Violent clashes looked inevitable when some 1,500 desperately hungry peasants poured into this small Brazilian town. Riot police were staked out to prevent looting. It was the year 1993, and millions of people in Brazil's impoverished semiarid Northeast had been forced to the brink of starvation by three years of drought.
A richly biodiverse rainforest the size of 3,000 soccer fields in central Bolivia will be the first victim of the road planned to run through the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS), say environmental activists.
Raimundo Francisco Belmiro dos Santos, a defender of the Amazon jungle, has requested urgent protection from the authorities in Brazil after reporting that a number of hired gunmen are looking for him, because landowners in the northern state of Pará have offered a 50,000 dollar contract for his death.
The lack of regulations for consulting indigenous communities in Bolivia on initiatives that affect their territories is at the heart of a dispute over a road to facilitate traffic from Brazil, which would run through an enormous tropical national park self-governed by indigenous communities.
The port of Pecém in Brazil's impoverished Northeast region received a large order to unload and store cement factory equipment imported from China. The port authorities were unable to accept the original order, as the cargo would have occupied 40,000 square metres of storage space, nearly half the total available.
Biofuels are an alternative energy source that can drive local development by generating jobs, know-how and technology. But they can also cause social damage, as locals fear in the case of industrial-scale exploitation of babassu palm trees, which grow abundantly in the wild in central and northern Brazil.
Indigenous people in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia are again preparing to make the long march to La Paz, 21 years after their first such protest. They have vowed to make the trek in defence of their lands, which they say are threatened by plans for a highway to be built with the backing of the Brazilian government.
Despite challenges like high interest rates and high household electricity tariffs, the Brazilian economy has been growing at the highest rates seen in decades. Another problem that, although it has not stood in the way of growth, must be overcome is the costly use of roads for transporting farm products – an issue that is being addressed by the expansion of railway networks.
A bullet to his shoulder forced him to spend seven days in the hospital. In another attempt on his life, he was shot at three times, but miraculously escaped unscathed. "I will never sit next to a window again," says Brazilian rural activist Walter Moura.
Several rivers in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso are likely to become chains of artificial reservoirs feeding small hydroelectric plants (SHP), sometimes with larger power stations in between.
The outgoing government of Peruvian President Alan García has suspended construction of the Inambari hydroelectric complex, part of an energy deal with Brazil. But activists say the move is merely aimed at calming tempers among local people opposed to the dam, while handing the problem on to García's successor, president-elect Ollanta Humala.
Michael Lawrenchuk, a Cree political activist from Canada, was given a standing ovation at the International Hydropower Association congress held in this Brazilian border town, after depicting the suffering of his people since dams began to be built on rivers across their land.
The diplomatic offensive undertaken by Cuba in recent weeks is propping up the most important medium-term development programmes implemented as part of what the Raúl Castro government describes as the "updating" of the economic system without abandoning socialism.
The Amazonian town of Mutum-Paraná, in the northern Brazilian state of Rondônia, is disappearing. Its last remaining buildings must be dismantled before it is flooded by the construction of the Jirau hydroelectric dam on the Madeira River.
The Yacyretá hydroelectric dam run by Argentina and Paraguay is fully operational, supplying the energy it was designed to provide when it was built 40 years ago. But critics complain about severe social and environmental impacts.