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The week at a glance...Americas

Americas

Petén, Guatemala
Drug gang massacre: Guatemala declared a state of emergency this week after a Mexican drug gang massacred 27 people, decapitating and dismembering some of them. The victims were day laborers on a dairy ranch. Survivors said there were more than 50 attackers, wearing fatigues and speaking with Mexican accents. The killers, believed to be members of the Zetas drug gang, left messages written in blood on walls and fences around the property saying they were looking for the ranch owner. President Álvaro Colom ordered the military into Petén province, which borders Mexico. “Despite the few resources we have, even with the lack of military personnel, we will still come face to face with organized crime,” he said. The Zetas have moved into Guatemala in recent years as they face pressure in Mexico from government troops and other cartels.

Lima, Peru
Giuliani campaigns: In a bid to distance herself from her disgraced father, Peru’s presidential front-runner, Keiko Fujimori, has hired former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a campaign adviser. Public safety is a top concern of Peruvian voters, and Fujimori said Giuliani—who is in Peru this week—would help her design public safety programs. Fujimori’s father, Alberto Fujimori, stamped out leftist terrorism while he was president from 1990 to 2000; he was then impeached and convicted of corruption and overseeing a death squad. He is currently serving a 25-year prison term. Keiko Fujimori’s rival in the runoff next month is leftist Ollanta Humala, who led an attempted coup in 2000 and is close to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Brasília, Brazil
Gay civil unions: Brazil has become South America’s most populous nation to legalize same-sex unions. A Supreme Court ruling grants gay couples most of the rights of heterosexual partners, including pension benefits, adoption, and inheritance. “The freedom to pursue one’s own sexuality is part of an individual’s freedom of expression,” said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, the author of the unanimous ruling. Brazil has the world’s largest Catholic population, but it also hosts the world’s largest gay parade, which draws about 3 million people to São Paulo every year.

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