Viernes, 22 de junio de 2018

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 18: Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan wave flags as they gather in Istanbul's central Taksim Square on July 18, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. Clean up operations are continuing in the aftermath of Friday's failed military coup attempt which claimed the lives of more than 208 people. In raids across Turkey 7,543 people have been arrested in relation to the failed coup including high-ranking soldiers and judges, Turkey's PM Binali Yildirim has said. (Photo by Kursat Bayhan/Getty Images)

On April 18, I was in a seaside coffeehouse in Istanbul when Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called snap elections for June 24. There was confusion and even panic among customers: he had caught the nation off-guard. Political parties had only sixty-seven days to prepare, and if Erdoğan won he would likely hold the reins for at least another decade. But then came an intriguing thought: if he lost—and Erdoğan has never lost an election in sixteen years—the surprise elections might be his exit.

Turkey’s new presidential system, adopted after a referendum in 2017, is nerve-racking for Erdoğan and his rivals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Belgium's Christian Benteke takes part in a press conference of the Belgian national soccer team Red Devils on May 24, 2018, in Tubize prior to the final squad selection for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. (Photo by BRUNO FAHY / various sources / AFP) / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read BRUNO FAHY/AFP/Getty Images)

The only true Belgian, goes a long-running joke, is the king of the country. Riven by tensions between its French-speaking Walloons and Dutch-speaking Flemish, and with the identity of Brussels largely defined by it’s being the capital of Europe, rather than Belgium, the country’s existence as a unified nation often seems tenuous at best. But in the last decade, another national institution has come to symbolize what it means—or, at least, might mean—to be Belgian: the national soccer team, known as the Red Devils. Packed with star players well-known from their professional careers in the English Premier League (considered the world’s best), the national squad is also notably for its diversity, with many players from immigrant backgrounds.…  Seguir leyendo »

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, here speaking in Mexico City, has a substantial lead in surveys as the July 1 presidential election approaches.CreditCarlos Jasso/Reuters

In this arid farming town in central Mexico, a crowd packed the plaza under a punishing sun to hear the leftist presidential hopeful Andrés Manuel López Obrador promise to end the corruption that plagues the nation.

“They have even said that corruption is part of Mexican culture,” he said to a chorus of supportive shouts. “That is a falsehood. A big lie. In our people, there is a great reserve of values, cultural, moral, spiritual, in the families, in the pueblos, in the communities.” He pointed upward. “The problem is above. The rulers always set a bad example.”

Mr. López Obrador went on to promise cuts in government expenditures, including a reduction in the president’s salary and the selling of the executive air fleet.…  Seguir leyendo »

How Britain Lost Its Power of Seduction

“The place of those who have ceased to rule is to teach,” V. S. Pritchett wrote of Spain in 1954, as the British Empire was collapsing around him. By the end of the 20th century, Britain had long since ceased to rule. But in India, where I grew up and which had been a British colony for nearly 90 years and subject to its growing influence since the 1700s, it continued to feed us in myriad ways. The phantom limb of empire outlasted Britain’s physical presence; we felt ourselves bound, as if by an invisible cord, to our former colonial masters.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Ethiopian military officer stands guard in the outskirts of Badme, a territorial dispute town between Eritrea and Ethiopia.CreditTiksa Negeri/Reuters

Early this month, the Ethiopian government declared that it was finally ready to implement a peace deal it signed with Eritrea nearly two decades ago. The Eritrean government didn’t respond to the announcement for over two weeks — until Wednesday, when President Isaias Afwerki said that “the positive direction that has been set in motion is crystal clear.” Mr. Isaias also promised to send a delegation to Ethiopia “to gauge current developments directly and in depth.”

For many years, however, even as Ethiopia declared its willingness to implement a 2002 judgment about the two states’ border, it refused to withdraw its troops from Eritrean territory until other issues — about armed groups, trade, access to Eritrea’s ports on the Red Sea — were settled.…  Seguir leyendo »

Saudi Women Can Drive Now. Will That Hurt Saudi Women

Concessions on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia often appear during times of turmoil or transition.

In the wake of Sept. 11, when Saudi ties to Islamist militants were under scrutiny, the kingdom decided that women could be appointed as consultants to the Royal Advisory Council. It began offering scholarships for women to study abroad — accompanied by their male guardian — and allowed them to be elected to local chambers of commerce.

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, when there were whispers about whether the wave of revolutions could reach Saudi Arabia, the king at the time, Abdullah, made some women full members to the Royal Advisory Council.…  Seguir leyendo »

The writer watched the Iceland-Argentina match with her family and friends at a rooftop bar in Reykjavik.CreditThe writer watched the Iceland-Argentina match with her family and friends at a rooftop bar in Reykjavik.

Because my husband, Luke, and I are both former football players and we want our boys to love the game as we do, we packed our bags and our sons — Ellis, 2, and Dane, 5 — on a nine-hour flight to Reykjavik. Tiny Iceland, for the first time, made the World Cup. And the United States did not.

Our plan: to traverse volcanoes and glaciers in the never-ending daylight; whisper in our sons’ ears of trolls, fairies and elves; and hoist them on our shoulders as thousands Viking-clap in unison on a cobblestone street. We hoped it would all get conflated in their little hearts and minds as one magical thing: football.…  Seguir leyendo »

Philippe Coutinho celebra su gol contra Suiza el 17 de junio de 2018, el primer partido del grupo E que terminó en un empate. Credit Marko Djurica/Reuters

La selección de Brasil debutó en el Mundial con un empate frente a Suiza. Y ese resultado ha disminuido el optimismo de la afición canariña de ganar una sexta Copa del Mundo. Pero si a partir del viernes la selección brasileña empieza a ganar partidos y el 15 de julio resulta campeona en Rusia, ¿qué consecuencias tendría en un país convulsionado políticamente y que celebra elecciones presidenciales en octubre? O, acaso más problemático, ¿qué pasará si pierde?

Aunque me atrevo a especular que ningún resultado del Mundial influirá en la elección del próximo presidente en Brasil, es inevitable ver la influencia del deporte más popular del país en su política.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lionel Messi, capitán de la selección argentina, después del partido en el que su equipo perdió 3 a 0 contra Croacia en el segundo enfrentamiento del grupo D Credit Matthew Childs/Reuters

Así somos: parece que así somos. En el mundo dicen —los que dicen algo sobre el tema— que lo que hacemos los argentinos es exactamente eso: sobrar, hacernos los vivos, simular que podemos lo que no podemos, creerlo incluso. Así somos: a los ocho minutos del segundo tiempo el arquero argentino, Wilfredo Caballero, recibe la pelota de un compañero y, en lugar de pararla o pasarla hacia un costado, intenta levantarla sobre la cabeza de un atacante croata y se la entrega. El croata, un tal Rebic, agradecido, lo fusila. Un partido tenso, difícil, en el que cualquier error podía ser fatal, se deshizo por esa obviedad: un argentino creyendo que puede lo que está claro que no puede.…  Seguir leyendo »

Renovar el pacto constitucional

Bien sé a quién contradigo... (Francisco de Quevedo)

Menos de una semana después de la toma de posesión de Pedro Sánchez ante el Rey como presidente del Gobierno de España, el federalismo ha regresado al primer plano de la actualidad política. Si en su primera semana como Ministra de Política Territorial y Función Pública, Meritxell Batet, en una intervención ante su partido, el PSC, invocó las virtudes taumatúrgicas el diálogo y afirmó que era necesaria una reforma constitucional tan urgente como viable, e incluso deseable, con el noble propósito de que Cataluña se sintiera "feliz dentro de España", un conjunto de intelectuales han dado continuidad a esas palabras, mediante el manifiesto titulado Renovar el pacto constitucional.…  Seguir leyendo »

El ex fiscal del caso Nóos, Pedro Horrach, explicaba hace unos días a este periódico que de no haber prescrito el presunto delito de fraude a Hacienda (la donación del Rey Juan Carlos a su hija Cristina de 1,5 millones de euros para la adquisición de la casa de Pedralbes, presentada tributariamente como un préstamo), Horrach hubiese tenido que citar al Rey a testificar. "Hubiera tenido que declarar si no fuese inviolable", dice el fiscal, quien añade que, "de haber tenido que declarar, habría que ver en qué condiciones".

Marcando distancias de la Corona y mandando a Iñaki y a la Infanta Cristina, que también ha sido procesada, al ostracismo se ha zanjado una crisis constitucional -como si no hubiera suficientes fuegos abiertos en España- y se ha exhibido la ejemplaridad ética que debe dar la monarquía moderna.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Por dónde comenzar a escribir un artículo preelectoral cuando hay demasiado en juego y la sociedad está extremadamente polarizada en dos partes de casi las mismas dimensiones? La pregunta viene a cuento porque las elecciones son trascendentales para el futuro del país y hay interrogantes sobre si pueden ser libres y justas. Los próximos comicios que tendrán lugar en Turquía este domingo —tanto presidenciales como legislativos— no son solo para elegir quién gobernará el país, sino cómo se gobernará. Entre otras cosas, marcarán la fecha de entrada en vigor de las enmiendas a la Constitución. Aprobado con un referéndum muy controvertido en abril 2017, Turquía se convertirá en un sistema presidencial con mecanismos de control muy débiles.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cincuenta veces mayo

La palabra “revolución” sugiere la idea de una agitación histórica que rompe el ritmo consabido de los hábitos, logrando que la historia recorra en pocos días un camino que, de otro modo, habría costado décadas o no se habría transitado nunca. Pero esta noción tan familiar no es, en realidad, demasiado vieja: todavía en las vísperas de las dos grandes revoluciones del siglo XVIII perduraba el sentido tradicional de la palabra, conforme al cual la revolución es un vuelco de los tiempos que permite a estos regresar a algún estado anterior. No en vano se trata de una metáfora astronómica, tomada de las órbitas de los cuerpos celestes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las muletas de la vida

La vida es una aventura desde el principio al fin. Desde que nacemos hasta que nos llega la hora de la despedida de este mundo pasamos por un sinnúmero de situaciones vitales que nos son gratas, ingratas o indiferentes. Dormimos, comemos, charlamos, trabajamos, disfrutamos, amamos, sufrimos, viajamos, lloramos, reímos y tantas cosas más que componen nuestro ciclo vital. Y en todo ese discurrir tenemos siempre la fundamental opción de ser felices o infelices. A veces la infelicidad nos supera, nos viene dada por acontecimientos o situaciones que no controlamos. Pero siempre es posible montar mecanismos vitales que nos lleven a ser felices o, si acaso, menos infelices, y es que al final la suprema aspiración de los humanos es la de ser felices.…  Seguir leyendo »

Social protests are not unheard of in Morocco – indeed they are regular features of the calendar and although they have not threatened, to date, the overall stability of the country, let alone the monarchy, they point to the persistence of large income disparities, high unemployment among young people (the percentage of Moroccans between 15-24 who were neither at school, in training or had a job in 2017 was a staggering 29.3% according to government statistics) and rising living costs.

Protest took on an altogether new form in late April when an online boycott campaign against three leading Moroccan oligopolies, using hashtags such as “let it rot” was joined by 57% of Moroccans, according the Moroccan daily L’Economiste.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranian Muslims perform Eid al-Fitr Prayer at Shah Abdol Azim Shrine in Tehran. Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Cuando pensamos en el conflicto en Oriente Medio, los factores religiosos probablemente sean los primeros que nos vienen a la cabeza. Pero, hoy en día, los intereses estratégicos enfrentados y las ambiciones imperiales desempeñan un papel mucho más importante que las divisiones religiosas o sectarias a la hora de definir la política regional. Esto es, potencialmente, una evolución positiva.

Consideremos la lucha por la influencia regional entre Arabia Saudita e Irán. A pesar de que se consideró durante mucho tiempo que era el resultado de la división entre suníes y chiitas, la competencia, en verdad, es entre dos sistemas políticos opuestos: el régimen revolucionario de Irán, inclinado a cambiar el equilibrio de poder regional, versus la monarquía conservadora de Arabia Saudita, que busca sostener el viejo orden regional.…  Seguir leyendo »

A cardboard cut-out of Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed former co-chair and the presidential candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party. (Emrah Gurel/AP)

On Sunday, voters in Turkey will face a stark choice between two paths. One, embodied by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, entails a further descent into authoritarianism and a deepening of ethnic and sectarian divides. The other, represented by the opposition, offers the potential for national reconciliation, a return to parliamentary democracy and an easing of tensions with the West. The stakes have never been higher.

Opinion polls show a deeply polarized nation, evenly split between the pro-Erdogan camp and an opposition bloc led by pro-secular presidential candidate Muharrem Ince. Not only will the outcome affect the Turkish people. It also will determine whether Turkey — a critical Middle Eastern power and a vital member of NATO — continues its drift away from the U.S.-led…  Seguir leyendo »

Relatives and friends of Marvin Lopez, 49, who was shot in the throat during clashes with riot police and members of the Sandinista youth, attend his funeral in Masaya, Nicaragua, on June 20. (AFP/Getty Images)

A student leader calls him “The butcher of El Carmen,” in reference to the heavily fortified bunker of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who has been massacring civilians over two months to repress a wave of protests against his regime. 

Ortega, the 72-year-old leader of the Sandinista revolution that deposed the brutal dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979, is repeating history. A quick look at the hashtag #SOSNicaragua on social media shows the violence unleashed by his police and paramilitary forces that has left more than 200 people dead.

Now the city of Masaya, a symbol of the resistance, is under siege. Attacks over the past two days against unarmed residents in the city, about 15 miles south of the capital, Managua, have escalated.…  Seguir leyendo »