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.

So, much to my surprise and thanks to some seriously hard lobbying by colleagues, the news came through this week that we were "on".

I wasn't about to ask "Why now?" especially as this could be the start of her last week as president.

I certainly think there's some truth in the observation that members of the foreign press corps in Brazil have been less hostile in covering President Rousseff's battle against impeachment than some more partisan reporters within Brazil - the openly misogynistic and hostile nature of the debate in the lower house of Congress last month was a revealing window on the brutal nature of politics here.

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'Wronged and betrayed' Rousseff defends her record

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff attends a meeting of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change in Brasilia June 5, 2013 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dilma Rousseff looks down, but she insists she is not out

It is, to many observers, abundantly clear that Dilma Rousseff does not enjoy frontline politics.

The Brazilian president is ideologically driven, intelligent and committed to her mandate.

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Brazil crisis: There may be bigger threats than Rousseff's removal

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The beleaguered Brazilian president has faced increased calls for her removal

After the most tumultuous week in Brazilian politics since the return of democracy to South America's biggest country, it is impossible to predict with any degree of confidence whether the government of President Dilma Rousseff will survive.

The latest indicator of public opinion, released on Sunday by the respected Datafolha institute (in Portuguese), shows that 68% of Brazilians support the impeachment of President Rousseff. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case against the under fire leader, that figure "feels" about right and Ms Rousseff is on the ropes, in the political equivalent of a bare-knuckle fight for her survival.

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Indigenous community in Peru suffers after oil spill

View of the Peruvian jungle
Image caption An oil spill has contaminated the river system in this part of the Peruvian jungle

Oil and water do not mix, anyone can tell you that.

It is a basic rule of science, which certainly holds true in the jungles of northern Peru, at the headwaters of the world's greatest river system.

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Zika outbreak: Brazil's race to find a vaccine

Butantan Institute
Image caption Scientists at Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute quickly pivoted from diphtheria to Zika

The Butantan institute in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo is world-renowned for its impressive collection of snakes, spiders and other fascinating creepy crawlies.

Founded right at the start of the 20th Century, the centre is these days equally famous as one of the world's leading producers of biopharmaceuticals and immunobiological products.

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Venezuela elections: Why did Maduro's Socialists lose?

President Maduro Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Maduro's Socialist party lost control of Congress for the first time in 16 years

Hugo Chavez was the Fidel Castro of recent times - the two men were close friends, with the younger leader often travelling to Cuba for the kind of advice and counsel he was unlikely to find elsewhere.

But the Venezuelan military man-turned president took his mentor's ideology and reasoning one step further.

Read full article Venezuela elections: Why did Maduro's Socialists lose?

Venezuela vote: Oil row may damage President Maduro

The letter “R” on a house in Tachira
Image caption The letter “R” in Tachira means that house ownership is being reviewed for possible demolition

Located in the extreme west of Venezuela, the largely rural frontier state of Tachira is a long way from the urban sprawl of the capital Caracas in more ways than one.

For trade, commerce and travel, locals tend to look as much to their neighbours in Colombia as they do to the rest of Venezuela and they have often responded with suspicion to attempts by central government to regulate their affairs.

Read full article Venezuela vote: Oil row may damage President Maduro

Argentina's Macri faces no shortage of challenges

Argentina's president-elect Mauricio Macri gives a news conference in Buenos Aires on 23 November, 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mauricio Macri gave a news conference just hours after being elected

The most striking thing about Mauricio Macri's first news conference as president-elect of Argentina was, well, that there was a press conference at all.

Argentine journalists have become accustomed, after eight years under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's presidency, to getting little or no access to the person at the top.

Read full article Argentina's Macri faces no shortage of challenges

Argentina election: 'Two country' poll highlights divisions

Supporters standing over a sign that reads "Peronismo" appear sad Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dejected: Supporters of Mr Scioli who had gathered at his party's headquarters were shocked by the result

Only the most ardent, committed and perhaps blinkered of governing Peronist party supporters could interpret Sunday night's elections in Argentina as a victory.

Yet for several hours, that is what pro-government media outlets and even the current president's handpicked successor, Daniel Scioli, were doing.

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Argentina elections: There may be trouble ahead

Daniel Narezo in the Peron, Peron bar, Buenos Aires
Image caption Bar owner Daniel Narezo is a keen Peronist supporter

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner certainly divides opinion in Argentina.

"I think that Cristina has been one of the top five leaders in the world", says Daniel Narezo, a Peronist activist and owner of the Buenos Aires bar Peron, Peron.

Read full article Argentina elections: There may be trouble ahead