The week at a glance ... Americas
Havana No hard feelings: Ten years after his return to Cuba, Elian Gonzalez says he harbors no ill will toward the Miami relatives who tried to keep him in the U.S. “I have no bitterness toward them,” Gonzalez, 16, said at a celebration marking the 10th anniversary of his return. Gonzalez was just 5 when he was rescued off the coast of Florida, in 1999. His mother had drowned trying to flee Cuba, but his father, who had remained behind, wanted him returned. Relatives in Miami sought custody, and the case quickly turned into a high-profile legal and diplomatic showdown between Cuba and the U.S. After four months, federal agents removed him from his relatives’ home and he was returned to Cuba—to the horror of much of the anti-Castro Cuban-American community. “Today I’m with my father,” Gonzalez said, “and that is everything.”
Mexico City Vote at your own risk: Threats of violence by drug gangs apparently deterred many Mexicans from voting in this week’s mayoral and gubernatorial elections, despite a massive troop presence. Just ahead of the vote, one candidate was gunned down by gang members dressed as soldiers, while another found a severed head dumped in his driveway. Some candidates arrived at polling stations in full body armor. In the violence-racked border city of Juárez, barely 20 percent of voters showed up. The Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 70 years until 2000, won nine of the 12 governorships at stake, but it lost control of some of its former strongholds.
Caracas, Venezuela Heroine of the revolution: The Venezuelan government has given a state burial to the lover of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century Latin American liberation hero. The daughter of a Spanish nobleman, Manuela Sáenz saved Bolívar from an assassination attempt and became a general in his rebel army. But when she died in a diphtheria epidemic in 1856, her body was burned and dumped into a mass grave along with other victims. This week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa placed earth from her grave in Bolívar’s tomb. “Simón and Manuela are one and the same,” Correa said, “passion and patriotic fire that today has become a blaze.”