There is only so much one can know by reading and talking about a nation, without actually going there. Such was my dilemma before making a trip to Cuba in September, aware of the risks to people who work in the media and challenge the regime.
Following months of political crisis and citizen protests in Guatemala, the people’s discontent with the level of corruption and traditional politics translated into an oft-cited phrase: the problem is not the people, it’s the system. And so it is.
This is why many civil-society and opinion leaders within the country have been advocating for reforms to the Electoral and Political Parties Law, central to the operation of the political system.
The main problems of Guatemala’s electoral politics are, to be sure, the opacity with which parties are financed, the absolute lack of authority from the Electoral Tribunal to enforce the rules of the game, and the internal organization of political parties — most of them could do with some internal democracy.
Cuba’s judicial system, if it can even merit the name, is one of a totalitarian state. Anyone who gets in the way of the regime’s official line, even a harmless graffiti artist, will suffer the consequences.
That is the case of political-prisoner El Sexto, whose real name is Danilo Maldonado Machado and who advocated for and practiced free speech in Cuba. As our columnist Orlando Luis Pardo Larzo brought to our attention one month ago, the regime kidnapped this man in December 2014, and has held him without charge ever since.
No one should be killed over his beliefs or political ideology. Apparently, this obvious statement cannot be stressed enough.
A year ago, a group of young political activists from a rural town in Mexico saw their liberties and lives taken away by criminals — some of them common criminals, some of them Mexican state officials. [Read more…]
Now that the dust has settled somewhat from the storm produced by the Barack Obama administration’s new policy toward Cuba, it is possible to analyze some of its consequences.
The most obvious ones are permitting more US tourists to visit Cuba; allowing Cuban-Americans to increase remittances; increasing the revenue of the Cuban government; and removing Cuba from the list of countries supporting terrorism. Expectations in the island have grown that these policies will bring more changes and increase prosperity.
Yet, there are other more significant, long-term consequences. First, concerned about the possibility of unrest and US subversion in the island, General Raúl Castro’s administration has increased substantially repression against dissidents and the population in general. The aim is to maintain complete control and to prevent civil disobedience. Repression is likely to intensify and to continue.
EspañolBolivians are currently living through a very tense situation: the potential reelection of President Evo Morales for either two more consecutive terms, or perhaps even indefinitely.
At this point, we can’t even refer to this government as an “incumbent administration” anymore, since Morales has been in power now for three consecutive terms and is seeking reelection yet again.
But is there anything inherently wrong with this? Does it damage our liberty?
By Zack Yost
If you are paying attention to US politics, it is hard to miss the ongoing immigration debate, long centered around the flow of illegal immigrants across the US-Mexico border.
This debate was recently reignited by Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments about Hispanic immigrants. “They have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us,” he declared during his campaign announcement. “They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”
EspañolThe perilous state of political humor, transparency, and diversity of thought in Ecuador brought several speakers together in Quito on Monday, September 21.
EsLibertad Ecuador, the local chapter of Students for Liberty, and Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo (Citizenship and Development Foundation) organized the event in collaboration with the Latin American Democracy Youth Network, the Bastiat Society, and the Hispanic American Center for Economic Research.
EspañolBy Cecilia Fernández and Daniel Birrell
The crumbling approval ratings of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and her administration suggest there will be a new alignment of political parties (and candidates) for the 2017 primaries.
However, presidential hopefuls from the two largest political coalitions, the New Majority and the Alliance — or whatever they might call themselves by then — frequently praise Bachelet’s mantra: Chile needs reforms.
Some conservative politicians have even rushed to support Bachelet’s proposals, arguing that they just need better planning and implementation. In other words, the problem is not the recipe but rather the chef.
Español Leopoldo López made a huge mistake when he turned himself in to Venezuelan authorities.
The Nicolás Maduro government accused the opposition leader of inciting violence and arson, among other felonies, in connection with the massive anti-government protests that took place on February 12, 2014.
López clearly had good intentions when he decided to hand himself over to authorities, but it was the wrong move. Instead of standing up to the abuses of the Chavista government and the corrupt judiciary, he gave them legitimacy.