A US-Cuba Breach Presents an Opportunity for China
Nathan Hodge and Josh Chin, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
A reversal of President Barack Obama’s outreach to Cuba, as threatened by President-elect Donald Trump this week, would leave a bigger opening off the US coast for another great military power. It likely wouldn’t be Havana’s traditional ally Russia, however, but China. While Moscow’s economic and military role in Cuba is now a shadow of its former self, Beijing has grown to become Cuba’s second-largest trading partner after Venezuela, which is now mired in a deep economic crisis.
China Shutters Online Chat Groups Amid Praise of Cuba’s Castro
RADIO FREE ASIA
China’s internet censors have shut down a number of discussion groups on the smartphone messaging app WeChat after users praised late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who died last week, sources told RFA. “At 3.30 p.m. today, Beijing time, the chat groups Ideology Salon, Constitutional Road, The Wind And The Rain, The East is Dawning, Consensus, and Towards a Republic, were all closed down,” a WeChat user who asked to remain anonymous posted on Monday.
Who Are the Future Leaders of Communist Cuba?
Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
The death of longtime Cuban ruler Fidel Castro has spawned many questions about future leaders and the direction of the communist country. His brother, Raúl Castro, who officially took over as president in 2008, has said he’ll step down in 2018. So what comes next? A cluster of Cuban officials, from aging revolutionaries to career bureaucrats, are jostling to fill the void.
Cuba Allies Join Thousands to Honor Castro in Havana
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans rallied for late communist leader Fidel Castro with Latin American and African leaders in Havana the night before his ashes are to be taken across the country. They chanted “long live the revolution!” and “Fidel! Fidel!” on Tuesday at a packed Revolution Square, the vast esplanade where he gave so many of his legendary, marathon speeches.
Pro-Independence Activists in Taiwan and Hong Kong Colluded to Stir Trouble, Says Beijing
Kristin Huang, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
Advocates for Taiwan independence colluded with pro-independence activists in Hong Kong to stir up controversy in the city, Beijing said on Wednesday as it warned Taiwan not to interfere in the implementation of “one country, two systems.”
Hungarian Gulag Victims Remembered
Hungarians paid tribute to those who had been deported as political prisoners to the Soviet Union. The term “Gulag” itself was originally a Soviet acronym, an abbreviation for the “Chief Directorate of Camps,” the government agency responsible for overseeing forced labor in the USSR. Over time, the word came to be used to describe the labor camps themselves, located chiefly in Siberia, where hundreds of thousands of political prisoners from throughout the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union were imprisoned during the Communist era.
Defectors Use Satellite Images to Identify North Korean Mass Graves
Julian Ryall, THE TELEGRAPH
Using satellite imagery and testimony from defectors, a human rights group in South Korea claims to have identified at least 12 mass graves in North Korea. The Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) has interviewed nearly 300 defectors from the North over the last 18 months and combined their testimony with satellite images to locate areas where the bodies of people branded disloyal to the regime have been dumped.
Spy Chief Adds to Warnings Of Russian Cyber Attacks on Germany
Caroline Copley, REUTERS
Germany’s spy chief has warned that Russian hackers are pelting his country with disinformation that could undermine the democratic process, echoing concerns already voiced by his domestic intelligence counterpart.
Putin Brings China’s Great Firewall to Russia in Cybersecurity Pact
Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, THE GUARDIAN
Russia has been working on incorporating elements of China’s Great Firewall into the “Red Web,” the country’s system of internet filtering and control, after unprecedented cyber collaboration between the countries. A decision earlier this month to block the networking site LinkedIn in Russia is the most visible in a series of measures to bring the internet under greater state control.
Venezuela’s “Iron Lady” Calls for New Opposition Leadership After Failed Dialogue
Sabrina Martin, PANAMPOST
The negotiation between the Venezuelan opposition and dictator Nicolás Maduro has failed totally according to María Corina Machado, Venezuela’s “Iron Lady” and leader of the Vente Venezuela party. Machado intends to create a new movement within civil society that doesn’t depend on politicos in order to fight for liberal democracy in the country. She also assured that her intention is to offer a real solution to get rid of the Maduro dictatorship.