George Clooney

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Demonstrators gather in Sudan's capital of Khartoum Friday as the Sudanese protest movement has rejected the military's declaration that it has no ambitions to hold the reins of power for long after ousting the president of 30 years, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. (Anonymous/AP)

For the past decade, governments around the world lined up to legitimize the regime of Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Sudan — even as it continued to attack civilians in Darfur, burn Christian churches, deny food to areas of the Nuba Mountains, provide support to extremist groups, and arrest and torture protesters. Instead of confronting these abuses, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the African Union, China, Russia and Persian Gulf countries all sought ways to strengthen relations with his government.

Only one constituency stood up to Bashir and his allied generals: the Sudanese people themselves. After years of organizing and resisting, Sudan’s pro-reform social movement catalyzed protests across the country, resulting in a “palace coup ” on Thursday .…  Seguir leyendo »

George Clooney on Sudan’s Rape of Darfur

In the early 2000s, a brutal conflict in western Sudan between the government and rebels led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris, with millions displaced as refugees. In 2004, the United States declared Sudan’s actions a genocide.

After that spike in attention and concern, the world has largely forgotten about Darfur. Unfortunately, the government of Sudan has not.

Because Sudan’s government routinely blocks journalists from going into the Darfur region and severely restricts access for humanitarian workers, any window into life there is limited. The government has hammered the joint peacekeeping mission of the United Nations and African Union into silence about human rights concerns by shutting down the United Nations human rights office in the capital, Khartoum, hampering investigators of alleged human rights abuses and pressuring the peacekeeping force to withdraw.…  Seguir leyendo »

As far as the eye could see, thousands of displaced people were scattered, accompanied by what little they had left in the world. This surreal vista, which we saw visiting Abyei in January, had no shelters but had big beds and suitcases and dresser drawers sitting in the open or under trees. After years of displacement, thanks to the north-south war that raged in Sudan from 1983 to 2005, thousands of Sudanese had begun the long journey home. They hoped to vote that month in the referendum on southern independence.

But they never voted, because the government in Khartoum wouldn’t allow the plebescite to take place in Abyei, and they never resettled, because they had no support to return after so long.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudán se encuentra en la proverbial encrucijada entre la paz potencial y un posible conflicto a escala nacional, que pasaría a ser sin lugar a dudas la guerra más sangrienta del mundo en 2011. Es probable que un referéndum sobre la independencia del Sudán meridional, previsto para el 9 de enero de 2011, escinda el país en dos y que por fin los sudaneses meridionales logren la libertad por la que tanto han combatido. Sin embargo, semejante resultado brindaría también al Sudán meridional la mayor parte de las reservas de petróleo del país.

No es de extrañar, pues, que en el precipicio de este momento histórico haya muchas serpientes en la hierba.…  Seguir leyendo »

Well, we’re in it now. What we do best. Diplomacy. The White House has dispatched Senator John Kerry to Sudan with a proposal for peace between the north and south. It’s a giant step towards avoiding the kind of bloodshed that killed more than 2 million people in Sudan’s previous 20-year north-south civil war, which ended only in 2005 – and is threatening to erupt once again.

In recent months, Barack Obama has stepped up his own involvement and that of senior figures in his administration in support of a peace strategy for Sudan. On his behalf, Kerry has delivered a package of proposals designed to break the logjam that has brought the north and south to a dangerous crossroads.…  Seguir leyendo »

If you had had the opportunity three months ahead of time to prevent Darfur’s genocide, what would you have done?

The world faces such an opportunity today. On Jan. 9, just 84 days from now, the people of southern Sudan and of the disputed region of Abyei — which straddles northern and southern Sudan — will vote in referendums on self-determination. If held freely and fairly, these votes will result in an independent, oil-rich Southern Sudan. If not, the catastrophic war between the north and the south that ended in 2005, after 2.5 million deaths, could resume.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the man responsible for prosecuting both that war and the Darfur genocide, which has resulted in an estimated 300,000 deaths since 2003, doesn’t want to be the one who lost the south.…  Seguir leyendo »