A great op-Ed by Nick Kristoff at the NYT explaining how, though lacking in first rate medical technology, the infant mortality rates are actually lower in Cuba. We could take away many good practices from the Socialist, island nation so close to our shores.
Yesterday Baltimore’s Finest’s victims of police discrimination and brutality, namely, the poor African-American population of the city’s West End, took a violent stand against their oppressors. And all I hear from yesterday to today is the condemnation of the violent actions and the damage it has done to the movement’s image and goals.
But what about the emotion? What about the anger and the rage? Should it not be expressed through these actions?
When you hear everyone criticizing the rioters’ actions they assume that they are rational actors with set goals and objectives. But they were not rational yesterday. The ages of discrimination against blacks needed to be released, almost as catharsis, by these enraged masses with earned distrust and hatred for the police. Freddy Gray’s death just brought these emotions to the fore.
And as for the request by the Gray family for protests to be quieted for the day in honor of Gray’s funeral was irrelevant. The issue is bigger than Gray’s death. It’s about police discrimination, not just the tragic death of a single person. Gray’s death was just the spark and it is now a raging wildfire.
A great piece in The Guardian on recent Venezuelan unrest with a print and video interview with Pres. Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro claims that the U.S. is almost directly involved with the middle- to upper-class revolt their in an effort to procure Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.
I am not backing that assessment but the U.S. has had a century of destabilizing activity in Latin America. The evidence is clear.
But what is important to take away from this piece, and the protests in general, is that it’s the revolution of the rich. U.S. political assessments of it are wrong. It is not a “Spring” revolt.
Now there are problems in Venezuela, and The Guardian lists them, but they are getting better as The Guardian also reports. It’s like Maduro said in the interview: “What country doesn’t have problems?”
There is no justification in these protests which are a coup attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government without major crime.
A great piece in The Atlantic for anyone who is interested in the current crisis in Venezuela. Author Moises Naim gives a rebuke of the Maduro administration while siding with the protesters in the streets.
But keep in mind the caveat that in the article Naim discloses that he was Venezuela’s minister of trade and industry and director of its Central Bank from 1989-1990. So he may favor the upper/middle class opposition in his arguments.
Interesting to see how protests are further morphing as the digital age is progressing, if even it is still the digital age at all.
Many protests occurred at Wal-Mart stores yesterday on Black Friday with protesters demanding “…wages of at least $25,000, more full-time openings and an end to retaliation against workers who speak out about their conditions.”
An article in The Guardian relates that both Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi’s supporters and liberal anti-Morsi protesters may clash in huge protests tomorrow in Alexandria. On Friday, two protester’s were killed (one an American) and 70 were injured with large numbers on both sides being reported that even larger protests will be held on Sunday.
The anti-Morsi protesters are critical of the Muslim Brotherhood’s religious fundamentalism. They say that Morsi himself is becoming too authoritarian and has exerted too much control over the nation’s media institutions. But on the other side, Morsi supporters say that the president was democratically elected and the Brotherhood’s religious bent is good for Egypt.
But what I’m concerned with is that the media is blowing these events out of proportion. They need to be reported on but I do not like the rhetoric I am hearing stating that change in Egypt is over and the hope for democracy is waning. What we need to remember, though, is that democracy needs time to develop. There needs to be time for the building of institutions, for the holding of fair elections, and a strong government not held hostage by political uprisings in Tahrir Square and the streets of Alexandria.
Democracy is not dead in Egypt, in my opinion, for there are a lot of similarities between the events in Egypt and those that occurred in France between 1789 and 1898. There was Napoleon, Louis Bonaparte, the manning of the barricades, and the Paris Commune. These anti-democratic actions in France all took place until a true democracy was created over a 100 years later. The creation of a democracy does not usually run as smoothly as the one that was created here in the United States.
Here is an NYT article showing the latest attack by the Kremlin on Anti-Putin protesters. The protesters are only showing their fear that Putin and corruption may become a permanent mainstay in Russian politics, much lik under the old Soviet system.