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One of Argentina’s former military leaders, Jorge Videla, has been jailed for the torture and murder of dozens of people during the Argentine government’s “Dirty War” against suspected leftist activists. Videla will serve a life sentence for his role in the war, during which as many as 30,000 Argentines were detained, tortured and disappeared during between 1976 and 1983.

When then-Col. Hugo Chávez launched a military coup against the civilian government of Venezuela in 1992, he had not yet grasped the potential value of winning a democratic election. Luckily for Chávez, his coup attempt failed, and he survived to play the democracy game. Today, 12 years after winning his first election for what at the time was meant to be a single five-year presidential term, Chávez has become a master of the game, writing and rewriting the rules, and testing the willingness of his followers to believe they still live in a democratic country. There is no certainty, however, […]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will rule on whether to issue summonses for six men accused of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in violence following Kenya’s disputed 2007 presidential election. But in announcing the suspects’ names on Dec. 15, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo indicted the entire East African nation, saying that “we had to launch this because nothing was happening in Kenya.” It was an overt and pointed critique of the government of national unity born from the post-election violence. Although only barely able to hold itself together, the government has managed to strengthen Kenya’s already entrenched culture […]

On the stage in Oslo City Hall today, there will be an empty chair for the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo. The United States government, which will be represented at the ceremony by its ambassador to Norway, Barry White, criticized China’s refusal to release the imprisoned Liu in order to attend the ceremony. The House of Representatives also passed a resolution calling for the dissident to be freed, while the Obama administration made its position clear in no uncertain terms: We think the Nobel committee has made a strong statement, and we will associate ourselves with that […]

Côte d’Ivoire’s President Laurent Gbagbo used a prescient campaign slogan in the run-up to the country’s Nov. 28 presidential run-off election: “We win, or we win.” Despite regional and international recognition of Alassane Dramane Ouattara as the winner of the poll, Gbagbo wrapped himself in the Ivorian tricolor for an inauguration ceremony on Dec. 4, warning darkly against any threat to Ivorian sovereignty. The move followed a decision by the country’s Constitutional Court, stacked with Gbagbo cronies and acolytes, to void the Independent Electoral Commission’s results giving Ouattara 54 percent of the votes, saying that the commission’s delay in announcing […]