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Brazil

A lack of border security personnel makes Brazil’s approximately 10,625 miles of border especially porous to drug and weapons smuggling and human trafficking.

Top stories this week are likely to include: U.S. senators hope to introduce immigration reform bill this week; the Brazilian Federal Police will investigate whether Lula had a role in the mensalão scandal; Pablo Neruda’s body will be examined for signs of poisoning; Venezuela’s opposition rallies in Caracas; and the FARC bring extra peace negotiators to Cuba.

Last September, the Brazilian government released a study, Vozes da Classe Média (Voices of the Middle Class), noting that 53 percent of Brazilians are currently in the middle class.

Top stories this week are likely to include: debate continues on IACHR reforms; U.S. Supreme Court considers gay marriage; Bolivia takes Chile to court; Argentina wants UN discussion on Falklands/Malvinas; Indigenous groups protest World Cup construction.

Doctors in Brazil sparked debate yesterday when the Conselho Federal de Medicina (Federal Council of Medicine) published a petition endorsing the legalization of first-trimester abortions.

Top stories this week are likely to include: Lima Mayor Susana Villarán survives recall election; the OAS votes on IACHR reforms in an extraordinary session; the “gang of eight” considers providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt will stand trial for genocide; Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo challenge a new royalties law.

Raúl Castro’s government faces a number of critical issues, including the deteriorating health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the potential loss of his oil and Cubans' impatience with the government’s timid economic reforms.  Who would have thought that a slight, humble woman of 37 years figured among them?

Earlier this week in Brazil, the price of ethanol rose above the price of sugar for the first time in nearly two years. What does this mean?

Brazilian authorities inspected and closed doors on nightclubs throughout the country yesterday  as part of an agreement between São Paulo’s governor, Geraldo Alckmin, and Mayor Fernando Haddad in response to Sunday’s deadly nightclub fire that claimed 235 lives and injured 143 in the southern city of Santa Maria.

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