Philip Reeves

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Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, is under pressure. Hundreds of business leaders in Brazil say he is subverting democracy. He's also at the center of a probe into how he's handled the pandemic. Here's NPR's Philip Reeves.

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In Peru, a former elementary school teacher named Pedro Castillo is being sworn in as president today. Castillo is a socialist. His parents were farmers who never learned to read. And his rise to power surprised almost everyone. Here's NPR's Philip Reeves.

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Health officials in Brazil say many hospitals are running dangerously short of sedatives and other crucial medications used for treating gravely ill COVID-19 patients.

They say some health services have already exhausted stocks of certain drugs, while others expect to do so within the next few days unless they receive fresh supplies.

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When the health system first collapsed in the Amazonian city of Manaus, Brazil, and COVID-19 victims were buried in mass graves, the mayor sent a desperate appeal to then-President Donald Trump and other world leaders.

"We are doing our best, but I tell you, it's still very little in [the] face of the oncoming barbarism" said Arthur Virgílio Neto in a video message. "We cannot be silent. We need all possible help."

A second wave of COVID-19 is rippling across Brazil. The latest hot spot is Rio de Janeiro, hometown of President Jair Bolsonaro. Even so, he is continuing to subvert efforts to control the pandemic.

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A five-year campaign by President Nicolás Maduro to wipe out the last democratically elected bastion of opposition power in Venezuela is reaching its peak.

Maduro and his loyalists are poised to win back control of the National Assembly in elections Sunday, adding to the litany of woes facing his chief rival, Juan Guaidó.

U.S.-backed Guaidó and the mainstream opposition parties are boycotting the poll, calling it a "fraud" and arguing that conditions for holding "free and fair" elections do not exist in Venezuela.

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