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.
The Olympic games, it seems, stop for nobody and nothing – expect perhaps, in one brief moment last week, for an elderly man. There have been shootings in the hills above Rio. The Olympic pool has turned a mysterious shade of green. Matches on Tinder, the hook-up application, have soared among athletes in the Olympic village. Theimpeachment process of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s suspended president, moved a step forward after the Senate voted for a full trial – pushing local markets to new highs. And more sporting records have continued to be smashed, especially in swimming.
But for one brief moment on Sunday, Brazilian networks – and no few “beautiful people” elsewhere -- switched their attention from sports to the funeral of Ivo Pitanguy, the world’s best known plastic surgeon, or the “Michelango of the scalpel” as he is sometimes called. Pitanguy, who helped carry the Olympic torch into the Maracana stadium to start the games and died of a heart attack the day after, was the founding father of the “Brazilian butt lift”.
In Venezuela, meanwhile, the electoral authorities set a timetable which likely means that the opposition initiative to launch a recall referendum to oust President Nicolás Maduro will not happen this year. That means that if Mr Maduro loses the vote, highly likely on current form, the current vice-president would take his place, rather than fresh elections being called.
Elsewhere, Donald Trump continued to illustrate just how US politics appears to be increasingly “Latin Americanised”, and why Hispanic voters, who could determine the fate of the US election, so roundly reject him. The Zika virus arrived in Miami, the “business capital of Latin America"; Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval ratings continued to fall, not helped by another possible scandal over housing – this time a Miami apartment used by his wife. And in Colombia, a new poll suggested that a referendum over the on-going peace process could fall short of the votes needed to approve it – and there is no Plan B.
It’s not all bad news, though: in a sign of new times, the UK’s new Prime Minister, Theresa May, wrote to Argentine president Mauricio Macri requesting a re-opening of talks about the contested Falklands/Malvinas.