A demonstrator wearing a gas mask and carrying a shield calls for others to join him in confronting Venezuelan National Guardsmen blocking the entry of U.S.-supplied humanitarian aid, La Parada, Colombia, Feb. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

It wasn’t very long ago that Venezuela anchored one side of a left-right divide in Latin America, with the late President Hugo Chavez inspiring a wave of leftist electoral victories across the hemisphere. More recently, the region’s leftward drift has stopped, even reversed, but Venezuela is again the catalyst in the new political alignments. The current crisis in Venezuela has forced governments everywhere, but especially in Latin America, to clarify where they stand on the future of Nicolas Maduro’s presidency. It is no longer possible for Latin American leaders to issue fuzzy statements now that the Venezuelan opposition has declared […]

Female protesters flash the No. 1 sign as part of the “One Billion Rising” global movement to end violence against women and children, Manila, Philippines, Feb. 15, 2016 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

There is evidence that gender inequality around the world is in decline, yet significant obstacles remain to overcoming patriarchal systems in many parts of the world. Find out more about gender inequality and related issues when you subscribe to World Politics Review. Despite progress in reducing gender inequality around the world, great challenges remain, perhaps none more alarming than the persistence of violence against women. When then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that “the subjugation of women is a threat to the common security of our world and to the national security of our country,” she was not just spouting […]

Chinese students listen to a speech at Chongqing University, Dec. 20, 2007 (Photo by Andrew Parsons for Press Association 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. Two incidents at Canadian universities earlier this month have renewed concerns that Chinese students based overseas are being used as tools in Beijing’s soft-power influence campaign. On Feb. 11, a group of Chinese students at McMaster University in Ontario documented an on-campus presentation about China’s mass internment of Uighurs and reported it to the Chinese Consulate in Toronto. The presentation was given by Uighur-Canadian activist Rukiye Turdush, who later said a Chinese student “ostentatiously recorded the entire presentation” and […]

An anti-government protester holds a banner that reads “We want a European Romania” outside the Romanian Athenaeum concert hall, Bucharest, Jan. 10, 2019 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

It seems that everywhere you look today, people are taking to the streets. Recent mass protests have exploded in a dizzyingly diverse range of countries, including France, Hungary, Romania, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Sudan, Venezuela, Greece, as well as Gaza, and most recently Algeria. Does this surge of citizen activism and anger, which is just the most recent swell in what has been a decade-long tide of large-scale protests, offer some broader lessons about the state of democracy? Some protests may look like a sign of democratic decay amid a rise of populism and alienation with the political status quo—for example, in […]

Benin Bronzes at the British Museum, London, Feb. 15, 2012 (flickr photo by user Son of Groucho).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. BENIN CITY, Nigeria—Two years ago, during a trip to Venice, the Nigerian artist Victor Ehikhamenor stepped out on a Sunday to see a sprawling exhibition by the British artist Damien Hirst, which was on view at two museums, the Punta della Dogana and the Palazzo Grassi. Titled “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” the exhibition purported to show objects salvaged from a fictional capsized ship—the Unbelievable—discovered, or so the story went, […]

A man reads a copy of a newspaper leading with the news that the general election was postponed, Kano, northern Nigeria, Feb. 16, 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. The delay came at the last possible moment. On the night of Feb. 15, after many Nigerians had already traveled in order to vote in a general election planned for the following day, officials announced it would be pushed back to Feb. 23 because of logistical problems. Specifically, the election commission cited fires at three of its offices and said it had been unable to transport voting materials to their destinations. While the extra time may help the commission […]

Members of the Muslim community demonstrate, calling for the disarmament of Anti Balaka factions and for peace in the PK5 district of Bangui, Central African Republic, May 31, 2014 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

After seven years of war, the Central African Republic has taken a shaky step toward peace. The United Nations announced in early February that the Central African government and 14 armed groups had agreed to a draft peace accord after 10 days of negotiations in Khartoum. The deal is a promising first step, but the drivers of conflict in CAR need to be addressed for a lasting peace to take hold, as competition for natural resources, ongoing ethnic disputes and, to some extent, religious cleavages, have all complicated past peace efforts. The agreement, provisionally signed on Feb. 6, calls for […]

Protesters try to stick photos of missing booksellers, one of which shows Gui Minhai, during a protest outside the Liaison of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, Jan. 3, 2016 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Sweden’s ambassador to China was recalled to Stockholm last Thursday and is under investigation for allegedly brokering a meeting between two mysterious businessmen and Angela Gui, the daughter of a Hong Kong-based Swedish bookseller who has been in Chinese custody for three years. It is the latest in a string of puzzling episodes involving foreign diplomats in China. The story can be traced back to 2015, when Gui’s father, who published politically sensitive books about top Communist Party leaders, […]

A man walks past a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 24, 2018 (Photo by Mikhail Voskresenskiy for Sputnik via AP).

As the Syrian civil war grinds to an end, the government in Damascus, propped up by Iran and Russia, is regaining its footing, with important implications for the balance of power in the Middle East. Syria’s neighbors and powers outside the region are now attempting to determine the appropriate level of engagement, if any, to have with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. While Assad’s main foreign patrons will no doubt continue to deepen their military, political and economic ties, it is countries that stood against him over the past seven years that now have the most difficult decisions to make. If […]

Eritreans shout slogans during a protest in Brussels, Belgium, Sept. 28, 2018 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

Much has been written about the significance of the peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea for the Horn of Africa. Less attention has been paid to what it means for ordinary Eritreans. So far peace has sparked hope that the Eritrean economy will improve, but there are few signs of the political opening that many citizens dearly hope for. Back in July 2016, I was invited to a gathering late one night at a popular bar in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. The gathering was a traditional and quite elaborate coffee ceremony, the kind typically held in the afternoon in […]

Uighurs living in Turkey protest against China’s oppression of Muslim Uighurs in far-western Xinjiang province, in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Earlier this month, Turkey broke a long period of silence on China’s policy of forcibly incarcerating over 1 million Uighur Muslims, calling it a “great shame for humanity.” The statement, which prompted an indignant response from Beijing, represented a shift for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pursued deeper economic ties with China but has also come under increasing political pressure to speak out against repressive Chinese policies toward its Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, in western China. In an interview with WPR, Selçuk Çolakoglu, director of the Turkish Center for Asia-Pacific Studies in Ankara, discusses what led Erdogan’s government […]

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at a conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, Feb. 14, 2019 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss why the Trump administration’s hard-line Iran policy risks isolating the United States more than Tehran, and what the confrontation between Rep. Ilhan Omar and Elliott Abrams, Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela, reveals about the U.S. foreign policy community and accountability in Washington. 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 straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day […]

Bahraini Shiite Muslims march in support of prominent jailed opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman after mid-day prayers in Diraz, Bahrain, June 12, 2015 (AP photo by Hasan Jamali).

Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi was released from jail this week in Thailand, after the authorities in Bahrain dropped an extradition request related to his participation in anti-government protests in 2011. He is now back in Australia, where he has refugee status. Dissidents and government critics inside Bahrain have not been as fortunate, as the country’s highest court recently upheld life sentences against three opposition leaders on charges of spying for Qatar. In an interview with WPR, Neil Quilliam, a senior research fellow with the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, discusses Bahrain’s crackdown on dissent and […]

People from the Uighur community in Turkey carry flags of what ethnic Uighurs call ‘East Turkestan,’ during a protest in Istanbul, Nov. 6, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. While the mass incarceration of more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region continues to garner media attention and international condemnation, Muslim-majority countries have been largely silent on the issue. On Saturday, Turkey bucked that trend when it issued a statement calling on China to close its internment camps and criticizing the “torture and political brainwashing” of Chinese Uighurs as “a great shame for humanity.” The statement was prompted by recent reports that Abdurehim Heyit, a […]

A commuter walks past an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news, at a train station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 2, 2018 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).

Political observers throughout the Asia-Pacific will have their hands full for the next few months, as several of the region’s largest democracies are set to hold national elections between now and the end of May. But as officials from Mumbai to Manila prepare to tabulate the more than 750 million votes that are expected to be cast across the region, journalists, academics and civil society watchdogs are grappling with a different challenge: politically motivated disinformation, fake news articles, hoaxes and hate speech, spread online via social media and messaging apps. The problem is not new and is by now universally […]

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Chadian President Idriss Deby at the Elysee Palace, Paris, Aug. 28, 2017 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The president of Chad, Idriss Deby, has understood for a while now that Western powers are willing to overlook domestic human rights abuses and repression so long as his military continues to combat extremist groups in the Sahel. This week, France demonstrated that its loyalty to Deby, who has been in office since 1990, runs even deeper, and that it is willing to lend military support of its own to keep him in power. On Sunday, French Mirage jets […]

Togo President Faure Gnassingbe, center, with other heads of state and government at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin for the “Compact with Africa” conference, Oct. 30, 2018 (Photo by Annegret Hilse for dpa via AP Images).

The Togolese opposition’s decision to boycott recent legislative elections seemed to play into the hands of the ruling party. As Togo President Faure Gnassingbe, whose family has ruled for over five decades, maneuvers to strengthen his position, his challengers’ options appear to be shrinking. On a Saturday morning last month, opposition activists in Togo did what they’ve been doing with some regularity for the past year and a half: take to the streets to protest the continued rule of the Gnassingbe family, which has held power for just over five decades. But the turnout was a far cry from the […]

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