April 2019 — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 25 April 2019

A man mourns at a grave of a victim, two days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, at Sellakanda Catholic cemetery in Negombo, April 23. REUTERS/Thomas Peter Bolivia A bus has crashed in Bolivia, falling 200 meters into a ravine and killing 25 passengers, as well as injuring 24 more. Police say the accident was caused by the driver’s reckless driving and speeding in the mountainous region. On Twitter, President Evo Morales responded by urging bus drivers in the country to take more care while driving. Every year, around 1000 people are killed and 40,000 more injured in accidents on Bolivian roads. Nicaragua This week marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of mass protests in Nicaragua. Ever since April 18, 2018, Nicaraguans have protested the harsh government of Daniel Ortega, protests that have resulted in over 300 deaths and even more injuries. Silvio Baez, a Catholic bishop living in Nicaragua, has left for the Vatican after being told by Pope Francis that he was needed in Rome. Baez has suffered an attack from pro-government mobs, received multiple death threats, and has had his privacy violated in his own home. Baez stated, “As many times as may be necessary and as often as Pope Francis asks me to speak with him, I will give him my vision of reality in the most objective manner possible. North Korea Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia on Thursday to meet with President Vladimir Putin in what some think may be an effort to ask for aid and an easing of...

Weekly Report: 19 April 2019

Iranian soldiers march during a military parade as they mark the country’s annual army day in Tehran, April 18, 2019. Source: Radio Farda Cuba The Trump administration announced on Wednesday their plans to restrict relations with Cuba, although the details of the restrictions remain unclear. This involves further limitations on non-family travel to the country, and the allowance of exiles to sue for property seized by the Castro government. This move, announced by secretary of state Mike Pompeo, was highly contested by officials in both Europe and Canada. John R. Bolton, national security advisor, cited the decision’s connection to Venezuela, saying, “The ‘troika of tyranny’ – Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, is beginning to crumble”. Gabon The government of Gabon announced last week that classes would be suspended nationwide following a number of large protests by high school students. The protests began in late March when the government announced that funding for aspiring university students would be cut. The changes in funding sharply reduces the number of students eligible for the grant by raising the maximum age to 19 and requiring a higher mark on exams. Thousands of students have since been protesting regularly, and are not expected to stop anytime soon. Bolivia A group of 12 politicians in Bolivia wrote a letter to US President Donald Trump, asking him to prevent Bolivian President Evo Morales from running in their upcoming October 2019 elections. Morales is seeking a fourth term in office, having held his power position since 2006. Despite Morales’ open support of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, the Trump administration has yet to make a strong comment regarding Evo...

Weekly Report: 12 April 2019

Sudanese demonstrators celebrate the arrest of long-time President Omar al-Bashir by the armed forces, outside the Defense Ministry. Ala Kheir/Picture Alliance via Getty Images Cuba The United States has cancelled a deal made with Cuba intended to stop the human trafficking of baseball players to the U.S. The deal, which initially began negotiations under Barack Obama’s presidency was signed in December. Starting this year, Cuban baseball players older than 25 who had played in professional Cuban leagues for more than 6 years would be allowed to leave and sign with MLB teams, rather than leaving the country illegally. Now, the United States has backtracked on this deal, saying “additional information” had come to light. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later clarified that the reason for backing out was to ”pressure Cuba over its support for the Venezuelan government.” Bolivia The Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera made a statement this week criticizing new meddling by the United States in Bolivian internal affairs. The Vice President made his statement on behalf of the Bolivian government and people after a letter was sent from a US Senate Committee to the Upper House regarding Bolivia’s political situation. Garcia Linera referenced other occurrences of U.S. meddling in the past and called out the United States’ own political issues, stating that they must face their own problems before meddling in other states’ internal matters. Nicaragua This week, President Ortega’s government announced that they were ready to return to the discussion table with the opposition party. Month-long talks with the opposition Civic Alliance coalition began to properly resolve the political crisis and Ortega’s harsh treatment...

Weekly Report: 5 April 2019

Migrants are held for processing under the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images Cuba Cuba’s foreign exchange revenues are experiencing a steady decline as unrest continues in Venezuela and Algeria. Cuba’s relationship with Venezuela has slowly declined since 2014, and to compensate for this the country began importing oil from Russia and Algeria in 2017. Analysts believe that the political crisis in Algeria will be a threat to Cuba. Bolivia Dozens of Venezuelan migrants fear deportation from Bolivia, a country that still supports Venezuelan leader, Nicolas Maduro. Last month, Bolivian police arrested 14 Venezuelan protest leaders, protesters, and human rights groups who had previously held anti-Maduro protests in front of the Cuban embassy. Amnesty International director of the Americas, Erika Guevara Rosas, released a statement calling the Bolivian government to, “stop prosecuting and arbitrarily expelling Venezuelan refugees who need international protection”. Nicaragua Four people have been injured, and ten detained following a protest in Managua on Saturday calling for the release of political prisoners. The injuries came from a gunman, who the government describes as a victim, opening fire on the crowd. This conflict between the government and protesters came just one day after President Ortega promised to restore press and protest freedoms. Ortega also reiterated his promise to work with the International Red Cross in order to release all political prisoners. Despite these promises, opposition forces remain hesitant to believe that Ortega will follow through on them, especially after the violence and suppression at Saturday’s protest. North Korea Last month there was a break-in at the North Korean embassy in Spain, an event...