The world at a glance . . . Americas
OttawaCanada cleared of ‘torture by proxy’: Canadian officials did not collude with Syria in the torture of three Arab-born Canadians, an official inquiry concluded this week. The inquiry found that three men were, in fact, tortured in Syria and that their mistreatment “resulted indirectly from several actions of Canadian officials.” But no Canadian agency purposely ordered the coercive interrogation of the men, former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci wrote in a 544-page report. The men had all been questioned by Canadian police as possible al Qaida members after 9/11, but they were not arrested until they flew to Syria separately over the next two years. They are now demanding a Canadian government apology for their treatment in Syria, where they were beaten with electrical cables.
HavanaThe next Saudi Arabia? Cuba has twice as much recoverable oil in its offshore fields as previously thought, Cuban officials said this week. The state oil company Cubapetroleo said it now believes there are more than 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil off Cuba’s shores, not the 9 billion the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated. Cubapetroleo’s estimates are based on comparisons to known oil reserves found within similar geological structures off the coasts of the U.S and Mexico, and officials said they were confident that the U.S. agency would revise its estimate once it saw the Cuban data. If the reserves are confirmed, Cuba could equal the U.S. in oil production, which would generate unprecedented wealth for the Communist state. But oil industry analysts were skeptical of the claim.
Tegucigalpa, HondurasThousands flee floods: Thousands of Hondurans were stranded in flooded villages this week after several days of torrential rains. The rainy season this year has been unusually harsh, as tropical depressions have stalled over Central America. At least 10 people have died in the ensuing floods and mudslides, and some 100,000 have fled their inundated homes. The Honduran newspaper El Heraldo called the flooding a “disaster of biblical proportions.” Honduras’ neighbors were also battered. Bridges were washed out and villages cut off all across Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Buenos Aires, ArgentinaNationalizing pensions: Argentina’s stock market plunged by a staggering 13 percent this week after news leaked of a government plan to nationalize the country’s private pension funds. The government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the takeover was intended to protect workers’ pensions. But financial analysts described the plan as a “power grab,” saying the government would simply use the $5 billion in annual pension contributions to cover budget shortfalls. Few major international investors are willing to give Argentina the benefit of the doubt, given the country’s history of insolvency. In 2001, Argentina announced the largest sovereign debt default in the world.