This week, grassroots street uprisings in two greatly different nations reminded the world that despite our Western legal sophistication, the days of citizen’s revolt are not yet behind us. The citizens of Ukraine and Venezuela respectively, countries which share virtually no cultural, geographical, or ideological similarities have taken it upon themselves to fight the persistent issue of autocratic, corrupt governments which function under the thin veil of democracy.
The Ukraine, although subject to great fluidity, seems to have finally taken a tenuous hold over the chaos of the past 3 months. The opposition parties in Parliament were able to come to a relative consensus, and have scheduled an election for May 25th of this year to replace the inept and seemingly unscrupulous President Yanukovych. While at least on the surface the end of this alarming mass conflict seems at hand, sadly Ukrainians cannot rest easy yet. A defiant Yanukovych, having fled the capital of Kiev, seems to be consolidating his power in the Ukraine’s East where regional governors have adopted a resolution to defy the authority of Parliament. This could set the stage for the geopolitical Cold War-esque powder keg of Ukraine’s pro EU West and predominantly Russian East to explode; a prediction made by Concordia’s David Hughes over two weeks ago. With such polarized opposing forces, one can only hope that international intervention can prevail in order to repair a deeply divided nation.
Matters seem even more dire in Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro is dealing with the consequences of wielding an increasingly authoritarian regime which has yielded poor living standards for the majority of the citizens in this natural resource rich state. As a result, protests and opposition play strip blackjack online for free have become increasingly more militant, with street battles that have left over 100 injured and 10 dead. Regardless of whether Maduro escapes with his position still intact or not, a plethora of alarming issues including astronomically high crime rates, skyrocketing inflation, and increasing food shortages are likely to plague the struggling country. For an in depth look at the situation, be sure to take a look at Avik Jain’s Plea for Venezuela.
While the Ukraine and Venezuela have corrupt, authoritarian leaders who have oppressed their people, the political will of the domestic citizens may yet usher in change. Sadly no such mobilized will exists in North Korea, where a UN investigation is set to denounce their top-down human rights abuses. For our French readers, Étienne Ravary has you covered as she examines the UN’s response to this troubling news.
Domestically, Canada has not been without controversy either. Economically, the Harper government’s recent decision concerning Canada Post home deliveries has spurred on the debate regarding the efficiency of Crown Corporations. McGill’s Michael Swistara advocates for our mail service to become privatized, in order to lower prices and increase productivity. A lesser known controversy is brewing in Canada’s North, where the Yukon government is being accused of harming both the First Nations and the environment by reneging on their agreement to preserve a habitat in order to further the mining industry. Be sure to check out Concordia’s newest writer Jesse Polowin’s full take and analysis.
Stay tuned for more analysis this week, and keep updated with us on our shiny new Instagram (thepoliticalbouillon) and Twitter (@ThePoliBouillon) accounts.
– Eli Vincent Zivot, Co-Editor in Chief