Albania: The Country Searching For Hundreds Of Mass Graves
Andrew Hosken and Albana Kasapi, BBC
A generation after the fall of its communist dictatorship, Albania is starting to uncover evidence of thousands of people executed by the former regime. More than 30 years after his death, the country is beginning to come to terms with the terrible legacy left by the Communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. And it was ordinary people who began the search for the truth about the labour camps, mass graves and secret police which characterized those times.
Blind Activist Calls For Japan’s Involvement In China Human Rights
Nikkei Asian Review
Chinese blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who famously escaped house arrest in 2012 and fled to the US Embassy in Beijing and subsequently moved to the US, has urged Japan to get more involved in resolving what he calls a “worsening” human rights situation in his native country.
Hong Kong Activist Says China Rise Means Trade Trumps Rights
Young Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong warns that China’s rise means human rights are in increasingly greater danger of being overshadowed globally by business interests. He was responding Wednesday to questions about his expectations for an upcoming Asian tour by President Donald Trump, who will visit China and four other countries. The 21-year-old is out on bail while he appeals a prison sentence related to his involvement in massive 2014 pro-democracy protests.
Curb Your Enthusiasm. Cuba Isn’t Truly “Opening Up” To Cuban-American Travel
Fabiola Santiago, Miami Herald
Despite the bilateral travel-policy dance, Trump hasn’t completely closed off Cuba—and Cuba hasn’t completely opened up to Cuban-Americans. It’s politics as usual between the arch enemies—and none of the two governments care one iota about the Cuban people, be they on the island or the diaspora.
Defector Says Information, Not Force, Can Bring Change In North Korea
Matthew Pennington, AP
The highest-level North Korean defector in two decades says America should bring change peacefully by challenging the totalitarian regime’s grip on information rather than resorting to military action. As tensions soar over North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and President Donald Trump prepares for his first trip to Asia, Thae Yong Ho offered rare insight into the reclusive North Korean system and the insecurities he says drove leader Kim Jong Un to ruthlessly purge ranks and accelerate nuclear weapons development.
Moon Says South Korea Cannot Recognize North Korea As Nuclear State
South Korea will never tolerate North Korea as a nuclear state, nor will Seoul have nuclear weapons, President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday, as China pledged to work on denuclearization after setting aside a dispute with Seoul over an anti-missile system.
If The Trump White House Doesn’t Do Something, Venezuela Will Collapse
Roger Noriega, Newsweek
The authoritarian regime in Venezuela has managed to buy time by rigging elections and avoiding default on its massive foreign debt. However, Caracas’ decision to allocate $2 billion in hard currency to bondholders rather than food imports may prove to be a fatal—particularly if the regime led by Nicolás Maduro faces another round of international sanctions or street protests by desperate, hungry people. The Trump administration’s targeted sanctions have taken a toll on the regime and its corrupt leaders, and the US president has pressed regional and European partners to back an urgent democratic transition. However, without stronger internal opposition and tougher international efforts, Maduro will either consolidate a dictatorship or collapse the country altogether.
Trump Administration Expected To Defend Embargo On Cuba In United Nations Vote
Matthew Lee and Josh Lederman, AP
The Trump administration will defend America’s decades-old economic embargo on Cuba in a United Nations vote this week, the State Department said Tuesday, in a reversal from the Obama administration that reflects deteriorating US-Cuban relations. Every year the UN votes to condemn the embargo, and for years the US predictably voted “no.”
Venezuela’s Divided Opposition Faces Tough Choices
Katy Watson, BBC
It seems Venezuela’s opposition has run out of options. In the regional elections earlier this month, opposition candidates won in only five out of 23 states, even though pre-election polls had predicted that the majority of states would go to them.
Sweeping Crackdown On Activists Makes Vietnam Look Like A Nervous APEC Host
As Vietnam prepares to host a major international meeting starting a week from now, the country’s leaders appear to be running scared. Since early last year Vietnam has been cracking down on citizens who advocate democratic reforms. A record number of dissidents and bloggers have been jailed. Many have been harassed and beaten not only by the regular police but also by unidentified thugs working on the Party’s behalf. All of this has been happening as Vietnam prepares for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings to be held in Da Nang Nov. 6-11. Leaders from 21 member countries are expected to attend.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
November 1st, 1993: The Maastricht Treaty comes into effect, formally creating the European Union.