Mexico City
Presidential inauguration: Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, was sworn in to office last week amid violent protests over the return to power of his Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico in a corrupt single-party system through much of the 20th century. Peña Nieto promised a more nuanced approach than his predecessor’s to quelling the drug-related violence that has claimed some 60,000 lives in Mexico since 2006. But the discovery last week of the tortured body of María Santos Gorrostieta—dubbed “Mexico’s heroine”—served as a brutal reminder of the challenge he faces. Santos Gorrostieta, a former small-town mayor who defied the cartels, had survived two previous assassination attempts. 

Bogotá, Colombia
Rebels killed: At least 20 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia were killed this week when the Colombian military launched a successful bombing mission on one of the rebel group’s camps in Nariño province. The deadly raid was the biggest military operation against FARC rebels since historic peace talks between the guerrillas and the government began in October. The assault came during a weeklong break in the negotiations between the two sides taking place in Cuba, and reflects the Bogotá government’s determination not to let the FARC use the peace talks as an opportunity to rearm. President Juan Manuel Santos this week warned that the rebels had one year to disarm and join the political process; FARC leaders declared a two-month cease-fire last month, but have rejected Santos’s deadline. 

Yvy Pyta, Paraguay
Peasant leader murdered: A peasant activist whose land dispute ended the presidency of Fernando Lugo last June was shot dead last week by two motorcycle-riding assassins. The gunmen opened fire as Vidal Vega, 48, stepped outside to feed his farm animals, police said. Vega had spent years lobbying the government to redistribute ranchland that he claimed was illegally seized in the 1960s. Last May, when police tried to evict peasants from the land, 11 peasants and six officers were killed in a firefight, prompting the Paraguayan congress to remove Lugo from office.