The world at a glance ... Americas
TorontoStars bicker over Israel: The Toronto Film Festival descended into a flurry of name-calling this week over its decision to spotlight Israeli films. Hundreds of prominent filmmakers, actors, and academics—including Naomi Klein, Jane Fonda, and Viggo Mortensen—signed a “Toronto Declaration” complaining that the film festival was waging a “propaganda campaign” on behalf of an “apartheid regime.” In response, dozens of other stars released their own statement complaining of censorship. “We don’t need another blacklist,” reads the statement, signed by Natalie Portman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jerry Seinfeld, and others.
HavanaHungry man jailed: A man who became an Internet star with a rant about the lack of food in Cuba has lost his appeal against a two-year jail term. Juan Carlos Gonzalez Marcos was visibly drunk when he jumped in front of a camera that was filming a documentary about Cuban music and complained that Cuba lacked food. “What we need here is a little bit of chow,” he shouted. “We need food! We’re hungry here.” Someone posted the 90-second outtake on YouTube. Gonzalez quickly released a new clip, recanting everything he’d said, but his tirade had already become a sensation, viewed thousands of times. He was convicted of being a danger to society.
Caracas, VenezuelaArms from Russia: Moscow has extended Venezuela $2.2 billion in credits for the purchase of Russian tanks and missiles as a hedge against U.S. “imperialism,” President Hugo Chávez said this week. “We have the largest petroleum reserves in the world, and the empire has its sights on them,” he said. Chávez has accused the U.S. of planning to invade his country from Colombia. Diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela deteriorated sharply this year after Colombia agreed to allow U.S. troops to use some of its military bases. The U.S. has supplied Colombia with some $6 billion in military aid over the past decade, mostly to fight FARC rebels. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week that the Venezuelan arms purchases “raise questions as to whether there is going to be an arms race in the region.”