The week at a glance...Americas


Mexico City

PRI could return: The party that ruled Mexico in authoritarian style for 70 years until 2000 is favored to return to power in national elections next week. Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto is leading in the polls over Josefina Vázquez Mota of the incumbent National Action Party (PAN) and leftist coalition candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Throughout the campaign, Peña Nieto, 45, has taken pains to reassure voters that his party, which dominated 20th-century Mexico in large part through corruption and massive voter fraud, has finally learned to respect democracy. “I am part of a new generation that grew up under democracy,” the former governor of the state of Mexico told thousands of cheering supporters at a rally in the Azteca soccer stadium this week. Nearly 80 million Mexicans are eligible to vote.

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

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Lonesome George dies: The last Galápagos giant tortoise of its kind died this week at the relatively young age of 100. Lonesome George, who got his name because he rarely attempted to mate and never produced offspring, was the last of the subspecies Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni, which is believed to date back some 10 million years. An autopsy showed no clear cause of death, and scientists concluded that George had died of old age, even though giant tortoises typically live up to 200 years. George was discovered in 1972, the sole tortoise on Pinta Island. Efforts to crossbreed him with Galápagos tortoises from other subspecies failed.

Asunción, Paraguay

Not going quietly: Ousted from the Paraguayan presidency, Fernando Lugo this week formed a shadow cabinet and vowed to return to power. After just two days of hearings last week, Congress voted overwhelmingly to dismiss Lugo, saying he had mishandled a clash between police and landless protesters in which 17 people were killed. At first, Lugo accepted the decision and moved out of the presidential palace, but within a few days he reversed course, saying he would attend a Mercosur trade summit in neighboring Argentina as president. Mercosur member leaders—including the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela—called Lugo’s ouster a “legislative coup” and said they did not recognize the new government of Federico Franco, the former vice president who was promoted to president and sworn in last week.

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