Weekly Reports Archives — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 14 June 2019

Sudanese protesters wave national flags as they chant slogans during a sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, April 26, 2019. VOA. Nicaragua Nicaragua’s Congress passed a sweeping amnesty law backed by President Ortega that offers protection to police and military officers who took part in the government’s violent suppression of anti-government protests last year. Nicaraguan lawmakers said they were taking a stand for national unity, but the move has been rebuked by the United Nations’ top human rights official, Michelle Bachele. Those opposed to the law cite that it impedes the ability of domestic and international actors to determine who violated human rights; other opposition groups say that it offers impunity to violent state sponsored criminals. Another objection to the newly passed law is that it stipulates that political opposition members released cannot partake in new protests –– opposition members demur the law: “Free, but still imprisoned.” North Korea Tension and hostility continued to grow between the United States and North Korea this week. The United States, along with 25 other countries, is accusing North Korea of violating United Nations sanctions on the import of refined petroleum via illegal ship-to-ship transfers. A report submitted to the UN sanctions committee by the US calls for the immediate halt of these petroleum transfers and for stricter enforcement of sanctions against North Korea. Meanwhile, North Korean state media called for the United States to change its “hostile policy” towards the North on the eve of the one year anniversary of the US-North Korean Nuclear Summit. This announcement comes at the same time the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition...

Weekly Report: 10 June 2019

Protesters hold placards as they stage protest against the extradition law in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 9, 2019. (AP Photo) Gabon President Ali Bongo made his first speech on Saturday following his return to Bongo two months ago. In his speech, he called on the country’s Prime Minister to form a new government after last month’s timber smuggling scandal. Bongo had previously fired both his vice president and forestry minister in regards to the scandal, saying that the new government must be “exemplary, honest, and ethical”. Bolivia As the October 2019 general election approaches in Bolivia, the opposition has explored potential failures on their part to avoid the re-election of current President Evo Morales. Valeria Silva, the legislator of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) was interviewed by La Razon newspaper in which she discussed the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) failure to address the political problems and potential for dictatorship in August 2018 while in Bolivia. Silva believes that the threat of dictatorship is the strongest argument the opposition can use against Morales running for another term. Nicaragua The Nicaragua government said Thursday it has released 50 prisoners detained in protests from jail to house arrest as an agreed-upon deadline to release all such prisoners approaches. The government says that the prisoners were being held for crimes against public peace and security. Other releases have been made, but the opposition group, Civic Alliance, pulled out of talks with the Nicaraguan government because not all prisoners had been released. The Nicaraguan state says that it will release all 142 prisoners, but Civic Alliance says the number behind bars could...

Weekly Report: 31 May 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller speaks on May 29, 2019. (Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/epa-EFE) Cuba  Cuba announced this week that it would legalize private Wi-Fi networks and allow foreign companies to import equipment like routers to the country. The move will expand connectivity across the island, where up until 2013, Wi-Fi could only be accessed at tourist hotels. The new rules will go into effect on July 29 and allow private businesses to provide customers with wifi. The many existing wifi networks built using smuggled equipment will now be legal and regulated, and the creation of new networks will be encouraged. While citizens will now be able to access the internet easier and legally, the state has not loosened their control of the internet, itself. The only internet provider on the island, state-owned Etecsa, will still be the only option for connectivity. Bolivia  Bolivia’s committee for the Defense of Democracy and other large opposition groups claim to declare a “state of emergency” after President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera announced their unconditional bid for a fourth term last week. Opposition leaders met Friday in Santa Cruz, Bolivia to demand the resignation of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal after the members sided with the nation’s Constitutional court to allow Morales to seek a fourth term. The opposition parties have also called for all party leaders to step down by May 31st. Opposition leaders argue if successful in his reelection, Morales will become a dictator for life and will set a dangerous precedent for leaders worldwide. Despite Morales’ power grab, opposition leaders, including former President Carlos Mesa, failed to commit to...

Weekly Report 24 May 2019

A woman holds a sign that reads “Fighting cheated election” during a protest following the announcement of last month’s presidential election results outside the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia. Source: Reuters Cuba Cuba is experiencing a food shortage in response to the current economic crisis in Venezuela. Towards the end of 2018, the country was mostly experiencing a flour shortage, and as the 2019 year progressed, the price of pork and chicken significantly rose in price. Cubans have taken to social media using the hashtag #LaColaChallenge to post pictures and videos showing the long waits in grocery stores, angry customers, and food queues. The government has blamed the lack of food on international providers and the poor state of the milling industry, as well as blames hoarders for preventing others from getting the items they need. This week, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu said that Turkey will continue to support an end to sanctions and the embargo placed on Cuba. Following his meeting with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, he also reinforced Turkey’s support of Cuba through a series of tweets. Gabon President Ali Bongo dismissed both Vice President Pierre Claver Maganga Moussavou and Forestry Minister Guy Bertrand Mapangou this week in the midst of a scandal regarding the theft of nearly $250m worth of hardwood. In March, 392 containers of illegally felled kevazingo wood were found and seized by authorities, but by the end of April, 353 of the containers had disappeared. The kevazingo tree is very rare and therefore protected by law, though it remains in high demand in Asia. Several top Gabonese...

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...