February 2019 — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 22 February, 2019

Opposition parties and civil society organizations hold a demonstration in San Francisco square to protest the candidacy of President Evo Morales in the October elections — AFP Cuba Cuba has denied recent allegations suggesting that they have military forces present in Venezuela after accusations from US President Trump and his administration. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez demanded the United States provide proof, while calling the political situation in Venezuela “a failed imperialist coup…fabricated in Washington”. While the United States has been clear with its support of Guaido, Cuba is a supporter of Maduro. Gabon Gabon’s president Ali Bongo is expected to have a 6 month recovery period after suffering from a stroke last fall. President Bongo has been spending his recovery period in Morocco, though he did briefly return to Gabon for a swearing-in ceremony in January. He is expected to return again next week for a few days to oversee a cabinet meeting, but the date of his permanent return is still unknown. Bolivia There have been nationwide protests in response to current President Evo Morales running for a fourth term in office. Demonstrators took to the streets on Thursday, a day marking the third anniversary of Morales’ defeat in a bid that would secure public support to remove term limits. Several of Bolivia’s major cities were hosts to the protests, including La Paz, Sucre, Santa Crus, and Potosi. Elections in Bolivia will be held in October of 2019. Nicaragua A Nicaraguan farmer has been sentenced to 216 years in prison after leading protests last year against President Daniel Ortega. This sentencing goes directly against the country’s constitution...

Weekly Report: 14 February, 2019

Migrants from Honduras, arrive at a migrant hostel hoping to be taken in as they wait to apply for asylum in to the United States in Piedras Negras, Mexico. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images Cuba As Cuba nears the February 24th date of a final referendum to make changes to their constitution, the state has begun to crackdown on protesters who are arguing for a NO vote. On Monday, 20 members of the opposition group ‘Cuban Patriotic Union’ were detained. In the following days, a number of other activists had their homes raided and also faced arrests. The new constitution will change some government structures but keep the Communist Party as supreme. Prince Charles is set to visit Cuba this spring, a first for any member of British royalty. Florida senator Rick Scott argues that the prince should visit Florida instead, saying that a visit to Cuba would “condone the Castro regime’s brutality”. Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba has been attempting to restore people’s confidence in the government of Gabon. This comes soon after the coup attempt on January 7. Bongo has reportedly strengthened his control on the government, and previously requested and received$350 million from the United States government. Bolivia Bolivian President Evo Morales has slammed Juan Guaidó’s remarks about welcoming a US military intervention in Venezuela. After the US and EU-backed interim president Guaido stated that he would not rule out US intervention to remove Maduro from power, Morales tweeted that Bolivia rejects Guaido’s statements.He has also tweeted that the economic blockade threatened by the US will “threaten the human rights of the Venezuelan people”. Nicaragua Nicaragua has experienced political and social unrest since April 2018, when Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega unleashed...

Weekly Report: 8 February, 2019

Venezuelan soldiers erected blockades on the Tienditas Bridge at a border crossing between Colombia and Venezuela. (Edinson Estupinan / AFP/Getty Images) Cuba Cuba is now in the middle of the ongoing tensions between Colombia’s ELN rebel group and the Colombian government, as leaders from the rebel group have said that they will not leave Cubawithout confirmation from Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez that he will adhere to conditions agreed to by the previous president of Colombia. The conditions set by Marquez’s predecessor agree to: “guarantee guerrilla commanders safe return to Colombia or Venezuela within 15 days of peace talks, and to bar military offensives for 72 hours”. President Marquez has asked Cuba to extradite those representing the group. Cuba has been the previous site of peace talks between the group and the Colombian government, and have openly stated that while they denounce the car bombings confirmed to be caused by the rebel group, they will still follow the protocol of the conditions as it has been previously established. Gabon An anti-government activist has been released after being held 17 months for creating videos deemed hostile to President Ali Bongo. Herve Mombo Kinga was initially charged with spreading propaganda and insulting the president, and faced 8 years in prison. Mombo Kinga was released on Tuesday after the judge threw out the case. Bolivia A devastating mudslide in Bolivia has caused significant damage, resulting in at least 14 people killed and around 50 injured. The mudslide comes amidst economic concern, as Brazil and Argentina, Bolivia’s biggest natural gas export customers, have announced that they plan to boost their own economies by becoming their own outputs and work to further access the global market. As the 2019 presidential elections approach, Bolivia remains...

Weekly Report: 1 February, 2019

Demonstrators hold banner that reads “Justice” during a rally of the opposition with the self-proclaimed interim president Guaido in Caracas, January 25, 2018. Marco Bello   Cuba As the Cuban government makes the decision to push for legalization of gay marriage, Evangelical churches and their members have made their lack of support clear, causing concern that the reform will be rejected. The legalization of gay marriage will appear sometime this month in a state-proposed constitutional reform in a nationwide referendum. Pastors have been encouraging widespread “no” votes. This vocal rejection of gay marriage is not new from the Cuban evangelical churches; in December of 2018 as the conversation began in favor of changing the language for the description of marriage to the union of “two people”, protests broke out from members of evangelical churches. Gabon Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo, returned to the country on January 15th, about one week after a failed coup attempt. The visit was short-lived, as the president returned to Morocco for further treatment just one day after his arrival. Bongo has been president since 2009, but after suffering a stroke in October, doubts of his ability to lead became evident. The coup attempt was executed by a group of soldiers seizing control, but was shut down quickly by those loyal to the president. Bolivia Bolivian president, Evo Morales, has secured the position as official candidate of his Movement for Socialism party after winning the primary election this week. This means that Morales will be able to run for a fourth presidential term, a move rejected by 51.3 percent of voters in a referendum in 2016, but approved by the Bolivian Supreme Court in December. Nicaragua...