Cambodia Acknowledges the Victims of Forced Marriages
Ana Salvá, EQUAL TIMES
Raksmey (not her real name) was forced to marry a Khmer Rouge officer, despite already being married to another man, who disappeared during the regime. The forced marriages were part of a campaign to alienate people at the same time as increasing the population, one of the lesser-known aspects of the communist regime that ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.
Canadian Kevin Garratt, Held 2 Years on Spy Charges in China, Is Released
Ian Austen, THE NEW YORK TIMES
A Canadian man who worked with a charity that provided food to North Koreans returned to Canada on Thursday after being held in China on espionage charges for just over two years. The arrest was among the measures China took against members of Christian aid groups active near the border with North Korea at the time.
Millennials Lead Private Media Opening in Communist-Run Cuba
Sarah Marsh, REUTERS
A handful of independent, web-based news outlets in Cuba are chipping away at the communist regime’s half-century state media monopoly, challenging the official version of reality. While low levels of internet access across the Caribbean island limits the outlets’ domestic reach and they are not fully free to speak their mind, they are opening up the range of voices and sparking a debate about the role of the media in the one-party state. “State media talks about things no one cares about and hides the truth,” said Abraham Jimenez, 27, who co-launched the online, long-form magazine “El Estornudo.”
Russia Critics, Museums Square Off Over Senate Artwork Bill
Isaac Arnsdorf, POLITICO
A Senate panel unanimously approved a bill today that critics say has an unlikely beneficiary: Russia. The Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act passed the Judiciary Committee without opposition Thursday. The bill would protect foreign works of art on loan to American museums from lawsuits that claim they were stolen.
Forged in Protests, a Venezuelan Opposition Party is Under Siege
Jim Wyss, MIAMI HERALD
In its brief and intense existence as an opposition political party in Venezuela, Voluntad Popular has amassed a grim record. Founded in 2009, the party has nine political leaders in jail, four with outstanding arrest warrants, and four who have gone into exile amid threats. Ever since the party’s leader and presidential candidate, Leopoldo López, was imprisoned in 2014 and sentenced to 13 years for conspiracy, arson, and inciting violence—in a case that his lawyers and human rights groups say was deeply flawed—Voluntad Popular has been under siege.
France Presses Vietnam to Release Jailed Dissidents
France asked Vietnam to release four jailed dissidents during President Francois Hollande’s visit to the authoritarian country, a French source said Wednesday. On his two-day tour of communist Vietnam, Hollande hailed economic ties with the former French colony but sidestepped talking about rights issues publicly. The four are a Catholic dissident, a blogger, a land rights defender, and an activist who tried to form an opposition movement, according to the source travelling with the president. The one-party state is routinely criticised for its intolerance of dissent, with regime critics regularly arrested or jailed and all newspapers and television channels government-run.