Kai M. Thaler

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In an image from video, Rwandan soldiers provide security to enable residents to return to Mkularini village in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, on Aug. 11. (Marc Hoogsteyns/AP)

Islamist insurgents in northern Mozambique are retreating for the first time since 2017. Mozambican security forces have struggled to contain the insurgency since it emerged in Cabo Delgado province; even employing foreign military contractors didn’t help. In March, rebels briefly and destructively captured Palma, a hub for Mozambique’s burgeoning oil and gas industry, sparking security fears around the region.

But last month, 1,000 Rwandan combat troops and police arrived. More forces from the Southern African Development Community, the regional intergovernmental organization, will soon be arriving. On Aug. 8, Rwandan and Mozambican forces captured the key city of Mocimboa da Praia, almost exactly one year after insurgents took control.…  Seguir leyendo »

A homeless man wears a face mask as he walks past a mural depicting Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in Managua on April 9. (Inti Ocon/AFP via Getty Images)

On April 15, Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega emerged after more than a month without a public appearance to defend his government’s lax response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ortega’s appearance came just before the second anniversary of the start of a mass public uprising on April 18, 2018. The protests that began when the government cut social benefits escalated after police and pro-government militias attacked demonstrating students, killing at least five. Across the country, tens of thousands of Nicaraguans took to the streets. Protesters began to demand democratization after a decade of increasing authoritarianism. More than two-thirds of Nicaraguans said their president should resign, and by early June it looked as if he might be forced to.…  Seguir leyendo »

Anti-government protesters pull down a statue emblematic of the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, in Managua, Nicaragua, on April 21, 2018. (Alfredo Zuniga/AP)

Since mid-April, massive anti-government protests have rocked Nicaraguan politics, threatening President Daniel Ortega’s increasingly authoritarian regime. Ortega rose to prominence as the revolutionary leader of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), which overthrew the authoritarian Somoza family that had ruled the country since 1936. Ortega and the FSLN governed from Nicaragua’s 1979 revolution until 1990, and again since 2007.

Since returning to power, Ortega has used symbols from the revolution to help shore up his claim to be the legitimate ruler of a single-party state. But protesters are using those symbols in these three ways to undermine Ortega’s regime.

Ortega’s regime has taught generations of Nicaraguans about the revolution.…  Seguir leyendo »