Who’s repressive? Venezuela said this week it would no longer even try to get along with the U.S. The Foreign Ministry said it was ending its effort to normalize relations because of remarks made by Samantha Power, President Obama’s nominee for U.N. ambassador, during her Senate confirmation hearing. Power pledged to work against “repressive regimes” by “contesting the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.” Venezuela responded that if any country is repressive, it’s the U.S., because of “the illegal prison in Guantánamo, the killing of civilians by drones, and the lamentable persecution unleashed against Edward Snowden.”
Rio de Janeiro
Pope overrun: A mob of adoring fans swarmed Pope Francis as soon as he landed in Brazil this week, after his driver took a wrong turn into six lanes of traffic. “The pope was happy, with his hand out the window waving,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. Francis even kissed a baby handed through the window. The Argentinian pope’s first visit to Latin America since being elected in March is to preside over World Youth Day, a weeklong gathering of hundreds of thousands of young Catholics.
Vaca Muerta, Argentina
Fracking protests: Indigenous Mapuche Indians have occupied oil wells to protest a deal between Chevron and the state oil company YPF. The Indians and their supporters say fracking at Vaca Muerta, one of the world’s largest nonconventional oil and gas shale deposits, could pollute their lands. The deal, which splits profits and expenses equally between the two companies, is seen as extremely generous to Chevron; such deals usually require private oil firms to cover all the expenses and reap less than half the profits. “We Argentines are handing our resources over to the United States,” said Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.