South America has been a special part of my life for four decades. I have lived many years in Brasil and Peru. I am married to an incredible lady from Argentina. I want to share South America with you.
Another week in Venezuela: socialists celebrated the birthday of the late Hugo Chávez with a chunky cake amid ravaging food shortages; President Nicolás Maduro blamed capitalism and Pokémon Go for a culture of death and violence; and a resettled former Guantanamo prisoner who went missing showed up.
Above all, it is a country where the political deadlock continues. Six months ago, following victory amid discontent, Venezuela's opposition took over the national assembly for the first time since Chávez launched his socialist revolution in 1999. Some of its leaders vowed to remove the unpopular Mr Maduro from power within the first half of 2016.
That did not happen and life in Venezuela has worsened with spiralling food riots. The crisis is even hitting Cuba, Mr Maduro's closest ally. In such a tense scenario, the opposition believes the only resolution will be by ousting the president. But it continues to face hurdles as it presses for progress on a referendum.
For Henri Falcón, a centrist state governor and former member of the socialist party who broke with Chávez, and is sometimes mentioned as a compromise transitional successor to Mr Maduro: "There is the risk of people getting tired, and the little social explosions we see every day could blow up. Patience has a limit."
Venezuelans have already validated a petition to recall the president and call fresh elections. The question now is: will they succeed in removing him in the second half of 2016? Nobody knows, as the ruling socialist party is seeking to ban the opposition coalition, alleging the "greatest electoral fraud" in history.
The election authority, whose officials are influenced by the government, was due to announce whether the opposition had successfully gathered the 400,000 signatures required to activate the vote. It has pushed that announcement back till next week, while the government packed the streets with security forces to undermine opposition rallies.
As the armed forces have grown more powerful, some of the protesters who dared to demonstrate were fenced in by police and the national guard. They complained that Venezuela is increasingly "militarised", and some said the government should send soldiers to Brazil to tackle a crime wave ahead of the start of the Olympic Games.
“Under current conditions, [Cuban] gross domestic product will dip into negative territory this year and decline 2.9 per cent in 2017. If relations with Venezuela fall apart completely, GDP could decline 10 per cent” - Pavel Vidal, a former Cuban central bank employee.