The week at a glance...Americas
Michoacán, Mexico Drug gang truce for pope: The drug cartel Knights Templar announced a cease-fire this week in honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Mexico. The group, which split off from Michoacán’s La Familia cartel last year and is now fighting it furiously, put up banners in several cities saying, “The Knights Templar are holding off on all violent action. We are not killers. Welcome to the pope.” The cease-fire comes after an upswing in violence: Earlier this week, 12 policemen were ambushed and killed in Teloloapan, in the neighboring state of Guerrero, close to where locals found 10 human heads and a note threatening anyone who helped La Familia.
Maracaibo, VenezuelaCops kill diplomat’s daughter: Venezuelan police killed the teenage daughter of the Chilean consul last week when the car she was riding in failed to stop at a checkpoint. The consul’s son was driving his sister to a party when plainclothes police ordered the car to stop. The brother thought they were robbers, and he slammed the car into reverse. Police opened fire, killing Karen Berendique, 19. Twelve officers have been arrested for their alleged roles in the tragedy. “All the weight of the law has to fall on the police,” said President Hugo Chávez. “No police officer has a right to use weapons that way.” Venezuelan human-rights groups say police routinely use excessive force.
Rio de Janeiro Chevron blamed for oil leak: Brazilian prosecutors this week filed criminal charges against Chevron for an offshore oil leak that started last November. “There’s no way to stop this leak until the reservoir is depleted,” prosecutor Eduardo Santos de Oliveira said. “The oil will leak until it’s gone.” George Buck, head of Chevron’s Brazilian operations, and 16 others were ordered to remain in the country. Chevron says the suit is politically motivated, noting that Brazilian regulators approved the drilling and that Brazilian oil company Petrobras was not pursued for causing much larger leaks. “Did the environment get really hurt? No,” said Cleveland Jones, a geologist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. “We aren’t applying the same standards to others.”