Cleaning house: President Enrique Peña Nieto has warned Mexico’s political elite that corruption will no longer be tolerated. “There are no untouchable interests,” Peña Nieto said at a congress of his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. “The only interest I will protect is the national interest.” Peña Nieto says he wants to change the perception that the PRI, which ruled Mexico for decades until 2000, is a party of moneyed interests and back-room deals. But critics wonder whether the president’s new firmness will apply only to his political enemies. The first to be charged with corruption was the head of the education union: She left the PRI several years ago over policy differences.
Call your mother: The Peruvian government went all out to locate two American backpackers after the two stopped posting on Facebook. Garrett Hand, 25, and Jamie Neal, 27, were hiking merrily along in the Amazon, out of cellphone and Internet range. After Hand’s mother hadn’t heard from her son for a month, she contacted Peruvian authorities and demanded they locate him. The government issued a nationwide alert for the couple and found them within a week, oblivious to the fuss they’d caused. “The Peruvian military gave us our own house to stay in,” Neal wrote on Facebook, “and food and a bunch of booze to drink.” Peru is eager to be seen as welcoming to tourists after the U.S. issued a travel warning about kidnapping last month.
Rio de Janeiro
Slum takeover: Brazilian troops rolled into two shantytowns near the Rio airport this week as part of the government’s effort to create order in the areas tourists are likely to pass through during the World Cup soccer tournament next year. The favelas, as the shantytowns are known, are run by drug gangs, and troops confiscated stashes of drugs and arrested dozens. “This important area was taken without firing a shot,” said Col. Frederico Caldas. Crime has dropped dramatically in the 30-odd favelas pacified so far, but those who live in the hundreds of others located far from the airport or stadiums say the government is ignoring them.