Weekly Reports Archives — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 22 March 2019

People walk on a flooded street in Buzi, central Mozambique, after the passage of the Cyclone Idai. AFP/Getty Images   Cuba This week, the Trump administration announced their plan to end five-year visitor visas for Cubans, making it significantly more difficult for Cubans to visit relatives, or take part in academic exchanges within the United States. The State Department cited this decision as being one of reciprocity, due to Cuba’s only accepting one-time temporary visas from outsiders. News of the suicide of Kenyan Dr. Hamisi Ali Juma shocked news outlets, initiating Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman to hire a team of experts to investigate the events leading to his death. Senators have already alleged to harsh treatment of Kenyan medics in Cuba, potentially being a large factor in the doctor’s death. Senators have called on the government to further investigate the terms and conditions of the exchange program. Gabon President Ali Bongo’s office announced on Thursday that the president would return to Gabon this weekend for the third time since suffering a stroke late last year. In the announcement, the spokesman expressed the president’s excitement to return to his country, as well as his thanks to Moroccan King Mohammed VI for his welcome and support throughout Bongo’s stay. Bolivia This week, Bolivia expelled several Venezuelans that have been accused of conspiring against the Cuban Embassy in La Paz. Bolivian President Evo Morales maintains his close relationship with Venezuela, the relationship forming during Hugo Chavez’s regime. Five Venezuelans have been detained, and have confessed to being a part of political activities. General elections in Bolivia, originally scheduled for October 27,...

Weekly Report: 15 March 2019

A demonstrator shouts slogans during a protest against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government in Managua, Nicaragua on 23 September 2018. Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas Cuba The work to ease tensions between the United States and Cuba first initiated during Barack Obama’s presidency has now reversed, with tensions now rising higher between the two countries. While experts say Cuba was eager to salvage the relationship, that has changed in Trump’s era of increased threats and sanctions against the island country. With tensions rising, Cuban state television channels have begun to air footage every night last week showing tanks rolling out and soldiers taking position. The airing of these images dubbed as “training for The War of the Whole People” is likely in response to the threat of a US invasion in Venezuela, which could potentially spill over in Cuba. Bolivia In a visit to Athens this week, Bolivian president Evo Morales voiced his continued support of Venezuela’s Maduro, and encouraged Western powers to stop meddling. Morales also said that history has proven Western intervention never bodes well, and encouraged the countries to rather support a dialogue within the country. Nicaragua This week showed both hope and disappointment in Nicaragua, amidst negotiations held between The Civil Alliance, made up mostly of students, entrepreneurs, and activists, and Daniel Ortega’s government. The negotiations were introduced to resolve the year-long struggle, but upon The Civil Alliance’s demands that Ortega release all political prisoners, Ortega’s government refused, and the opposition walked out.         Ortega’s government released a statement on Monday saying they were prepared to continue peace talks, to which The Civil Alliance responded by saying they would,...

Weekly Report: 11 March, 2019

“Lumad” teachers and students join other women’s groups in Mendiola to mark International Women’s Day on Friday. The lumad women paid tribute to their women leaders, teachers and human rights defenders, and protested the attacks against indigenous communities. Source: Earvin Perias Cuba Cuba has joined ten other nations in mentioning climate change in a new constitution through the inclusion of new amendments. The decision was approved by voters in late February, and comes alongside Cuba’s announcement of long-term plans to introduce policies that will tackle global warming. Gabon Gabon’s president Ali Bongo has returned to Morocco once again to continue receiving treatment for the stroke he suffered late last year. Bongo was only in the country for a short 2-day visit to address Gabonese officials. This is only the second time he has visited Gabon since the attempted coup that took place in early January. As Bongo continues to receive treatment in Morocco, officials have also had to shut down reports of his using a clone, or body-double for state visits. Rumors swirled after his visit last week that it was not actually Bongo visiting, though the government has been working to prove this is not the case. Bolivia Bolivia’s Unified Health System (SUS) was launched on March 1, and will cover around 70% of the Bolivian population with free healthcare. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the system “extraordinary”, and have released statistics showing that Bolivia is one of the first Latin American countries to be active in their fight to reduce extreme poverty. Authorities estimate that SUS will cover around 5 million Bolivians who lacked coverage...

Weekly Report: 1 March, 2019

President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam on Feb. 27, 2019. Saul Loeb / AFP – Getty Images Source: NBC Cuba Cubans voted on Sunday to update the country’s constitution while preserving the socialist system of government. Results showed that 87 percent of voters approved the referendum, which updated some of the language on electoral, financial, and criminal laws. While 4.15 percent of ballots weren’t counted because of mistakes, still 9 percent of voters opposed the new constitution – a high number for a country where opposition parties are illegal. Most opposition came from Evangelical Christians who fear the new constitution could eventually allow for the legalization of gay marriage. There was also some opposition from younger Cubans who fear the new wording is still too conservative and will not allow growth for future generations. Gabon Gabonese President Ali Bongo has returned to Gabon on Sunday following his month-long stay in Saudi Arabia for treatment of a health condition. This week he was immediately back to work, overseeing a cabinet meeting and meeting heads of the Constitutional Court and National Assembly and his chief of staff. His prolonged absence left many in Gabon feeling unsettled as the state of his health was not released.   Bolivia Bolivia declared a national emergency this week because of natural disasters caused by heavy rains over the past few weeks. On Wednesday, the country’s Minister of Defense announced that 5200 families have been affected and 59 homes have been destroyed in the 61 affected municipalities. By...

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...