Quais as sequelas ambientais para as terras, para as águas subterrâneas, para as populações locais e para o frágil equilíbrio em que se encontra a paz em Moçambique? Estas são as perguntas que missionários e ativistas fazem perante o avanço do ProSavana, um mega-projeto desenvolvido ao abrigo de um acordo tripartido entre os governos de Moçambique, Brasil e Japão. Baseado na tecnologia de agricultura tropical desenvolvida no Brasil, o programa pretende aumentar a produção no corredor de Nacala, uma área de 10,2 milhões de hectares no centro e norte de Moçambique, com potencialidades agronómicas semelhantes às do cerrado, a savana brasileira. Segundo o governo moçambicano, o objetivo do projeto é promover «o desenvolvimento sustentável, integrado e inclusivo» e reconhecer «a importância do setor familiar e o papel que os pequenos e médios agricultores desempenham na região, no contexto da segurança alimentar do país». O programa está em discussão pública até quarta-feira, 29 de abril, mas são já muitas as vozes de alerta para os eventuais perigos da sua execução. Numa tomada de posição a que a FÁTIMA MISSIONÁRIA teve acesso, os missionários Combonianos de Itália e da Europa comparam o plano à chamada grilagem de terra – um processo ilícito de apropriação de terrenos públicos que se tornou muito popular no Brasil. «O governo de Maputo disse que este projeto servirá para os pequenos agricultores e para alimentar o povo, quando sabe muito bem que vai usar muito pouca mão de obra local, pois vão ser utilizados meios de alta tecnologia, e que o produto final será destinado exclusivamente à exportação», advertem os religiosos. Vanessa Cabanelas da organização não governamental Justiça Ambiental (JA), vai mais longe, ao comparar o plano diretor do programa com um plano de negócios: «O Prosavana não é solução para agricultura moçambicana. Este vai resolver o problema do Japão com a Soja e do Brasil com a terra», afirma a ativista. Segundos os dirigentes da JA, o corredor de Nacala «é a a região mais povoada do país, [com 4,5 milhões de habitantes], cuja terra fértil e chuva abundante faz com que milhões de camponeses trabalhem e produzam alimentos em abundância». E muitos podem ser expulsos, ao abrigo da fundamentação e propósitos do ProSavana. «Foi um programa hábil e convenientemente embrulhado numa elegante linguagem “verde” e tem sido apresentado aos moçambicanos e à comunidade internacional como um programa de “desenvolvimento agrícola sustentável”. No entanto, num projeto desta dimensão, em que se prevê ser necessário o reassentamento de comunidades, é preocupante perceber que estas pouco ou nada sabem do mesmo. É mais um programa desenhado e decidido ao mais elevado nível, sem qualquer envolvimento dos camponeses e comunidades locais», lamentam os ativistas. Francisco Pedro/Fátima Missionária
Sa Majesté le Roi Mohammed VI, que Dieu L'assiste, est arrivé jeudi après-midi à Bissau en provenance de Dakar, pour une visite officielle en République de Guinée Bissau, deuxième étape d'une tournée africaine qui conduira le Souverain en Côte d'Ivoire et au Gabon. A Sa descente d'avion à l'aéroport international Osvaldo Vieira de Bissau, S.M. le Roi a été accueilli par le président bissau-guinéen, Son Excellence M. José Mario Vaz. Les deux Chefs d'Etat ont par la suite gagné la tribune d'honneur pour saluer les couleurs nationales au son des hymnes nationaux des deux pays, avant de passer en revue un détachement d'honneur interarmées qui rendait les honneurs, alors qu'une salve de 21 coups de canon retentissait saluant l'arrivée du Souverain. S.M. le Roi a ensuite été salué par le Premier ministre bissau-guinéen, les membres du gouvernement, les officiers supérieurs de l'Etat-Major des armées, les membres du cabinet présidentiel, des chefs des missions diplomatiques accréditées à Bissau, les représentants des communautés religieuses et les chefs traditionnels. ADVERTISEMENTLe président bissau-guinéen a, par la suite, été salué par les membres de la délégation officielle accompagnant S.M. le Roi et composée, notamment, des conseillers du Souverain, MM. Fouad Ali El Himma et Yassir Zenagui. La délégation officielle marocaine comprend également le ministre des Affaires étrangères et de la coopération, M. Salaheddine Mezouar, le ministre des Habous et des affaires islamiques, M. Ahmed Toufiq, le ministre de l'Agriculture et de la pêche maritime, M. Aziz Akhannouch, le ministre de l'Equipement, du Transport et de la Logistique, M. Aziz Rabbah, le ministre de la Santé, M. El Houssaine Louardi, le ministre de l'Energie, des mines, de l'Eau et de l'Environnement, M. Abdelkader Aâmara, le ministre du Tourisme, M. Lahcen Haddad, la ministre de l'Artisanat, de l'Economie sociale et solidaire, Mme Fatema Marouane et plusieurs directeurs des établissements publics et semi-publics, ainsi que de hautes personnalités. Après une brève pause au Salon d'honneur de l'aéroport international Osvaldo Vieira, le cortège officiel s'est dirigé vers le Palais présidentiel au milieu des vivats et des ovations d'une foule nombreuse de citoyens bissau-guinéens venus acclamer le Souverain et Lui souhaiter la bienvenue. - See more at: http://www.lematin.ma/journal/2015/arrivee-de-sm-le-roi-a-bissau-pour-une-visite-officielle-en-republique-de-guinee-bissau/224929.html#sthash.dFOMFfmW.dpuf
O rei Mohamed VI de Marrocos inicia hoje uma visita oficial de três dias à Guiné-Bissau, a convite do Presidente guineense, José Mário Vaz. Mohamed VI, que vem a Bissau acompanhado por uma delegação de 500 pessoas, irá assinar cerca de 20 acordos de cooperação nas áreas da educação, saúde, comércio, turismo, pesca e sector privado. O monarca marroquino vai ficar instalado no palácio da República guineense, no centro de Bissau, cujos aposentos foram desocupados por estes dias pelo chefe de Estado da Guiné-Bissau. José Mário Vaz mudou-se para a residência de hóspedes, na chamada Casa da Pedra na antiga presidência. Em preparação da visita do rei dezenas de elementos marroquinos, do corpo de segurança, jornalistas e uma equipa medica, encontram-se desde há dias em Bissau, instalados em tendas gigantes nas traseiras da mesquita central da capital guineense. A equipa médica marroquina começou na segunda-feira a dar consultas gratuitas a cidadãos guineenses. A visita de Mohamed VI estava inicialmente prevista para ter início quarta-feira, mas foi adiada 24 horas por razões de agenda do monarca marroquino, segundo disse à Lusa o porta-voz da Presidência guineense, Fernando Mendonça. No essencial, todo o programa de visita será mantido, devendo o soberano marroquino ser condecorado pelo Presidente guineense com a mais alta distinção do Estado da Guiné-Bissau: a medalha Amílcar Cabral. Lusa
An agreement on May 20th between the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia granting temporary asylum to thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, averts, for now, a humanitarian disaster on the high seas. It was also a welcome sign of regional co-operation at a time when climate change and religious intolerance threaten to displace millions of Asia's most vulnerable. However, it is unlikely to herald a sea-change in attitude, given a preference among regional governments for not interfering in each other's affairs. The agreement followed a meeting between the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to discuss how to respond to the crisis. In comments to the media, Malaysia's foreign minister, Anifah Zahid Aman, said that Malaysia and Indonesia would provide temporary asylum for upwards of 7,000 refugees, comprising Rohingya as well as economic migrants from Bangladesh, thought to be stranded on the Andaman Sea. Indonesia's vice-president, Jusuf Kalla, said that his country would take in refugees for up to a year, assuming that the rest of the world pitches in to help with resettlement or repatriation. Promises of financial assistance have since followed from the US and UN agencies. Poor, sickly and isolated The agreement represents a temporary solution to a problem that shows few signs of going away. Some 1.2m Rohingya, a Muslim minority, are thought still to be in Myanmar's southern states of Rakhine and Arakan, where they suffer from persecution by local Buddhist nationalists eager to drive them out. More than 100,000 are thought to have fled since 2012. Their exodus would amount to the biggest humanitarian crisis facing the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) since the end of the Vietnam war. Then, roughly 1m refugees fled the country and poured onto boats in the South China Sea. In the decades since then, attitudes towards immigration have hardened considerably. Rich countries closely aligned to the US took in Vietnamese by the thousands. But no country has expressed interest in taking in Rohingya. This is because the Rohingya are among some of the world's most oppressed people. Poor, sickly and isolated in camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh, they receive little education or healthcare. Their prospects for a speedy assimilation into different societies are slim. Against this backdrop, it is all the more commendable that Indonesia and Malaysia, which are not signatories to all the Geneva Convention protocols, have stepped up at all. Both countries, alongside Thailand, have long looked the other way as Rohingya filtered via sea and land to melt into their Muslim populations and work as cheap labour. Governments had every incentive to maintain a hard line on refugees. Indeed, patrol boats from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand routinely nudged craft with Rohingya migrants back out to sea with packets of instant noodles, water and cursory training on how to navigate their flimsy vessels, to which their smugglers had long abandoned them. Policy shift The shift in policy signalled by the agreement reflects, in part, a surprising outpouring of sympathy among coastal populations. Some 1,300 Rohingya refugees are thought to have been rescued by fishermen from the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Images of bewildered migrants sheltering in local mosques have flooded national television and local Islamic political parties have demanded a response from the government. The sudden onslaught of refugees provides an opportunity, too, for Indonesia to improve its recently battered international image. Since assuming office in October 2014, the administration led by the president, Joko Widodo (known as Jokowi), has sunk scores of what it says are illegal foreign fishing boats caught operating in its waters. In late April firing squads put to death eight drug felons, seven of them foreign nationals, prompting international condemnation. The stance taken over the migrants allows the government to recapture some of the moral high ground. Australia has said that it will not offer to resettle any of the migrants, although the US has indicated that it will consider doing so. To interfere or not The crisis has exposed anew the limitations of ASEAN, which at the end of 2015 will begin dropping tariffs and barriers on goods and services to create the single-market ASEAN Economic Community. Populated with communist, military and otherwise authoritarian regimes, ASEAN members have been reluctant to point the finger at Myanmar for its failure to prevent the persecution of Rohingya, given the halting steps the country has made towards representational democracy. The plight of the Rohingya was left off the agenda of the 2014 ASEAN Summit, which was held in Myanmar. The failure to pressurise the Burmese government into action has arguably stirred up a bigger crisis, which is now spilling out over Myanmar's borders. There will be calls to soften the principle of non-interference that has long guided ASEAN, given the possible costs of inaction. An adviser to Mr Kalla has publicly criticised the stance of Myanmar's government on the issue. The need to co-ordinate more effectively is all the more pressing given the probability of future migrant crises. Ecology is a potential flashpoint. Delta populations face displacement in the event of extreme flooding brought on by climate change. Of the more than 20m displaced people in each of the last few years, 80% were in Asia, the UNHCR has said. A joint approach would be the best way to respond to these challenges, even though this might necessitate some incursion on issues traditionally regarded as matters of national sovereignty. An ASEAN meeting on May 29th in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, will offer some clues as to whether the recent crisis will prompt member states to adopt a bold, co-ordinated approach. However, such hopes may not be realised. Malaysia and Indonesia have stressed that their offer of asylum is a temporary one, while Thailand has refused to go beyond a commitment not to push migrant vessels outside its territorial waters. Moreover, non-interference remains a foundational principal for ASEAN, where nationalism runs deep. Many governments in the region grapple with their own internal political, religious and social problems, and would be reluctant to set a precedent by chastising Myanmar. ASEAN may be integrating economically, but the notion of a regional political community is an idea whose time has not yet come.
By MICHAEL FREUND With its marble floors, ornate furniture, and rare artwork, Lisbon’s Belem Palace could easily compete with some of Europe’s finest museums. Although not a cultural institution per se, the palace does serve a central function in the life of Portugal: It is home to the president of the republic, Dr. Jorge Sampaio. Sampaio has served as president since 1996, having been re-elected to a second five-year term in 2001. Unlike in Israel, the presidency in Portugal is more than just a ceremonial post. He is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and has the power to dissolve parliament and call for national elections. Sampaio would have little difficulty being counted for a minyan: His maternal grandmother was from a Moroccan Jewish family. His cousin is president of the Lisbon Jewish community, and Sampaio has several distant relatives living in Israel. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Sampaio discussed the rising tide of European anti-Semitism, Portuguese-Israeli relations, and his Jewish ancestry. Mr. President, anti-Semitism is on the rise across Europe. Why does much of the continent seem unable to cure itself of this prejudice? I have constantly denounced all forms of discrimination and xenophobia, be it of religious, ethnic, cultural, sexual, or any other nature. I obviously condemn any form of anti-Semitism…. The resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe is a fact – although it is not a pattern – and must also be seen in the framework of the resurgence of other forms of xenophobia and racial hatred. These manifestations do exist and we must fight all of them with the same energy, attacking their causes, and prosecuting those that sow hatred and violence. Anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiments in Europe often seem to be a cover for expressing anti-Semitic feelings under the guise of political opposition to Israeli policies. Why is Europe so critical of Israel? Is anti-Semitism a factor? I believe that we must be careful with our assertions. I am ready to admit that some criticism of Israel might have some anti-Semitic motivations. But I absolutely reject that all criticism of Israeli policies has such motivations. In fact, many people who criticize such policies have the security of Israel and the well-being of the Israeli people at the core of their motivations, I for one. I do believe that Europe’s position has strived to be fair and balanced, even if, sometimes, we have not managed to make our position sufficiently clear. The Portuguese Embassy in Israel sits in Tel Aviv, even though Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Why won’t Portugal recognize Israel’s sovereign right to determine its own capital? I know how important and sensitive this issue is for Israelis and most Jews. You know the historical context of this situation. We are bound in this matter by the collective decisions of the European Union. But I also want to tell you that my sincere wish would be for our embassy to move to Jerusalem as soon as possible, for that would mean that peace would finally be at hand. Portugal was once home to a thriving Jewish community, which was cruelly persecuted and forced to convert in 1497. Has Portugal come to terms with what was done to the Jewish people on its soil? We have come to terms with our own history, with its more brilliant and with its more shady aspects. The difference now is that all periods of our history are being studied and that we have today a much better knowledge of them. The ceremonies which took place on the 500th anniversary of the Decree of Expulsion, over which I presided with the then- speaker of the Knesset are proof of all this. Five centuries ago, the Catholic Church and the Portuguese monarchy confiscated Jewish property, including synagogues and other communal structures. Shouldn’t they be returned to the Jewish people as an act of historical justice? We cannot rewrite or relive history. We cannot go back centuries. We cannot today, after 500 years, redress a situation in material terms. I think we have redressed it in an historical perspective, and I think that all Portuguese, including Portuguese citizens that are Jewish, feel comfortable about it. A growing number of Portuguese descendants of Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism during the Inquisition have recently begun to return to Judaism. What do you think of this phenomenon? We are proud of our history and of our humanistic values, of the multicultural fabric of our society. If people adopt or return to Judaism, it is entirely a personal issue that enriches our cultural dynamics. I understand that you have Jewish ancestry in your family. What is your personal connection to the Jewish people? Do you consider yourself to be a Jew? My grandmother belonged to a Jewish family that came from Morocco in the beginning of the 19th century. She married a non-Jewish naval officer who later was Foreign Affairs minister. I am naturally very proud of this ancestry and of all those that I call my “favorite Jewish cousins,” one of whom is the president of the Lisbon Jewish Community, as I am proud of the ancestry on my non-Jewish father’s side. Personally, I am agnostic, and I do not consider myself a Jew; but I am proud, as I said, of my ancestors. Has your Jewish background ever been an issue for you in politics? The answer is no. Portugal, as I have said, is a democratic lay state. Issues of religion, culture, or race are not and should not be an issue in the political arena. You visited Israel twice as mayor of Lisbon, but have yet to do so as the president of Portugal. Do you have any plans to visit Israel soon? I would very much like to visit Israel again. I have very strong and enriching memories of my previous two visits. I follow closely developments in your country and in the region. The present situation saddens me very much indeed. And my sincere hope is that, amid all the present difficulties, Israelis and Palestinians can find a way by which to build peace and to end this tragedy and all the suffering it has entailed for both peoples.
The Small Arms Survey 2015: Weapons and the World will be launched on 1 June 2015 at the United Nations in New York. The Small Arms Survey 2015 examines the role of weapons and armed violence in humanity’s appropriation of the earth’s wildlife and mineral riches—in Africa, where the poaching of elephants and rhinos is becoming increasingly militarized, and near resource extraction sites around the world. In addition to presenting updates on the UN small arms process and the top arms importers and exporters, the volume assesses how recent technological developments affect weapons marking, record-keeping, and tracing, reviews small arms flows to Egypt, Libya, and Syria before and after the ‘Arab Spring’, and evaluates a stockpile management initiative in South-east Europe. The ‘armed actors’ section sheds light on the arms and ammunition used by insurgents in northern Mali, the decline of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda, and the use of floating armouries by private security companies in the Indian Ocean. This edition also analyses the conditions that are driving young people to adopt high-risk coping strategies in Burundi.
Eleutério Guevane, da Rádio ONU em Nova Iorque. Mais de 50 mil homens, mulheres e crianças são mortos a cada ano como consequência direta do uso de armas ligeiras e de pequeno porte em todo o mundo. A declaração foi feita esta quarta-feira pelo secretário-geral das Nações Unidas. Ban Ki-moon destacou o facto de o número de deslocados ter atingido níveis não observados desde a Segunda Guerra Mundial. Civis O Conselho de Segurança realizou um debate que destacou as Armas Ligeiras e de Pequeno Porte, onde Ban realçou que os civis são os que mais sofrem com a sua utilização. O chefe da ONU disse que durante a última década, o mundo foi afetado por mais de 250 conflitos. Ele acrescentou que, apesar de não haver situações iguais, o fator comum neles é a ampla disponibilidade de armas ligeiras e de pequeno porte, bem como as suas munições. Negócio Multibilionário No evento, o alto comissário da ONU para os Direitos Humanos disse que quando a comunidade internacional é chamada a controlar a produção e o comércio dessas armas de forma mais eficaz, surgem definições soltas, várias exclusões e lacunas, e a aplicação da lei continua fraca. Zeid Al Hussein disse que a razão é clara: o comércio de armas de pequeno porte é um negócio multibilionário. O chefe dos Direitos Humanos afirmou ainda que o custo humano e económico da violência armada ascende as centenas de bilhões de dólares. Ele defende tratar-se de instrumentos que matam facilmente por serem mais portáteis, facilmente acessíveis e, na sua maioria, causarem morte ocasional. Princípios Básicos O secretário-geral destacou a continuação de ataques brutais a escolas, hospitais e mercados, que são contra todos os princípios básicos do direito internacional. Ban disse que o desvio de armamento, incluindo de stocks de governos, alimenta novos conflitos e permite reforçar o poder de fogo de rebeldes, entidades criminosas, piratas, grupos terroristas e insurgentes. Compromissos Ao ressaltar que a gestão armas é uma área de preocupação alarmante, Ban disse que primeiro é preciso garantir que o uso de armas e munições por forças de segurança nacional obedeça os compromissos de tratados e instrumentos globais. Para ele, isso significa garantir um armazenamento adequado e seguro de armas e munições. Tráfico Em segundo lugar, Ban sugeriu medidas adicionais para combater a proliferação de armas ilícitas. Ele encorajou maiores esforços para acelerar a troca de informações operacionais sobre o tráfico de armas com padrões e diretrizes testados e desenvolvidos pelas Nações Unidas. Ban sugeriu ainda o corte de fluxos de munição, que tem impacto imediato sobre a intensidade da atividade armada. Para ele, a medida deve ser uma prioridade em situações onde há um alto risco para os civis Os Estados-Membros foram encorajados à adesão e aplicação fiel do Tratado de Comércio de Armas. O chefe da ONU disse que implementar de forma adequada o pacto universal é fundamental para retirar o que considera “ferramentas para o conflito armado”.
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and Europe for its interventions in Ukraine have worked much faster and inflicted much more damage on the Russian economy than anybody could have expected. The sanctions sought to deny Russian banks and companies access to the international capital markets. The increased damage is largely due to a sharp decline in the price of oil, without which the sanctions would have been much less effective. Russia needs oil prices to be around $100 a barrel in order to balance its budget. (It is now around $55 a barrel.) The combination of lower oil prices and sanctions has pushed Russia into a financial crisis that is by some measures already comparable to the one in 1998. In 1998, Russia ended up running out of hard currency reserves and defaulting on its debt, causing turmoil in the global financial system. This time the ruble has dropped by more than 50 percent, inflation is accelerating, and interest rates have risen to levels that are pushing the Russian economy into recession. The big advantage Russia has today compared to 1998 is that it still has substantial foreign currency reserves. This has enabled the Russian Central Bank to engineer a 30 percent rebound in the ruble from its low point by spending about $100 billion and arranging a $24 billion swap line with the People’s Bank of China. But only about $200 billion of the remaining reserves are liquid and the crisis is still at an early stage. In addition to continued capital flight, more than $120 billion of external debt is due for repayment in 2015. Although, in contrast to 1998, most of the Russian debt is in the private sector, it would not be surprising if, before it runs its course, this crisis ends up in a default by Russia. That would be more than what the US and European authorities bargained for. Coming on top of worldwide deflationary pressures that are particularly acute in the euro area and rising military conflicts such as the one with ISIS, a Russian default could cause considerable disruption in the global financial system, with the euro area being particularly vulnerable. There is therefore an urgent need to reorient the current policies of the European Union toward Russia and Ukraine. I have been arguing for a two-pronged approach that balances the sanctions against Russia with assistance for Ukraine on a much larger scale. This rebalancing needs to be carried out in the first quarter of 2015 for reasons I shall try to explain. Sanctions are a necessary evil. They are necessary because neither the EU nor the US is willing to risk war with Russia, and that leaves economic sanctions as the only way to resist Russian aggression. They are evil because they hurt not only the country on which they are imposed but also the countries that impose them. The harm has turned out to be much bigger than anybody anticipated. Russia is in the midst of a financial crisis, which is helping to turn the threat of deflation in the eurozone into a reality. By contrast, all the consequences of helping Ukraine would be positive. By enabling Ukraine to defend itself, Europe would be indirectly also defending itself. Moreover, an injection of financial assistance to Ukraine would help stabilize its economy and indirectly also provide a much-needed stimulus to the European economy by encouraging exports and investment in Ukraine. Hopefully Russia’s troubles and Ukraine’s progress would persuade President Vladimir Putin to give up as a lost cause his attempts to destabilize Ukraine. Unfortunately neither the European public nor the leadership seems to be moved by these considerations. Europe seems to be dangerously unaware of being indirectly under military attack from Russia and carries on business as usual. It treats Ukraine as just another country in need of financial assistance, and not even as one that is important to the stability of the euro, like Greece or Ireland. According to prevailing perceptions, Ukraine is suffering from a more or less classical balance of payments crisis that morphed into a public debt and banking crisis. There are international financial institutions devoted to handling such crises but they are not well suited to deal with the political aspects of the Ukrainian situation. In order to help the Ukrainian economy, the European Union started preparing an Association Agreement with Ukraine in 2007 and completed it in 2012, when it had to deal with the Viktor Yanukovych government. The EU developed a detailed roadmap showing what steps the Ukrainian government had to take before it would extend assistance. Ukraine has undergone a revolutionary transformation since then. The roadmap ought to be adjusted accordingly, but the cumbersome bureaucratic processes of the European Commission do not allow for that. Accordingly, Ukraine’s problems have been cast in conventional terms: • Ukraine needs international assistance because it has experienced shocks that have produced a financial crisis. The shocks are transitory; once Ukraine recovers from the shocks it should be able to repay its creditors. This explains why the IMF was put in charge of providing financial assistance to Ukraine. • Since Ukraine is not yet a member of the EU, European institutions (like the European Commission and the European Central Bank) played only a secondary part in providing assistance to it. The IMF welcomed the opportunity to avoid the complications associated with the supervision by a troika consisting of the EU, the European Central Bank, and the IMF that was used to deal with Greece and others. This new arrangement also explains why the IMF-led package was based on overly optimistic forecasts and why the IMF’s contribution of approximately $17 billion in cash to Ukraine is so much larger than the approximately $10 billion of various commitments associated with the EU, and even smaller amounts from the US. • Since Ukraine has had a poor track record with previous IMF programs, the official lenders insisted that Ukraine should receive assistance only as a reward for clear evidence of deep structural reform, not as an inducement to undertake these reforms. • From this conventional perspective, the successful resistance to the previous Yanokovych government on the Maidan and, later, the Russian annexation of Crimea and the establishment of separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine are incidental. These events are seen as simply temporary external shocks. This perspective needs to be altered. The birth of a new Ukraine and the Russian aggression are not merely temporary shocks but historic events. Instead of facing the remnants of a moribund Soviet Union, the European Union is confronted by a resurgent Russia that has turned from strategic partner into strategic rival. To replace communism, President Putin has developed a nationalist ideology based on ethnic grounds, social conservatism, and religious faith—the brotherhood of the Slavic race, homophobia, and holy Russia. He has cast what he calls Anglo-Saxon world domination as the enemy of Russia—and of the rest of the world. Putin has learned a lot from his war with President Mikheil Saakashvili’s Georgia in 2008. Russia won that war militarily but was less successful in its propaganda efforts. Putin has developed an entirely new strategy that relies heavily on using both special forces and propaganda. Putin’s ambition to recreate a Russian empire has unintentionally helped bring into being a new Ukraine that is opposed to Russia and seeks to become the opposite of the old Ukraine with its endemic corruption and ineffective government. The new Ukraine is led by the cream of civil society: young people, many of whom studied abroad and refused to join either government or business on their return because they found both of them repugnant. Many of them found their place in academic institutions, think tanks, and nongovernmental organizations. A widespread volunteer movement, of unprecedented scope and power unseen in other countries, has helped Ukraine to stand strong against Russian aggression. Its members were willing to risk their lives on the Maidan for the sake of a better future and they are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past, including the political infighting that undermined the Orange Revolution. A politically engaged civil society is the best assurance against a return of the old Ukraine: activists would return to the Maidan if the politicians engaged in the kind of petty squabbling and corruption that ruined the old Ukraine. The reformists in the new Ukrainian government are advocating a radical “big bang” reform program that is intended to have a dramatic impact. This program aims to break the stranglehold of corruption by shrinking the bureaucracy while paying the remaining civil servants better and by breaking up Naftogaz, the gas monopoly that is the main source of corruption and budget deficits in Ukraine. But the old Ukraine is far from dead. It dominates the civil service and the judiciary, and remains very present in the private (oligarchic and kleptocratic) sectors of the economy. Why should state employees work for practically no salary unless they can use their position as a license to extort bribes? And how can a business sector that was nurtured on corruption and kickbacks function without its sweeteners? These retrograde elements are locked in battle with the reformists. The new government faces the difficult task of radically reducing the number of civil servants and increasing their pay. Advocates of radical reform claim that it would be both possible and desirable to shrink the ministries to a fraction of their current size, provided that the general population would not be subjected to severe cuts to their living standards. That would allow the discharged civil servants to find jobs in the private sector and the employees retained on the payroll to be paid higher salaries. Many obstacles to doing business would be removed, but that would require substantial financial and technical support from the EU. Without it, the “big bang” kind of radical reforms that Ukraine needs cannot succeed. Indeed, the prospect of failure may even prevent the government from proposing them. The magnitude of European support and the reforming zeal of the new Ukraine are mutually self-reinforcing. Until now, the Europeans kept Ukraine on a short leash and the Arseniy Yatsenyuk government did not dare to embark on radical structural reforms. The former minister of the economy, Pavlo Sheremeta, a radical reformer, proposed reducing the size of his ministry from 1,200 to 300 but met such resistance from the bureaucracy that he resigned. No further attempts at administrative reform were made but the public is clamoring for it. That is where the European authorities could play a decisive role. By offering financial and technical assistance commensurate with the magnitude of the reforms, they could exert influence on the Ukrainian government to embark on radical reforms and give them a chance to succeed. Unfortunately the European authorities are hampered by the budgetary rules that constrain the EU and its member states. That is why the bulk of international efforts have gone into sanctions against Russia, and financial assistance to Ukraine has been kept to a minimum. Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin; drawing by James Ferguson In order to shift the emphasis to assisting Ukraine, the negotiations have to be moved from the bureaucratic to the political level. The European financial bureaucracies find it difficult to put together even the $15 billion that the IMF considers the absolute minimum. As it stands, the European Union could find only €2 billion in its Macro-Financial Assistance program, and individual member states are reluctant to contribute directly. This is what led Ukraine to pass on December 30 a stopgap budget for 2015 with unrealistic revenue projections and only modest reforms. This is an opening bid in the negotiations. The law allows for modifications until February 15, subject to their outcome. European political leaders must tap into the large unused borrowing capacity of the EU itself and find other unorthodox sources to be able to offer Ukraine a larger financial package than the one currently contemplated. That would enable the Ukrainian government to embark on radical reform. I have identified several such sources, notably: 1. The Balance of Payments Assistance facility (used for Hungary and Romania) has unused funds of $47.5 billion and the European Financial Stability Mechanism (used for Portugal and Ireland) has about $15.8 billion of unused funds. Both mechanisms are currently limited to EU member states but could be used to support Ukraine by modifying their respective regulations by a qualified majority upon a proposal by the European Commission. Alternatively, the Commission could use and expand the Macro-Financial Assistance Facility, which has already been used in Ukraine. There is indeed a range of technical options and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker should propose a way forward as soon as the Ukrainian government has presented a convincing set of priorities. 2. Larger matching funds from the European Union would enable the IMF to increase its lending to Ukraine by $13 billion and to convert the existing Stand-By Agreement into a longer-term Extended Fund Facility program. This would bring the total size of the IMF program to fifteen times Ukraine’s current IMF quota, an unusually large multiple but one that already has a precedent in the case of Ireland, for example. 3. European Investment Bank project bonds could yield €10 billion or more. These funds would be used to connect Ukraine to a unified European gas market and to break up Naftogaz, the Ukrainian gas monopoly. These changes would greatly improve Ukraine’s energy efficiency and produce very high returns on investment. It would help create a unified European gas market and reduce not only Ukraine’s but also Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. The breakup of Naftogaz is the centerpiece of Ukraine’s reform plans. 4. Long-term financing from the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for restructuring the banking sector. This should yield about $5 billion. The 2009 Vienna Initiative for Eastern Europe, which proved to be highly successful in limiting capital flight and stabilizing the banking system, should be extended to Ukraine. The foundations for such an extension were already laid at the inaugural meeting of the Ukrainian Financial Forum in June 2014. 5. Restructuring Ukraine’s sovereign debt should free in excess of $4 billion scarce foreign exchange reserves. Ukraine has almost $8 billion in sovereign debt coming due in the private bond markets in the next three years. Instead of a default that would have disastrous consequences, Ukraine should negotiate with its bondholders (who happen to be relatively few) a voluntary, market-based exchange for new long-term debt instruments. In order to make the exchange successful, part of the new financial assistance should be used for credit enhancements for the new debt instruments. The foreign assistance needed for this purpose would depend on what bondholders require to participate in the exchange, but it could free at least twice as much foreign exchange over the next three years. 6. Ukraine must also deal with a $3 billion bond issued by the Russian government to Ukraine coming due in 2015. Russia may be willing to reschedule the payments by Ukraine on the bond voluntarily in order to earn favorable points for an eventual relaxation of the sanctions against it. Alternatively, the bond may be classified as government-to-government debt, restructured by the group of nations officially called the Paris Club, in order to insulate the rest of Ukrainian bonds from their cross-default provisions (which put the borrower in default if he fails to meet another obligation). The legal and technical details need to be elaborated. Perhaps not all these sources could be mobilized in full but where there is a political will, there is a way. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has proved to be a true European leader with regard to Russia and Ukraine, holds the key. The additional sources of financing I have cited should be sufficient to produce a new financial package of $50 billion or more. Needless to say, the IMF would remain in charge of actual disbursements, so there would be no loss of control. But instead of scraping together the minimum, the official lenders would hold out the promise of the maximum. That would be a game-changer. Ukraine would embark on radical reforms and, instead of hovering on the edge of bankruptcy, it would turn into a land of promise that would attract private investment. Europe needs to wake up and recognize that it is under attack from Russia. Assisting Ukraine should also be considered as a defense expenditure by the EU countries. Framed this way, the amounts currently contemplated shrink into insignificance. If the international authorities fail to come up with an impressive assistance program in response to an aggressive Ukrainian reform program, the new Ukraine will probably fail, Europe will be left on its own to defend itself against Russian aggression, and Europe will have abandoned the values and principles on which the European Union was founded. That would be an irreparable loss. The sanctions on Russia ought to be maintained after they start expiring in April 2015 until President Putin stops destabilizing Ukraine and provides convincing evidence of his willingness to abide by the generally accepted rules of conduct. The financial crisis in Russia and the body bags from Ukraine have made President Putin politically vulnerable. The Ukrainian government has recently challenged him by renouncing its own obligations toward the separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine, under the Minsk cease-fire agreement, on the grounds that Russia failed to abide by the agreement from its inception. After Ukraine’s challenge, Putin immediately caved in and imposed the cease-fire on the troops under his direct command. It can be expected that the troops will be withdrawn from Ukrainian territory and the cease-fire will be fully implemented in the near future. It would be a pity to allow the sanctions to expire prematurely when they are so close to success. But it is essential that by April 2015 Ukraine should be engaged in a radical reform program that has a realistic chance of succeeding. Otherwise, President Putin could convincingly argue that Russia’s problems are due to the hostility of the Western powers. Even if he fell from power, an even more hardline leader like Igor Sechin or a nationalist demagogue would succeed him. By contrast, if Europe rose to the challenge and helped Ukraine not only to defend itself but to become a land of promise, Putin could not blame Russia’s troubles on the Western powers. He would be clearly responsible and he would either have to change course or try to stay in power by brutal repression, cowing people into submission. If he fell from power, an economic and political reformer would be likely to succeed him. Either way, Putin’s Russia would cease to be a potent threat to Europe. Which alternative prevails will make all the difference not only to the future of Russia and its relationship with the European Union but also to the future of the European Union itself. By helping Ukraine, Europe may be able to recapture the values and principles on which the European Union was originally founded. That is why I am arguing so passionately that Europe needs to undergo a change of heart. The time to do it is right now. The Board of the IMF is scheduled to make its fateful decision on Ukraine on January 18. —January 7, 2015 George Soros, The New York Review
Après son succès aux législatives du 7 mai, David Cameron va devoir organiser l'an prochain un référendum sur l'éventuel retrait de son pays de l'Union européenne. À partir de là, tout est possible. Même le pire. (*Contraction de British et d'exit - "sortie") La victoire des conservateurs de David Cameron aux législatives du 7 mai a été aussi large qu'inattendue : avec 331 sièges, ils décrochent la majorité absolue à la Chambre des communes. Les sondages prévoyaient que, pour gouverner, ils seraient contraints de s'allier soit avec les europhiles du Parti libéral-démocrate (Lib Dems), soit avec les eurosceptiques du United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip). Ils se sont lourdement trompés. Pour la première fois depuis dix-huit ans, les tories monopolisent le pouvoir. À l'évidence, la croissance revenue et les 2 millions d'emplois créés depuis 2010 ont convaincu les électeurs que Cameron avait raison de brandir la menace d'une rechute économique dans l'hypothèse où les travaillistes reviendraient au pouvoir. Il a de surcroît bénéficié de la complicité des indépendantistes du Scottish National Party (SNP), que dirige Nicola Sturgeon, la "femme la plus dangereuse du monde", dit-on à Londres. Le SNP est l'autre grand vainqueur du scrutin, puisqu'il a réussi à dépouiller le Parti travailliste de la quasi-totalité de ses sièges écossais. Il en détenait 6, il en cumule désormais 56 après s'être adjugé 50 % des suffrages sur son territoire. Revanche après le rejet de l'indépendance lors du référendum de septembre 2014 ? Poussée nationaliste ? "Non, répond l'universitaire Nathalie Duclos (Toulouse-II). Le SNP est majoritaire au Parlement écossais depuis 2007, mais les travaillistes continuaient à remporter en Écosse la majorité des sièges de députés au Parlement de Londres. Pour la première fois, les électeurs écossais ont voté au niveau national de la même façon qu'au niveau local." Impasse Deux partis subissent en revanche une lourde défaite.Le Labour perd 26 députés par rapport à 2010. Ses électeurs ont clairement désapprouvé le repositionnement à gauche entrepris par Ed Miliband, son leader. Larry Elliott, éditorialiste au Financial Times, résume bien l'impasse dans laquelle il s'est enfermé : "Trop à droite en Écosse et dans le Sud ; trop à gauche dans le centre du pays." On ne s'étonnera pas que l'ancien Premier ministre Tony Blair se soit empressé de faire la leçon à son lointain successeur : "La route vers les sommets, a-t-il estimé, passe par le centre." Autres grands perdants, les Lib Dems ne retrouvent que 8 des 57 sièges qu'ils détenaient et quittent le gouvernement. Ils paient leur soutien aux mesures d'austérité les plus impopulaires de la précédente équipe. Le cas du Ukip est un peu différent. Il a gagné en ce sens qu'il est désormais le troisième parti du pays (12,6 % des voix), mais a perdu puisqu'il n'a remporté qu'une seule circonscription. La promesse de Cameron d'organiser en 2017 un référendum sur l'appartenance à l'Union européenne mais aussi ses diatribes contre les travailleurs immigrés d'Europe orientale ont dissuadé l'électorat conservateur de dériver un peu plus vers les positions xénophobes du Ukip. Dès le 8 mai, Nick Clegg, le patron des Lib Dems, et Nigel Farage, celui du Ukip, ont démissionné (le second s'est ravisé trois jours plus tard, à la demande de son comité directeur). Miliband leur a emboîté le pas. Lire l'article sur Jeuneafrique.com : Royaume-Uni | Union européenne : Brexit* or not Brexit ? | Jeuneafrique.com - le premier site d'information et d'actualité sur l'Afrique Follow us: @jeune_afrique on Twitter | jeuneafrique1 on Facebook
Benyamin Netanyahou a annoncé sa nouvelle coalition le 6 mai, formée in extremis après deux mois de tractations. Les nationalistes religieux du Foyer juif décrochent plusieurs ministères capitaux. Avec une très courte majorité de 61 députés sur 120 à la Knesset, soit le minimum requis pour gouverner, le Premier ministre israélien sait que son quatrième mandat ne tient qu'à un fil. Deux mois après la victoire de son parti, le Likoud, aux élections législatives anticipées, Benyamin Netanyahou est parvenu in extremis, le 6 mai, à former une coalition. L'accord signé avec le Foyer juif, le parti nationaliste religieux de Naftali Bennett, a été conclu au prix de douloureuses concessions. Bennett, qui rêvait du ministère de la Défense et appelait, l'été dernier, à renverser les islamistes du Hamas à Gaza, hérite finalement de celui de l'Éducation. Mais son parti, dont les colons constituent le principal vivier électoral, a obtenu des postes clés qui faciliteront de nouvelles constructions en Cisjordanie et à Jérusalem-Est, à l'instar d'un projet de 900 logements révélé par l'ONG Shalom Arshav ("la paix maintenant"), qui dénonce un "gouvernement de colons". En outre, si Ouri Ariel - numéro deux du Foyer juif - perd le portefeuille du Logement au profit de celui de l'Agriculture, il se voit attribuer la très influente commission de l'implantation de l'Agence juive, chargée de loger les nouveaux immigrants, parfois jusque dans les territoires palestiniens. >> À lire aussi : Israël : Ayman Odeh a fait un rêve Épouvantail Ultime figure du Foyer juif à jouer les premiers rôles, la redoutable Ayelet Shaked, qui obtient le ministère de la Justice. Une nomination qui a de quoi inquiéter les magistrats, puisque Shaked soutient l'adoption d'un amendement qui limiterait le pouvoir de la Cour suprême, le saint des saints de la démocratie israélienne. L'été dernier, la publication sur sa page Facebook d'un article d'Uri Elitzur a achevé sa réputation. Le journaliste d'extrême droite, réagissant au kidnapping de trois adolescents israéliens à Hébron, qualifiait les enfants palestiniens de "petits serpents" et soutenait qu'il était justifié de bombarder des civils quand ils donnent refuge au "mal". Dès lors, Ayelet Shaked est devenue l'épouvantail de la gauche israélienne. Sa sécurité rapprochée a même dû être récemment renforcée après la diffusion sur les réseaux sociaux d'un photomontage la montrant vêtue d'un uniforme de SS. >> À lire aussi : Après ses propos contre les arabes israéliens, Netanyahou s'excuse Pour Benyamin Netanyahou, rien n'est encore joué, même après le vote à la Knesset en deuxième et troisième lectures d'une loi l'autorisant à nommer plus de ministres qui lui permettrait de boucler son gouvernement en distribuant les derniers portefeuilles au sein du Likoud. "Bibi" se sait aussi attendu par la communauté internationale après avoir exclu, la veille du scrutin du 17 mars, toute concession aux Palestiniens. Pour lui, Israël se trouve dans l'oeil du cyclone. "Au Moyen-Orient, la situation est telle que chaque territoire abandonné par Israël va être directement investi par des forces islamistes radicales et des organisations terroristes soutenues par l'Iran", a martelé le Premier ministre, préoccupé par la présence de Daesh et du Hezbollah aux frontières nord du pays. Dans les coulisses, certaines sources laissent entendre que Netanyahou serait tenté de céder le ministère des Affaires étrangères au travailliste Itzhak Herzog, apprécié par l'Europe et les États-Unis, dont les 24 sièges à la Knesset seraient un bol d'air pour sa coalition. "Nous n'irons pas à son secours", répond Herzog, qui considère le nouveau gouvernement comme une "catastrophe nationale" et rêverait plutôt de nouvelles élections. Lire l'article sur Jeuneafrique.com : Israël | Israël : à droite toute ! | Jeuneafrique.com - le premier site d'information et d'actualité sur l'Afrique Follow us: @jeune_afrique on Twitter | jeuneafrique1 on Facebook
Poursuivi pour espionnage et des violences durant la révolte de 2011, Mohamed Morsi, premier président élu démocratiquement en Égypte, a été condamné samedi à mort. Un verdict qui intervient près de deux après sa destitution par l'armée. Une centaine d'autres accusés, dont des dirigeants éminents de sa confrérie des Frères musulmans, ont également écopé de la peine capitale qui doit, pour tous les accusés, recueillir l'avis, non contraignant, du mufti d'Égypte avant d'être confirmée ou infirmée. Mohamed Morsi avait déjà été condamné à 20 ans de prison il y a trois semaines dans un premier procès pour violences. Lire l'article sur Jeuneafrique.com : Justice égyptienne | Égypte : l'ex-président Mohamed Morsi condamné à mort | Jeuneafrique.com - le premier site d'information et d'actualité sur l'Afrique Follow us: @jeune_afrique on Twitter | jeuneafrique1 on Facebook
The recovery from the global financial crisis of 2008-09, and the associated recessions in many countries, has been incredibly weak. Both academic economists and policymakers—Larry Summers, most notably—have raised the possibility that this period of low growth might not be a temporary phenomenon and, instead, could represent the beginning of a new era of secular stagnation. This describes a scenario where low growth, inflation, investment and interest rates become the norm, driven by a permanent excess of savings over investment. Secular stagnation is certainly a risk for many countries, and the conditions for it to take hold are appearing in more and more countries. It is, however, a perfectly avoidable fate and something that can be headed off with some pretty well-understood policies, such as reforms to encourage foreign direct investment and better social safety nets in the emerging world. The risks from secular stagnation are not so much economic, but political. Secular stagnation is much more likely to be the result of poor policy choices, such as the excessive pursuit of austerity in the EU, than economic fundamentals. Simon Baptist, The Economist
North Korea has executed Minister of the Peoples’ Armed Forces Hyon Yong Chol using an anti-aircraft gun, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has said. Hundreds of North Korean officials watched Hyon’s execution on April 30, an NIS deputy director was paraphrased as saying to South Korean lawmakers. News of the event was publicized by the Yonhap News Agency early on Wednesday morning. Yonhap quoted the NIS as saying he was punished for falling asleep during formal military events. The alleged development follows rumors of a further execution of up to 15 top officials a little under two weeks ago, ostensibly for challenging Kim Jong Un’s authority. Hyon was seen dozing off during a military event and did not carry out Kim’s instructions, Han Ki-beom, the deputy director of the NIS told the committee, Yonhap reported. “If it is true, which is yet to be confirmed, such executions would make other current and future officials and military officers less trusting of one another and of the leadership above them,” said NK News director of intelligence John Grisafi. “(This) would undermine the chain of command and organizational strength within the North Korean regime.” Hyon’s execution did not likely happen along with the 15 officials executed earlier this year, Grisafi said. “The NIS briefed South Korean lawmakers on that by April 29 – indicating it occurred prior to that date – and is now reporting that Hyon was executed on April 30,” he said. Recently, South Korea’s NIS made a notable intelligence error in telling local lawmakers that there was a high probability Kim Jong Un would be visiting Moscow for Victory Day celebrations last weekend. Yet a day after the NIS announcement, the Kremlin announced Kim would not be coming, citing “internal reasons” in North Korea for the trip cancellation. Hyon’s last appearance in Pyongyang’s state media was just one day prior to the alleged execution, on April 29. Prior to that, he typically appeared two to six times per month. Hyon had been minister of the People’s Armed Forces since last June, when he replaced Jang Jong Nam. His career had ups and downs. He achieved the rank of vice marshal in 2012 but was demoted to colonel general later that same year for unknown reasons, though he remained in his post of chief of the General Staff. Executions by firing squad have been rumored to take place using anti-aircraft guns in North Korea for some time. In early May, a Washington, D.C.-based human rights NGO published what it said was satellite imagery evidence of a probable execution using anti-aircraft guns. Andrei Lankov of Kookmin University said the reports, if true, would demonstrate that Kim Jong Un is attempting to signal that he is not to be trifled with. “Because of his age and because of his sudden promotion it is highly likely that most of those around him did not take him seriously, at least initially,” he said. “So he is now sending signals that he is to be feared. Having said that, the fact that he can do it with very little resistance can show in some regard that the situation is stable.” However, Lankov said he was not “absolutely convinced” that the executions were taking place. “I am inclined to believe they are taking place but I am not certain,” he said. “I would not overestimate the scale and significance of the executions in this regard.” Regarding NIS’s track record, Lankov noted past intelligence failures but said “there is no other intelligence service that deals with North Korea and does not have a serious record of getting something wrong.” Michael Madden of North Korea Leadership Watch also indicated he was inclined to believe the report. “The NIS wouldn’t publicize something on such a senior official, particularly Hyon Yong Chol, unless it had a high degree of confidence in its sources,” Madden said. “It’s no accident that reports of Hyo’s execution are appearing almost concurrent to DPRK state media reporting on the death of Kim Kyok Sik.” General Kim Kyok Sik, 77, was recently announced to have died of an unspecified cancer. Greg Scarlatoiu of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea took the execution to mean that the leadership situation in the North remains unstable. “If the Defense Minister was indeed executed for alleged disloyalty displayed through his having fallen asleep in the young leader’s presence, this is clear indication that Kim Jong Un continues to be very insecure,” he said. “The threat of death by ZPU-4 anti-aircraft machine gun is certainly an effective way to keep everyone in line. Nevertheless, given the apparent randomness of reasons why officials are executed, no one is safe.” Scarlatoiu noted Kim’s recently aborted Russia trip, which at least one report said was due to Russia’s unwillingness to sell S-300 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system batteries to the North. Hyon had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last November. “If, as reported, the North Korean leader cancelled his visit because of Russia’s refusal to sell North Korea four S-300 SAM launch units, the official most likely to have been blamed for that failure was Hyon,” Scarlatoiu said. “His falling asleep during a meeting may just have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for a Kim Jong Un already annoyed by his envoy’s perceived failure.” NK News
Pasado mañana, 9 de mayo, se conmemorará el 70 aniversario de la Victoria del pueblo soviético en la Gran Guerra Patria. Dada la diferencia de hora, cuando elaboro estas líneas, los soldados y oficiales del Ejército de la Federación de Rusia llenos de orgullo, estarán ejercitando en la Plaza Roja de Moscú con los rápidos y marciales pasos que los caracterizan. Lenin fue un genial estratega revolucionario que no vaciló en asumir las ideas de Marx y llevarlas a cabo en un país inmenso y solo en parte industrializado, cuyo partido proletario se convirtió en el más radical y audaz del planeta tras la mayor matanza que el capitalismo había promovido en el mundo, donde por primera vez los tanques, las armas automáticas, la aviación y los gases asfixiantes hicieron su aparición en las guerras, y hasta un famoso cañón capaz de lanzar un pesado proyectil a más de cien kilómetros hizo constar su participación en la sangrienta contienda. De aquella matanza surgió la Liga de las Naciones, una institución que debía preservar la paz y no logró siquiera impedir el avance acelerado del colonialismo en África, gran parte de Asia, Oceanía, el Caribe, Canadá, y un grosero neocolonialismo en América Latina. Apenas 20 años después, otra espantosa guerra mundial se desató en Europa, cuyo preámbulo fue la Guerra Civil en España, iniciada en 1936. Tras la aplastante derrota nazi, las naciones cifraron sus esperanzas en la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, que se esfuerza por crear la cooperación que ponga fin a las agresiones y las guerras, donde los países puedan preservar la paz, el desarrollo y la cooperación pacífica de los Estados grandes y pequeños, ricos o pobres del planeta. Millones de científicos podrían, entre otras tareas, incrementar las posibilidades de supervivencia de la especie humana, ya amenazada con la escasez de agua y alimentos para miles de millones de personas en un breve lapso de tiempo. Somos ya 7 300 millones los habitantes en el planeta. En el año 1800 solo había 978 millones; esta cifra se elevó a 6 070 millones en el año 2000; y en el 2050, según cálculos conservadores, habrá 10 mil millones. Desde luego, apenas se menciona que a Europa Occidental arriban embarcaciones repletas de emigrantes que se transportan en cualquier objeto que flote, un río de emigrantes africanos, del continente colonizado por los europeos durante cientos de años. Hace 23 años, en una Conferencia de Naciones Unidas sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo expresé: “Una importante especie biológica está en riesgo de desaparecer por la rápida y progresiva liquidación de sus condiciones naturales de vida: el hombre.” No sabía entonces sin embargo cuán cerca estábamos de ello. Al conmemorarse el 70 aniversario de la Victoria en la Gran Guerra Patria, deseo hacer constar nuestra profunda admiración por el heroico pueblo soviético que prestó a la humanidad un colosal servicio. Hoy es posible la sólida alianza entre los pueblos de la Federación Rusa y el Estado de más rápido avance económico del mundo: la República Popular China; ambos países con su estrecha cooperación, su avanzada ciencia y sus poderosos ejércitos y valientes soldados constituyen un escudo poderoso de la paz y la seguridad mundial, a fin de que la vida de nuestra especie pueda preservarse. La salud física y mental, y el espíritu de solidaridad son normas que deben prevalecer, o el destino del ser humano, este que conocemos, se perderá para siempre. Los 27 millones de soviéticos que murieron en la Gran Guerra Patria, lo hicieron también por la humanidad y por el derecho a pensar y a ser socialistas, ser marxistas-leninistas, ser comunistas, y a salir de la prehistoria. Fidel Castro Ruz
Violences, viols, persécutions religieuses… Un rapport d'Amnesty International démontre que les conditions de vie des migrants en Libye les poussent à tenter la traversée de la Méditerranée. La "cruauté" et les violences auxquelles les migrants installés en Libye sont confrontés les poussent à tenter la dangereuse traversée de la Méditerranée pour rejoindre l'Europe au risque de leur vie, affirme Amnesty International lundi. Enlèvements, viols, persécutions religieuses… Les passeurs ont les mains libres depuis que le pays est tombé dans le chaos, miné par la lutte au pouvoir entre les deux gouvernements et meurtri par les combats, dénonce le rapport "La Libye est pleine de cruauté", paru lundi 11 mai. Conséquences, les départs de clandestins n'ont cessé de s'intensifier depuis les 1 770 km de côtes libyennes "Les conditions épouvantables pour les migrants, ajoutées à la spirale de l'anarchie et des conflits armés, montrent à quel point la vie est dangereuse aujourd'hui en Libye", souligne Philip Luther, directeur du programme Moyen-Orient et Afrique du Nord d'Amnesty. Les violences touchent à la fois les réfugiés et "les communautés de migrants vivant et travaillant depuis des années" dans le pays, souligne Amnesty. "Quatre hommes m’ont kidnappé parce qu’ils ont vu que je portais une Bible" Des migrants également confrontés aux persécutions religieuses. Charles, un chrétien du Nigeria, a raconté à l'ONG avoir été enlevé et violenté à plusieurs reprises par un groupe armé à Zouara en raison de sa religion. "Ils venaient nous voler notre argent, et nous fouettaient. Je ne peux pas porter plainte auprès de la police en expliquant que je suis chrétien, parce qu’ils ne nous aiment pas… En octobre 2014, quatre hommes m’ont kidnappé, parce qu’ils ont vu que je portais une Bible", a-t-il expliqué. "Sans moyens légaux pour fuir et rechercher la sécurité, [les migrants] sont contraints de mettre leur vie aux mains de passants qui cyniquement les extorquent, les maltraitent", dénonce ainsi Philip Luther. Les femmes victimes de violences sexuelles Des femmes ont par ailleurs fait état d'abus sexuels. L'une d'elles, originaire du Nigeria, a indiqué à Amnesty en avoir été victime en arrivant à Sebha, à 600 km au sud de Tripoli. "Ils nous ont emmenés quelque part en dehors de la ville, dans le désert, ils ont attaché les mains et les pieds de mon époux à un poteau, et m’ont tous violée sous ses yeux. Ils étaient 11 hommes au total", a-t-elle raconté. Amnesty s'est par ailleurs élevé contre l'enfermement des clandestins dans des centres de rétention en Libye dans d'horribles conditions. Une femme a ainsi raconté avoir été frappée avec des tuyaux en métal: "Ils ont même frappé une femme enceinte. La nuit, ils venaient dans nos chambres (...) Certaines femmes étaient violées (...) C'est pourquoi j'ai décidé d'aller en Europe". Manque de moyens Des responsables libyens, qui dénoncent un manque de moyens pour faire face à l'afflux des migrants, ont fait état de 16 centres de rétention à travers le pays. Ils abritent 7 000 migrants, arrêtés pour entrée illégale ou en tentant de prendre la mer pour l'Europe, et dans l'attente de leur expulsion. Face à cette situation, Amnesty a exhorté l'Union européenne à lutter contre les passeurs tout en déployant des navires de sauvetage supplémentaires en Méditerranée. L'ONG a également appelé la Tunisie et l'Égypte à assouplir les restrictions à leurs frontières avec la Libye pour offrir un abri aux migrants. Les côtes libyennes ne sont situées qu'à un peu plus de 300 km de l'île italienne de Lampedusa. Chaque semaine, des centaines de migrants venus d'Afrique, de Syrie ou d'autres zones de conflit tentent de rejoindre l'Europe. (Avec AFP) Lire l'article sur Jeuneafrique.com : Immigration | Libye : comment les migrants sont poussés à traverser la Méditerranée | Jeuneafrique.com - le premier site d'information et d'actualité sur l'Afrique Follow us: @jeune_afrique on Twitter | jeuneafrique1 on Facebook