Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin’s Russia

Demographic, Russia

Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin’s Russia

The prevailing narrative about Russia, Frye writes, is overpoliticized and oversimplified. All too often, outside observers reduce Russian politics either to “Putinism,” defined by the character and background of Russian President Vladimir Putin, or to Russia’s unique history and culture. They neglect the numerous comparative studies that portray Russia as a personalist autocracy with much in common with other contemporary regimes in Hungary, Turkey, or Venezuela. Standard political commentary on Russia also gives little importance to dynamics within Russian society.

But survey-based academic research—including Frye’s own—illustrates the impact of Russian public opinion on the Kremlin’s decision-making process.

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Venezuela’s popular Democracy under siege: A conversation with Elías Jaua

Demographic, Venezuela

Venezuela’s popular Democracy under siege: A conversation with Elías Jaua

In a recent article, you argued for opening a debate among the revolutionary cadres and the people. Tell us about why you wager for debate in this process (that initially put so much emphasis on popular democracy)

I return to the question of democracy time and again because I believe it is the core of the Bolivarian Revolution. In fact, it is (or should be) the essence of any socialist revolution. A socialist revolution must be profoundly democratic or it will not be a revolution at all! Only authentic popular participation can lead to innovation, transformation, and timely rectification. The emergence of something new comes mostly out of popular participation.

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Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Demographic, Venezuela

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela has been the stuff of frontpage news extravaganzas, especially since the death of Hugo Chávez. With predictable bias, mainstream media focus on violent clashes between opposition and government, coup attempts, hyperinflation, U.S. sanctions, and massive immigration. What is less known, however, is the story of what the Venezuelan people—especially the Chavista masses—do and think in these times of social emergency.

Denying us their stories comes at a high price to people everywhere, because the Chavista bases are the real motors of the Bolivarian revolution. This revolutionary grassroots movement still aspires to the communal path to socialism that Chávez refined in his last years. Venezuela, the Present as Struggle is an eloquent testament to their lives.

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There is a migrant crisis, but where and why?

Threats, Transnational Crime

There is a migrant crisis, but where and why?

Much ink and hot air has been expended over the past several weeks about whether or not there is a “crisis” on the U.S.-Mexico border, caused by a big spike in the number of migrants and asylum-seekers arriving there since the change in U.S. administrations.

The tone of the Republican versus Democrat argument often takes on a semantic character.  In the opinion of this writer, there is indeed a major crisis, but it is not new; rather it is rooted in the way U.S. imperialism has interacted with the nations and peoples of Central America and the Caribbean for well over a century.

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The Politics of Stopping Pandemics

Disease, Threats

The Politics of Stopping Pandemics

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, global instability had caused a worrying rise in epidemics. Medical science alone won’t be able to turn the tide.

“Just a few years ago, many of us in the global health policy community were thrilled at the prospect of eliminating catastrophic infectious and tropical diseases,” Peter Hotez writes in his new book, “Preventing the Next Pandemic” (Johns Hopkins). He dates this high point of optimism to the start of 2015, when the success of vaccination campaigns had become dramatically evident. Polio, once endemic in more than a hundred countries, had been limited to three—Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Measles deaths were down by eighty per cent, from half a million children worldwide in 2000 to a fifth of that number.

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Study exposes global ripple effects of regional water scarcity

Ecology, Threats

Study exposes global ripple effects of regional water scarcity

Water scarcity is often understood as a problem for regions experiencing drought, but a new study led by Tufts University researchers finds that not only can localized water shortages impact the global economy, but changes in global demand can have positive and negative ripple effects in river basins across the globe.

In addition to Tufts engineers, the team included experts from the Joint Global Change Research Institute at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Cornell University.

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The Chavez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela

Demographic, Venezuela

The Chavez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela

Perhaps no world leader is better placed to challenge the global authority of the United States than Hugo Chavez, the populist leader of Venezuela. As the head of one of the world’s largest oil-producing countries, Chavez has been instrumental in raising world oil prices, undermining the control and profits of the multinational oil companies, and introducing innovative plans to use the wealth from this natural resource to help the impoverished-rather than the already powerful-in his own country and around the world. As the popularly elected president of one of South America’s largest democracies, his strong resistance to the Bush administration’s Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) has severely set back, if not derailed entirely, the US’s long-held hemispheric agenda.

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Cuba and Venezuela: An insight into two revolutions

Demographic, Venezuela

Cuba and Venezuela: An insight into two revolutions

“Venezuela now presents a similar problem as Cuba for US interests in the hemisphere.”—Noam Chomsky

With Latin America becoming more volatile than it has been for decades, this book addresses the question everyone (friend and foe of President Chávez) is asking: Is Venezuela taking the Cuban road?

In the face of Chávez’s outspoken resistance to the neoliberal project in Latin America, accelerating social reforms in Venezuela, and rising hysteria in Washington about the relationship between Chávez and Fidel Castro, this is a uniquely objective and authoritative analysis by Cuba’s ambassador to Venezuela.

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The Venezuelan Revolution: 100 Questions-100 Answers

Demographic, Venezuela

The Venezuelan Revolution: 100 Questions-100 Answers

There is one country in the Americas that the Bush Administration regards as a significant threat to U.S. interests, and it is not Cuba. Oil-rich Venezuela’s democratically-elected government has survived repeated, U.S.-supported attempts to undermine its power, including a short lived military coup. Its leader, President Hugo Chávez, is neither communist nor capitalist, and instead claims to be creating an alternative 21st Century socialism that courts international capital. What is the real story behind this leader of Latin America’s lurch to the left? Is it a new petro-populism in the tradition of Peron and Fujimori, or is it truly a progressive, home-grown democratic revolution that will address the massive economic and social inequalities plaguing the region for more than three centuries?

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The Battle of Venezuela (Open Media Series)

Demographic, Russia

The Battle of Venezuela (Open Media Series)

In August 2004, the Venezuelan public came out in record numbers to deliver an overwhelming vote of confidence. After many attempts to unseat him, Hugo Chåvez, the former military man who took the country first by coup and then by ballot, again emerged as the people’s choice. It was, in his words, “a victory for the people of Venezuela.”
Yet despite Chåvez’s successes, having defended his post in six referenda, two elections and against one failed coup, Venezuela—one of the world’s largest oil exporting countries—is a nation deeply divided. The power struggle between the country’s first indigenous head of state and his detractors expresses a larger conflict gripping the region.

In The Battle of Venezuela, Guardian reporter Michael McCaughan captures the drama of challenges to Chåvez’s presidency in the courts and on the streets of Caracas. In this detailed analysis of the political forces at work, McCaughan documents the role of the country’s powerful and shrinking middle class, the effects of Chåvez’s social programs for his mainly poor constituents, and the rise of the social movement whose members proclaim themselves “Chåvistas.”

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