Kampala is in an uproar. The Ugandan government has just shut down four private media outlets -- a move that follows a crackdown on journalists from the Daily Monitor newspaper a few days earlier. The government's anger was prompted by a story in the paper said to reveal details of a plan by senior officials to assassinate rivals opposed to a scheme by President Yoweri Museveni to arrange for his son to succeed him in office. By exposing deep rifts within the ruling establishment, the paper has shaken Uganda's political establishment to the core.
Venezuelans are used to seeing private political conversations thrust into the public sphere. The mischief-maker most known for airing gossip is Mario Silva, the chavista shock jock and host of the state TV daily commentary show "The Razorblade." Silva has long made a practice of broadcasting the apparently compromising conversations of politicians that displeased the late President Hugo Chávez. Chávez would even frequently lend his support by calling in; sometimes he even appeared on the air.
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Anna Nemtsova analyzes the possible political motives behinds Russia's arrest of an alleged U.S. spy.
Juan Nagel looks at the brutal economic realities facing the new government in Venezuela.
Eli Dourado argues that authoritarian countries are using the language of democracy to conceal their less-than-democratic aspirations for the global internet.
Mohamed El Dahshan covers the latest plot twist in the ongoing IMF-Egypt soap opera.
Arianne Swieca explains why last week's attack on a gay rights rally in Georgia bodes poorly for that country's future as a democracy.
Mohamed Eljarh writes about the Libyan activists who are embarking on non-violent crusade to counter intolerance and extremism.
Seema Shah takes a critical look at the move by Kenya's newly elected leaders to shut down the International Criminal Court's efforts to bring them to justice for crimes against humanity.
And now for this week's recommended reads:
Reporting from Syria for Time, Rania Abouzeid wonders whether the rebels may be on their way to losing the war.
The Atlantic Council's Duncan Pickard analyzes the political dynamics behind the finalization of Tunisia's draft constitution. Mahmoud Hamad assesses the evolving role of Egypt's active and influential judiciary.
Democracy Digest argues that the United States and European Union must be consistent in their defense of citizen rights.
Borzou Daragahi reports in the Financial Times on the rivalry between the different Egyptian political groups vying to represent Islam. Thomas Carothers writes for the Carnegie Endowment in defense of Egypt's disorganized opposition.
In The Atlantic, Stewart M. Patrick proposes eating bugs as a way to end global hunger.
The Transnational Institute assesses the impact of Burma's land reform process on ethnic minority groups.
Al Arabiya reports that 200 Salafists were arrested in Tunisia after clashes triggered by a government ban of an Islamist gathering.
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Following the 2003 Rose Revolution nearly ten years ago, Georgia has been presented primarily as a transition success story. The government under President Mikheil Saakashvili undertook massive reforms to purge the country of its post-Soviet legacy of corruption. Georgia has become a staunch Western ally, has NATO aspirations, and is one of the largest non-NATO contributors of soldiers to Afghanistan (given its population). It's true that President Saakashvili showed questionable political judgment and perceptibly authoritarian instincts at times. But his finest moment came when it mattered most. In October 2012 his political party lost parliamentary elections to billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition. Instead of contesting the voters' choice, Saakashvili graciously conceded defeat -- and the Caucasus country experienced the first peaceful transfer of power via the ballot box in its history.
The people of Libya were invariably forced to express their support for Muammar Qaddafi for over 40 years in order to ensure their personal safety. The intolerant and authoritarian nature of Qaddafi's regime constrained Libyan's political, civil, and religious rights by curtailing their freedom of expression and thought, freedom of association, and free access to information.
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Last week, the Permanent Mission of Kenya to the United Nations submitted a letter to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), asking for the "immediate termination" of the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. They are currently scheduled to begin trial this July and May, respectively, for their alleged roles in inciting ethnic violence in the aftermath of the 2007 election and are being charged with crimes against humanity.
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Venezuela remains mired in a political and economic crisis that shows no signs of letting up. But while street protests, soaring inflation, scarcity, and skyrocketing crime are massive headaches, the government can count on still-high oil prices to soothe the pain a bit.
The question that begs asking is: How will Venezuela maintain stability if oil prices drop?
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Lately I've found myself thinking back to those horrible American soap operas (the "Bold and the Beautiful," etc.) that my late grandmother used to watch. She managed to find interest in what seemed to me like a sickeningly repetitive story (love, betrayal, and borderline incestuous relationships). Each season introduced new protagonists and guest stars who frolicked alongside the core cast. This ensured, for lack of a new storyline, some diversity of faces and names to keep the audience entertained (or at least mildly interested).
Transitions is the group blog of the Democracy Lab channel, a collaboration between Foreign Policy and the Legatum Institute.