The world at a glance . . . Americas
Inuit pay outrage: Canadians were shocked to learn this week that an airline owned by a nonprofit Inuit collective gave its top executives $1.5 million in bonuses this year. The airline, First Air, is controlled by Makivik, a nonprofit firm with a mandate to promote political, social, and economic development of the Inuit, the indigenous people of the Arctic. Canadian lawmakers are calling for directors of the company to resign. But Makivik’s board of directors is unrepentant. “A number of us feel that these amounts were long overdue,” the board said in a statement, “and could have been higher.”
American kidnapped: An American security consultant who specializes in kidnap negotiations was abducted himself in Mexico last week. Felix Batista, 55, was at a restaurant in the border state of Coahuila when armed men forced him into an SUV, according to witnesses. Batista, a consultant with Houston-based security firm ASI Global, has given seminars to American employees abroad on how to survive if taken captive. ASI declined to say whether a ransom has been demanded. “We have notified the FBI and Mexican authorities, and they are working on the case,” said ASI President Charlie LeBlanc. “We’re offering our support to the family and hoping for the best.”
Raúl Castro welcomed: Cuban President Raúl Castro took his first trip abroad as president last weekend, traveling to Venezuela, where he was given a warm welcome by President Hugo Chávez. Chávez, a longtime ally of Fidel Castro, praised Fidel’s younger brother for challenging U.S. “imperialism.” Castro returned the compliment. “In the name of Cuba, we thank you for your solidarity with the Cuban Revolution,” he said. Cuba has sent thousands of doctors and others professionals to work in the Venezuelan countryside and receives Venezuelan oil at a significant discount. The two leaders agreed to joint projects worth more than $2 billion.