With the start of the Olympics fast approaching, questions about security in host city Rio de Janeiro got more attention this past week.
Gunbattles have been increasing in Rio's shantytowns, and teenagers in some of the slums posed for Associated Press photographers with guns drawn as they worked as guards, lookouts and distributors for drug lords operating just a few miles from where hundreds of thousands and tourists and athletes will gather for the Aug. 5-21 Olympics. Meanwhile, a dog nicknamed Netinho Coragem, or "little brave one" in Portuguese, was shot five times during a firefight in one slum " the second dog in less than a month to survive a shootout.
As Colombia celebrated its 206th anniversary of independence from Spain, tens of thousands of Venezuelans crossed the border into Colombia to hunt for food and medicine that are in short supply at home.
Inmates at Guatemala's Pavon prison rioted, and authorities said Byron Lima, an army captain serving a prison sentence for killing a Roman Catholic bishop, was among those killed in fighting among rival groups of prisoners..
In the Andes, a harsh winter is driving more of Peru's poor into the growing cocaine trade and the country's alpaca industry has been hit hard as subfreezing temperatures killed thousands of the animals.
The government declared a state of emergency in the southern Andes and promised $3 million in relief.
Rodrigo Abd, an AP photojournalist based in Peru, was among those awarded the 2016 Maria Moors Cabot Prize, which recognizes excellence in coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean.
This photo gallery was curated by photo editor Anita Baca in Mexico City.
Associated Press photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/150o6jo
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings