AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from Latin America, Caribbean

AP News
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Posted: Jul 04, 2016 12:00 AM
AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from Latin America, Caribbean

Panamanians kicked off last week with festivities marking the formal opening of the Panama Canal's new locks for handling the biggest ships, a multibillion-dollar bet by the Central American nation on a bright economic future despite the tough times in global shipping.

Crowds gathered before dawn and lined both sides of the canal waving Panamanian flags, partying to salsa music and watching videos on giant screens showing the inaugural passage by a Chinese-owned container ship. Taiwan's new president, Tsai Ing-wen, was among the eight foreign heads of state who attended the celebration, visiting Latin American on her first overseas trip since taking office last month.

The Copa America soccer tournament played out thousands of miles away in host country United States as Argentina lost in the final match for the third year in a row, with Chile winning 4-2 on penalty kicks following a 0-0 tie.

Star player Lionel Messi created even bigger headlines when he announced his decision to leave Argentina's national team in the aftermath of the emotional defeat. That touched off a week of clamoring from Argentine sports figures, artists, politicians and ordinary fans trying to persuade Messi to change his mind.

On a more somber note in Argentina, the country is increasingly focusing on the search for 500 or so newborns taken away from political dissidents by the military dictatorship four decades ago and turned over to new families. Two men among those who have been tracked down talked with The Associated Press about finding out they had been kidnapped from parents who were tortured and "disappeared" by the junta. One of them stopped celebrating Mother's Day, Father's Day and even his own birthday after he found out the truth.

In Paraguay, many caimans are on the verge of death because of a harsh drought that has hit a wide desert zone of Paraguay known as the Chaco Boreal. The waters from the Pilcomayo river stopped reaching the area after a massive flood earlier this year changed its course to Argentine territory. Cattle ranchers have built reservoirs to try to save the caimans.

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This photo gallery was curated by photo editor Tomas Stargardter in Mexico City.

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Associated Press photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/150o6jo