Venezuela has faced increasingly tough economic and political times since the death in March 2013 of Hugo Chávez. President Maduro is promoting religious imagery related to the former leader and creating a 'civil religion' around his legacy.
From the inauguration of a politically charged favela cable car to the sacking of top newspaper O Globo's Rio editor, July was more than just soccer in Brazil.
Crime and the economy are motivating many Central Americans to leave the region, however, the link isn't straightforward. Murder rates, for example, improved slightly in El Salvador and Guatemala in recent years.
Buses carrying supporters home from the ruling party's 35th anniversary celebration were ambushed. Some point to rearmed anti-communist contras, but the government denies such groups exist.
US and Central American campaigns are deploying ominous cartoon characters and catchy tunes – not to mention some grandmotherly advice – to deter children from migrating north.
Both successful and unsuccessful migration to the US cause problems back in Central America, from inflation to broken families.
President Ortega and a mysterious businessman announced 'the biggest construction project in the history of mankind' has a green light. But many in Nicaragua remain skeptical.