Tag Archives: democracy

10 Keys of Regional and Local elections in Spain ( May 2015)

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Sunday’s regional and local elections in Spain where more than 36 million citizens are called to vote is held. The vote takes place in a context of consecutive protests against economic and cuts the deteriorations in the quality of life that have resulted from government decisions Mariano Rajoy.

 These are the 10 keys of this electoral process:
1. These elections are considered historic because the expected results may end the hegemony of bipartisanship with the entry of new parties in the front ranks of municipalities and autonomous regions.

2. More than 36 million voters are called to elect 67 000 640 802 regional councilors and deputies. The Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia and Andalusia not participate in these elections to have their own elections.3. A total of 13 regions will renew their regional parliaments: Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile and Leon, Castile-La Mancha, Valencia, Extremadura, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra and La Rioja.

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Here’s what you should know about Syriza and the Greek election.

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Explainer: why the Greek election is so important ?

This Greek election is the most important in recent memory. It appears Syriza has won win by a large margin, ending four decades of two-party rule in Greece.

Since 2010 – and as a result of austerity measures – the country has seen its GDP shrink by nearly a quarter, its unemployment reach a third of the labour force and nearly half of its population fall below the poverty line.

With the slogan “hope is coming” Syriza, a party that prior to 2012 polled around 4.5% of the vote, seems to have achieved the impossible: creating a broad coalition that, at least rhetorically, rejects the TINA argument (There Is No Alternative) that previous Greek administrations have accepted. In its place, Syriza advocates a post-austerity vision, both for Greece and Europe, with re-structuring of sovereign debt at its centre.

How significant is this victory for Europe and the rest of the world? Comments range from grave concerns about the impact on the euro and the global economy to jubilant support for the renewal of the European left. For sure, Syriza is at the centre of political attention in Europe.

But, what is Syriza?

The origins of the party are to be found in a series of splits and consolidations involving various left-wing political groupings that, in one form or another, were originally related to the Communist Party of Greece. Syriza in its current form is a strategic coalition comprising a variety of political platforms that include social democrats, radical socialists and communists, environmentalists, anti-globalisation campaigners and human rights advocates.
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Por que abdico el Rey Juan Carlos I

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El Rey ha declinado sus poderes, la Corona permanece; esa es la virtualidad del sistema monárquico, un factor de estabilidad extraordinario.
La personalidad de Juan Carlos I, su talante y talento naturales, hace de su abdicación un punto y aparte en la Historia de España.

Alcanzado a ver los árboles por encima del bosque acordaríamos que su reinado ha tenido el carácter fundacional propio de los personajes que marcan la vida de sus naciones, gentes dotadas del sentido de la orientación y olfato necesarios para culminar la travesía después de haber fijado el rumbo adecuado para llegar a puerto.

El Rey comenzó a serlo en un Estado autocrático, cuya jefatura acumulaba todos los poderes en una sola mano. Pudo utilizarlos para desmontar aquel tinglado de la democracia orgánica pero su instinto le llevó a hacer el cambio desde ella misma; a recorrer el camino hasta la nueva legalidad desde aquel punto de partida, propósito que muchos consideraban imposible.

El objetivo fue cumplido y España dejó de ser políticamente diferente. Europa, la defensa occidental, alternancia de gobiernos, liberalizaciones, crecimiento y crisis; un país ejemplar para el mundo mientras duró el afán de superar la triste historia africanista de miseria y espadones prestos a salvarla. Una nación que conquistó la paz a golpe de urna, y el sentido histórico de su ser.

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Protest in Venezuela still far from a democratic regime

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Venezuelan security forces arrested scores of people on Wednesday during a sweep of a busy Caracas avenue as protests against the government heat up amid a widening split within the opposition over whether to back possible U.S. sanctions.

The protest and police response comes as month-old negotiations aimed at easing tensions hang in the balance. The opposition on Tuesday froze talks with President Nicolas Maduro’s government, saying the climate for dialogue was impossible after the arrest last week of more than 200 student protesters who had been camping for weeks outside the offices of the United Nations and three plazas in the capital.

Many political observers believe that by halting the talks opposition leaders were caving to pressure from their own radical base, which is fuming over confusing statements by the top U.S. diplomat to Latin America.
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Has anything changed for best yet?

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For over a month now, tens of thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets in protest.

These students were standing for basic human freedoms and engaging in the right to protest, which is a sacred right whether in Boston, Belarus, or Venezuela. The government of Venezuela responded with heavy-handed repression. Within two weeks Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of the opposition party, Voluntad Popular, called for nationwide peaceful demonstrations to address the problems facing the country. These problems include chronic food shortages, the highest inflation in the world and ongoing censorship of the media. Even the Oscars were not allowed to be broadcast – for the first time in Venezuelan history.

More than 1,400 students were arrested, there are more than 40 confirmed cases of torture and Leopoldo Lopez still sits in a Venezuelan military prison. He has urged the students to exercise their legal rights to peaceful protest and free speech and he repeatedly emphasized they must do so without violence. President Maduro has blamed Lopez for the violence that has beset the country and ordered his arrest on charges of murder, arson and terrorism. To date, the government has presented no evidence of the charges against him and their legal case is falling apart.

Amnesty International said the charges against Lopez recall “politically motivated attempts to silence dissent.” Human Rights Watch says “the Venezuelan government has openly embraced the classic tactics of an authoritarian regime: jailing its opponents, muzzling the media and intimidating civil society.”


Is Venezuela finally waking up? Here is a review

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One goes to Caracas and picks up so many stories, that when you return you don’t know where to start. But I thought I would lead up with the story of the students in front of the United Nations office in Caracas. In some sense it encompasses a number of stories of what is going on in Caracas in the protest movement an its relationship with the Maduro Government.

Essentially, a bunch of students (or not) have set up camp in front of the United Nations office which is in Avenida Francisco de Miranda in Los Palos Grandes. I may not like the #SOSVenezuela hashtag, but, as you can see in the picture above, they have focused on what the hell is the UN doing, or not, in Venezuela. But their reality, their plan is a bit more complicated than that.

The first day, the students set up maybe a couple of rows of tents. But, as you can see in the picture above, by now they are up to four rows and growing.

It is very colorful as the picture below shows, but this is more than just a spur of the moment plan.

When you first talk to them,there are a number of surprises. First, they are not all from Caracas. Second, they are not middle class. Finally, they are not all students, as many of them are part of radical, left wing groups 8yes!, real left wing not imitation Chavistas!) which oppose the Government. So, for fools that claim that these protests are somehow motivated by the US, driven my middle class students, please come down and talk to them. You will be surprised, really surprised.

The second interesting aspect, is that the UN is just a way of focusing on something. They know that the UN will do not much more than make a statement or two. But they also know, that where they are, they should be safe, they are close to Altamira where they can go protest every night and in a location where the protests can grow, as they have grown in the last week.

But more importantly, they think that Maduro is playing a game of patience. They believe Maduro wants the students to get tired, wear out the opposition with repression and nightly fights, which, much like in 2002 in Plaza Altamira, will lead to the students or the opposition getting tired and giving up.

But they have no plans of giving up.

Their plan is to grow the camp, as long as it is livable. To make their presence a nuisance, but one that gets the approval of the neighbors. But it has to be livable and sustainable. They have received donations, they have a couple of Porta Toilets, they cook for everyone, they organize protests. But more importantly, they rotate. The tents may have someone’s name on it, or State, but the truth is that they alternate. Each person has someone to occupy their place. The idea is to outlast the Government, to out-tire the National Guard or the Bolivarian Police. After all, nobody can say they are violent (even if they go help in Altamira) but if the Government were to decide to move them out, repress them, it would be the Government that would look bad.
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When did the protests in Venezuela begin?

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Nationwide student protests started last month. On February 12, the demonstrations attracted global attention when three people were killed.
Demonstrators are demanding better security, an end to goods shortages and protected freedom of speech.

Who is opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez?

Protest leader releases vid to supporters CNN cameras taken at gunpoint
Major social and economic problems have fueled the protests. But as the demonstrations gained steam, officials have pointed fingers at other factors and accused the United States of plotting to destabilize the government.
Some blame Venezuela’s government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, for those problems. Maduro and other officials blame the opposition for the security and economic problems.
The protests are the largest Maduro has faced in his 11 months in power. He has called opposition members fascists and compared them to an infection that needs to be cured.

Who’s protesting?

Many demonstrators across the country are students, but prominent opposition politicians have also joined marches.
Since February 13, more than 2,000 stories from Venezuela have been uploaded to iReport, CNN’s user-generated platform. Many of the videos and photos are gruesome, and depict violent scenes between demonstrators and police.

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As another day in Venezuela goes by

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THICK clouds of teargas hung in the air over the north gate of the Central University (UCV) in Caracas on March 12th. A police helicopter clattered overhead; on campus, plain-clothes gunmen on motorcycles, some bearing the initials of the national guard, harassed student demonstrators.

A month after the government crack-down on protesters began, Venezuela’s crisis is deepening. This was the bloodiest single day since three people were killed in Caracas on March 12th. Eighteen injuries were reported at the UCV, after a previously peaceful student march to demand the resignation of the Venezuelan government ombudsman was halted on the orders of President Nicolás Maduro.
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List of fatalities as protests go in Venezuela

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This list has been compiled using reports from Venezuelan authorities and media. It includes all deaths which have been reportedly connected with the protests, riots, and street barricades. However it does not include several cases which have been included on other lists, due to the possibility that these deaths were not related to the political violence but were in fact the result of other criminal violence. It also differs slightly from the count held by Venezuelan authorities, which does not appear to include the two cases mentioned below of deaths caused by barricades delaying patients in a critical condition from reaching hospital.

It is important to highlight that both this and all other counts are made using the available information and the judgment of the authors. New information produced as investigations proceed may change which cases count as being connected to the political violence, and who the perpetrator of each murder is considered to be. Observers are welcome to send in information to VA.com on cases that may have been missed, or information that suggests that cases which have been excluded from the current list should be included.

The list is as follows:

1,2 & 3: On 12 February, an opposition activist, José Roberto Redman (21), a pro-opposition carpenter, Bassil DaCosta (23), and a Chavista social activist, Juan Montoya (40) were killed during clashes in Caracas.
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Is Democracy such a good thing?

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The concept of democracy in politics is still seen by some countries as “the best and most effective type of government” because it provides with the same opportunities and the same equality to all its members. However even when in Western countries democracy is effective and it seems to be partially fair; democracy still has a long way to come in developing countries. This essay will discuss Is democracy such a good thing?

The name of the greatest Greek invention is today known as democracy and had the principle of Isonomy which refers to the same rules for everyone. Therefore there was nobody up the law and obedience was a global concept. Nevertheless, democracy was born between conflicts and instead of solving them, they appear to grow partially even at a wide range in the 21th century. The reason is the more freedom we have the less tranquillity we live in. Moreover, Finer (1997)[1] was correct in acknowledging the Athenian contribution to Western politics: “the Greeks invented two of the most potent political features of our present age: they invented the very idea of citizen- as opposed to subject- and they invented democracy”.

Even so, to answer if democracy is such a good thing is necessary to define the vices and virtues of such regime so we can have a clear view of what we are dealing with.

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