José Moliné Escalona

A la izquierda, el presidente de Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, con el presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, en la capital mexicana. Credit Jose Mendez/EPA, via Shutterstock

A principios de mes, la justicia de Nicaragua ordenó la captura del escritor Sergio Ramírez, exvicepresidente del sandinismo original y crítico de su reencarnación dictatorial, por, dicen, “traición a la patria”. Y a mediados, cuando parecía que el peronismo ganaría las primarias abiertas de Argentina, la sociedad se hartó y dio su voto a la centroderecha para castigar al gobierno por su manejo cínico de la pandemia.

El rechazo unánime del mundo a la persecución de Ramírez simboliza la derrota moral de la izquierda latinoamericana así como el resurgimiento de la sociedad civil argentina es una cachetada política a uno de los proyectos más agresivos de la llamada “marea rosada” regional.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, center, with, by video link, President Biden, right, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, in Canberra, Australia, last week. Credit Mick Tsikas/EPA, via Shutterstock

The United States did not directly mention China in announcing its historic new security partnership with Australia and Britain last week, but it didn’t have to. The defense deal is a clear escalation and indication that Washington views Beijing as an adversary.

It also has thrust Australia into a central role in America’s rivalry with China. After hinting at a more self-reliant defense posture for the past several years, Australia’s government is now instead betting big on the future of its alliance with the United States with the new pact. Australia seems to be assuming that America will remain engaged in Asia for the long haul and will be prepared to face down China if necessary — but it shouldn’t.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rich Countries Worry About Booster Shots. They Should Be Worried About Africa

As the rich world rolls out Covid-19 booster shots, hundreds of millions of Africans remain dangerously exposed, still awaiting their first vaccine dose. This not only adds to the litany of harsh disparities we’ve seen around this virus, but it is also a scandalous injury to global solidarity and vaccine equity.

While early data on waning immunity is emerging around some vaccines, there’s no conclusive evidence to justify giving boosters to fit, healthy people. Third doses should be given only to the small number of people facing a high risk of severe illness and death, despite being fully vaccinated, including those with compromised immune systems.…  Seguir leyendo »

Shiite Huthi rebels man a checkpoint at the southern entrance to the city of Sanaa 15 November 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

In early 2014, I found myself in the sparsely furnished front room of a nondescript breezeblock villa in Aden, a city in southern Yemen that was once one of the busiest ports in the world. My host was a man who once fought alongside Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and later helped what would become the local al-Qaeda franchise gain a foothold in Yemen.

He was recounting how, in 1993, a distant relative had arrived at his hideout in the mountains of Abyan, to Aden’s east. The visitor, a senior military official who like my host hailed from Abyan, had come from Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, with a message from President Ali Abdullah Saleh.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un afiche con el rostro de Alex Saab, el empresario colombiano detenido en Cabo Verde, se desplegó en Caracas en septiembre de 2021. Credit Ariana Cubillos/Associated Press

El 8 de septiembre, el Tribunal Constitucional de Cabo Verde autorizó definitivamente la extradición de Alex Saab a Estados Unidos. Desde hace más de un año, este empresario nacido en Barranquilla, ciudad de la costa colombiana, se encuentra detenido en el país del noroeste africano.

Para quienes no han oído hablar de Saab, bastaría apuntar que, según investigaciones de la justicia internacional y periodísticas, es reseñado como el operador económico del chavismo, está acusado de lavado de dinero por el Departamento del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos y —entre otras cosas— es señalado por amasar una fortuna vendiendo a sobreprecio leche en polvo de dudosa calidad a un país en emergencia humanitaria.…  Seguir leyendo »

This file photo taken on 30 January 2017 shows Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talking to then Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila. Noel CELIS / POOL / AFP

What happened?

On 15 September, a pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorised the court’s Office of the Prosecutor to open an official investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Philippines between 2011 and 2019 as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial “war on drugs”, as well as atrocities around Davao, in the southern island of Mindanao, when he was the city’s vice mayor.

Following a three-year “preliminary examination” of the alleged crimes, the prosecutor sought permission in June to proceed with a more formal investigation, arguing that Duterte’s anti-drug campaign “cannot be seen as a legitimate law enforcement operation”, adding that the killings can be viewed “neither as legitimate nor as mere excesses in an otherwise legitimate operation”.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Joe Biden announces the US will share nuclear submarine technology with Australia, joined virtually by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo by Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The growing diplomatic drama surrounding the announcement of the new Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) risks concealing rather than highlighting what the deal reveals about profound changes in the global strategic context. Several elements stand out.

First, Australia’s decision to break off the $66 billion contract it signed with France in 2016 to purchase a new fleet of diesel electric submarines underscores the heightened level of concern in Canberra about China’s growing naval capabilities.

Despite all the industrial, legal, and diplomatic disruption, the Australian government has decided only the stealthy nuclear-powered submarines developed by Britain with US support can provide the genuine naval capability it needs long-term.…  Seguir leyendo »

Former President Donald Trump is seen on November 2, 2020, in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Maybe this is a source of pride for former President Donald Trump. But for the rest of the world, seeing America's recent political turmoil emulated in nations from east to west is something else entirely. The example set by Trump -- disparaging, assaulting and undercutting a country's democracy -- has now become the template for political players with authoritarian leanings around the globe.

In the same way that Trump's cry of "fake news!" -- which he used with some success to discredit professional journalists -- has been wielded by dictators to crush a free press in their countries, the claim of "rigged" elections is also being deployed by those who cannot win the support of voters as they try to acquire power.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. Air Force ground crew secure weapons and other components of an MQ-9 Reaper drone after it returned from a mission, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, 9 March 2016. REUTERS/Josh Smith

What’s new? The U.S. government is conducting a formal review of its counter-terrorism direct action operations – ie, those that involve kill or capture. But it is not clear that the review will shed light on key questions about the effectiveness of militarised counter-terrorism efforts or recommend major changes.

Why does it matter? The so-called global war on terror deserves greater oversight. Since the 11 September 2001 attacks, the U.S. has waged war upon numerous jihadist groups in a dozen or more countries. Decisions to change the conflict’s scope are often taken unilaterally and in secret by the executive branch.

What should be done?…  Seguir leyendo »

The Public Election Monitoring Center at Moscow's Expocenter Exhibition Complex. Photo by Artyom Geodakyan\TASS via Getty Images.

Edmund Burke warned prophetically in 1790 that the French Revolution would – by destroying the working of the country’s constitutional institutions – leave it with no law but the will of a prevailing force, and that a state without adequate means of managing due change would lack the means of preserving itself (1).

The Russian elections, to be concluded on 19 September, fit an established Putin regime pattern which is designed to reduce the independent authority of the country’s institutions to a fiction in favour of authoritarian rule as it moves towards the presidential elections of 2024 – thereby further diminishing Russia’s chances of managed evolutionary change in the future.…  Seguir leyendo »

Extinction Rebellion hold a globe covered with plasters during a march highlighting the urgency of tackling climate risks at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters. Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images.

At the end of a summer afflicted by devastating floods, wildfires, and heatwaves, the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) takes place just a few weeks before COP26, one of the most important climate change conferences ever.

Delivering an ambitious COP26 outcome requires governments to raise the ambition of their 2030 emission reduction targets – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – and developed countries to honour their 2009 pledge to mobilize $100 billion per year in climate finance to developing countries.

Making substantial progress on both these issues ahead of COP26 is critical, and the UNGA represents one of the last major high-level stages to make important announcements before Glasgow.…  Seguir leyendo »

HMS Astute nuclear submarine, equipped with cruise missiles and torpedoes, has more firepower than any previous British attack submarine. Photo by BAE Systems via Getty Images.

Technology and cyber threats

Dr Beyza Unal

The announcement mentions developing joint capabilities and information and technology sharing across the UK, US, and Australia and picks up on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and quantum communications.

As part of this defence agreement, the UK, US, and Australia are aiming to protect the undersea fibre optic cables that provide part of the military and civilian communication for the West. Both Russia and China possess cyber and submarine technology. They could tap into these cables, allowing for eavesdropping and collecting data through cyber means. It is a matter of national and of NATO Alliance’s security to protect undersea cables.…  Seguir leyendo »

La base vacía en donde estaba la estatua de Cristobal Colón en Ciudad de México. La estatua fue removida en octubre de 2020. Credit Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Tras una semana de intensa polémica cultural, el 14 de septiembre el gobierno de la ciudad de México dio marcha atrás a su decisión de poner la escultura de una mujer indígena en el importante Paseo de la Reforma para sustituir una estatua de Cristóbal Colón, que adornaba la avenida desde 1877. La jefa de gobierno de la ciudad, Claudia Sheinbaum, dejó la decisión final en las manos de un cuerpo colegiado que, de hecho, ya existía para normar estos asuntos.

La trifulca sobre la estatua ha sido un debate simbólico que abarcó varios temas: la figura de Colón, la importancia de descolonizar una de las avenidas más importantes del país y la estética de la nueva escultura.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Million Moments for Democracy Association protest in Prague in April. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The past decade has been a bruising one for the health of European democracy. The dramatic authoritarian turns in Hungary and Poland have attracted most attention, but nearly all European governments have chipped away at civil liberties, judicial independence and civil society.

With Covid accentuating many of the challenges posed by populism, disinformation and a collapse in public trust, the narrative of democracy labouring in deep crisis is now well established. Yet as the threats have mounted, so have efforts to defend and rethink Europe’s democratic practices.

Most spontaneously, there has been an increase in the frequency and intensity of mass protests, even during the pandemic, many in support of democratic values.…  Seguir leyendo »

El mito de que OnlyFans es una plataforma segura para el ‘trabajo sexual’

Vivimos en el mundo que ha creado la pornografía. Durante más de tres décadas, los investigadores han documentado que la pornografía desensibiliza a los consumidores frente a la violencia y propaga mitos sobre la violación y otras mentiras en torno a la sexualidad de las mujeres. Al hacer esto, se normaliza y se vuelve cada vez más generalizada, intrusiva y peligrosa, nos rodea de una manera más íntima y moldea la cultura a tal grado que se vuelve difícil siquiera reconocer los daños que provoca.

Una medida de este éxito es la creciente insistencia de los medios en referirse a las personas que se utilizan en la prostitución y la pornografía como “trabajadores sexuales”.…  Seguir leyendo »

A demonstrator holds up a sign with the TVN logo modified with the communist era V sign indicating solidarity and freedom in Warsaw, Poland on August 10, 2021.

Freedom of the press is under attack in Poland. A new media ownership bill that could become law should be on the radar of everyone who cares about freedom of speech and democracy all around the globe.

Earlier this year, members of parliament from Poland's ruling coalition, Law and Justice (PiS), proposed an amendment to Article 35 of Poland's Broadcasting Act. The amendment says that television and radio license holders cannot be directly or indirectly controlled by entities not in the European Economic Area. In other words, if passed, media companies based outside of Europe won't be able to hold any controlling stake in Polish media.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Israeli foreign minister meets the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on 29 June 2021. Photo: Government Press Office of Israel/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

15 September 2021 marks the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords, the agreements that normalized ties between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. At the time, the accords were portrayed as a barter ending Israeli annexation of the West Bank in exchange for normalization of ties with the UAE.

The Trump administration viewed them as a model for outsourcing regional security that would allow the US to prioritize its interests beyond the Middle East, a tectonic regional shift brokered by the United States. However, only Morocco and Sudan have so far followed suit and signed normalization agreements with Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Bolsonaro Is Getting Desperate, and It’s Clear What He Wants

For weeks, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has been urging his supporters to take to the streets. So on Sept. 7, Brazil’s Independence Day, I was half expecting to see mobs of armed people in yellow-and-green jerseys, some of them wearing furry hats and horns, storming the Supreme Court building — our very own imitation of the Capitol riot.

Fortunately, that was not what happened. (The crowds eventually went home, and no one tried to sit in the Supreme Court justices’ chairs.) But Brazilians were not spared chaos and consternation.

For Mr. Bolsonaro, it was a show of force. In the morning, addressing a crowd of around 400,000 people in Brasília, he said he intended to use the size of the crowd as an “ultimatum for everyone” in the three branches of government.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boards a plane at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 20 February 2020. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS

Of the nineteen hijackers on the four planes that crashed into the north and south towers of the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, all but two were from the Gulf states: fifteen from Saudi Arabia and two from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The attacks and their aftermath upset a status quo of smooth political, economic and security relations between the U.S. and its Gulf Arab partners. As the U.S. turned its overly ambitious gaze toward removing Saddam Hussein and advancing George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda”, it upended finely balanced regional dynamics, increased Gulf states’ sense of insecurity and spurred the slow erosion of their confidence in Washington’s steady support.…  Seguir leyendo »

Somalia’s President (C), Prime Minister (R), and Speaker of the Somali parliament (L), attend the closing ceremony after reaching an agreement for the new elections at the National Consultative Council on Elections in Mogadishu , on 27 May 2021. Abdirahman Yusuf / AFP

After bubbling for weeks, tensions between Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” have burst into the open, nearly triggering another clash between rival branches of the federal forces, in scenes that echoed confrontations in Mogadishu several months ago. Following the unexplained murder of a national intelligence agent and Roble’s subsequent suspension of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) chief, both the prime minister and president moved to appoint a new agency leader. The ensuing tensions nearly sparked a firefight, with opposing units facing off at NISA headquarters on 8 September. Although the forces in Farmajo’s camp backed down, the underlying frictions could yet cause violence and threaten long-overdue indirect elections.…  Seguir leyendo »