If Americans weren’t consumed with the historic political contest at home, they would be riveted to the drama unfolding in Belarus.
That’s where an unlikely trio of women has led a mass pro-democracy uprising aiming at toppling Alexander Lukashenko, a Soviet-era leader who has held power for more than a quarter-century. The dictator is digging in his heels even as Belarusians in huge numbers fill the streets week after week demanding he allow them to freely choose their President.
The daily events in Belarus, a former Soviet Republic, are worthy of a Netflix drama, full of unexpected twists, spearheaded by heroic protagonists and driven by a righteous cause.… Seguir leyendo »
Sometimes, it seems as if fate is trying to prove its unlimited capacity for cruelty. When the skies over Beirut exploded on Tuesday, sending shockwaves felt all the way to Cyprus, 150 miles away in the Mediterranean, and devastating much of a city that was once known as the Paris of the Middle East, it seemed one of those times.
But the never-ending tragedy that is Lebanon is not the result of the random doings of destiny.
Lebanon’s government has blamed a large quantity of poorly stored ammonium nitrate for the blast that rocked the city, killing at least 135 people, injuring more than 5,000 and destroying the capital’s critical port, through which most of the goods Lebanon needs — including food — enter the country.… Seguir leyendo »
Todavía nos falta saber mucho sobre lo que sucedió en Bolivia. Pero una cosa es clara: Evo Morales, quien renunció a la presidencia el domingo pasado bajo una gran presión —algunos dicen que fue un golpe, otros que la restauración de la democracia— hubiera podido dejar su cargo de mandatario después de casi 14 años en el poder como un personaje aún reverenciado por la mayoría de los bolivianos. Pero se rehusó a aceptar los límites democráticos de su poder.
Morales trató de mantenerse en el mando contra de la voluntad de su pueblo. Ahora su legado está en ascuas, como también el futuro de Bolivia.… Seguir leyendo »
Imagine a man negotiating a crushingly repressive governing machine, doing it from the inside, and sweeping to power. Then imagine him immediately throwing the prison doors open to free thousands of political prisoners and journalists, welcoming back exiles, allowing banned opposition figures to run for office, and quickly reaching a peace deal with a neighboring country after decades of war.
That man is Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
In a time when democracy is under assault around the world, the Nobel Committee wisely chose to shine its spotlight on Ahmed, a man who has made it his mission to reverse decades of oppression, push against the global tide, and give peace, freedom and equality a chance in a deeply troubled part of the world.… Seguir leyendo »
Scenes of chaos in the British Parliament. Surprising twists at the top of Italian politics. The recent opposition gains in Turkey. Pro-democracy protests in unlikely places. Shock election results and surprising political mobilizations.
The events in a growing list of countries may seem unrelated, but their near-simultaneous occurrence suggests something important is afoot.
After losing ground for a decade, is democracy making a comeback?
For years, populist, right-wing demagogues have been undercutting democracy in country after country, sowing chaos and stoking political polarization. They rose through old-fashioned fearmongering and political manipulation, modernized for our times with social media strategies and considerable assistance from the Kremlin.… Seguir leyendo »
As a society, we have agreed that some crimes are so horrific that they belong in a separate category. These are acts in which the perpetrators victimize not only their immediate target but all of us — which is why we label them “crimes against humanity.”
And that’s why the effort by hard-right politicians in Guatemala to free war criminals from prison is a matter that concerns everyone.
Not many outsiders realize that a genocide unfolded in Guatemala, less than a thousand miles from U.S. shores. The killing took place during the Cold War and after it, from 1960 until 1996, when the parties signed a peace accord and agreed to the National Reconciliation Law.… Seguir leyendo »
Venezuelans are not getting their hopes up. They have tried many times to oust the regime now led by Nicolás Maduro, only to see protesters killed in the streets and Maduro entrenched in power despite the country’s social and economic collapse. Still, they turned out by the hundreds of thousands Wednesday, responding to a call by the opposition — under new leadership — to execute a risky new strategy.
As marchers in Caracas and other cities swarmed the streets, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president. President Trump, the Organization of American States and almost a dozen other countries promptly recognized him as the legitimate president, putting more international pressure on Maduro.… Seguir leyendo »
By almost any measure, 2018 has been a disastrous year for democracy. Authoritarian leaders have made decisive moves to tighten their grip on power by eroding practices indispensable to a functioning democracy, such as the rule of law and a free press, and blithely ignoring or violently suppressing mass protests in places such as Hungary, Nicaragua, the Philippines and elsewhere.
And yet, there are parts of the world where, quite unexpectedly, the struggle for democratic reform made giant strides — a reminder that the right mix of activism, leadership and circumstances can suddenly change the course of history. The good news came from starkly different countries, where undemocratic practices had been playing out in unique ways.… Seguir leyendo »
I have a vivid memory of standing by a muddy road on a dark December afternoon in 1995, when I was chatting with two friends, one a Bosnian Muslim, the other a Bosnian Serb. We were all in the Bosnian city of Tuzla, working on CNN’s coverage of a war that had already claimed 100,000 lives and displaced millions — the worst conflict in Europe since World War II. The warring parties had just signed the U.S.-brokered Dayton Accords, meant to put an end to three years of carnage.
I asked them whether they thought peace would hold, and they nearly winced at the question.… Seguir leyendo »
What will it take for the European Union to stand up for the democratic principles it claims to promote? How much longer will it allow itself — and the taxpayers who fund it — to be played for fools?
Hungary’s Viktor Orban — Europe’s top exponent of the new global wave of autocracy — has just won an ugly election to his fourth term. His country will now accelerate its march away from the values so clearly spelled out in the E.U. charter — even though Orban has happily taken advantage of European subsidies to boost his own political career. It is time for Brussels to turn off the tap.… Seguir leyendo »
The images from Spain this weekend have shocked the world — and many Spaniards, too. Yes, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had warned unequivocally that he would not allow Catalonia’s independence referendum to go ahead. Yet despite the crescendo of tensions ahead of Sunday’s vote, few expected to see bloodshed, much less on such a large scale.
By the time the chaotic day was done, at least 840 people had been injured in dramatic clashes with riot-gear-clad national security forces. The National Police and Civil Guard, armed with truncheons and shields, managed to confiscate millions of ballots and forcibly drag people from the voting stations.… Seguir leyendo »
Who could have imagined that the final weeks of President Obama’s tenure would bring a flurry of mutual recriminations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration?
Who? Anyone who was paying attention.
For months we have been hearing that Obama planned a parting shot, perhaps allowing an anti-Israel resolution to pass without a U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council. I heard about it as far back as last summer.
But as Obama wounded feelings in Israel and enraged Netanyahu, the paradox behind this unseemly quarrel between two good friends, the United States and Israel, is that the biggest losers here are the Palestinian people and their hopes for the establishment of a Palestinian State.… Seguir leyendo »
On June 28, 1914, a 19-year-old Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip fired into an open-top car traveling through the streets of Sarajevo, carrying Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austria-Hungarian Empire.
Within a month, the assassination set off a chain reaction that unleashed World War I, leaving tens of millions dead and ultimately setting the stage for World War II and, indirectly, many of the conflicts we see today.
On December 19, 2016, a 22-year-old Turkish police officer named Mevlut Mert Altintas, pulled out a pistol in an art gallery and killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov.… Seguir leyendo »
The world is at last, reluctantly, looking at the horrors unfolding in Aleppo. The dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the support of Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and other Iran-organized Shiite militias, has all but pulverized parts of the city, deliberately attacking hospitals and homes and targeting non-combatants and civilians.
They are carrying out a new form of ethnic cleansing, with Shiites expelling Sunnis and making it impossible for them to return to their destroyed homes.
This is hardly unexpected. It’s been unfolding gradually, for all to watch. The immediate culprits are the direct perpetrators, let that be clear. But this episode marks a supreme failure of our 21st century society, our leaders, our institutions and the people who claim to care about more than their own well-being.… Seguir leyendo »
Back in March 2014, with Russian-speaking forces patrolling the streets of Crimea, until then a part of the sovereign country of Ukraine, I wrote an article arguing that, “We have entered a new Cold War.” Fast-forward to this surreal moment in American — and global — history, and it appears that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is handily winning this Cold War 2.0.
This is no longer a battle between Communism and capitalism/democracy. This is Putin against the West, against democracy, and Putin is winning.
It’s no secret that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Donald Trump to win. He also wanted Hillary Clinton, whom he despises, to lose.… Seguir leyendo »
There is no shortage of outrages and lies spewing forth from high places these days, but one lie that received little attention deserves close notice: UNESCO, the United Nations cultural and education body, approved a resolution that goes a long way toward denying Jewish and Christians ties to Jerusalem’s Old City.
It is a resolution that denies reality, that erases facts and, most importantly, one that marks a step against reconciliation and peace. It will serve only to embolden extremists on all sides and confirms Israelis’ fears that the international community, especially the United Nations, remains committed to an anti-Israel agenda.… Seguir leyendo »
The news that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize came as the second shock in a week to the Colombian people — including Santos.
The first shock came five days earlier, when Colombian voters rejected the peace agreement Santos had negotiated with the guerrilla group known as FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Practically no one expected Santos to win after voters had said «No» to his peace plan in last weekend’s referendum. Pollsters had incorrectly predicted a landslide victory for the agreement, and in the aftermath of its razor-thin defeat, the head of Peace Research Institute Oslo told journalists that, «Colombia is off any credible list.»… Seguir leyendo »
Events in Latin America typically garner little attention in the United States. But from Brazil to Venezuela, from Colombia to Cuba, an avalanche of important stories has helped the region pierce the shield of indifference to find a place in the headlines.
Some stories, like Donald Trump’s quick trip to Mexico, have obvious and immediate relevance to the US news cycle. But don’t be fooled by the largely domestic nature of some of the other stories coming from south of the border. The reality is that we will be hearing more and more about the transformation taking place in the region, and why that will matter for the agenda of the next US president.… Seguir leyendo »
Sometimes a bathing suit is just a bathing suit. But not today. Europeans — Muslims, Christians, atheists and others — are fiercely debating the question of what women should be allowed to wear at the beach. It seems like a trivial matter, but it isn’t.
More than a dozen French cities, along with some towns in other European countries, have banned the so-called burkini, a bathing suit designed for Muslim women who want to cover more of their body than a bikini or a regular one-piece bathing suit does.
With that, French authorities, aiming to protect women’s freedoms, have missed their mark by a mile.… Seguir leyendo »
The look in his eyes is hypnotic.
Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, his face covered in dust and blood, sits quietly in the orange chair of the ambulance, his tiny bare feet barely dangling over the edge. Photographers snapped the picture after rescue workers pulled Omran from of a collapsing building in the city of Aleppo, in Syria, after it was hit by a Syrian government or Russian airstrike.
The picture has spread at lightning speed across social media, making him a symbol of the relentless suffering being experienced at this very moment by millions of Syrian civilians, including countless women and children.… Seguir leyendo »