Police officers stand guard the entrance of the Mariana Paez demobilization zone, one of many rural camps where rebel fighters are making their transition to civilian life, in Buenavista, Colombia, June, 27, 2017 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

When he took office earlier this month, Colombia’s new president, Ivan Duque, was introduced at his inauguration by the president of Congress, Ernesto Macias, a wily politician from the country’s coffee-rich state of Huila. Before Duque’s inauguration speech floated over the windy ceremony in the capital, Bogota, Macias served up his own view of the president’s inheritance. Macias painted a dark, pessimistic picture of Colombia: An economy going down the drain; gangs running rampant over the countryside; coca plantations through the roof. Was there a culprit? Of course: outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos. The scene evoked the Wild West, where […]

Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks during a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Warsaw, April 19, 2018 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

In a special end-of-summer episode this week, we look back at three of our most popular Report interviews so far this year: the veil of secrecy over the U.S. military’s growing presence in West Africa; Bolivia’s controversial coca policy, which has been called both a solution to drug trafficking and part of the problem; and the role historical memory plays in Poland’s contentious politics. 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 woman holding a sign with a message that reads in Spanish, “Rich women have abortions, the poor ones die,” during a demonstration in front of the Argentine Embassy in Lima, Peru, Aug. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Earlier this month, Argentina’s Senate rejected a bill to decriminalize abortion by a vote of 38 to 31. The bill, which narrowly passed the lower Chamber of Deputies in June, would have legalized abortion up to 14 weeks. It was a disappointing, though perhaps not unexpected, outcome for the thousands of abortion rights activists who made up Argentina’s “green wave” demonstrations. Activists’ hopes were buoyed by recent successes in Chile in 2017 and Ireland in 2018, where restrictions on abortion were overturned. While a majority of Argentines reportedly supported the bill, Argentina’s #NiUnaMenos, or “not one less,” movement faced a […]

Ugandan pop star Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, center, wearing a beret, is hugged by a supporter as he gets into an ambulance after leaving a courthouse in Gulu, Uganda, Aug. 27, 2018 (AP photo).

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni knows how to take down a rival. The wreckage of various careers are scattered across his 33-year rule—politicians and military officers, unwilling to bend to his will or accept his largesse, who were derailed by well-timed scandals, arrests or worse. But with the detention and apparent torture this month of 36-year-old pop star-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, better known to Ugandans as Bobi Wine, has Museveni finally overreached? Over more than three decades, Museveni has faced only one legitimate political challenger. Kizza Besigye was part of Museveni’s National Resistance Movement, or NRM, during the Bush War that brought […]

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech in Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 14, 2018 (Presidency Press Service photo via AP Images).

Turkey is enduring its most severe economic crisis since the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, took power after sweeping elections in 2002. With a nearly 40 percent decline in the value of the Turkish lira this year, Turkey’s foreign exchange troubles risk plunging the heavily leveraged Turkish economy, and with it potentially the global economy, into a tailspin. On one hand, it’s a typical post-Cold War financial crisis in an emerging market whose economic prospects have always been volatile, with high risks and high rewards. On the other hand, the lira’s collapse is the product of a constellation of […]

A Rohingya refugee boy who is among those being relocated from a camp near the Bangladesh Myanmar border waits to receive a food card, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Jan. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

Editor’s note: This article is the first in a new series on food security around the world. One year has passed since the most recent wave of Rohingya refugees streamed into Bangladesh, fleeing a brutal and indiscriminate security crackdown in their home state of Rakhine, in western Myanmar. On Monday, a United Nations commission recommended the investigation and prosecution of senior leaders in Myanmar’s security forces for “the gravest crimes under international law.” Almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees now reside in a network of camps in southern Bangladesh, largely reliant on external assistance for their basic daily needs. Food insecurity is […]

Far-right politician Tomio Okamura addresses opponents of immigration from Muslim-majority countries during a protest in central Prague, Czech Republic, Sept. 12, 2015 (Photo by Michal Dolezal for CTK via AP).

PRAGUE—With xenophobia spiraling across the former communist states of Central Europe, the region’s one sizable non-white and non-Christian immigrant community is unflustered, for now. Constituting around 1 percent of the Czech Republic’s population of 10 million, the country’s decades-old Vietnamese community is largely tolerated and respected, even if integration is limited. That situation remains mostly unchanged by the recent political shift to the right in the Czech Republic. Many Czechs view the Vietnamese community—officially 60,000-strong but estimated to actually number around 100,000—in stark contrast to Muslim immigrants—around 20,000 or so—and the much larger and long-ostracized Roma community. “The Vietnamese community […]

U.S. President Donald Trump poses with African leaders, including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, at the Group of Seven summit, Taormina, Italy, May 27, 2017 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

In his first year in office, U.S. President Donald Trump’s attitude toward Africa was a mix of scorn, neglect and mercantilism. He reportedly called several African nations “shithole countries” and said they were places his friends went “trying to get rich.” When then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his maiden voyage to the continent in March, he went home early and was promptly fired. Africans noticed the snub. But in Trump’s second year, there are indications his administration may be taking a new, more traditional tack, even as Trump himself continues to create crises. Late Wednesday night, Trump tweeted unexpectedly […]

A selection of books are on display in a bookstore in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Christopher Torchia).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, and senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, discuss the real story around land expropriation in South Africa, after President Donald Trump’s promotion of a white-nationalist conspiracy theory about white South African farmers. They also look at overshadowed headline news from the week, including the international implications of Trump’s rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which had set national carbon pollution limits on coal-fired power plants. 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 […]

Belarusian Interior Ministry officers search an office of the Belsat television channel in Minsk, Belarus, March 31, 2017 (AP photo by Sergei Grits).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. Journalists in Belarus have experienced a wave of harassment, intimidation and criminal prosecution from state authorities in recent months. The crackdown has been severe even by the standards of a country that is routinely cited by watchdogs as one of the worst violators of press freedoms. Conditions are only expected to worsen as new restrictions on web-based communication come into effect later this year. In an email interview with WPR, Andrei Bastunets, chair of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, […]

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on during the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 26, 2018 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. “South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.” That was the government of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, responding to a surprise provocation from U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday night. After apparently watching an “investigation” by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson into South Africa’s plans for land reform, Trump announced on Twitter that he had ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “to closely study the South […]

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 16, 2016 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

In 1992, the U.S. Army War College’s journal Parameters published a provocative article entitled “The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012,” which critiqued the state of U.S. civil-military relations by imagining a fictional future military takeover of the government. The premise was that political leaders had essentially provoked the military to intervene in the political system by failing to respect their professionalism. The article caused a stir in part because its author, Charles Dunlap, was a serving U.S. Air Force lawyer, but mostly because the idea of a military intervention in the American political system was so inconceivable. […]

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis reviews Brazilian troops before meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, Joaquim Silva e Luna, Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 13, 2018 (AP photo by Mateus Bonomi).

America’s foreign policy under President Donald Trump can be confusing. That is true in Latin America just as it is in Russia, Asia or Europe. One moment the president boasts of his great relationship with Russia; days later the U.S. imposes new sanctions. One day Trump heaps praise on North Korea’s leader; days later Pyongyang accuses the U.S. government of behaving like the mafia. The explanation, as I’ve written, is that America today has two foreign policy tracks, often contradictory and at times in conflict with each other. One is Trump’s, the other is the rest of the government’s. That […]

Graffiti showing U.S. President Donald Trump with a footprint on his face and Arabic that reads, "For Jerusalem and the right of return, we resist," Gaza City, May 20, 2018 (AP photo by Khalil Hamra).

Despite repeatedly announcing his intention to present a bold, sweeping plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to keep everyone waiting. If he ever does present his plan, it is set to backfire, for several reasons. For one thing, the Trump administration has been shunned by Palestinians since it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December. Palestinians were angered by the move, arguing that the U.S. government violated its role as mediator and sponsor of the peace process by adopting Israel’s position on Jerusalem. Palestinian leaders have taken the unprecedented step of halting all […]

Brazilian President Michel Temer, left, greets U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at Planalto Palace, Brasilia, Brazil, June 26, 2018 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

This summer has seen consecutive visits to Brazil by senior U.S. officials, first Vice President Mike Pence in late June and then Defense Secretary James Mattis last week. The visits took place amid domestic political turmoil in Brazil and the ongoing crisis in neighboring Venezuela. According to Riordan Roett, professor and director emeritus of the Latin American Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, these American overtures are unlikely to have any tangible impact on bilateral relations in the coming years. In an email interview, he explains why. World Politics Review: How has the Trump administration […]

Andrew Brunson, the detained evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, as he was moved to house arrest in Izmir, Turkey, July 25, 2018 (AP photo by Emre Tazegul).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Neil Bhatiya is filling in for Judah Grunstein, who will return Sept. 5. Relations between the United States and Turkey continue to deteriorate over the detention of U.S. citizens by the Turkish government, with all the focus on an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in the purge that followed the failed 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both sides are digging in, with President Donald Trump declaring in an interview on Monday that “there will be no concessions” to Turkey on securing Brunson’s release, despite the economic risks of Trump’s sudden pressure […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera, St. Petersburg, Russia, May 23, 2018 (Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev for Sputnik via AP Images).

Investigating the Russian government has historically been a dangerous business, and yet the circumstances surrounding the deaths of journalists Alexander Rastorguyev, Kirill Radchenk and Orkhan Dzhemal in the Central African Republic late last month still managed to raise eyebrows. Part of the reason the tragedy has continued to attract international attention weeks later is because it highlights a story that had flown under the radar for months: the unexpected presence of Russian mercenaries in one of the most obscure parts of the world. Russia’s presence in the Central African Republic is a relatively new phenomenon. While Soviet activity there was […]

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