Thursday, January 29, 2015

Foreign Updates: Cuba, Ukraine, Tunisia and France

            Cuba finally released the political prisoners it had promised to free several weeks ago after its deal with the Obama Administration of the United States to return convicted Cuban spies.  Some of the freed political prisoners already have been subject to typical Castro Communist dictatorship harassment.  Dozens of other Cubans remain as prisoners of conscience.  As I noted in my posts last month, the Cuban regime made no structural changes to increase liberty or respect human rights as part of the exchange.  In fact, in follow-up discussions between the terrorism-sponsoring state and Obama Administration officials, it reportedly has refused any such changes. 

            There has been no progress in the issue of Cuba returning American fugitives, including terrorists.  The return of billions of dollars in property stolen from U.S. citizens has not apparently been emphasized in the Obama Administration negotiations with the Communist regime. 

            There have been more Russian Federation incursions and obvious aid to pro-Russian separatist rebels, which have helped the rebels launch a counteroffensive.  The death toll in the conflict has surpassed 5,000.

            Meanwhile, Russian government forces have shut down the last independent radio station in Crimea, the territory Russia seized from Ukraine after invading it, in violation of a treaty that obligated the Russian Federation to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and setting up a puppet government that handed the territory over to Russia after conducting a referendum of questionable validity.  The radio station’s market was the ethnic Crimean Tatars.  Tatars have lived there before the territory was colonized after its conquest by the Russian Empire.  There has been a pattern in the Russian Federation under Dictator Vladimir Putin of journalists, opposition politicians and dissidents being targeted with criminal probes or charges, and even violence.  Freedom House, a respected organization that assesses countries and certain territories on their level of liberty, recently rated Crimea, like Russia, as “Not Free.”

            The transition of power from the losing party to the winning one after parliamentary and presidential elections under Tunisia’s new constitution has occurred peacefully and smoothly.  The new government, led by nationalists, does not include either Islamists or leftists.  Tunisia has become the first Arab state to earn a rating of “Free” from Freedom House.

           The Socialist government has abandoned its confiscatory tax of 75% on high earners, after the tax failed to generate sufficient revenue by weakening France’s economy and causing high earners to flee the French Republic.

No comments: