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LATAM POLITICS TODAY-Brazil's Lula advised to renationalize refineries

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* Colombians look ahead to leftist Petro's presidency

* Lula reaffirms he will not place spending caps

* Argentina's ambitious 'superminister' takes on economic crisis

* Colombian deforestation unlikely to slow in 2022

Aug 5 (Reuters) - The latest in Latin American politics today:

Brazil's Lula advised to buy back Petrobras refineries, study author says

An oil and gas industry study commissioned by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's presidential campaign will recommend bolstering state oil company Petrobras' refining capacity, including through the reversal of refinery privatizations, study co-author William Nozaki told Reuters.

The study also proposes new investments and the resumption of refinery projects abandoned by Petrobras following the Car Wash corruption probe.

"The guidance given by Lula is that nothing will be done in a traumatic way for shareholders or for Petrobras' investments," Nozaki said.

Brazil's Lula reaffirms he will not place spending caps if reelected

BRASILIA - Lula said again on Friday that if elected he would not set a spending cap on the country's budget.

"I'm not boasting, but there will be no budgetary spending cap in the country," Lula said at a meeting with health workers.

Colombians cautiously optimistic ahead of leftist Petro's inauguration

BOGOTA - Colombians are expressing cautious optimism about the government of incoming leftist President Gustavo Petro, days before he takes office on promises to reshape the polarized country with a raft of reforms and social programs.

Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrillas and erstwhile senator, will on Sunday become the first leftist to govern Colombia, which has historically elected centrist and right-wing leaders.

Argentina's ambitious 'superminister' takes on economic crisis

BUENOS AIRES - When asked about Sergio Massa, Argentina's new "superminister" for the economy, most locals think of him as an opportunistic politician with limitless ambition.

But Massa's political acumen, honed over four decades of activism, is also widely seen as key to rescuing Argentina's crisis-racked economy, ravaged by sky-high inflation, crippling debt as well as chronic overspending.

A successful performance as superminister will likely be crucial for his own future political prospects.

Colombian deforestation unlikely to slow in 2022, say environmentalists

BOGOTA - Deforestation in Colombia shows no signs of abating in 2022 versus 2021, environmental groups warned this week, with destruction of the country's Amazon region increasing slightly through the end of July.

Colombia's environment ministry last month reported that deforestation rose 1.5% in 2021 compared with 2020, totaling 174,103 hectares (430,218 acres).

Leftist President-elect Gustavo Petro has pledged to implement a peace deal with now-demobilized FARC guerrillas. His environment minister, Susana Muhamad, told Reuters on Wednesday that facets of the deal are crucial for halting deforestation, including rural reform and substitution of drug crops like coca. (Compiled by Steven Grattan; Editing by Louise Heavens and Sandra Maler)