Tagged Freedom

Quote of the Day

It seems that not one single thing escapes the attention of hardliners in Iran, bent on using the extraordinary powers they hold to suppress every effort by Iranians to exercise their right to freedom of expression. They have even decreed that men should refrain from sporting various hairdos and—yes I am not kidding—from plucking their eyebrows, because those are considered to be indications of “devil worshipping” and homosexuality. Although such preoccupations may seem risible to some, the people who are caught up in this dragnet are suffering very real and harsh consequences. Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old artist and women’s rights…

Speaking of Curbs on Freedom . . .

The onetime fans of the Hugo Chávez regime in Venezuela–the ones who thought that the regime was filled with wonderful people and ideas and who thought it was just marvelous that Chávez went to the United Nations to call George W. Bush “the devil”–have been rather quiet (as noted many times on this blog), now that it is clear that the regime is responsible for an economic catastrophe and the decline of political freedoms. One would think that they might say something about how they now regret having supported Chávez and his gang, but thus far, most of the past…

What Abba Eban Said of the Palestinians Could Also Be Said of the Cuban Regime

They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity: The Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, who splits her time between the United States and Havana, traveled to Cuba in recent days seeking to pull off a bold experiment. She called on Cubans from all walks of life to meet at Havana’s iconic Revolution Square on Tuesday at 3 p.m., where they would take turns at a microphone to outline their vision for the new era in the country. Word of the event, which was billed as both a performance and a street protest, was shared on social media using the hashtag #YoTambiénExijo, which means “I also…

A Modest Improvement in Internet Freedom in Iran

Instead of banning websites completely, the Iranian regime is now just censoring their content. Sure, Iranians will only see redacted versions of websites, but at least they’ll see them. I guess this is supposed to mean that everything is both hunky and dory in Iran now. How very wonderful all of this is. Utopia has finally been achieved in Iran. Must be the effects of all of that political liberalization. Nota bene: Some people might think that this blog post is featuring sarcasm rather heavily. I can’t possibly imagine where they would get such an idea.

A Modest Endorsement of the Venezuelan Regime

Behold. Of course, in a better world, we could spend less time parodying failed regimes and instead, spend our time implementing political and economic policies that actually do serve to alleviate immiseration and provide others with political freedoms. But the Venezuelan regime–and all those who enable its existence–is utterly uninterested in helping the people it supposedly represents. Its interests lie in enriching and empowering those at the top of the political heap, at the expense of the Venezuelan people themselves. As such, it is necessary to oppose the regime–and others like it–however one can. Parody helps.

Meanwhile, Tyranny Continues in Venezuela

I don’t believe for a single moment that there was a plot afoot to kill Nicolás Maduro, but of course, the Venezuelan regime pretends conveniently that there was. This makes it easier for the government to suppress protest and dissent, and allows the government to try to distract Venezuelans from the existence of truly awful economic conditions and living standards. Of course, I am not writing anything that anyone doesn’t know, but it is worth emphasizing that the Venezuelan government’s response to the problems afflicting the country–problems the Venezuelan government itself was responsible for having created–is to constantly exclaim “Squirrel!” No…

Quote of the Day

It’s a thought experiment I often present to the Western Chavista, one that usually ends up demonstrating that sympathizers of the regime, both in this country and in Europe, have something of a colonialist attitude towards Venezuela. Because one wonders the reaction of these faux progressives if Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel–pick your the imperialist lackey!–arrested an opposition leader who had organized peaceful street protests? Or if the CIA shut off the internet in politically restive cities like Berkeley and Brooklyn; blocked Twitter traffic it found politically suspect; and took over PBS, forcing it to…

Venezuelans Rise Up

I am sure that apologists for Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro will continue to try to ignore the protests against authoritarianism, political repression, and garden variety tyranny in Venezuela, but everyone else is paying very close attention: Protests against President Nicolás Maduro’s government escalated Thursday, with thousands of demonstrators burning tires and cars and security forces fighting back to gain control of the streets in the capital and in other cities. At least five people, four protesting the government, have died since protests by university students over high crime and a crumbling economy turned violent last week. Dozens of others have been…

Question of the Day in Venezuela: “Where Are We Going, and What’s With the Handbasket?”

I imagine that most port-side pundits, politicians and bloggers in the United States who in the past showed sympathy for Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro are busy trying to be very, very, very quiet about this: Fugitive Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez calmly turned himself in to authorities Tuesday as thousands of pro- and anti-government supporters rallied in the capital Caracas. President Nicolas Maduro — whose government is under fire over what protesters say is rampant crime and deteriorating living conditions — had banned the opposition march called by Lopez at the Plaza Brion. Lopez’s surrender marked a dramatic inflection point after…

How Free Is the United States?

Freer than most, but not nearly as free as we ought to be. In a rational world, these kinds of surveys would prompt some kind of discussion, at the very least, but I suppose that is not going to happen anytime soon; why distract from yet more talk about Duck Dynasty, after all?