The week at glance...Americas



Diplomats strike: A strike by Canadian diplomats has stretched into its ninth week and could cost the economy billions of dollars. Foreign service officers have walked off their jobs at 15 embassies and consulates in China, India, the U.K., and other countries, causing massive backlogs in visa processing. That hampers not only tourists but also businesspeople and students from getting to Canada. With the university school year about to begin, Canada could lose $8 billion in tuition and other spending by foreign students. The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers says it wants its members to get the same pay that other federal workers get; the government counters that diplomats already receive many non-salary perks.

Lima, Peru

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March against corruption: The protests that roiled Brazil this summer have caught on in Peru, as thousands of demonstrators turned out last week to condemn nepotism. The protesters were angry at the appointment of poorly qualified people with good connections to such top posts as judgeships on the Constitutional Court, directorships at the central bank, and, most disturbingly, the government ombudsman—the very person who is supposed to monitor such things. Police used tear gas after some demonstrators threw rocks and others set fire to a coffin-shaped box with President Ollanta Humala’s name on it. “Humala promised a series of changes, a series of reforms, and all he has done in these two years of government is not fulfill them,” said protester Javier Torres.

Santiago, Chile

Terrorist label challenged: The U.N. has asked Chile to stop using an anti-terror law to crack down on a revolt by indigenous Mapuche Indians. In the 19th century, the Mapuche were forced off their lands, now owned by ranchers and timber companies, and nearly 1 million of them live in poverty. Over the past two years, a radical faction demanding the return of the ancestral land has occupied and burned farms, and the government has invoked a harsh law dating from the Pinochet dictatorship to arrest and hold suspects in isolation without charging them. “It has been applied in a confusing and arbitrary way, which has turned into a real injustice that has impaired the right to a fair trial,” said U.N. human rights envoy Ben Emmerson.

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