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Natacha Pisarenko, Associated Press
In this Nov. 29, 2014 photo, a man sleeps above a truck that displays a decal promoting the ruling party, Broad Front, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Broad Front coalition candidate and former president Tabare Vazquez is favored to win the presidential runoff election Sunday on the back of a strong economy.

Latin America opened the week with a story package on how private security firms and citizens groups are proliferating throughout the region. In Mexico, VIPs are escorted in armored vehicles by highly trained, upscale security guards, while in places like Peru, citizens take the law into their own hands as the social contract unravels with police unable to take action to stop crime.

In Caracas, hundreds of wild macaws are thriving amid the high-rises and traffic thanks to a group of bird lovers who feed them and watch out for their nests.

Uruguayans elected former President Tabare Vazquez in a runoff, returning to power a left-leaning coalition that has helped legalize gay marriage and moved to create the world's first state-run marijuana marketplace.

In Chile, mothers are trying to force the government to allow them to grow marijuana legally, as a way to treat their severely ill children. In Argentina, President Cristina Fernandez appeared in public for the first time after being hospitalized for a bacterial infection.

In South America, the Copa Sudamericana finishes its semi-finals stage with Colombia's Atletico Nacional pushing out Brazil's Sao Paulo F.C. and Argentina's River Plate defeating Boca Juniors. In the Bahamas, the Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament was played in Paradise Island.

Mexico and Latin America mourned the death of one of its iconic television stars. Comedian Roberto Gomez Bolanos, known as "Chespirito," passed away at the age of 85.

Associated Press photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo

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