Close to one million Rohingya from Myanmar are said to be living in Bangladesh at the moment, nearly half of them having fled since late August. The exodus is one of the world’s worst refugee crises in decades, and so far Bangladesh, already a very poor country, has borne much of the burden.
The sudden influx of so many refugees has created a major humanitarian emergency and raises security concerns. There’s also a less-well-understood effect: The Rohingya refugee crisis is shaking Bangladesh’s body politic to the core, and in ways that may hasten the country’s ongoing slide toward authoritarianism.
Many Bangladeshis, the great majority of whom also are Muslim, support their government’s decision to shelter the refugees, despite the costs and the risks.… Seguir leyendo »
When generals led by Prayuth Chan-ocha ousted an elected civilian government here in 2014, they vowed to restore order and eradicate corruption. But since seizing power, the junta has become increasingly erratic, incompetent and repressive.
The economy is stagnating. The threat of social unrest is rising. The Prayuth government has recently completed a draft constitution that would ensure real power remains in the hands of the military even after a formal return to electoral democracy.
How to set Thailand back on track is a matter largely for Thais. But America, which has been the dominant foreign player in Thai politics since World War II, can help rein in the junta’s increasingly dictatorial ways by isolating it from its support base among traditional Bangkok-based elites.… Seguir leyendo »
The Crown Property Bureau, which manages the Thai royal family’s properties and investments, controls assets that may amount to as much as 1.9 trillion baht, about $53 billion. It is the biggest corporate group in the country and one of the biggest landholders in the capital. It is also one of the more mysterious arms of the Thai government.
The agency was created in 1936 and remained under civilian supervision until 1948, a period of ascendancy for royalists, when control was handed to the crown. Little is known about how it spends its money. It does not make its financial statements public.… Seguir leyendo »
The return of autocracy to Thailand is putting a hole in the people’s pockets. Sixteen months after the coup that brought
down the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra, incomes in rural areas, where more than 34 million Thais live, have collapsed. Exports fell by 4.9 percent during the first half of 2015, according to the Thai government.
Some reasons for this decline are structural. Thailand’s export-dependent, open economy has been roiled by the rise of the Chinese economy and then by its deceleration. After China became a formidable competitor in low-tech industries and electronics, the falling yuan further undermined the competitiveness of Thai exports in the Chinese market.… Seguir leyendo »
Fifteen billion dollars. That’s roughly the price tag of the coup d’état to date. And it’s the difference between the Thai economy, Southeast Asia’s second-biggest, stagnating, as it is now, or its chugging along at 4 percent, its average growth rate since 2001.
When a group of generals led by Prayuth Chan-ocha toppled the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last May, their political agenda was clear: They wanted to quell a mounting legitimacy crisis. For many weeks protesters had been taking to the streets to condemn Ms. Shinawatra’s management of the economy and a controversial amnesty bill that would have benefited her brother Thaksin, a former prime minister in self-exile whose political parties have dominated Thai politics since 2001.… Seguir leyendo »