Philip Reeves

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There were celebrations on streets of cities in Chile overnight.

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting in Spanish).

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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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Brazil surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday at the tail-end of the country's deadliest month of the pandemic yet.

At last count, 401,186 people had died in Brazil based on data tracked by Johns Hopkins University, a toll only the U.S. has topped.

More Brazilians have died from the virus in the first four months of this year than in all of 2020, with the death toll having jumped from 300,000 to 400,000 in the past five weeks alone.

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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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RIO DE JANEIRO — Cinthia Ribeiro knew she had a fight on her hands when COVID-19 arrived in her hometown in Brazil. What she didn't know was that, one year on, humans would be out to kill her, too.

Ribeiro is mayor of Palmas, capital of Tocantins, a small state wedged between the southeastern edge of the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado, South America's tropical savanna.

The fresh wave of infections now racing across the landscape has reached her city, flooding hospitals with patients, and pushing intensive care unit occupancy rates up to 96%.

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.

With tears, songs and prayers, a multitude of Argentines flooded into the heart of Buenos Aires to pay their final respects to Diego Maradona, one of the world's greatest soccer players.

Thousands of fans lined up from the early hours on Thursday to file past Maradona's wooden casket as he lay in the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace, beneath his nation's sky-blue-and-white flag and his signature No. 10 shirt.

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A Black man in Brazil has died after being severely beaten by security guards. It happened last night on the eve of Black Consciousness Day. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, his death has caused a huge outcry.

Evo Morales, Bolivia's first Indigenous president and one of Latin America's most prominent leftists, has made a triumphant return to his home country after being controversially driven from power one year ago.

The socialist leader crossed the border from Argentina on Monday to begin a 625-mile odyssey through the heartland of his support, accompanied by a festive, flag-flourishing convoy of vehicles.

After a wave of mass protests, and amid a pandemic, the people of Chile go to the polls Sunday for a historic referendum over whether the country should scrap its dictatorship-era constitution and write a new one.

Opinion surveys suggest the electorate will vote "yes," bringing an end to the 40-year-old charter that was imposed during the rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, and has long been seen by many Chileans as the underlying source of many of their grievances.

Socialists in Bolivia are celebrating a historic victory after a candidate handpicked by their ousted leader, Evo Morales, was on course to win the country's most important presidential election in a generation.

Luis Arce — a former economy minister during the Morales era — is poised to be officially confirmed as the winner after his main rival conceded, even before the official count from Sunday's election was complete.

Environmentalists in Brazil are mourning the death of a leading expert on uncontacted tribes in the Amazon, who was killed by an arrow that struck him in the chest.

Friends of Rieli Franciscato say he died inside the rainforest while on a mission to shield an isolated indigenous group from a possible hostile encounter with outsiders.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Peru's government has launched a campaign of emotional shock tactics to persuade its citizens to help stop the coronavirus from causing more death and misery in a country with one of Latin America's biggest outbreaks.

Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra acknowledges the campaign "may seem too harsh." Yet he says: "We are in a war. ... You have to call things as they are."

Anti-government blockades in Bolivia have entered their second week amid escalating political tensions, violent confrontations and government allegations that protesters are causing deaths by stopping supplies from reaching coronavirus patients.

The protests are deepening the crisis facing a nation already struggling to cope with a pandemic which officials say has so far killed more than 3,700 people and infected more than 91,600.

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It's hard to delay presidential elections in the United States - yet in some countries, you can. In Bolivia, the authorities have repeatedly postponed elections, citing the coronavirus pandemic. NPR's Philip Reeves says that's triggered protests across the country.

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