Demonstrators shout slogans and wave Nicaraguan flags during a protest against the Nicaraguan government in front of the Nicaraguan Embassy in Madrid, Spain, Jan. 12, 2019 (AP photo by Andrea Comas).

On Monday, the Nicaraguan government announced it was implementing the very reforms that triggered widespread protests last year and led to a brutal government crackdown. A move of economic necessity, it also appeared to be another sign of President Daniel Ortega’s renewed confidence in power, despite international outcries over his government’s repression, which has resulted in 325 confirmed deaths and the arrests of more than 600 dissidents since last spring, among other abuses. Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have fled into exile. The unpopular fiscal reforms will address the country’s deficit-wracked pension system, increasing both employer and worker contributions and […]

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, accompanied by Trump administration officials, meets with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, left, and other Chinese officials in Washington, Jan. 30, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. The United States Department of Justice announced criminal charges against Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies and one of its top executives on Monday, escalating tensions between the two countries as they begin a new round of high-level trade negotiations. A 13-count indictment was unsealed in New York City, targeting Huawei, two of its affiliates and Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou. The allegations include bank and wire fraud, violating U.S. sanctions on Iran and conspiring to obstruct justice related to […]

Zimbabweans who were arrested during protests over the hike in fuel prices are taken to a court appearance, Harare, Zimbabwe, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

The military coup that ended the ruinous 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe was greeted with genuine enthusiasm both in Zimbabwe and abroad. Any skepticism of Emmerson Mnangagwa was drowned out by the new president’s calming rhetoric about unity and reconciliation and his commitment to a “new beginning.” It seemed churlish, amid such optimism, to deny the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe their moment of hope. Yet that spirit has been dashed recently as Mnangagwa’s reforms have been exposed as cosmetic, at best. Instead of a new Zimbabwe, it is the same old state within the narrow parameters imposed by the ruling […]

Malian troops stand with former rebels before a joint patrol in Gao, Mali, Feb. 23, 2017 (AP photo by Baba Ahmed).

Ethnic violence in central Mali is the latest manifestation of the chronic insecurity that has prevailed for the better part of a decade. But even as bullets continue to fly, officials have backed a range of initiatives—from disarmament to criminal trials—to move on from the Malian conflict. BAMAKO—On a Monday morning last June, toward the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Amadou Barry, a 55-year-old cattle herder and member of the Fulani ethnic group, noticed smoke coming out of a nearby village. It wasn’t long before he registered the sound of gunshots—a telltale sign that a militia attack was […]

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, left, and his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, at Tshisekedi’s inauguration ceremony in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 24, 2019 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

What is the most effective way to neuter a peacekeeping operation? Last week, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali, known by its French acronym MINUSMA, lost 10 soldiers when jihadis attacked their base. A few days later, a roadside bomb killed two more peacekeepers. Although this was an especially grim week, guerrilla forces regularly hit U.N. camps and convoys in northern Mali. Since it was deployed in 2013, MINUSMA has lost over 100 personnel to hostile acts. A 2018 study suggested that the mission devotes about 90 percent of its military resources to protecting itself. Many U.N. officials and […]

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, right, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a news conference following a meeting in Milan, Italy, Aug. 28, 2018 (AP photo by Luca Bruno).

European leaders gathered twice last year to try and develop an EU-wide approach to the still-divisive issues of migration and the integration of refugees, and both times they failed to reach any consensus, yet again. Building on public anxieties around migration, far-right populist parties succeeded in sowing more discord across the continent, with many centrist and liberal politicians having difficulty formulating a response. The effectiveness of these anti-migrant and even nativist campaigns was evident with the controversy over the adoption of the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration last month in Morocco. The compact initially enjoyed support from all U.N. […]

Pedestrians walk past a campaign poster showing Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa during the ruling party’s launch of its election manifesto, Harare, May 4, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.A year ago, Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was riding high as he traveled to Davos, Switzerland, to declare at the World Economic Forum that his country was “open for business.” It was a message he had delivered many times since coming to power in November 2017, after longtime President Robert Mugabe was forced out in a military intervention, and would continue to deliver at seemingly every opportunity. As Alex T. Magaisa, a Zimbabwean analyst, put it last year, the new […]

Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo, center, talks to journalists as he leaves the courthouse in Yangon, Myanmar, Sept. 3, 2018 (AP photo by Thein Zaw).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. Earlier this month, a court in Myanmar upheld the seven-year prison sentences of two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were convicted in September under the British colonial-era Official Secrets Act while reporting on atrocities committed against the Rohingya ethnic minority. The case shows the barriers to reporting in Myanmar, especially on politically sensitive investigations involving the powerful military, despite some positive steps to relax media restrictions since the country transitioned from direct military rule and […]

Indonesian police officers arrest a supporter of West Papuan independence during a rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 15, 2017 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).

Earlier this month, the Indonesian military raided and destroyed the offices of the West Papuan National Committee, a separatist group in the country’s easternmost region, which has long agitated for independence. The raid came amid allegations that the military had used chemical weapons in airstrikes on separatists in West Papua in late December. The Indonesian government has responded harshly after at least 17 construction workers were killed by West Papuan militants in early December, the deadliest such attack in West Papua in years. This surge in unrest in the region is the outcome of a harder line that the Indonesian […]

Supporters of the United National Party and ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe burn coffins to protest the government of disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 15, 2018 (AP photo by Rukmal Gamage).

The recent bout of unrest in Sri Lanka, sparked by President Maithripala Sirisena’s unexpected decision to fire the prime minister, concluded fairly peacefully. But many of the factors that have destabilized Sri Lankan politics in recent years remain unresolved—and will likely lead to more uncertainty in 2019. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka—For many Sri Lankans, the country’s recent political turmoil came on so quickly they couldn’t possibly have prepared for it. Rami Singh, a delivery driver in his 20s, recalls barreling through this city’s hectic traffic on the night of Oct. 26 when, suddenly, he had to slam on his brakes to […]

Cuban doctors assemble to meet Cuba’s president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, after landing in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Desmond Boylan).

The government of Cuba canceled a medical cooperation agreement with Brazil and withdrew thousands of its doctors from the country late last year after Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, criticized the Cuban government for taking most of the doctors’ salaries and not allowing their families to accompany them to Brazil. The exodus of Cuban doctors is expected to severely impair health care services for millions of poor Brazilians who depended on them. In an email interview with WPR, Albert Ko, a professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health who has conducted research in Brazil, discusses the withdrawal’s […]

Kenyan security forces aim their weapons as they run through a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 15, 2019 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. On Monday, a court in Kenya ruled that three men must stand trial over their alleged role in the 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi by the Somali extremist group al-Shabab. That attack, which left more than 60 people dead, underscored the risk of blowback in Kenya over its military operations against al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia. The very next day, assailants detonated explosives in the parking lot of a Nairobi hotel and shopping complex before going inside […]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference in Ottawa, Dec. 19, 2018 (Photo by Adrian Wyld for The Canadian Press via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. A court in the Chinese port city of Dalian sentenced a Canadian man convicted of drug trafficking to the death penalty Monday, the latest development in an intensifying diplomatic spat between Beijing and Ottawa that has already resulted in the arrest of two Canadians on charges of “endangering national security.” Robert Lloyd Schellenberg received the death sentence following a one-day retrial ordered weeks after Meng Wanzhou—the chief financial officer for Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei—was arrested Dec. 1 in Vancouver […]

Supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo celebrate his acquittal of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, in the Yopougon district of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Jan. 15, 2019 (AP photo by Diomande Ble Blonde).

In late 2011, as the International Criminal Court prepared to mark 10 years since it began operations, its record was looking decidedly unimpressive. For one thing, it still had not secured any convictions; the first, for the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, wouldn’t be delivered until March 2012. Perhaps more importantly, the court’s most high-profile suspects sat comfortably outside its reach. Despite their indictments, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Uhuru Kenyatta, then Kenya’s finance minister, both held onto their offices. And Kenyatta was gearing up for what would turn out to be a successful presidential bid in 2013, a campaign in […]

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir greets his supporters at a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, Jan. 9, 2019 (AP photo by Mahmoud Hjaj).

Omar al-Bashir’s long rule in Sudan has been defined by a criminal and abject failure to govern. But he has also shown unmistakable staying power as the leader of a vast, hard-to-manage country. That is now being tested to its limits as weeks of anti-government demonstrations show no sign of dissipating, even in the face of killings and mass arrests carried out by his security forces. Since seizing power in 1989, Sudan’s president has somehow navigated his way through a permanent state of national crisis, albeit a crisis largely created and sustained by his own actions. Bashir survived a crippling […]

Young Cubans attend a march celebrating the 60th anniversary of the arrival of Fidel Castro and his rebel army to Regla, an area within Havana, Cuba, Jan. 8, 2019 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

Is the Cuban Revolution reinventing itself at age 60? That was my unmistakable impression during a visit to Cuba last month. Change is in the air as the island celebrates the anniversary of the 1959 revolution. Last year, Raul Castro stepped down as president in favor of his protégé, 58-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, who promised a “new Cuba”—a government more open and responsive to people’s needs. In the ensuing months, three constituencies—the churches, the private sector and the arts community—took advantage of that promise to launch organized campaigns pushing back against government policies they opposed. And in each case, the government […]

Pro-choice demonstrators wear signs that say “Death by abortion” to show support for the legalization of abortion in Argentina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Silvia Izquierdo).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the standoff in Washington over President Donald Trump’s border wall and the crisis in Central America it overshadows. For the Report, Anna-Catherine Brigida talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about recent progress made by abortion rights activists in Latin America and the challenges they continue to face in liberalizing the region’s strict abortion laws. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered […]

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