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Cuba's Leadership Transition

By Diego Moya-Ocampos

President Raúl Castro's decision on 19 April to step down as president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers and hand over to First Vice-President Miguel Díaz-Canel marks a clear transition in leadership to a younger generation within the Cuban Communist Party (Partido Comunista de Cuba: PCC). Castro has been formally in power since 2008, succeeding his older brother Fidel, who had held power since 1959, and Díaz-Canel signals continuity and gradual economic reform but not democratic opening.

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Political Instability in Venezuela: Is This the End of Chavismo?

By Diego Moya-Ocampos

President Nicolás Maduro is facing a marked deterioration of the economy and intense shortages of food and basic goods, increasing the risks of social protests and widespread looting, as well as potentially threatening political stability. The Venezuelan oil sector provides over 96% of the country's export revenues, 25% of GDP and about half of its fiscal revenues.

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Peruvian Teachers' Union Strikes Becoming More Disruptive

By Diego Moya-Ocampos and Gabriela Cibils

Relations between Pedro Pablo Kuczynski´s government and the opposition Fuerza Popular (FP) controlled Congress have been tense over the last year. This has slowed down various important government projects, including the USD525-million Chinchero´s Airport construction and a key reform for the Education sector. In particular, president Kuczynski’s cabinet has been undermined over continued threats of being censored.

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Cartel de los Soles

By InSight Crime

The term “Cartel of the Suns” (Cartel de los Soles) is used to describe shadowy groups inside Venezuela’s military that traffic cocaine. 

VZLA

Venezuelan Anti-Government Protests Likely To Continue

By Diego Moya-Ocampos

University students and civil society groups are likely to continue staging anti-government protests and roadblocks despite incumbent president Nicolás Maduro's calls for dialogue. The protests, which Maduro has said constitute a "coup in motion", have continued despite heavy use of force by the security forces. A total 18 people have been killed during the protests – most of them protesters – and hundreds of others have been wounded or arrested, amid reports of human rights violations including excessive use of force, the use of live ammunition, shooting rubber bullets at short distance, and even allegations of torture reported by local human rights group Foro Penal Venezolano. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have all condemned the violence and both the EU and US have joined calls from human rights groups for the judiciary not to be used to persecute opposition leaders and dissidents.

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When Democracies Make Wrong Decisions

By Shilpa Rao

Recent events in India and the US have threatened the very ethos of those torch-bearer democracies. 

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Life After Chávez: The Apple Can Fall Far From the Tree

By Santiago Fontiveros

The day Steve Jobs died, after a much publicised  battle with cancer, Apple’s shares rose in the stock market - analysts called it “a tribute”. The next year Apple’s stock continued its steady rise, becoming the most valued company ever as measured by market capitalisation. His successor - Tim Cook - had long been in the making, assuring the market he could handle the company after Jobs was gone. Yet, as time goes by, Apple, its shareholders, Cook, and the millions of users around world, are painfully reminded that perhaps there can only be one Steve Jobs - and Apple - as it was, can only be under his tutelage. This lesson could serve Nicolas Maduro well, as he faces the daunting task of governability and survival of the Bolivarian revolution without the charisma of its colourful founder.