Bringing democracy to Cuba: chocolate and perks

Between 1996 and 2005, the U.S. government handed out $75 million for exporting Washington’s version of democracy to Cuba. Because Cuba has laws against citizens taking money from hostile foreign powers, the funds, authorized by the Helms Burton Law of 1996, have had to be dropped off on this side of the Florida Straits.

UN upholds rights of disabled

UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, here Dec. 13.

Dangerous schemes

If I believed in conspiracies, I might say that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s rightist president, was a CIA agent, working to isolate his country from the civilized world and set the stage for a military attack on it.

Striking Goodyear workers seek global support

CLEVELAND (AP) — Birgit Birgersson-Brorsson, a union officer for IF Metall in Sweden, spent an afternoon recently with strikers on a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. picket line. Wood scraps burning in a barrel helped keep them warm.


The post-abundance era

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, foreign policy analysts have struggled to find a term to characterize the epoch we now inhabit. I propose a term that captures the defining characteristics of the current period: the Post-Abundance Era.

Making connections on terrorism

Charged with possessing deadly weapons, Santiago Alvarez of Florida plea-bargained, dodged a potential 50-year sentence, and now goes to jail for four years. Alvarez, like some other right-wing Cuban Americans, has paid for, organized and carried out deadly attacks against Cuba.

Shameful anti-Semitism

“Shameful!” That summarizes reactions — in Iran and around the world — to the Tehran-hosted conference debating whether the Holocaust happened or not. Iran’s Jewish community called it a “huge insult.” Iranian student protesters called it “shameful” and many “ordinary Iranians were embarrassed,” news reports said.

Death of a mass murderer

The death of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, criminal dictator of Chile from 1973 to 1990, aroused mixed feelings among human rights defenders. While rejoicing that this incredibly evil person is gone from this Earth, they also wanted this mass murderer tried and convicted in a Chilean court.

EDITORIAL: Human Rights Day

Many urgent opportunities for action vie for attention on the eve of International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10. Besides speedily ending the Iraq war, two areas where the new Congress can make major progress are passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, and ending the Bush administration’s vile treatment of post-Sept. 11 detainees.


Eyewitness Venezuela: We saw it all

CARACAS, Venezuela — When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez trounced his U.S.-backed opponent to win a second six-year term on Dec. 3, we were there.

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