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CADAL’s Consultant on Global Projects participated in the Special Session of the CAJP on lessons learned and exchange of good practices on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs. He was the only representative of civil society to point out the situation in Cuba. Complained by colleagues from the San Isidro Movement (Cuba) and La Corriente Feminista (Nicaragua), member organizations of the Coalition for Freedom of Association.
Protests in early July in Karakalpakstan were harshly repressed, leaving 18 dead and more than 500 detained, according to the government, which also said protesters had attempted to occupy public buildings. Mirziyoyev went even further and, although he did not accuse anyone in particular, declared that the riots were planned for years by foreign forces, as if the civil society of his country could not question him. For a few days, internet access was blocked and a state of emergency and curfew were established.
The democratic recession allows us to understand an inexcusable phenomenon: the rise of autocrats within democracies and the development of democratic leaders and movements within autocracies. The attempt to transfer these Latin American tunings to the IX Summit of the Americas was the prequel to the dysfunctional aftermath of the region, where a semi-failed state like Mexico and a nation in dystopian involution like Argentina come to the rescue of three regressive autocracies: Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba.
Post-Soviet republics do not have citizenship policies that are as liberal as those in the Americas. Most of them prohibit their citizens from holding Russian passports specifically, which can alienate Russian-speaking populations, even leading them to support Putin’s military interventions. This is too bad, because freedom of movement and the possibility of citizenship in democratic countries are a liberal antidote for Russian irredentism.
The future of the democratic system, far from certain and in precarious balance even in countries with a long tradition, was the focus of discussion during a National Endowment for Democracy (NED) forum honoring the celebrated political scientist Larry Diamond.
The statements of the president of the People’s Supreme Court could not be more absurd. There is nothing further from a “modern” law than the new Cuban criminal code, an archaic catalog of prohibitions, severe punishments and limitations that put an almost definitive clamp on the possibility of expressing oneself, through the press, art, any cultural or political expression, contrary to the official point of view.
Not all authoritarian or semi-authoritarian regimes are allies of Moscow, but all Moscow’s allies are authoritarian regimes. When the United Nations General Assembly voted in March to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, only five states opposed it: Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Syria and Russia itself. In April, the same organization voted to suspend Russia in the Human Rights Council and this time there were 24 countries that supported the Kremlin. Among others, Cuba, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam joined. And Venezuela should probably also be included, but its right to vote is suspended. All these countries are ruled by dictatorships.
If the path to world peace depends on the globalization of democracy, then countries with governments based on the standards of article 12 of the Universal Declaration on Democracy must adopt international democratic solidarity as a fundamental axis of its foreign policy on human rights and do so without double standards.
For Lukashenko, these thousands of human beings represent nothing more than a tool to force the EU to lift sanctions, or at least to negotiate a way out of the crisis and, in this way, recognize him as a legitimate president for the first time since 2020. It matters little that a few dozen people die from cold and hunger. The story could end here, in the sole responsibility of an autocratic and violent leader who has tortured his compatriots, who censures and represses all dissent. But the reality is more complex. Poland has steadfastly refused to accept the passage of migrants to its territory and has expelled those who managed to get around the border fences.
The only clear humanitarian choice is to grant some kind of temporary protected status to many of the people who are already in camps on the US-Mexico border. Humanitarian groups in the US and other countries should be allowed to sponsor refugees. It is of course even more important to help Haitians to build peace and prosperity in Haiti, but this is an even harder problem. It will require a creating a functioning state and the conditions conducive to economic activity.
Kazakhstan’s desire to become a member on the HRC does not have as much to do with human rights as it does with the country’s foreign policy and the matters of positioning internationally. So that it can say that if the country is a member on the HRC, it is promoting human rights.
This is not the first such foreign policy initiative made by Kazakhstan’s authorities. In 2010, Kazakhstan was the first of the ex-USSR states to be elected as Chair of the OSCE. In 2013-2015, Kazakhstan was elected as a member on the HRC for the first time. Today, it is ramping up to take part for a second time in a no-alternative election.
Democracy is a set of elements that form the base of a society where the human rights of every individual, group, and identity are respected. It is not a Western concept but a universal one, that is compatible with the multitude of cultural differences and divergences that exist in this world. Democracy is able to be flexible and be expressed based on the unique needs of each society.
One day the American president announced that his troops would start withdraw and that was the end. In just over a week the entire Afghan territory was back under Taliban control and the president had left the country, perhaps to Tajikistan. Twenty years of building a self-sustaining state were in vain and in the end the structure collapsed like a house of cards. Quickly and stealthily.
Once again it is not understood how the government decides with regrettable obsequiousness - worthy of “carnal relations” - to celebrate the birthday of dictators. Moreover, he does it at a party full of autocratic guests from all regions and trends, as evidenced by presences ranging from the sanguinary Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte to the Cuban autocrat Miguel Diaz Canel. From right to left, from east to west and from north to south.
Notwithstanding Germany’s role as a world power with a leading position within the European Union, and despite its exemplary attitude towards Cuba in the UN Human Rights Council, Germany has become just another country of the European Union that is soft with Havana and that currently does not recognize democratic activists. Meanwhile, the Cuban government has maintained relations with the opposition in Germany, including the Left Party (DIE LINKE), the Cuba Solidarity Network in Germany (Netzwerk Cuba e.V.), the Bavarian University Centre for Latin America (BAYLAT), the German Communist Party (DKP), the Germany-Central America Parliamentary Group, the Socialist German Workers' Youth (SDAJ), the Germany-Cuba Friendship Society, among others.
There are more than a thousand NGOs in various host countries that are working to organize the Venezuelan diaspora. Its leaders are aware of the Cuban experience and are interacting with diaspora Cubans via events like the one CADAL sponsored in April. Can the knowledge gained from these interactions help Venezuelans? The answer likely depends on the goal.
On Sunday, May 23rd, Poratsevich traveled to Lithuania from Greece, where he had attended an event with exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya. A few minutes after landing in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, his flight was diverted by the Belarusian authorities to Minsk under the pretext of an alleged bomb threat. Why land in Minsk if the destination airport was the closest one? According to the Lithuanian authorities, of the 126 passengers who boarded in Athens, 5 remained in Minsk: Protasevich, his girlfriend (of Russian citizenship) and three men whose identity was not revealed.
The once most democratic country in Central Asia it has been an almost direct flight from a chaotic and fragmented but democratic system to the heavy hand of a strong boss with increasing power and less opposition. Perhaps this distant country allows us to understand how weak democracy is when there are no solid institutions, how fragility entails instability and this opens the doors to charismatic leaders who proclaim themselves saviors just to take a step towards authoritarianism.
Bulgaria is not only the poorest country in the European Union, it also has the worst corruption rates (according to Transparency International) and the least press freedom in the bloc (according to Reporters Without Borders); this is why the emergence of a popular figure in opposition to the traditional parties and to a questioned status quo, was so promising. However, the government leader resigned twice as Prime Minister and was elected again both times. Will he be able to do it again?
(Diálogo Político) The participation of Belarusian athletes in the next Olympic Games under their own flag is at serious risk, although they could present themselves under the Olympic flag, as independent athletes, as will happen with Russian athletes. That would be a very hard blow to Lukashenko's image at a time when demonstrations are once again taking over the streets after winter.
In a context of a general lack of knowledge about China in Latin America, it is not only that there is no such thing as a Chinese-style democracy; it is that it is a mistake to believe that the Chinese model is better just because it may be more effective. Democratic systems are neither infallible nor perfect because they’re based on freedom, checks and balances, rule of law, participation, transparency and human rights. And China's effectiveness stems precisely from the absence of all these attributes.
The failure of tough policies, already anticipated in Cuba and then in Venezuela, reinforces the return to a policy strategy, now with Joe Biden. If the hawks criticized Obama's policy for its apparent lack of results, now the doves are in a position to ask the same questions in the face of the same reality. Neither Venezuela nor Cuba is any closer to a return to democracy, each with its own specificities and contexts, than they were in January 2017 when Trump came to power.
Those outside the United States who value democracy and human rights, for the US’s own sake and because of its power and influence across the world, have expressed tremendous concern. The elected leaders of many democratic countries, as well as intellectuals and activists from outside the US, have not hesitated to condemn Donald Trump´s clear incitement of his supporters to hate and insurrection. The Organization of American States also condemned the mob violence.
On December 3, political scientist Minxin Pei delivered the 17th annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World. Pei’s lecture, “Totalitarianism’s Long Dark Shadow Over China,” was presented by the Embassy of Canada to the United States and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
To ensure a stable democracy moving forward, perhaps we should pay heed to some pages of our own past, and actively work to preserve our democratic dispositions. Habits, after all, are formed by practice, and can get lost over time.
In Venezuela, the decimation of economic growth destabilizes society, pushing the Maduro regime to continue its abuse of human rights and repression of dissent to remain in power. Without democratic renewal, it is unlikely that conditions will improve in Venezuela. In response, humanitarian aid must weigh the crisis’ consequences for different demographics, especially women. Targeting vulnerable socioeconomic groups requires greater coordination and deployment of existing aid infrastructure.
Stand together and hold China accountable or be the next victim
The panelists' answers in the 24th Forum 2000 on what to do to fight the human rights violations in China also somehow fit into the four things Timothy Garton Ash highlighted in the Forum 2000’s opening: “If we have these four: truth, solidarity, strategy, and responsibility, there will be brighter times ahead”. However, the discussion made clear that now is the time to act. Now is the time to stand by the Hong Kong democratic movement, now is the time to recognize the genocide in Xinjiang and to fight to defend international human rights standards. Silence is complicit.
Recognized every September 15, International Day of Democracy is promoted by the United Nations to raise global awareness of democratic principles. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored both the fragility and importance of democratic institutions in addressing the economic, political, and public health crises facing much of the world.
However, the non-cooperation of some states, obvious yet again on this occasion, was, as the French human rights ambassador Francois Croquette put it, “the elephant in the room”. The fact that Bolivia, Cuba, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Senegal declined the invitation to participate in the discussion, reflects one aspect that explains why the HRC has been criticized. Some countries have been mocking the international human rights protection mechanisms by sitting on the HRC while at the same time blatantly violating their citizens’ human rights back home.
Horáková was a pioneer of human rights activism and an emblematic figure in the defense of democracy in the then Czechoslovakia. The book «Milada Horáková: Defender of Human Rights and Victim of Totalitarianisms» by historian Ricardo López Göttig is an invitation to remember this brave woman and to embrace the noble ideals she defended, for which she first suffered imprisonment in the Nazi concentration camp in Terezin and eventually was executed by the communists.
On 7th August, for the 12th anniversary of the Russian occupation of Georgia, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Middle East Institute's Frontier Europe Initiative, organized a webinar on the worrying situation generated by the Russia-Georgia conflict in 2008. A short but intense war caused by a cross-border territory, South Ossetia, contested between the Russian Federation and Georgia, which has a very heavy historical legacy and it still affects negatively the Ossetian and Georgian people, victims of the violence perpetrated by Russian troops.
Cuba will most likely be elected to its fifth term in the HRC, which will enable it to run for re-election in 2023. By returning to the Council in 2023, Cuba would then complete 18 of the 20 years of the HRC’s existence in one of its seats. Other countries with a similar record, such as Saudi Arabia or China, could achieve the same. The fact that Cuba manages to maintain its «leadership», spending as many years as possible in an organization that it makes fun of, says a lot about the lack of real leadership in Latin America regarding the defense of human rights.
«Cuba's lack of commitment to the Universal System of Human Rights» (in Spanish: «La falta de compromiso de Cuba con el Sistema Universal de Derechos Humanos»), a report by analysts Brian Schapira and Roxana Perel, edited and presented by CADAL, is a superb investigation that crosses the sinuous itinerary of the Cuban government in human rights matters, parting from a moment of change and inflection in the main international body created by the United Nations to face global human rights challenges.
The current outline in English addresses the main ideas and statements included in the report «La falta de compromiso de Cuba con el sistema universal de derechos humanos» (Cuba’s lack of commitment to the international human rights system), originally published in Spanish. To fully understand it, a thorough reading would be required. However, we believe the current summary, to which we have decided to add both the report’s introduction and conclusion sections almost entirely, represents a valuable document that will offer a comprehensive overview of the topics discussed and the conclusions drawn from the original report.
I write my comment on this hostile environment to the arts and culture in Brazil in a time of coronavirus and social isolation, in which so many of us are sick and several of us have already died, including artists such as Aldir Blanc, Rubem Fonseca, Sérgio Sant’Anna, Moraes Moreira y Flávio Migliaccio. The Bolsonaro government was not in solidarity with any of these losses, preferring to ignore them while continuing with its conservative agenda.
The Danish NGO Freemuse has produced a comprehensive report calling it the “State of Artistic Freedom”: a detailed survey of different abuses of the right of expression enshrined in the Universal Charter of Human Rights. It highlights the state of emergency in which thousands of artists and intellectuals live and survive in different parts of the world. There is no ideology, no system, no political regime that does not have its eye on artists.
In the annual report presented on 15 April 2020, Freemuse points out a continuing deterioration of freedom of expression in general and of art in particular, which translates into 711 attacks in 93 countries and shows that art continues to be a hazardous activity that can lead to harassment, censorship, imprisonment and even death. To successfully monitor this development, Freemuse compiles and analyses statistical data, as well as thorough interviews with artists around the world. The comparative analysis allows to identify global trends and recognize those areas where interference is necessary to defend the freedom of artistic expression.
In a context of excessive disorder, it is more difficult than ever to discuss police abuses and enduring racism rationally. Looting and mayhem often produce a political dynamic of escalating polarization. But in politics nothing is foreordained. The United States can find a better way, one that gives the police the incentive and resources they need to work for people.
According to the Bertelsmann Transformation Index of 2020, Colombia is on the right path when it comes to economic growth and democracy, although evident challenges remain. Social and income inequalities are apparent and coupled with consistent corruption scandals, the population’s faith in the state is plunging.
Of all the controls that people all over the world have accepted with little protest in the name of public health, the prohibition of movement is the most consequential. …[C]ombining trustworthy government information, solidarity with the desperate, and pragmatic technology would surely be an improvement over the mass lockdowns in place in much of the world.
In the exact sense of the Narcissus myth, the Cuban state may drown in the attempt to kiss the constructed and projected image of itself in an era previous to instant and globalised information. In the post-Covid-19 world, states need more than mirrors. They need effiicency.
(The Global Americans) The general formula of establishing good and strong institutions to serve the public are the inspiration of democratic norms. But there is still a long way ahead to discover what will work for Alberto Fernández and what shape his democratic policies will take.
From the perspective of the commitment to human rights, the decision of the new Uruguayan authorities -that will assume office next March 1- to not include the region’s autocrats in the swearing in ceremony is consistent with their values. It speaks badly of an exemplary democracy to give “equal treatment and respect” to leaders in other countries that were not elected through free, fair and competitive elections.
(The Global Americans) In recent months, there has been an increasing focus on human rights when discussing the events taking place in Chile. In its report, HRW emphasizes the human rights abuses during last year’s protests committed by Chile’s Carabineros. It also shows how authorities responded to this challenge and the progress (or lack thereof) of these initiatives. It also pays attention to human rights issues that have had a longer history in the country and that continue to affect minorities.
(The Global Americans) On January 14, during his inauguration ceremony held in Guatemala City, Giammattei vindicated his promise of handling corruption and endemic violence in the country with a “hard hand.” To this end, he proposed a law initiative to denominate “maras and gangs as terrorist groups.”
(Global Americans) Under Argentina’s new government, foreign policy decisions based more on ideological affinity than on greater pragmatism could bare serious consequences for the country, more so when dealing with non-democratic countries.
In the last turn of events, President Duque agreed to convene the leaders who ignited the protests. The next few days will be key to see if the situation is radicalized or if a consensual exit from the agitation is achieved.
(Clarín) Would anyone accept in any country in Latin America that there can only be one ideology and that if one does not share it is a traitor subject to being fought by any means? Then it is worth asking, where is the regional reaction to such legal aberration and criminalization of human rights?
The way of Evo Morales to present himself as a candidate for president for the fourth consecutive time was not simple. Anyway, Evo has good cards to show. Among its advantages is economic stability and social improvements that occurred since its assumption. But several polls agree that if Evo does not win in the first round he would lose in the second against Carlos Mesa.
Brazil encompasses many of the problems that affect the region: corruption, street violence, cases of police abuse, and entrenched stereotypes in society that make all these problems in turn become more serious in minorities. In this regard, both Bolsonaro's sayings and his lack of commitment to the progressive agenda do not help to solve the structural problems of Brazil and the country seems to be going in the opposite direction to which it should go.
Agreements in which destination countries, which are usually developed democracies, pay for not having to accept more migrants, are not what humanitarian advocates who argue in favor of international cooperation to face migration crises usually have in mind. However, cooperation to restrict immigration is more common worldwide than is cooperation in a liberal direction.
(7 Miradas) The phrase that best suits these calculations is the one of Ian Fleming when he described the James Bond novels: “they are beyond the probable, but not beyond the impossible.”
The list of complacent would be long, for example, those of democratic countries whose officials never received any nomination for the Award for Committed Diplomacy in Cuba, so it is as if they were not there. And most worrying, after the delivery of the last edition of the Prize for the period 2016-2018, is the setback that some embassies recorded.
(The Global Americans) A month after promoting the establishment of PROSUR, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera contradicted the central principles of the new regional bloc during a trip to China.
(The Global Americans) Given the significant numbers of votes against the reform, the results of the referendum call into question the unanimity on which Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) have always attempted to stake the legitimacy of the revolution.
We must thank Michael Zantovsky, current executive director of the Václav Havel Library, for the awe, the laughter, the criticism, the almost intimate talk, and the slight psychological detachment provoked by some of the snippets narrated in the life of his friend. Zantovsky has privileged information of Havel and (almost) does not hold back, doing to all human beings a favor.
(Global Americans) At a time when democracy is regressing globally, it’s crucial for civil society to step up and affirm international commitment to democracy and solidarity with victims of authoritarianism. This message would have been especially well received in Argentina, which is still healing from its brush with dictatorship. If civil society continues to fail to do so, the G20 can hardly make a difference in its original goal: improving the welfare of the most vulnerable people around the world.
One year from primary elections, the future of Argentina is torn between economic stagnation, the debate over the decriminalization of abortion, and the corruption of the Kirchner years.
In the specific case of Cuba, the report questions the fact that artistic freedom on the island is subject to the aims of the Revolution and everything that is not framed within this premise is censored and repressed.
The institutionalization of the “revolution” has left Cuba with an electoral bureaucracy that suffocates popular sovereignty, allowing it’s citizens no room for freedom of political expression
(The Global Americans ) The regional and international condemnation of the Venezuelan autocracy is a step in the right direction. However, to be transparent, this condemnation has to be extended to Cuba.
(The Global Americans) It would be relevant to know the expectations of the High Representative of the European Union in the dialogue on human rights with Cuba.
(Perfil) Legislators can submit draft declarations condemning humanrights violations in dictatorial countries and ask for declarations from theirrespective governments in intergovernmental organizations; denouncecorrupt electoral processes that are neither fair nor transparent inautocratic regimes; and recognize the work and initiatives of democraticactivists whose lives are at risk.
From this year forward, the Argentine capital will be a pioneer city in Latin America as it commemorates the victims of totalitarianism every 23rd of August. Someone who will always be in our thoughts on this day will be Cecilia de la Torre, who passed last December.
(Latin America Goes Global) Unlike their Latin American counterparts, Cubans face unique challenges traveling and emigrating within Latin America. And that doesn’t include the trouble leaving the island.
(Latin America Goes Global) The Cuban government is practicing abroad what it is strictly forbidden within its own borders, infringing the political reciprocity principle in bilateral relations.
(Latin America Goes Global) If Argentina were to help foment a global trend in xenophobia it would be worrisome, and surprising. The country has one of the most open migration regimes in the world.
(Perfil/Buenos Aires, Argentina) The message I heard in Montreal was dire, both for the liberal values Cadal embodies and for the ability of think tanks and other civil society organizations to have any sort of effect on the world. However, I thought of reasons for optimism about Cadal´s ability to do good work even in the current difficult context.
Without a Cuban gesture towards a more open political system, it does not make sense to discuss an agreement since the one party regime of Raúl Castro would not approve any improvement in the area of human rights. Thus, the negotiations between the EU and Cuba started rather poorly if we believe there was ever any genuine interest by the EU in achieving any progress regarding a more open political system in the island.
The perception that China rewards loyalty is wrong. Not only is it doubtful that kowtowing to China will bring short-term benefits but, on the contrary, it is rather quite possible that we’ll end up paying a high price for such policy in the future. If today’s decisions are shaping our future, then granting China with market economy status will surely be a nail in the coffin for Argentina.
(Infobae) A human rights figure cannot be indifferent towards human rights violations that take place in the remaining dictatorships nor they can ignore such evident facts to defend the indefensible.
(Latin America Goes Global) Recently, a third of the members of the UN Human Rights Council were renewed with China, the biggest dictatorship in the world, accumulating no less than 180 votes which gives proof to the assumption that several developed democracies voted in China's favour.
However, despite the objective fact that Cuba is not a democracy because it established a one-party system and therefore its authorities do not win free and fair elections with competition there is so much evidence of the repressive features of their regime that is documented in its own Constitution, Criminal Law, Special laws and decisions of the People's Courts - all denounced by the most prestigious international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch - therefore drawing attention that in Latin America the government of the Castro brothers is not seen for what it evidently is: a dictatorship.
(El País/Spain) If Raúl Castro truly wants Obama to have a bigger support in Congress to lift the embargo, he has to provide a gesture on his part which could include repealing Law 88. Since this wouldn’t involve the political risk of making a reform which stems from the recognition of the exercise of fundamental rights. If Raúl Castro doesn’t even repeal Law 88, this might be because he feels very confident that the dictatorship he installed with his brother Fidel is entirely safe from international pressure and questionings.
When the last Universal Periodic Review of Cuba was held in Geneva, France recommended to the government of Raul Castro to ensure freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and the free activity of human rights defenders, independent journalists and political opponents. Now,what value does this recommendation have when France validates the repression of those rights that is has asked Cuba to guarantee?
The Cuban regime uses a similar argument as China to justify its rhetorical model of "socialist, local, original, democratic and participatory development" and keep the dictatorship unchanged. In fact, during its Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council, held on May 1st, 2013, the Cuban dictatorship affirmed that it does not accept any universal model of democracy.
Despite of not having the communications of the developed democracies during the Universal Periodic Review of North Korea at least the majority of the Latin American countries voted on November 18th in favor of the critical resolution about the situation of human rights in this country and like that the political division of the region was shown again.
The Constitutional Consensus has several important added values. The participating citizens begin to grant meaning to specific and historic information concerning constitutional topics. This has led them to gather ideas, texts and documents relation to the constitutional history of Cuba as well as from other parts of the world.
Because I organized a panel for LASA 2014 titled “Cuba: The Memory of Democracy,” my country’s government remembered I am an “enemy of international peace” and subjects me, once again, to a Cautionary Measure that had been suspended a month earlier.
The challenge of the Forum was not only addressed to the Cuban dictatorship but also to the other member states of the CELAC, to the developed democracies which have embassies in Havana and the officials of regional organizations such as the OAS and the EU and international bodies such as the UN.
The Council has 47 member states, regionally elected by a majority of the UN countries. For the election of the members of the UN Human Rights Council, the contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights in the country should be taken into account. Now, regarding some of the countries that have just been elected to serve on this body, like Saudi Arabia, Cuba, China, Vietnam, and Russia, it remains clear that the fulfillment of its goal is unfeasible. Can there be a greater contradiction than a Human Rights Council that incorporates dictatorships?
The ranking published by CADAL deals with three matters of paramount importance in today’s world: democracy, markets and transparency. They are closely linked to the construction of that sought by many, both governments and citizens: a well-governed, prosperous country in constant progression, where law, security and political certainty rule. A country that responds to the individual and society-wide aspirations of its two most interested partners: the political community and civil society.
The UPR of Syria revealed an evident split in the region. On the one hand, Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador are the leading countries that support authoritarian practices, while Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Peru follow the European Union's pro-market, democratic model.
While the developed countries struggle with serious debt crises (as in the case of Europe), stagnation (like Japan), or listless recuperation (the United States), the Latin American economies are alive and kicking. Yes, the region's growth will slow in 2012, but it will still be significant and above the global average. The region is reliving the 2008-2009 crisis, when the greater part of countries in the region endured the considerable slowdown in the world's economy in a more than satisfactory manner.
The recent support of the self-defined “progressive” sectors of the Argentine legislature for the nationalization of the majority share of YPF shows they are no longer an alternative to the Kirchner government, in political or economic terms.
International customs, Buenos Aires airport, Argentina, noon, october 27. I turn on my cell phone and the message "Kirchner dead" appears. It takes me a while to fully grasp it, and when I do, I look around and begin to feel a mixture of tense calm and bewilderment among the customs officials. A lot of things run through my head during these minutes. It had been a long time since I had felt this particular sense of contained crisis that I have experienced so many times in this country.
Immediately one can listen to the optimistic readings on political changes in Cuba, as if ignoring the repressive regime's skill to hold in power for more than half a century. However, so long as first generation human rights are considered a crime, nothing will change in that country and those who are being released can be sent back to prison anytime.
For a month, Cuba has detained a USAID contractor for passing out laptops. It's time for the U.S. to send over a whole lot more.
Let me say upfront, unequivocally: what occurred on June 28, 2009, in Honduras was a coup and should be condemned for the violation of constitutional, democratic rule that it is. And unlike the street coups that removed Presidents Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (Bolivia) or Lucio Gutiérrez (Ecuador), this one was positively 1970s-style retrograde: the marching of military officers into President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales’ residence, his forced removal (or kidnapping as he called it) at gun point.
It is paradoxical that Argentina, being a country with an economic history in which these events have been repeated ad nauseam and with awful results, still insists in this model. It would be very useful for the government to look at some of its neighbors, where progressive and center-left leaders have demonstrated to have learned from history and today navigate with relative comprehensiveness the stormy waters of the global economic crisis.
Kirchnerism has exploited the issue of human rights politically, and lacks the most minimal concern for the subject. Cristina's trip to Cuba leaves no doubt about it, especially when, to top it off, she was received by the elderly dictator Fidel Castro, and had the delicateness of considering that event “a distinction for the entire Argentinean people”.
The Rio Group is a Latin American mechanism of political articulation and diplomatic negotiation which was created in 1986 and currently consists of 23 member countries. The Rio Group decided to incorporate the Cuban dictatorship as a full-fledged member during the presidential summit of Mercosur.
Furthermore, on the eve of legislative elections in one year, those affected by the kirchnerist proposal could vote massively for opposition candidates in October 2009 and then the governing party would be lethally hurt if it looses its own majority.
It finally happened. The moment has come to start shivering. The economic debacle that departing from Wall Street affected the whole world has become so intensive that the question is no longer if it will impact on Latin American economies, but rather in which way that will happen.
The major impact of peronism was always registered in the field of politics, as a heritage of the great capacity demonstrated by its founder in this area. But as also in many other areas, a disproportionate force in one sense always has to pay a price in another sense.
The golden sector of the Argentine administration (Sergio Massa-Martín Redrado) finally decided to pay the debt to the Club of Paris. Cristina was applauded by the industrial establishment that came together at Casa Rosada as when Néstor announced to pay cash to the IMF in 2005.
In the midst of the storm, emerging countries –and Latin America in particular- are facing a novel challenge: the strong appreciation of their currencies against the dollar. Indeed. Unlike past crises, when a sneeze coming from Wall Street sparked capital flight and devaluation, nowadays the region’s governments see their currencies gain value against the greenback, to the chagrin of its export businesses.
"Antúnez" and over three hundred political prisoners who are currently serving time in Cuba stand firm in their commendable struggle for freedom in their country, and pay tribute to the memory of Pedro Luis Boitel with their brave example. The democratic Cuba of the future will no doubt remember Boitel as one of its great heroes and Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" will be a testimony of life in the struggle against oppression.