The week at a glance...Americas
Brake for mimes: The Venezuelan capital has deployed a squadron of mimes in the streets to try to curb bad road habits. More than 100 mimes have been stationed at intersections in the city’s eastern district of Sucre, where they silently rebuke speeders and jaywalkers. Some wag admonishing fingers at drivers, pointing to red lights or speed-limit signs. Others hold up their hands and shake their heads at pedestrians trying to cross against the light. “Some people get angry when we reprimand them,” said mime Neidy Suárez. “But most react agreeably, and some have offered compliments.” Caracas officials copied the idea from Bogotá, Colombia, where a former mayor used mimes to tame that city’s chaotic traffic.
Not a happy holiday: Thousands of Chilean Indians marched this week to protest Columbus Day. The anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s 1492 landfall—in the Bahamas—is a national holiday in much of the Americas but a day of mourning for many indigenous groups. “It signifies the arrival of the Spanish usurpers and all they brought with them, colonialism and imperialism,” said Manuel Díaz, spokesman for Chile’s Mapuche tribe. Marchers demanded the return of ancestral lands currently owned by farmers and timber companies, and they called for the release of Mapuche activists who have been jailed for trying to occupy some of those lands.