The week at a glance...Americas


Caracas, Venezuela

Maduro is angry: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro lashed out this week against foreign leaders who support a recount of the close vote that put him in office last month. On state television, he called President Obama the “chief of devils” for suggesting that the election campaign—which allowed nearly unlimited TV time for Maduro and almost none for his rival, Henrique Capriles—may not have been entirely fair. He recalled his ambassador from Peru after Peru asked the Union of South American Nations to issue a resolution calling on Maduro to exercise tolerance. And he has accused Álvaro Uribe, an ex-president of Colombia, of conspiring with the Venezuelan opposition to kill him.

Bogotá, Colombia

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Medical marijuana: The Colombian capital is trying to wean addicts off a crack-like drug by giving them high-potency marijuana. In a pilot program, 300 people addicted to bazuco, a cheap cocaine derivative that is as addictive as heroin, will receive marijuana bred with a high THC content to relieve the anxiety and jitters of withdrawal. Bazuco has become a public health crisis in Bogotá, where at least 7,500 of an estimated 9,500 homeless people are addicts. Possession of small quantities of marijuana is legal in Colombia, but dealing it is not.

Cuzco, Peru

Cult leader found dead: A Chilean cult leader suspected of burning his own newborn daughter alive has been found hanged in Peru. Ramón Gustavo Castillo Gaete, 36, led a small doomsday cult that believed the world would end last December in the Mayan apocalypse. He convinced one of his followers to sacrifice her 3-day-old daughter, saying the child was the Antichrist, in a bonfire last November. Castillo Gaete had sex with female cult members and is believed to have been the girl’s father. The mother and three other cult members were arrested last week, and Castillo Gaete was found dead shortly afterward, in what authorities called an apparent suicide.

Rio de Janeiro

WTO head: Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo has become the first Latin American to head the World Trade Organization, beating out a Mexican candidate favored by the U.S. and the EU. Azevedo has been a litigator in high-profile trade disputes and a top negotiator for Brazil at the trade body, so he has intimate knowledge of the issues that have stalled global trade talks since 2001. “He will be able to lead the organization toward a path of a fairer and more dynamic global economic order,” said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The WTO was established in 1995 as a forum to set rules for international commerce, but it has become mired in bickering over agricultural subsidies and tariffs.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.