The world at a glance . . . Americas
OttawaClimate protest 2.0: Protestors disrupted a parliamentary debate on climate change this week, forcing police to clear the entire public viewing gallery in Canada’s House of Commons. The raucous “flash mob,” organized by text messaging, rose in small groups during the debate to chant slogans denouncing government inaction on climate change. When police converged on one cluster of protestors, another would rise up in different part of the gallery, chanting other slogans. Six protesters were arrested. Some lawmakers welcomed the break in legislative routine. “It’s pretty powerful, young people getting this animated,” said Nathan Cullen, a New Democratic Party representative from British Columbia.
Havana Castro’s sister spied for U.S.: Juanita Castro, the younger sister of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, worked for the CIA during the Cold War, she says in a memoir released this week. Juanita Castro, 76, defected to the U.S. in 1964, saying her brothers had made Cuba into “an enormous prison surrounded by water.” Now, in My Brothers Fidel and Raúl, the Secret History, she reveals her collaboration with American agents for a few years starting in 1961, just two years after the revolution she initially supported. “They had interesting things to tell me and interesting things to ask of me,” Juanita Castro says. She agreed to smuggle documents and money from Mexico to agents in Cuba, she writes. She has run a pharmacy in Miami for the past 35 years.
Caracas, VenezuelaNeighbors bicker: Venezuela is accusing Colombia of spying and trying to destabilize its government. The charges stem from Colombia’s offer to help investigate last week’s killing of eight of its citizens kidnapped while playing soccer just over the Venezuelan border. Venezuelan officials rebuffed the offer, saying the slayings appeared to be part of an internal dispute within a Colombian paramilitary group planning to infiltrate Venezuela. Relations between the two countries, already strained over Colombia’s plan to allow U.S. troops use of its military bases, deteriorated further when President Hugo Chávez insulted Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva in his weekly address. “The Colombian defense minister—this mentally feeble, if not mentally retarded guy—takes orders from the empire,” Chávez said.
La Paz, BoliviaPutting in a claim: Bolivia wants a cut of a massive load of treasure discovered in a sunken 19th-century Spanish ship. A U.S. treasure-hunting company discovered the wreck off the coast of Portugal in 2007 and has been fighting Spain in the courts over possession of hundreds of thousands of coins onboard. Spain believes the ship is the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, sunk by British warships in 1804 while sailing from Peru. This week the Bolivian government said it was sending a numismatic expert to determine whether the coins’ gold and silver came from Bolivian mines. If so, Bolivia would invoke international law on repatriation of cultural items to lay claim to the hoard, the Culture Ministry said. Peru is mulling a similar bid.