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Venezuela

This week's likely top stories: the Panama Canal gears up to expand its Pacific coast facilities; Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro travels to China and OPEC countries; the 114th U.S. Congress starts its session on Tuesday with a Republican majority and plenty of hot button issues for the Americas; the trial of Guatemalan General Efraín Ríos Montt on genocide resumes; Uruguayan First Lady Lucia Topolansky confirms she will run for mayor of Montevideo in 2015.

Mientras Cuba abraza a los Estados Unidos, Venezuela abraza al vacío.

President Obama signed a bill yesterday authorizing sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of protesters in the South American country earlier this year.

This week's likely top stories: Colombians march against possible amnesty for FARC; Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamonthe steps down; Chinese railroad company wins $275 million in orders from Argentina; Venezuela seeks to expand PetroCaribe despite its fragile economic situation; Thousands gather across the U.S. in anti-police brutality protests.

The U.S. Senate approved a bill on Monday that would impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials found responsible for violating demonstrators’ rights during anti-government protests that left more than 40 dead and 800 injured since February.

The Venezuelan state prosecutor’s office formally charged former Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado with  treason and conspiracy for allegedly plotting to kill President Nicolas Maduro this Wednesday.

This week's likely top stories: Global leaders gather in Lima for the COP20 Climate Summit; Tabaré Vázquez wins the runoff presidential election in Uruguay; With FARC hostages released, Colombian peace talks are set to resume in Havana; Venezuela braces for impact as oil prices hit rock bottom; Cuba misses the mark on economic growth in 2014.

Leopoldo López, a Venezuelan opposition leader and founder of the Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) party, appeared in court on Tuesday for the first timesince the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) found his detention illegal and called for his immediate release on October 9.

This week’s likely top stories: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is re-elected; Uruguayan elections move to a second round; Venezuela scraps the sale of Citgo Petroleum; Haitians protest a lack of elections; a Brazilian consortium acquires Chiquita.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for the release of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López and all political prisoners on Monday.

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