Rap, once disdained in Cuba for its American origins, is being appropriated by the state to push a pro-party line. But the state would win more by allowing artists to work freely.
Ukraine has rejected draft laws that would allow the release of a jailed opposition leader, suspended plans for a landmark agreement with the European Union and announced it will renew active dialogue with Russia. The Ukrainian parliament's failure to pass the bills on Thursday to grant freedom to the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, took away the country's last chance to satisfy the EU's condition for stepping towards integration with the 28-member bloc.
The Pacific Alliance is a new initiative among four Latin American nations with the potential to reinvigorate the regional trade agenda in an exciting way. Having grown weary of waiting for meaningful hemispheric trade expansion in the wake of the collapse of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) a decade ago, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru agreed to link their economies more closely through trade, finance, and labor market integration. Others, including Costa Rica, are on deck to join.
Aerial shots of Jerusalem filled the big screen, along with a giant concrete wall built along the Green Line. We saw security checkpoints at the entrance to Israel but in a very different context than the typical portrayal of checkpoints. These giant walls and security measures were seen as safety, salvation, and stimulated a positive feeling in the audience.
Since the end of the cold war, the European bloc’s soft power, its ability to press for concessions, has been a powerful foreign policy tool and an alternative to American military might. In the case of Croatia, the incentive of joining the union pushed it to revamp a statist post-Communist economy, pass more than 350 laws and arrest more than a dozen Croatian and Bosnian-Croat war criminals.