The week at a glance...Americas


Mexico City

The CIA is here: U.S. intelligence agents are now operating on Mexican territory to help combat drug cartels, The New York Times reported this week. CIA operatives and other American agents, including former military personnel, have been posted to a Mexican military base, where they help with interrogations, wiretaps, and the management of informant networks. U.S. drones are conducting surveillance flights over Mexico as well. Mexican government security spokesman Alejandro Poiré said the Americans were just doing analysis, not arresting people or conducting raids, and he said none were armed. But the Mexican newspaper La Jornada ran a scathing editorial criticizing “Washington’s growing military, political, intelligence, and police interference” and the “complicity” of the Mexican government.

Guatemala City

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Ex-wife can’t run: The ex-wife of the Guatemalan president cannot run for president, the country’s Constitutional Court

ruled this week. Former First Lady Sandra Torres divorced President Álvaro Colom a few months ago specifically to get around an anti-dynasty rule that forbids close relatives of the president to succeed him in office. That tactic was undermined last month when another court ruled, “This relationship exists, regardless of whether they are divorced.” The country’s highest court upheld that judgment this week, saying the exclusion applied to anyone who was married to a president during any part of his term. The ruling leaves the National Unity of Hope party with no candidate for the election next month, as it’s too late to name somebody else.

Barbacoas, Colombia

Sex strike gets results: The women of a small town in southern Colombia have succeeded in getting their highway paved by withholding sex from their husbands. Some 300 women in Barbacoas are more than a month into their “strike of crossed legs” to force authorities to improve the road that connects their town to the rest of Colombia. The road is so abysmal that it takes up to 14 hours to reach the nearest hospital, 60 miles away—far too long to save a mother or infant in a complicated childbirth. This week, after national coverage of the strike, authorities announced that paving would begin in October.

Copiapó, Chile

Miners booed: The 33 miners who captivated the world last year when they were trapped underground for 69 days have now become the targets of national outrage. At a ceremony this week marking the opening of a museum dedicated to the mine rescue, hundreds of demonstrators threw rocks and fruit at the miners, accusing them of trying to cash in on their fame. Some demonstrators criticized the $25 million lawsuit the miners have launched against the mine regulation agency, while others said the men were too cozy with a government that has cut social services. Some of the men have gone back to the mines, but half are too sick too work at all. Only a few have been able to make money giving motivational speeches about their ordeal.

São Paulo, Brazil

Hetero Pride Day? The São Paulo city government has approved a bill creating an annual Heterosexual Pride Day. City Councilman Carlos Apolinário drafted the bill as “protest against the privileges the gay community enjoys.” The bill has little support, and it only passed because the city council, divided over budget issues, made a grand compromise allowing each member to pass one pet bill. Hundreds of gay and other civic groups are urging the mayor not to sign the bill into law. And hackers took over Apolinário’s official website, replacing his posts warning of a “gay dictatorship” with ones criticizing growing violence against homosexuals.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.