- - Monday, July 4, 2011

VENEZUELA

Chavez returns home after cancer surgery

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return from Cuba early Monday, stepping off a plane before dawn amid rampant speculation about his fitness to continue in office after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.

Looking thinner but standing straight and appearing energetic, Mr. Chavez strode across the tarmac of the Havana airport before boarding a plane.

In video aired by Cuban state television, he bid goodbye to Cuban President Raul Castro and then from the door of the airplane saluted, raised a fist, waved and blew a kiss.

“It’s the beginning of my return,” he declared from the runway in Venezuela shortly after arriving about 2:30 a.m.

MEXICO

American man dies in fishing-boat accident

MEXICO CITY — An American tourist died after a fishing boat capsized in an unexpected storm in the Gulf of California off the Baja California peninsula, the Mexican navy said Monday.

Of 44 people on the boat, seven U.S. tourists were missing along with one Mexican crew member, said Capt. Benjamin Pineda Gomez in the Baja California port of San Felipe. All others were rescued.

Capt. Pineda had no details about the man who died or his home state.

The Erik, a 115-foot tourist fishing boat, capsized about 2:30 a.m. local time Sunday morning about 60 miles south of San Felipe. Capt. Pineda said two giant waves hit the boat, causing it to tip over about two miles from shore.

PERU

New president to meet with Obama and Clinton

LIMA — Peru’s leftist president-elect Ollanta Humala will travel to Washington this week for meetings with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, his spokeswoman said Monday.

Mr. Humala’s meeting with Mr. Obama “is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at the White House, and his meeting with Clinton in the morning of the same day,” said his spokeswoman, Blanca Rosales.

Once seen as close to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Mr. Humala distanced himself from the fierce U.S. critic on the campaign trail, claiming instead to be an admirer of former leftist Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

It will be Mr. Humala’s first trip to the United States since 2006, when his visa was revoked for political reasons.

Washington suspected him of involvement in a 2005 uprising led by his brother, Antauro Humala, against then-President Alejandro Toledo.

CUBA

Snubbed by Castro, McGovern heads home

HAVANA — Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern headed back to the United States on Monday without having seen Fidel Castro, whom he considers an old friend.

Mr. McGovern, who lost the 1972 presidential election to Richard Nixon, caught an afternoon flight from Havana.

He said officials told him the former Cuban president has been extremely busy with official Cuban matters. He noted that Mr. Castro also has been spending “considerable time” with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who left early Monday after cancer surgery.

The 88-year-old former senator from South Dakota arrived in Cuba on Friday.

CANADA

Manitoba fighting third flood of the year

WINNIPEG — Floodwaters rose toward another record-setting crest in the Western Canadian province of Manitoba on Monday, but the provincial government said it is well-prepared to fight the third major flood it has faced this year.

The swollen Souris River, which swamped 3,000 homes in Minot, N.D., last month, will reach record-high crests starting as early as Monday as it flows north of the border into Manitoba.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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