Democracy

Gold and Grief in Venezuela’s Violent South

Across swathes of southern Venezuela, army units, Colombian guerrillas and crime syndicates jostle for control over gold mines funnelling hard currency to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. ICG Outside powers should stop considering military intervention and instead help broker a peaceful transition in Venezuela, lest chaos ensue. What’s new? Venezuelan crime syndicates and Colombian guerrilla groups are creating new threats across southern Venezuela as they compete for control of the region’s valuable mineral resources. Tensions and violence have spiked in recent ... Read More »

Venezuela: An Empty Shell Named Juan Guaido

Venezuela’s next problem, besides a crashed economy and an authoritarian regime, may be an opposition president incapable of running the country. Sergio Ocampo Madrid EL ESPECTADOR 2019-02-27 English edition • WORLDCRUNCH -OpEd- BOGOTÁ — Obviously, I want Maduro to fall. Obviously, I’m counting the minutes to the end of Venezuela’s nightmare, so we may start to rebuild it after a 20-year experiment that has both destroyed the country and largely killed the dream that many of us in Colombia share: ... Read More »

‘He Is a Racist, He Is a Con Man, and He Is a Cheat’

Nixon was bad, but nothing compared to Michael Cohen’s portrayal of “gangster” Trump. By Nicholas Kristof The New York Times Opinion Columnist Feb. 27, 2019 More than 45 years ago, as a 14-year-old farm kid in Oregon, I watched on a flickering black-and-white television as Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel, John Dean, testified about presidential misconduct in the Watergate scandal — and the second-most-corrupt administration in American history began to crumble. Now, watching Michael Cohen testify before Congress, I sense ... Read More »

ATO whistleblower faces six life sentences, roughly the same as Ivan Milat

There’s something radically wrong with a society that allows mass murderer James Gargasoulas to be eligible for parole in 46 years, locks up serial killer Ivan Milat for 181 years and then has an Australian Taxation Office employee facing 161 years in prison for blowing the whistle on a… Adele Ferguson The Sydney Morning Herald Richard Boyle has been charged with 66 offences including telephone tapping and recording of conversations without the consent of all parties and making a record ... Read More »

Supreme Court will look at whether a cross is promotion of religion or war memorial

The Supreme Court justices, long divided on the role of religion, are set to decide whether a 40-foot Latin cross sitting at a busy intersection in Maryland is an unconstitutional official endorsement of Christianity or a… David G. Savage Los Angeles Times It will be the first major religion case for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, and the outcome could signal whether the court’s five conservatives are prepared to give small towns, counties and… At issue is the 1st Amendment’s ban ... Read More »

Bashir Moves Sudan to Dangerous New Ground

Faced with the most serious protests against his 30-year rule, President Omar al-Bashir’s declaration of a state of emergency will not save his bankrupt, unpopular regime. ICG Instead, security forces must halt worsening violence, Bashir should step down and all sides should work on a broadly inclusive transitional government. President Omar al-Bashir’s address to the nation on the evening of 22 February attempted to defuse the crisis that has engulfed his administration in the longest wave of protests in decades. ... Read More »

The Political Management of North Korean Society

North Korea’s political management system of carrots and sticks has enabled the regime to survive for 66 years. By Subbiah Lakshmanan The Globalist Securing foreign currency is critical to the political management of North Korean society. It is the key element in buttressing loyalty for Kim Jong Un. That aside, both carrots and sticks are used to run the system of managing North Korea’s society politically. They can be categorized as follows. Carrots 1. “Gifting”/Patronage system In a society where ... Read More »

UN court rejects UK’s claim of sovereignty over Chagos Islands

Judges advise Britain that separating archipelago from Mauritius in 1960s was wrong Owen Bowcott The Guardian The UK has been ordered to hand back the Chagos Islands to Mauritius “as rapidly as possible” after the United Nations’ highest court ruled that continued British occupation of the remote Indian Ocean archipelago is illegal. Although the majority decision by the international court of justice in The Hague is only advisory, the unambiguous clarity of the judges’ pronouncement is a humiliating blow to Britain’s prestige ... Read More »

Guatemala amnesty bill stirs fears of impunity and revenge of ex-military

Legislation that would grant amnesty to anyone convicted or accused of human rights violations during Guatemala’s long-running civil war has raised fears that dozens of perpetrators of forced disappearance, torture and… Leila Miller Los Angeles Times Backed by military elites and their allies, including members of the party of President Jimmy Morales, the proposed law passed the first of three congressional readings last month. If enacted, the bill would mandate the release within 24 hours of dozens of officials and ... Read More »

No-deal Brexit throws up really big calls on jobs, the rural economy and peace

Cliff Taylor: Government would need to embark on a major programme of assistance for the companies affected The Irish Times The Omnibus Bill on Brexit, published yesterday, is an important piece of work to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. But the big decisions lie elsewhere. How do we support the sectors worst hit? And what about the Border? There is an almost irresistible temptation among the political classes to reassure us that everything is ready, and it will all be alright ... Read More »

Bashir declares year-long state of emergency across Sudan

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir declared a nationwide state of emergency on Friday and dissolved the government, in an effort to quell weeks of demonstrations that have rocked his iron-fisted rule of three decades. Khartoum – AFP Hurriyet “I announce imposing a state of emergency across the country for one year,” Bashir said in a televised address to the nation from the presidential palace in Khartoum. “I announce dissolving the government at the federal level and at the provincial levels,” he added. Deadly protests ... Read More »

The sharks are circling ahead of the election — and it’s asylum seeker policy in the ‘chum bucket’

In full parliamentary flight this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison raged at Labor that it had “gone to the bottom of the chum bucket” when it started its probing of… Laura Tingle ABC Chum buckets, for anyone not familiar with the term, are buckets full of fish guts and heads and other smelly stuff that is thrown into the water by fishermen to attract a feeding frenzy of fish, particularly… And there was some truth to what the Prime Minister ... Read More »

Political corruption scars young voters forever, new research finds

Twenty-five years after the Clean Hands scandal in Italy, those who voted for the first time in 1994 still record less trust in democratic institutions and are more likely to vote for populist parties, according… AAAS and EurekAlert! New research finds that political corruption has a long-term scarring effect on trust in democratic institutions and on voters’ behavior and that such an effect differs according to one’s age cohort, with first-time voters at the… In particular, Bocconi University’s Arnstein Aassve, ... Read More »

High Noon over Humanitarian Aid at Venezuela’s Border

Venezuela’s constitutional crisis continues to unfold, with the opposition amassing food and medicine on the borders with the stated intent of turning the military against President Nicolás Maduro, who is refusing the aid. Phil Gunson ICG In this Q&A, our Senior Analyst for Venezuela Phil Gunson explains the standoff. What happened? Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognised as the country’s interim president by dozens of countries including the U.S., has promised that on 23 February a… An aid concert, featuring a… High ... Read More »

Dear Scott and Bill, we’ve strayed from our values: a Socceroo’s plea

Football commentator Craig Foster, who helped save refugee Hakeem al-Araibi, has written a challenge to PM Scott Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten: now save Australia’s humanity. Craig Foster The Sydney Morning Herald Dear Scott and Bill, Thank you for your support for Hakeem al-Araibi during his recent struggle for justice and for the welcome provided to him last week at Parliament House. It was a powerful moment to see a young refugee celebrated in the centre of our democracy, ... Read More »

Rohingya: killings should remind all nations of their responsibility to protect victims of mass atrocity crimes

Do states have a moral duty to protect foreigners from mass atrocity crimes? Maria Jellinek The Conversation At the turn of the millennium – and with the 2005 global political agreement to the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) – the positive answer to this question seemed obvious. Yet, almost 15 years after that commitment, the world’s vow to protect civilians from tyranny is faltering. A painful indicator of this trend has been the failure of the international community to effectively protect ... Read More »