Sunday, November 20, 2016

Foreign Digest: Venezuela, Colombia, Hungary

            An agreement, brokered by the Holy See, was reached recently between the Socialist government and the democratic opposition.  It included confidence measures by both sides: the release of four political prisoners by the government and the congressional opposition’s abandonment of a political trial of the Socialist dictator.  The other terms included a provision for special elections to replace opposition legislators who were denied seats by the regime, an acknowledgement of legislature’s autonomy and an agreement on appointments of replacements to the National Electoral Council—the body that had rejected the presidential recall referendum I had posted about a few times recently.  On substantive issues, the agreement includes measures to address medicine and food shortages.  Venezuela is amidst a deep economic crisis and suffers from high crime and corruption.  The agreement validates the legitimacy of the democratic opposition to the Socialist dictatorship.

            A new accord between the government and the Marxist narco-terrorists to end over five decades of civil war was recently signed.  Unlike the first deal that was rejected in a referendum last month, which I posted about at the time, the new deal includes trials for guerrillas accused of war crimes and drug trafficking, which was one of the main concerns of opponents of the deal.  One controversial provision that did not change is that the rebels may seek election to the legislature.  No seats are reserved for them and they are not brought into the executive.  The conservative government may seek legislative approval for the deal instead of another referendum. 

            The far-right Prime Minister of Hungary declared a few days ago that his country should be an “illiberal” state.  Such a loss of freedom and representative government would make the former Communist state the latest example of the global rise of authoritarianism.  Venezuela, Russia and Turkey are all examples of states with leaders who were democratically elected but became dictators. 

           The Hungarian Government also recently announced that Hungary would remain on daylight savings time, which effectively changes their time zone and thereby eliminates daylight savings time.  It cited the usual objections to the bi-annual changing of the clocks: the inconvenience of the disruption and the compromises of health and safety.  I had raised such concerns in my post Abolish Daylight Savings Time, from March of 2011,

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