Martes, 20 de marzo de 2018

To Reunite Ukraine, Kyiv Must Overcome Its Own Prejudices

It is common for Ukrainian officials and their international backers to say that Russia’s 2014 invasion, which was partly motivated by Moscow’s anger at Ukraine pivoting toward Europe and the U.S., has unified the country and turned it even more resolutely westward. In one sense, they are correct: Moscow’s aggression has consolidated support among many Ukrainians for membership in the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

But talk of unity among Ukraine’s 44 million people is misleading. It leaves out over two million inhabitants of Crimea, annexed by Russia, and up to three million residents of Donbas, the eastern region of Ukraine partly controlled by Moscow-backed rebels.…  Seguir leyendo »

An installation from the Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House in London in 2016. Photo: Getty Images.

Revelations that Cambridge Analytica may have enabled the Trump campaign to access the data of more than 50 million people during the US presidential election have caused concern. But a narrow focus on Cambridge Analytica alone masks the risks to democracy arising from internet platforms’ standard terms, business models and what they know about each and every user.

In a 60 Minutes interview in 2017, the head of social media for the Trump campaign, Brad Parscale, said he relied heavily on Facebook but downplayed the influence of Cambridge Analytica. It was a self-serving narrative that boosted Parscale’s own role in securing the Trump win.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Vladimir Putin of Russia at a meeting with foreign businessmen in 2016. The Russian economy has stagnated in the absence of reforms. Credit Olga Maltseva/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

There was never much suspense about whether Vladimir Putin would win the election on Sunday, but there is at least some question about which Putin will show up for his fourth term as Russia’s president.

It’s long forgotten now, but Mr. Putin was once a classic economic reformer. He took over as president in 2000, after a decade in which Russia was devastated by financial crisis, twice. With his country’s back against the wall, Mr. Putin in his early years pushed major economic reforms, including a simple flat tax and opening Russia to the world. His stated goal was to make Russia feel like any other European country.…  Seguir leyendo »

Bigger Is Not Better for Ocean Conservation

I have spent my entire life pushing for new protected areas in the world’s oceans. But a disturbing trend has convinced me that we’re protecting very little of real importance with our current approach.

From Hawaii to Brazil to Britain, the establishment of large marine protected areas, thousands of square miles in size, is on the rise. These areas are set aside by governments to protect fisheries and ecosystems; human activities within them generally are managed or restricted. While these vast expanses of open ocean are important, their protection should not come before coastal waters are secured. But in some cases, that’s what is happening.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One House at a Time

I live with my parents and older brother in this rural mountain town in the center of this island. Hurricane Maria made landfall here six months ago this week. The strong winds began to lash our area by 2 a.m. on Sept. 20. Our power and water had already been shut off for a day by then.

My family, along with about 200 other people, sought refuge at a high school in our town. Whenever the doors were opened to let others in, the wind would whip through the hallways. I was scared. A few of us gathered in a circle, joined hands and prayed, hoping it would bring us some sense of peace.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesting against the suspended president Dilma Rousseff, in São Paulo, Brazil, in July 2016. Credit Nelson Almeida/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It goes like this: The government announces another increase in the bus fare, so a few Brazilians take to the streets, march for a couple of miles, and then the police decide they’ve had enough. A kind of pyrotechnic exhibition ensues, with gas and explosions. Everybody goes home, some after a short stay at the local police station, others with purple bruises for souvenirs.

A few days later, there’s another demonstration. And then another. Rinse and repeat until everybody gets tired, demonized, traumatized or sufficiently intimidated. The bus fare remains outrageous, and it will rise again next year.

The plot has been the same for many other grievances in the recent years: labor reforms; the reorganization of public schools; an illegitimate, unpopular presidency; a costly, foolish World Cup; a catastrophic Summer Olympics.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Vladimir Putin of Russia at a meeting with foreign businessmen in 2016. The Russian economy has stagnated in the absence of reforms. Credit Olga Maltseva/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

There was never much suspense about whether Vladimir Putin would win the election on Sunday, but there is at least some question about which Putin will show up for his fourth term as Russia’s president.

It’s long forgotten now, but Mr. Putin was once a classic economic reformer. He took over as president in 2000, after a decade in which Russia was devastated by financial crisis, twice. With his country’s back against the wall, Mr. Putin in his early years pushed major economic reforms, including a simple flat tax and opening Russia to the world. His stated goal was to make Russia feel like any other European country.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Xi Jinping of China bowing to delegates before delivering a speech in Beijing this week. Credit Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The recent decision by China’s National People’s Congress to abolish term limits for the office of the president has sent shock waves through the West: Xi Jinping, the current officeholder, is suddenly being described as a new Confucian autocrat, overseeing a state still governed by a Marxist-Leninist party, presiding over a selectively capitalist economy, with ambitions to make his country a global superpower.

This sense of shock says more about the West than China. For the last five years, Western leaders and analysts have often projected onto China an image of their preferred imaginings, rather than one reflecting the actual statements of China’s own leaders, or in the physical evidence of Chinese statecraft.…  Seguir leyendo »

En febrero de 1991 George W. H. Bush anunciaba la victoria de los EEUU en la primera Guerra de Irak. Nadie podía prever entonces que sería derrotado en las elecciones del año siguiente por el joven gobernador de Arkansas, Bill Clinton. Pero entre 1991 y 1992 la situación económica se deterioró rápidamente y la administración republicana parecía incapaz de controlarla, lo que acabó por pesar más en la decisión de los electores que otras cuestiones. El lema oficioso de la campaña de Clinton fue “¡Es la economía, estúpido!”. Su asesor James Carville había escrito esas palabras en un tablón de las oficinas centrales de campaña para recordar a sus colaboradores cuál era el marco que debían crear.…  Seguir leyendo »

Arden los símbolos de la patria

Quemar una gran fotografía de los reyes, colocada boca abajo para remarcar el desafecto por la monarquía, es una respetable manifestación de la libertad de expresión. Así lo ha dicho el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos en la Sentencia de 13 de marzo de 2018 (asunto Stern Taulats y Roura Capella c. España). Los españoles, en general, y la mayor parte de nuestros medios de comunicación, han recibido con sorpresa, si no con estupor, una decisión que choca con nuestra tradición de respeto a los reyes y jefes de Estado y con la protección específica que nuestras leyes penales les dispensan frente a las injurias y otros abusos de la libertad de expresión.…  Seguir leyendo »

La globalización y las nuevas tecnologías, dos fuerzas humanas que se retroalimentan, han producido una brecha económica y social enorme, sobre todo en Europa y EE UU. Algunos piensan que hay que dar marcha atrás y volver a los años sesenta pero eso no es posible. La globalización o explota o seguirá avanzando. Eso significa que el trabajador europeo, bien sea de clase obrera sin formación o de clase media con un trabajo eminentemente mecánico, se enfrenta a dos tsunamis: la automatización y la competencia de millones de nuevos trabajadores de los mercados emergentes, principalmente de China e India.

Estos dos ciclones se están llevando por delante muchos puestos de trabajo, pero con ellos también el establishment político.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Estamos seguros de que el único precio que pagamos por utilizar un teléfono móvil es la tarifa plana? España es, junto con Singapur, uno de los países donde hay más teléfonos móviles por persona. El 92% de los ciudadanos españoles tiene uno y hay 120 líneas por cada 100 usuarios. Nos situamos por tanto, incluso por encima de Estados Unidos, donde solo el 90% de la población tiene un móvil.

Precisamente en ese país, un juez de Michigan ha condenado a 110 años de prisión a una persona, apellidada Carpenter, porque se le involucró en cuatro atracos a cuatro centros comerciales por los datos de ubicación sacados de su teléfono móvil, aunque se obtuvieron sin orden judicial.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los observadores de la política alemana han presenciado en las últimas semanas un drama desconcertante. Tras más de cinco meses de negociaciones, el país tiene un nuevo Gobierno. Después de las elecciones de septiembre de 2017, aparte del intento fallido de formar una coalición Jamaica, la aritmética no dejó más opción mayoritaria posible que repetir la coalición de la última legislatura, pese a que tanto la CDU/CSU como el SPD tuvieron descensos significativos respecto a los comicios anteriores.

En el SPD, en particular, la negociación en dos fases que desembocó en el nuevo acuerdo de gran coalición ha recibido muchas críticas.…  Seguir leyendo »

El lugar más bello del mundo

Prometen ser muchas las conmemoraciones de los quinientos años del primer viaje que consiguió dar la vuelta al mundo, y es lógico, porque fue larga esa aventura. Para España empezó el 10 de agosto de 1519, cuando las cinco naves de Fernando Magallanes zarpaban de Sevilla, pero para el portugués había empezado mucho antes, al llegar a la ciudad en octubre de 1517, en Valladolid ante el Emperador en marzo de 1518. Aunque el proyecto venía de más lejos; Magallanes lo había ido fraguando durante los ocho años que pasó en Oriente, desde 1505 a 1513. El plan, evidentemente, no era circunnavegar la tierra, sino llegar al preciado clavo de las Molucas siguiendo una ruta hacia poniente y, de paso, demostrar a qué lado del contrameridiano de Tordesillas se encontraba el archipiélago.…  Seguir leyendo »

El libro Las que se atrevieron (2017) de Lucía Asué Mbomío Rubio da cuenta de seis relaciones de mujeres españolas blancas con hombres negros. Basta una lectura como esta para que se derrumbe el mito de que España no es un país racista. Un mito en el que solo creen quienes gozan del privilegio blanco de pasarse la vida sin pensar en cuestiones raciales. Es decir, los principiantes del título, entre los que yo mismo solía incluirme.

Para la mayoría blanca en España, el racismo es invisible, como lo es el machismo para ciertos hombres, la homofobia para muchos heterosexuales y un largo etcétera.…  Seguir leyendo »

La modernización del Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL), iniciada por Deng Xiaoping hace casi 40 años, ha emprendido una carrera espectacular desde la llegada al poder de Xi Jinping, en noviembre del 2012. La creciente rivalidad entre China y EEUU ha llevado Pekín a proyectar su fuerza más allá de su entorno, con un portaaviones operativo y dos en construcción, una primera base militar fuera de su territorio -en Yibuti-, un gran despliegue de instalaciones en las disputadas aguas del mar del Sur de China y una abrumadora capacidad de cíberpoder.

El actual proceso de reforma del EPL es el más importante desde su fundación en 1927.…  Seguir leyendo »

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reviews an honor guard at the Bureau of Customs in Manila on Feb. 6, 2018. (Mark R. Cristino/European Pressphoto Agency)

In what could be the beginning of the trial of the century, the International Criminal Court has initiated a preliminary probe into alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

The prime target is no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a bloody campaign against suspected drug dealers since his ascent to power in 2016. Almost overnight, the Southeast Asian country transformed from a “bastion of human rights and democracy” into potentially the latest member of an exclusive club of nations that have seen their leaders prosecuted for crimes against humanity. In response, Duterte has called to withdraw his country’s membership to the international body, which would make the Philippines only the second nation, after Burundi, to withdraw.…  Seguir leyendo »

For years, staffers of the BBC’s Iranian-language services — and their family members back in Iran — have endured threats to their safety and liberty. Last week the BBC took extraordinary and unprecedented action. It filed a complaint with the United Nation Human Rights Commission on behalf of 152 employees of its Persian-language service against the government of the Islamic Republic, hoping to halt a systematic campaign to silence journalists.

The problem isn’t new. But the broadcaster decided it had to act publicly last November, after Iran’s judiciary moved in August to seize the assets of Persian Service staffers and blocked financial transactions between them and their family members in Iran.…  Seguir leyendo »

Luigi Di Maio (L), Beppe Grillo (C) and Davide Casaleggio (R) pose in front of the Italian Interior Ministry after presenting the new symbol of the Five Star Movement for the March general election. Jan. 19, 2018 in Rome, Italy. (Angelo Carconi/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

When the Five Star Movement received the highest percentage of votes — 33 percent — in the Italian elections on March 4, its candidate for prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, said: “You can’t stop the wind with your hands.” Indeed, the Five Star Movement is an unstoppable wind that will continue to grow because it is aligned to the future. Citizens everywhere are calling for real democracy, to express their voices directly and to no longer be held back by the establishment.

The Five Star Movement, which launched in 2009, has now achieved a landmark success among Western democracies by using the Internet to play a crucial role in the electoral process.…  Seguir leyendo »

La lutte contre les organisations terroristes comme Daech (acronyme arabe de l’organisation Etat islamique) et la gestion des flux de l’émigration constituent les plus grands défis auxquels les pays européens doivent faire face aujourd’hui. La Turquie continue de jouer un rôle majeur dans l’action internationale pour les relever.

C’est la Turquie qui a permis à l’Union européenne (UE) de réguler le flux d’émigrés de Syrie. Elle a non seulement accueilli chez elle 3,5 millions de Syriens, mais également sauvé la vie de milliers d’entre eux, en leur épargnant une périlleuse traversée de la mer Egée pour rejoindre l’Europe occidentale.

C’est la Turquie qui a été parmi les premiers pays à reconnaître Daech comme une organisation terroriste.…  Seguir leyendo »