The weke at a glance...Americas


San Quintín, Mexico

Contact high: Mexican police burned 300 acres of marijuana this week, destroying the largest marijuana plantation in the country’s history. The huge farm, hidden in the desert in Baja California, had the potential to yield 120 tons of marijuana worth an estimated $158 million. The entire country produced 19,000 tons of marijuana in 2009, according to official estimates. More than 50 people have been arrested in connection with the bust.

Cuernavaca, Mexico

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Boy assassin: A 15-year-old American boy went on trial this week on charges of working as a hit man for a Mexican drug cartel. Edgar Jimenez was born in San Diego but raised in Mexico by his grandmother. When arrested in December, Jimenez confessed to killing four men, saying he had begun his criminal career at age 11, with drug dealing. Because of his youth, he faces only three years in prison if convicted on the charges of murder and kidnapping. His is one of many cases in the violence-riven state of Morelos. The state had just four juvenile prosecutions for organized crime in 2008, but had 51 in 2010 and another 35 in the past six months. “Organized crime seeks out these young people because they face almost nothing as far as punishment,” court official Juan Carlos Castro told the San Antonio Express-News.

Caracas, Venezuela

Absentee president: President Hugo Chávez refused to hand over power to his vice president this week before heading back to Cuba for chemotherapy. Opposition lawmakers wanted Chávez to cede power while he was away. Chávez said that if his physical capacities were diminished, he “would be the first in doing what the constitution says” by ceding authority to the vice president. But he said he feels fine and plans to delegate just one responsibility to Vice President Elias Jaua: the power to oversee budget transfers to government ministries, to keep the government running. Chávez, 56, had a cancerous tumor removed from his pelvic region last month; he refuses to say what kind of cancer he has.

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