Americas Quarterly (Spring 2023) – Love him or not, the return of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is a watershed moment not just for Brazil, but Latin America as a whole. The 77-year-old is “the region’s only diplomatic heavy hitter and the most globally visible Latin American leader of his generation,” writes Oliver Stuenkel in this issue’s cover story.
AQ tracks priorities in external relations, including positions on Venezuela and China, in eight countries.
Amid growing tensions between the world’s largest superpowers, much of Latin America has taken an independent approach to foreign relations. Countries are increasingly following a path that Chilean scholars Carlos Fortin, Jorge Heine and Carlos Ominami titled the “active non-alignment option.” Regional integration is a top concern for some leaders, while others are seeking engagement far beyond the Western Hemisphere. Meanwhile, policy choices have to contend with domestic infrastructure challenges and a global concern with the impacts of climate change.
As countries in the global South refuse to take a side in the war in Ukraine, many in the West are struggling to understand why. Some speculate that these countries have opted for neutrality out of economic interest. Others see ideological alignments with Moscow and Beijing behind their unwillingness to take a stand—or even a lack of morals. But the behavior of large developing countries can be explained by something much simpler: the desire to avoid being trampled in a brawl among China, Russia, and the United States.
For China, Russia, and the West, the last year has been one of fear and conflict. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, of people. It has prompted the United States and Europe to rearm and has pushed Moscow and Washington back into Cold War–style competition.
DW Documentary (April 7, 2023) – When it comes to the chasm between rich and poor, few nations on Earth can compare with Namibia. Seventy percent of the country’s territory is owned by just six percent of the population.
The wounds inflicted during the German colonial era still run deep. Namibia’s colonial past is a violent one. Attempts by the indigenous Nama and Herero people to oppose the ambitions of German colonial rulers were brutally crushed. A genocide of the Nama and Herero was carried out between 1904 and 1908 and only officially recognized as such by the German government in 2021.
These terrible events continue to affect Namibian society to this day: While many of the victims’ descendants live on illegal settlements in constant fear of eviction, the white descendants of German colonialists still own most of the land and believe it is rightfully theirs. Most of Namibia’s vast natural resources are owned or controlled by foreigners.
The diamond industry is dominated by the international DeBeers consortium headquartered in London, UK. The construction and uranium industries are controlled by the Chinese; this is because Beijing continues to prop up the ruling SWAPO party, widely seen as corrupt. Documents leaked in 2021 revealed that North Korea was illegally subcontracted to build the country’s State House. Most of the country is sparsely populated, enabling nature to flourish.
Namibia is (still) home to one to one of the greatest wildlife populations in the world, including the only free roaming black rhinos. But an upswing in poaching by Chinese crime syndicates is threatening to destroy decades of conservation work, while global warming exacerbates desertification, threatening indigenous communities.
FRANCE 24 (April 5, 2023) – The security situation in Haiti has spiralled out of control since the shock assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021, with the country increasingly beset by violence. Today, unrest has reached such levels that the United Nations is being urged to intervene and there has been a total breakdown of governance.
The country is increasingly at the mercy of criminal gangs and half of the population struggles to find food. FRANCE 24’s team travelled to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, before gangs took full control of the city. They met a writer, a street vendor and a food importer, as well as residents trying to flee abroad.
Haiti is a Caribbean country that shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east. Though it’s still recovering from a 2010 earthquake, many of Haiti’s landmarks dating to the early 19th century remain intact. These include Citadelle la Ferrière, a mountaintop fortress, and the nearby ruins of Sans-Souci Palace, the baroque former royal home of King Henry I.
The Economist (February 23, 2023): The invasion of Ukraine left Russians with a stark choice: carry on as normal or make a stand against the war. But speaking out in Russia carries huge risks. How is the opposition managing to resist the regime – and at what personal cost?
Video timeline:00:00 – One year on 01:37 – The first wave of protests 05:43 – Crackdown on dissent 10:04 – Individual acts of rebellion 13:51 – Partial mobilisation 16:20 – Russia’s mass exodus 23:06 – The future of Russian rebellion