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Trip in Nov/ Dec - Concerns re theft, language & cashing travellers cheques

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Reading Lonely Planet, US Govt tips for travellers to Sth America - leaves me feeling unsure about my trip. What's everyones experience with security, pickpockets & the like? Rio? Peru? esp. I don't speak any Spanish yet but am trying - is any English spoken at hotels, airports, banks? I have read its hard to cash travellers chq esp in Argentina - is that the case. Assurance & tips needed.

Kaz (OZ)

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