Is Spain About to Embrace Chavismo?

When the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez came into power in 1998, he saw in his movement an answer to capitalism and a solution to Latin America's soaring inequalities. Chávez's aspirations were clearly global, and he even had the gumption to list "preserving life on the planet and saving the human species" as part of his 2012 election platform.

Continue Reading

A Peaceful Kurdish Capital Gets a Brutal Wake-Up Call

ERBIL, Iraq — The call came in the middle of an interview. "There's been a bombing," Zhyar, my Kurdish assistant, told me. "Right in the center of town." We said hurried goodbyes and jumped into our car.

Continue Reading

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, November 17, 2014

To catch Democracy Lab in real time, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Larry Jagan explains why paralysis at the top of Burma's government is stalling the country's democratic transition.

Continue Reading

The Turk Has No Friend but the Turk

On the day after Americans observed Veteran's Day, three U.S. Navy sailors were singled out for unwelcome attention in another part of the world. A group of Turkish nationalists staged a demonstration in an Istanbul area frequented by tourists to protest the docking of the USS Ross in Istanbul for four days after a NATO drill in the Black Sea. Members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB) accosted and manhandled the sailors, even attempting to put cloth hoods over their heads -- a reference to a humiliating incident in 2003, when U.S. troops in northern Iraq arrested a group of Turkish soldiers and held them for three days.

Continue Reading

The Venezuelan Government Saves Christmas

Christmas is a huge deal in Venezuela. The rainy season begins to dim, and the overwhelming tropical heat gets a tad more tolerable in December. Special meals (hallacas) and special music (gaitas) announce the arrival of the holiday season. And this year, the holidays come with an extra dollop of populism, courtesy of the government's scheme to import toys and specialty foods and sell them at bargain prices.

Continue Reading