The week at a glance ... Americas
HavanaFidel appeals to Obama: In his first official government appearance since emergency surgery four years ago, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro called on President Barack Obama to avert global nuclear war. Castro, who has frequently warned in his weekly opinion column that a U.S. attack on Iran would trigger nuclear Armageddon, struck a more hopeful note in his speech to a special session of Cuba’s National Assembly. While he once thought nuclear war was inevitable, he said, now he believes that “one man” has the power to prevent it—“the president of the United States.” Castro did not mention problems plaguing Cuba, such as layoffs and a housing crisis.
Guantánamo Bay, CubaYoungest detainee on trial: The confession of a teenager wounded and captured in 2002 on the Afghan battlefield will be admissible in his terror trial, the U.S. military tribunal ruled as the trial opened this week. Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, the youngest detainee in Guantánano Bay, was just 15 when he was captured in a firefight with U.S. soldiers. His lawyer, Dennis Edney, said Khadr was forced into fighting by his father, a longtime supporter of Osama Bin Laden, and was coerced into a false confession by U.S. interrogators. “He’s not a real Taliban warrior. He’s a kid who was put in an unfortunate situation,” Edney said. Khadr, now 23, previously rejected a plea deal that would have imprisoned him for 30 years.
Marudá Beach, BrazilHistoric Amazon trek: A British man has become the first person to walk alongside the entire 4,000 miles of the Amazon River. Ed Stafford, 34, a former captain in the British army, endured tens of thousands of mosquito bites, hundreds of wasp stings, and run-ins with anacondas and scorpions during his two-year hike from the river’s source in the mountains of Peru to northern Brazil, where it empties into the Atlantic. Stafford said that while he hoped his feat would raise awareness of the destruction of the rain forest, his motivation was more personal. “The crux of it is, if this wasn’t a selfish, boy’s-own adventure, I don’t think it would have worked,” he said.