The week at a glance ... Americas
Mexico CityGangster seeks stardom: A self-confessed American drug lord was arrested in Mexico last week and promptly began bragging to police about his exploits. Videotapes of Texas native Edgar Valdez, 37, a former high school football star, have been appearing on Mexican television all week. In taped confessions, Valdez—nicknamed “La Barbie” because of his fair skin—appears eager to explain in great detail how he smuggled cocaine and boxes of cash between Colombia and the U.S. He said he has hired a film producer to make a movie of his life story.
Guatemala CityDeadly landslides: Heavy rains triggered more than 50 landslides around Guatemala this week, killing at least 45 people and burying sections of the country’s main roadways under tons of mud. Twenty deaths occurred when rescue workers trying to dig out a buried bus were caught in a subsequent slide that buried them as well. With many mountain roads impassable, including the Inter-American Highway to Mexico, traffic jams stretched more than 50 miles in several areas. President Álvaro Colom declared a state of emergency and told citizens to stay off the highways, saying more waterlogged hillsides were likely to collapse in coming days.
Bogotá, ColombiaShortest man, short-term: A Colombian man was officially dubbed the world’s shortest man by Guinness World Records this week. At 2 feet, 3 inches, Edward Hernandez, 24, is nearly 2 inches shorter than the previous record holder, China’s He Pingping. “I am very happy to be recognized as the shortest man in the world,” Hernandez said in a statement. “The more unusual you are, the more you should fight and work harder.” Hernandez will lose his title next month, when the world’s shortest teenager, Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal, turns 18. He is 2-foot-1.