The week at a glance...Americas
Bogotá, ColombiaPeace in jeopardy: Colombian leftists were out in the streets in protest this week after the government deposed the Bogotá mayor, a former guerrilla, and barred him from running for 15 years. Most residents in the metropolis of 7 million agree that Mayor Gustavo Petro badly mismanaged the overhaul of Bogotá’s trash removal system, but they point out that his predecessor was only barred from office for a year for far more serious allegations of corruption. Most believe Petro was booted out because of his standing as a leftist leader with a shot at the presidency. Petro famously gave up his weapons as a guerrilla in an amnesty deal and became an anti-corruption crusader. His removal hurts the chances of a similar deal currently being negotiated with FARC, the main rebel group.
Brasília, Brazil Will counterspy for asylum: Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has offered to help Brazil find out how much the U.S. has spied on its citizens in exchange for political asylum. “Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak,” Snowden said in an open letter in Folha de São Paulo, where he warned Brazilians that NSA operatives can “even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target’s reputation.” President Dilma Rousseff canceled a state visit to the U.S. this year after discovering that the NSA had hacked her personal phones and emails as well as those of the Brazilian state oil company. Snowden has not formally asked Brazil for asylum.
Santiago, Chile Bachelet is back: After one term off, Socialist Michelle Bachelet has been elected president of Chile again in a landslide. Bachelet defeated her conservative rival, Evelyn Matthei, with 62 percent of the vote in the continent’s first all-female race. She praised the hundreds of thousands of Chileans who have demonstrated in recent years for free higher education and better public schools, promising to deliver both by raising taxes. Bachelet’s first term coincided with a global boom in demand for copper, Chile’s main export, and she was able to reform the pension system and boost social services. Now, though, she takes office as demand for copper is slumping.