September 12th, 2016 | Victims of Communism

Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation

September 12th, 2016


Mao’s Legacy in Xi Jinping’s China
Mao aimed to transform China into a communist state and succeeded in achieving his goal in 1949, when he declared the People’s Republic in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. However, his reign of China was anything but smooth, with the country experiencing convulsions as a consequence of the leader’s ill-conceived initiatives, which have led to the deaths of millions of people. Still, 40 years after his death, Mao Zedong’s presence remains impossible to escape in China, yet difficult to discuss.


Together With Coco: Cuban Dissident Leader Hits Day 50 of Hunger Strike
An internationally known Cuban dissident leader and former political prisoner has been on a hunger strike for seven weeks. Attempting to raise awareness of his government’s brutality, Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas says he is willing to give his life for the sake of Cuba’s future. Wednesday was Day 50 of the hunger strike.  A video posted by Fariñas in July, no longer online, notes that this act of political expression follows his being brutally beaten and tortured by Cuban police for inquiring about the health of a fellow dissident. In total, he has spent 11 years in prison.


Public Rally to Mark Václav Havel’s 80th Birthday Anniversary
The 80th birthday anniversary of former Czechoslovak and Czech president Václav Havel (October 5, 1936-December 18, 2011) will be marked with a rally on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on October 5. Havel, playwright and former dissident, was the post-communist president of Czechoslovakia in 1989-1992 and the first Czech head of state in 1993-2003.


Mystery Surrounds Disappearance of Laos Man After Traffic Stop
Thomas Maresca, USA TODAY
The disappearance of Sombath, 64, a prominent Lao activist who focused on rural development and reducing poverty, is a persistent reminder of human rights abuses by the communist government here.  The Obama administration has consistently addressed Sombath and other rights issues behind closed doors. After the US delegation left and the global spotlight turns away from Laos, human rights groups worry that Sombath’s disappearance will be forgotten and the government will have little reason to ease its crackdown on any dissent.


Park Calls for Bipartisan Cooperation Against N.K. Threats
President Park Geun-hye on Monday called for bipartisan cooperation in coping with the “tangible and urgent” nuclear threats from North Korea, raising the risks of a potential war on the Korean Peninsula. During a meeting with political leaders, the commander-in-chief also stressed the need to strengthen “all military capabilities, including the US nuclear umbrella.”


Venezuelans Revel in Pots-and-Pans Protests After Maduro Humiliation
Alexandra Ulmer, REUTERS
For over a decade, Venezuelan opposition supporters would clang pots and pans on balconies of middle-class apartments to protest late leader Hugo Chavez’s self-styled “21st century socialism.” While sometimes deafening, the protests never seemed to get under the skin of the charismatic leftist and many in the opposition ended up deeming them futile. But the ‘cacerolazo’, as such protests are known around South America, returned with a bang a few days ago when a pot-wielding crowd ran after Chavez’s unpopular successor Nicolás Maduro in a previously pro-government working class neighborhood of Margarita island.