An excruciating mosquito-borne illness that arrived less than a year ago in the Americas is raging across the region, leaping from the Caribbean to the Central and South American mainland, and infecting more than 1 million people. While the disease, called chikungunya, usually is not fatal, the epidemic has overwhelmed hospital and cut economic productivity.
In Guatemala, authorities suspended some constitutional rights in the central municipality San Juan Sacatepequez, where 11 people died in a battle with guns and machetes. The violent clash in the village of Pajoques took place between residents who support plans to build a cement factory and highway, and others who fear the construction could hurt their lands.
Peruvian authorities wound up a "cratering" mission, dynamiting 54 clandestine airstrips in the world's No. 1 coca-growing valley. The measure may cut into profits but hardly discourages cocaine traffickers who net tens of thousands of dollars with each Bolivia-bound flight. Peru's counternarcotics police chief said traffickers pay local villagers up to $100 each to fill the holes blasted into the landing strips.
Mexico overcame 75 years of nationalist pride to reform its flagging, state-owned oil industry. But as it prepares to develop rich shale fields along the Gulf Coast, and attract foreign investors, another challenge awaits: taming the brutal drug cartels that rule the region and are stealing billions of dollars' worth of oil from pipelines. Figures released by Petroleos Mexicanos show the gangs are becoming more prolific and sophisticated. So far this year, thieves across Mexico have drilled 2,481 illegal taps into state-owned pipelines, up more than one-third from the same period of 2013.
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This gallery was curated by photo editor Anita Baca in Mexico City.