The week at a glance...Americas


Saint John, New Brunswick

Lobster protest: Angry over a glut of Maine lobsters that has driven down prices, Canadian lobstermen have set up blockades around processing plants in New Brunswick. Hundreds of fishermen are preventing trucks from delivering Maine lobsters sent north for processing. The lobster season is earlier in the U.S. than in Canada, and better conservation coupled with warming waters has resulted in a bumper harvest. With lobster fetching just $2 a pound at the processing plants, fishermen can’t earn enough to cover the costs of fuel and bait. “Fishermen have boat payments, they have mortgages to pay, they have families,” said lobsterman Henry Augustine. “I may have to go on welfare.”

Caracas, Venezuela

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Diplomats smuggling drugs? Venezuelan officials vehemently denied allegations that the country’s ambassador to Kenya was killed to prevent her from blowing the whistle on embassy personnel smuggling drugs in diplomatic pouches. A diplomat at the Venezuelan Embassy, Dwight Sagaray, has been charged in Nairobi with the murder last month of Olga Fonseca, Venezuela’s acting ambassador to Kenya, who had been on the job less than two weeks. Kenyan news reports say Fonseca upset employees by exposing embassy drug trafficking and by ordering them to drop charges against her predecessor, who was removed from his post after three men accused him of sexual harassment. Venezuelan Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami called the drug allegations “irresponsible” and said all evidence suggests that the motive was a personnel dispute.

La Paz, Bolivia

Cokes still allowed: Bolivia has been forced to clarify that it is not, in fact, planning to ban Coca-Cola on the date of the Mayan apocalypse. Last week, speaking of the reputed end date of the ancient Mayan calendar, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said, “Dec. 21 of 2012 will be the end of egoism and division. Dec. 21 will be the end of Coca-Cola.” Business media promptly reported the speech as announcing a ban on the company. Last week, Choquehuanca said he had just used Coke as a metaphor, and that what he meant was that a new planetary alignment would bring about “the end of capitalism and the beginning of communitarianism.”

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