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High-rise condos sprout up after a construction boom in Brazil's upper-middle-class neighborhood of Barra de Tijuca (shown in the distance beyond the Joatinga district) in Rio de Janeiro.

Latin America has long been a case study in the social ills brought by sharp economic inequality, its class-stratified societies marked by too few haves and too many have-nots. As the region’s middle class grows, poverty falls. But who deserves the praise? Read more»

The winner of Sunday's Mexican presidential election is unlikely to change course on U.S. trade and the drug war. Read more»

President Obama with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala on Saturday during the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

Forget the horny Secret Service agents and their Colombian hookers. It was U.S. diplomacy that really got screwed at this weekend's Summit of the Americas in Cartagena. Read more»

President Obama shakes hands with Mexican President Felipe Calderón on March 3, 2011.

Barack Obama will likely hear pointed criticism from allies over the U.S.-backed drug war and monetary policy during the Summit of the Americas this weekend in Colombia. Read more»

The growing backlash against the U.S.-led drug war, including bold new talk of drug decriminalization from some Latin American countries, will likely be chatter at this weekend's Summit of the Americas. Read more»

Mexican President Felipe Calderón surveys damage to a home caused by recent earthquakes in Ometepec, Guerrero, on Monday.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón's trip to Cuba may do more to highlight the ongoing estrangement between the two countries than it will their historic ties. Read more»

Pope Benedict XVI meets with former President Fidel Castro on Wednesday in Havana, Cuba.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass and met with Fidel Castro on Wednesday in Havana, Cuba. Read more»

Fidel Castro arrives at MATS Terminal in Washington, D.C., on April 15, 1959.

The events of Fidel Castro's 18 months in Mexico during the mid-1950s receive expansive treatment in the new two-volume, 1,000-page memoir “Guerrillero del Tiempo." Read more»

'Drugs will kill you' - a sign in a Costa Rican village, 2009.

Peaceful, laid-back, green-minded Costa Rica has long been an oasis in an otherwise-tough neighborhood — the “Switzerland of Central America." But with Mexican drug cartels competing to secure new trafficking routes to smuggle cocaine to the U.S., the murder rate in Central America is soaring, and UN data shows it's now the world's most violent region. Read more» 2

Police in Honduras are accused of working with drug cartels in a cartels.

At a time when Honduras urgently needs a functional law enforcement presence capable of lowering the country’s staggering homicide rate — the highest in the world in 2010, according to a new U.N. report — its police force has hit a low point. Read more» 1

Tourists to Cuba can check their email and access the Internet with little bandwidth at cybercafes, but the cost is often too pricey for Cubans to afford.

New undersea fiberoptic cable is due to go online this summer and once Cuban authorities finally turn on the juice, bandwidth capacity for the least-connected country in the hemisphere will leap by a factor of 3,000. Read more»

Castro, right.

Fidel Castro’s return has been almost as complete as his absence. When he fell ill and nearly died four years ago, Castro disappeared from public view entirely. Now he’s back, and once more an everyday fixture in Cuban homes, as tv cameras track his campaign to warn of a coming nuclear war. Read more»

As an educational institution, Cuba’s Blogger Academy suffers from a few notable deficiencies. It doesn’t grant an accredited degree, its single, cramped classroom isn’t hooked up to the internet. Then there’s the possibility that the next knock on the door might be the police. Read more»

Orlando Zapata Tamayo wasn't a prominent voice in Cuba's small opposition movement. He wasn't one of the dissident activists whom foreign reporters often call for quotes, and he didn't have a blog or an academic degree. Read more»

Each February, Cuba’s International Book Fair transforms the old Spanish fortifications that overlook the Havana harbor into one of the biggest book parties in the world. The fair is Cuba’s largest cultural event, and as such, it brings out the best and worst elements of a one-party socialist system that celebrates reading but practices careful censorship. Read more»

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