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.
Mexico - Tech-Mex - Part of U.S. President Donald Trumps' "get-tough" policy is expected to include an increase in the expulsion of undocumented citizens to their home countries. Mexico is one of the nations that might face the largest number of returnees. For many of them it could feel like starting over as they know little about the language and culture of their country of origin. That makes things like finding a job difficult. But the digital startup sector in Mexico is viewing the return of migrants from the U.S. as an opportunity.
Mexico - Housing Nightmare (Mike Kirsch) - Back in 2001 some in Mexico called it a "miracle." Millions of low wage, factory workers were promised new, affordable homes under an ambitious residential construction boom. It was set in motion by then-President Vicente Fox and the World Bank. Today that "miracle" is being described as a social and financial catastrophe. According to a recent in-depth investigation by the Los Angeles Times citizens in these developments have been dealing with daily hardships and hazards across Mexico.
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.
Guatemala - Girls at Risk (Harris Whitbeck) - It was an event that shocked the entire country and made headlines around the world. 42 girls, locked up in a state home for children in Guatemala --burned to death. The fire broke out following protests and accusations of poor conditions and abuse. The incident also revealed many of the vulnerabilities faced by young people. More than a year after the tragedy the victim's relatives are still looking for answers. Correspondent Harris Whitbeck tells us more about Guatemala's girls at risk.
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.
Costa Rica - Plastic Ban (Harris Whitbeck) - The Central American nation of Costa Rica has long been at the forefront of progressive environmental policies. But it's lagged behind in one crucial area, the safe disposal of solid waste. But that could all change with their goal to end "single use" plastics by the year 2020 along with a new motto, "Say no to plastic". Our correspondent Harris Whitbeck reports from San Jose, Costa Rica. Brazil - Samba Empire (Lucrecia Franco) - Some call it the greatest show south of the equator: the Samba parade in Rio.
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.
Chile - Buried Alive (Harris Whitbeck) - They spent 69 grueling days in collapsed copper mine in Chile before being brought to safety. Thirty-three miners endured claustrophobia, heat and near-starvation. There are no reported cases of anyone being trapped beneath the earth for so long. But miraculously, every man in the group emerged alive. The rescue was one of the most challenging ever attempted especially at such a low depth. One of the men who played a key role in that rescue operation was a Naval Medic named Andres Llarena.
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.