May 2019 — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 17 May 2019

People take part in a rally in support of same-sex marriage near the Presidential Office in Taipei on November 18, 2018, ahead of a landmark vote on LGBT rights on November 24. CHRIS STOWERS/AFP/Getty Images Cuba Cuba announced this week that rationing would begin on basic food items such as chicken, eggs, and sausages, as well as hygiene/cleaning products. In addition to the cut-back on basic supplies, Cuba has also faced a shortage of oil coming from Venezuela in the wake of their own economic crisis. The decision to begin rationing comes after weeks of empty store shelves and markets in the wake of Trump’s increased sanctions against the “troika of tyranny”: Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. The move is part of the Trump administration’s latest effort to put pressure on Nicolas Maduro’s regime and allies. The 12th annual march against homophobia in Havana ended Saturday with a number of arrests and violent clashes between protesters and police. The official “Cuban Conga Against Homophobia and Transphobia” was initially canceled last week because of “new tensions in the international and regional context”. Despite its cancellation, more than 100 demonstrators still showed up to recognize the day. Without permission from the government to march, those present were met with a number of police and state security officers willing to use violence in order to stop the event. Gabon This week, over 350 containers of protected hardwood disappeared in Gabon, the wood worth nearly $250 million. The government of Gabon has vowed to find and punish all who are responsible for the disappearance. The hardwood stolen was from the rare kevazingo tree, which is...

Weekly Report: 10 May 2019

Thousands gathered outside the palace to celebrate the coronation of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Source: BBC Cuba This week, President Donald Trump threatened Cuba with the “highest-level sanctions” following Venezuela’s Juan Guaido’s attempted uprising against Nicolas Maduro and his government. Cuba has been a known supporter of Maduro, along with Russia. Trump stated, “with the right moves, Cuba could do very well. We could open it up but we’re going to end up closing it up if they don’t get out of Venezuela”. The Cuban government decided to cancel its 12th annual Conga Against Homophobia March this week, a move concerning LGBT rights activists. The cancellation of the march comes after Cuba’s decision to backtrack on their plans to approve same-sex marriage under a new constitution. Norge Espinosa Mendoza, LGBT activist, stated, “Not allowing [the parade] is a signal that we are not welcome”. Gabon Ten members of Gabon’s opposition signed a request last week for a neurologist to examine Gabon’s President Ali Bongo to determine if he was fit to continue ruling. The request was quickly dismissed by a trial court, stating that “only a majority of either the government or the parliament’s two chambers can request the Constitutional Court to call for a vacancy of power”. Despite his prolonged absence from the country since his stroke in November, his doctors still expect him to make a full recovery. Nicaragua Nicaragua’s national independent newspaper La Prensa suffered a large-scale cyber attack this week, the latest in Nicaragua’s worsening press freedoms. The attack started Friday night when 11,000 bots per second tried to enter the site, causing the newspaper’s website...