Weekly Reports Archives — Page 2 of 17 — CANVAS

June 28th Weekly Reports

Cuba A Russian warship, the Admiral Gorshkov, docked in Havana, Cuba this week giving foregin policy experts Cold War deja vu. The warship is armed with cruise missiles, air defence systems and other weapons. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday that US plans to deploy missile systems near the Russian border risks a nuclear standoff on a par with the height of the Cold War. The ship is docked in the same port where until last month American cruise ships docked until President Trump banned them from entering Cuban ports. Gabon  Gabonese women rights activists are denouncing Gabon’s President and dictator Ali Bongo Ondimba after he scrapped the ministry responsible for women’s affairs early this week. President Bongo pledged to empower the central African country’s women but activists say this move directly contradicts his promises. Gabonese women do not have full political or economic rights, and in the most recent elections, women won 15 of 120 seats in the National Assembly and 19 of 102 seats in the Senate.  Bolivia Notorious for its brutal prisons, Bolivia announced this week plans to reform and overhaul the prison system. The reform includes plans to build a new 10,000 capacity maximum security prison 40km from the Bolivian capital of La Paz. The prison will replace the current San Pedro maximum security prison, designed to hold 800 inmates but currently holding about 2,800. Bolivia has one of the highest murder rates in Latin America, ahead of neighbors Paraguay and Chile. The new prison is meant to alleviate overcrowding, which has led to deadly rioting in the past.  Nicaragua Four men...

Weekly Report: 20 June 2019

Health workers prepare to bury a coffin containing a victim of the ebola virus on May 16, 2019 in Butembo, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit John Wessels/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Cuba Cuba and the Cuban people are enduring economic turmoil after US sanctions and restrictions continue to take fold. Civilians are being forced to queue for food and endure sharp cuts in transport services. The latest move by President Donald Trump has been to ban American cruise ships from the communist-ruled nation last month, forcing approximately 800,000 tourists to change their travel plans. The Cuban state is also facing an economic crisis after its Southern communist ally, Venezuela, also faces international sanctions and continues to enter into more chaos. Nicaragua According to a report published by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) on June 19, the pro-government forces in Nicaragua committed human rights violations, some amounting to torture, during the suppression of protests against Daniel Ortega that began in April 2018. The abuses detailed in the report include, but are not limited to, “beating captured protestors…raping detainees…acid burns… [and] forced self-incriminating confessions.” The report also calls for governments in North America and Europe to impose targeted sanctions against top Nicaraguan authorities. North Korea State media reported from both China and North Korea that China’s President Xi Jinping will make his first trip to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong Un, marking the first trip by a Chinese president in fourteen years to North Korea. The meeting will take place two days before the G-20 Summit, amid rising tensions in the Korean Peninsula after failed talks between...

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...