Ecuador - Corruption Scandals (Dan Collyns) - Latin America has experienced a wave of corruption scandals over the past decade. It's resulted in continued backlash led by citizens and governments in several nations. While great strides have been made to strengthen institutions, establish accountability and root out fraud, allegations of graft continue to emerge. In Ecuador a series of corruption scandals have prompted a clampdown from the top down. As Correspondent Dan Collyns reports it's unclear how tangled the web of deception is.
Chile - Surviving the Andes (Joe) - On October 13th, 1972 a plane carrying a rugby team from Uruguay crashed in the Andes Mountains on its way to Chile. Initially, 33 people survived (but many perished in the days that followed). For the next two months those who remained endured below freezing temperatures and high altitude waiting for help. It never came. The story became famous because the passengers resorted to cannibalism to survive. On the 45th anniversary of their rescue, Americas Now presents an interview with passenger turned life-saving doctor Roberto Canessa.
Colombia - Competitiveness (Michelle Begue) - Colombia has been trying to alter its identity. For decades its reputation was tarnished by narco-trafficking and armed conflict. Now it's working to change its image to a Latin American nation with great potential for international investment. Recent global rankings like the World Bank's "Doing Business Report" and the Global Competitiveness Index, named Colombia one of the top-5 Latin American economies. But business owners and economists both say Colombia still has a lot of challenges ahead to remain competitive.
Belize - Millennial Nation (John Zarrella) - When violence is a serious problem in a community, it often prevents young people from experiencing growth. It's a problem that is prevalent throughout the Caribbean, particularly in Belize. This nation that sits on the east coast of Central America only became independent thirty-six years ago. The vast majority of its citizens are under the age of thirty. In every sense Belize is a millennial nation struggling to find its footing.
El Salvador -Border Separation (Mike Kirsch) - The heartbreaking story of Alexa Ramos of El Salvador made headlines around the world. The infant was taken from her mother's arms by US Border Patrol agents after the two crossed illegally into the United States. Her mother was deported. Alexa was sent to live with a foster family in the US state of Michigan. The story symbolizes the pain and anguish hundreds of children like her are facing in the United States. They're separated from parents who in some cases they may never see again.
Witness - Chasing Pablo Escobar ( CP) - In the late 1980's, two DEA agents volunteered to work on a top-secret mission. It ended up taking down the world's wealthiest criminal empire at the time, the Medellin Drug Cartel in Colombia and its leader Pablo Escobar. The story of Javier Pena and Steve Murphy inspired the hit "Netflix" drama "Narcos." Americas Now had the opportunity to sit down with the intrepid investigators to hear their incredible tale.
Colombia - Fragile X Syndrome (Michelle Begue) - For decades a small rural town in Colombia developed a reputation for having offbeat citizens who exhibited strange behavior. They became the focus of a scientific study that revealed they were actually victims of a gene mutation. It's called Fragile X. And it's a leading cause of physical, social and intellectual abnormalities. Correspondent Michelle Begue travelled to the town of Ricaurte to bring us this report.
Honduras - Child Marriage Ban - According to The World Bank, 15 million girls marry before the age of 18 globally. It's a phenomenon that's common in many poor nations around the world. One of the countries with the highest rates of underage marriage has been Honduras. But in 2017 lawmakers passed a landmark ruling which raised the marital age from 16 to 18. The new law is a big adjustment for Honduras where marrying very young has always been part of the culture. Correspondent Harris Whitbeck takes a look at how difficult banning a practice can be when it's so steeped in tradition.
Peru - Amazon Reforestation (Dan Collyns) - Peru's Amazon most bio-diverse ecosystem is in the Madre de Dios region. It's also one of the most under threat from deforestation. The primary culprits are illegal logging, gold mining and livestock farming. The past decade has been especially devastating for the region. Correspondent Dan Collyns visited the area to survey the damage. He also spoke to some scientists who are finding innovative ways to fight back. Mexico - Firework Town (Alasdair Baverstock) - Fireworks have been dazzling spectators at celebrations across the world for centuries.