U.S. President Barack Obama defends his opening to Cuba as a more effective way to bring democracy to the island than his 10 predecessors’ policy of isolation. Engagement, he argued in December, “chips away at this hermetically sealed society, and I believe offers the best prospect then of leading to greater freedom, greater self-determination on the part of the Cuban people.” This rationale has been echoed by administration officials at every opportunity since then, along with the hope that Washington’s new approach will enable it to recruit European and Latin American allies to push Havana on human rights and democracy. […]
Editor’s note: It came to our attention after this report was published that it contained several passages closely resembling or directly duplicating previously published work by other authors, as well as previously published work by the author. After initially amending the report to include the missing attributions, we subsequently decided to remove the article. WPR regrets the error, and we apologize to the authors concerned and our readers.
In its more than 50 years of independence since the end of French colonialism, Algeria has seen a failed experiment with socialist economic development, taken stabs at halfhearted economic and political liberalizations and defeated a bloody Islamist rebellion against the state. Yet today, the country still faces important challenges, including social transformations, economic uncertainty despite oil and gas wealth, and a worrisome political sclerosis. All of these challenges might become exacerbated by a pending leadership succession whose smoothness is far from guaranteed. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika may not complete his fourth term due to poor health associated with a stomach ailment […]
Flying into Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the early days of 2015, foreign diplomats could be excused for being disoriented. The news in the international press was focused on an impending offensive against Rwandan rebels in the east of the country, an area to which the United Nations peacekeeping mission––the largest in the world––had just relocated most of its troops and staff. And yet, in the embassies and upscale restaurants of the capital, the buzz was all about political wrangling among elites ahead of elections still two years away. The populist governor of mining-rich Katanga […]