While this week's BRICS summit might have been off the radar of Western powers, the leaders of its five member countries launched a financial system to rival Bretton Woods institutions and held an unprecedented meeting with the governments of South America.
To go down fighting in the Andean Community (CAN), with a combined market of 92 million consumers, or move up to the big leagues of Mercosur, with 275 million? This was the dilemma faced by Bolivia’s foreign trade strategists when it came to pursuing full membership in the bloc formed by its neighbours to the south.
Energy integration in South America will be a reality "in the medium to long term," driven by hydropower and drawing on Brazil’s experience, predicts Altino Ventura Filho, secretary of planning in this country’s Ministry of Mines and Energy.
Indigenous groups in Chile celebrated a recent court ruling that represented the latest victory in the struggle for respect for their right to be previously consulted about major projects which directly affect their communities.
China is looking to Latin America to experiment with the yuan, or renminbi, to replace the dollar, taking advantage of the growth in Chinese trade and investment in this region. But because the volume is still insignificant, it is not yet clear what impact the currency will have on economies in the region.
"Perhaps it's the curse of Rondônia," joked Ari Ott, referring to teething troubles with the first turbine of the Santo Antônio hydroelectric plant which was intended to kick off a new cycle of huge power projects in Brazil's Amazon jungle region.