely do the same," Mr Bermudez tells me in his modest Bogota home.

Read full article Colombia conflict victim urges 'no' voters to forgive Farc

What Olympics and Paralympics have done for Rio

Brazilian 5-a-side Football gold medalist Ricardinho carries the Brazilian flag into the Maracan Stadium during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Rio Olympics were the first Games in South America

It's been a long, emotional summer in Rio.

The confident, booming country that was awarded the right to host the Games back in 2009 is very different to the troubled, economically challenged Brazil that we see today.

Read full article What Olympics and Paralympics have done for Rio

Dilma Rousseff's downfall: Betrayal yes, but no coup

A demonstrator throws stones at riot police during a protest against Brazil's new President Michel Temer after the Senate removed former President Dilma Rousseff in Sao Paulo, (02 September 2016) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dilma Rousseff and her supporters on the streets are adamant she is the victim of a coup

Back in the 1970s, when I first lived in Latin America and was hooked by a fascination for this region that has never left, virtually every country here was ruled by a military dictatorship.

They were brutal, inhuman regimes led by men with notorious reputations for violence and suppressing opposition - Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay, Jorge Rafael Videla in Argentina and so on.

Read full article Dilma Rousseff's downfall: Betrayal yes, but no coup

Has the Olympics been a success for Brazil?

Fireworks at the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption With the Olympics, and the World Cup before that, Brazil has shown it can stage mega sporting events

From a purely sporting perspective, Rio 2016 has been an extraordinarily successful Olympic Games.

The sporting competition has been of the highest standard in the pool, on the track and in the gym.

Read full article Has the Olympics been a success for Brazil?

Rio 2016: Is Brazil ready for the Olympics?

Members of the New Zealand rowing team take photos in front of the Olympic rings at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro (01 August 2016) Image copyright EPA
Image caption Brazil is hoping to show the world it can successfully stage a global sporting mega-event

Locals in Rio de Janeiro sometimes refer to their city as "a cidade maravilhosa" - "the marvellous city".

With its forest-clad mountains, famous long beaches and diverse communities living cheek-by-jowl, there has probably never been a more stunning backdrop for an Olympic Games.

Read full article Rio 2016: Is Brazil ready for the Olympics?

Rio 2016: Violence seeps back into city's favelas

Police patrol in Babilonia favela
Image caption Babilonia favela had seen business thrive before drugs gangs returned

The spectre of an Olympic Games plagued by the Zika virus may be waning, as the cold spell sweeping through southern Brazil deals with disease-carrying mosquitoes more effectively than any repellent.

But there are still many real problems and concerns for Rio 2016 organisers with two weeks before the opening ceremony in the Maracana Stadium.

Read full article Rio 2016: Violence seeps back into city's favelas

Brazil's indigenous leaders risk their lives fighting for survival

Aerial view of devastation in the Amazon
Image caption Brazil has adopted a series of measures to curb the illegal deforestation of the Amazon

Brazil's indigenous tribes are as diverse as they are numerous: from the south-western sate of Mato Grosso do Sul to the impenetrable northern jungles of the Amazon to the eastern Atlantic seaboard.

There's one thing, perhaps above all others, these tribes have in common - the relentless, insatiable pressure on their land and resources.

Read full article Brazil's indigenous leaders risk their lives fighting for survival

Rio Olympics Zika: The trouble with Aedes Aegypti

Health workers fumigate in an attempt to eradicate the mosquito which transmits the Zika virus on January 28, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Brazilian government hopes that fumigation will decrease the number of mosquitoes

It seems almost inconceivable that the world's biggest sporting event could be derailed by a tiny insect, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

However distant or unlikely that possibility is, Brazil's government is going to great lengths to persuade athletes and visitors that Rio de Janeiro will be perfectly safe come the Olympic Games opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium on 5 August.

Read full article Rio Olympics Zika: The trouble with Aedes Aegypti

Venezuela: Maduro evokes spectre of foreign threat

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (back row 2nd L) poses for a photo with militia members during a military parade in La Guaira, Venezuela May 21, 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Maduro said the country's armed forces and militia were prepared to meet any threat

Either President Nicolas Maduro genuinely believes there is a credible threat to Venezuela's national security from an unspecified foreign power, or he is delusional.

In what were described as the biggest ever military exercises to have taken place on Venezuelan soil, President Maduro proudly declared that more than 500,000 troops from the armed forces and civilian militias loyal to the government participated in "Operation Independence 2016" over the weekend.

Read full article Venezuela: Maduro evokes spectre of foreign threat

Brazil politics: Dilma Rousseff the fighter battles on

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (right) and BBC correspondent Wyre Davies

Although I'd met the Brazilian president on a couple of previous occasions, including a very agreeable dinner for foreign correspondents at the Alvorada Palace, her official residence, I'd almost given up hope on a one-to-one interview with Dilma Rousseff.

Two appointments in recent years had been cancelled by her office at the last minute. Given the recent political turmoil in Brazil, an extended interview with the leader of one of the world's biggest democracies was one of those goals, as a reporter based in Brazil, that I'd just about given up on.

Read full article Brazil politics: Dilma Rousseff the fighter battles on