Fake news is not new, but the age of social media has expanded its scope. The term is a neologism and it is helpful to identify different types of fake news. Finland has launched an education initiative to prepare citizens of all ages to identify false information. Beginning in kindergarten, they have reformed their education system to emphasize critical thinking. Using a digital literacy “toolkit,” elementary to high school students learn to examine claims in social media posts. Before they like or share something in social media they are taught to question: Who wrote this? Where has it been published? Is there a secondary source? The program combines fact-checking with critical thinking. Finland’s educational strategy seems to be winning the war on fake news and a number of other countries are taking notice. A recent election encouraged citizens to think about fake news with the slogan: “Finland has the world’s best elections - think about why.”
The recovery of democracy in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia gets complicated with all the ideological, pragmatic or strategic arguments and differences amongst the leadership and groups called upon to conduct and accomplish this historic necessity. The defense of democracies in the Americas, confronting transnational conspiracy and sedition, has these very same obstacles preventing it from formulating internal governmental policies and taking opportune international actions. The facts reveal that in order to recover and defend democracy, unity is indispensable, a unity which can be built on the basis of principles and values. Without unity it is not possible to defeat dictatorships. Dictatorships end when the people confront the usurpation, is lead by a leadership of unity whose sole purpose is to restore freedom and democracy and does not seek partisan benefits for the next “election in a dictatorship”. If political actors facing dictatorships do not unite on the basis of principles and values in every country and clear themselves of the growing suspicion of being “functional opposition members”, dictatorships will fall along with those who simulate opposition and prevent unity.
Several weeks ago Cape Verde, a small nation off the Western Coast of Africa, executed a routine protocol among law enforcement agencies. A person listed as most wanted by Interpol was arrested while refueling his private jet. A diplomatic maelstrom ensued this arrest. The detainee, Mr Alex Saab who looked rather common and not particularly refined, was the object of desire by several countries. In Cape Verde therefore we are witnessing a challenge between the old order characterized by invulnerable sovereignty and the demands of a world that increasingly sees economic and political activity penetrated by a non-state transnational actor formed to perpetrate illicit activities. An actor that has become global and whose treatment demands a global response. Such response was encapsulated in UNTOC which depending on the ending of the Cape Verde affair will be an effective tool for the fight or fall into irrelevance.
To control a State by force, to subject its people by violence, to retain power by using fear, torture, famine, and extortion, creating a center for the direction, protection, and expansion of Transnational Organized Crime to destabilize, attack, intervene, and occupy other States, calling such acts an anti-imperialism revolution, is the greatest criminal action and propaganda effort that best describes Cuba’s dictatorship. To disguise crime as political actions in order to give them reasons for justification and impunity, to pretend to be victims to cover up the permanent attacks against the freedom and sovereignty of other countries, to seek a permanent split by multiplying the axis of confrontation, to commit the most abhorring crimes with an antiimperialist alibi and to destroy politically or physically the adversaries, are but some of the features of Cuba’s dictatorship of 61 years.
While the world economy continues to create new and technology induced jobs the skill set of most college and high school graduates does not fit employment opportunities. Finally, most matured economies have established their manufacturing arm in China as means to maintain prices stable so that goods are accessible to their population which is largely middle class. They are the source of employment and the drivers of innovation. This group is urban and recently clusters around what is now defined as Mega Urban Regions (MURS). In short, MURS are the emerging political entity that will dominate the political landscape in the post covid 19 world. These are good economic news but also good political news as city governments enjoy greater participation of civil society.
Two million people holding hands and singing patriotic songs across three countries. This was the Baltic Way- the Singing Revolution of the Baltic States. For four years, between 1987 and 1991, the peoples of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania fought Soviet occupation essentially by singing. During World War II, in 1940, the Soviet Army invaded the Baltic nations, took over the government and killed or exiled virtually all the political and business leaders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Tragically, the international community did not come to the Baltic’s assistance, and the Soviet occupation would last fifty years. Most of us do not think of singing when contemplating revolutions, but the non-violent Singing Revolution ended up victorious over a violent armed occupation. The improbability of three small nations defeating the mighty Soviet military through song is a valuable tactical lesson for freedom lovers everywhere. But Putin is not Gorbachev, and singing may not deter Putin’s tanks. If Russia marches on the Baltic States, this time the world needs to listen to the beautiful free voice of the Baltic people.
Venezuela has become the Transnational Organized Crime’s center wherefrom Cuba’s regime operates conspiracies, narcotics’ trafficking, terrorism, and a long list of crimes to destabilize countries, topple governments and democratic leaders. Venezuela’s Castrochavist regime is also an operator of; sedition, conspiracy, and acts of destabilization and toppling of democratic governments. The usurped Venezuela is a platform for China, Iran, Russia’s penetration and expansion with antidemocratic objectives in the region. For Venezuela to recover its freedom and democracy is an utmost need and an urgent and immediate interest of the International Community. One way of doing this, is to empower President Juan Guaido to ask for the formation of a Multinational Force -under his command and responsibility- to end the usurpation, the “credible threat”. To accept elections with the regime’s participation is tantamount to recognize Organized Crime as a political actor.
They don’t really care about Bolivia, it’s just an exercise to flex their muscles. Behind Evo comes Maduro, Havana’s own protective belt, and the endless dispute to lift US sanctions, necessary to appreciate Venezuelan debt paper and for the corrupt to access their ill-gotten assets. Along the way, they also go against the OAS, whose Secretary General was reelected last March with the support of the Trump Administration. I insist, there is a reason why they do not say that the alleged coup of the OAS has had the European Union as an accomplice. The problem is that defeating Trump next November—a legitimate aspiration in any democracy as long as it complies with the letter and calendar of the constitution—seems to be pursued at any price, at any cost. This includes sharing the microphone and the agenda with the worst of Latin America, the most authoritarian, corrupt and criminal. And that already looks less illegitimate, it has all the appearance of a true Faustian bargain.
"The takeover of political parties by the Venezuelan regime is the sign that a complex process of phagocytosis has ended and thus we have in front of us a new and different political entity that does not correspond to the definition of nation state or colony. " "Venezuela has become a deviant state that has lost its defining properties to alien entities that have penetrated its body, sucked out its spirit and filled the cocoon with an organism that pursues other interests and sustains other values." There will certainly be elections. Once elected, they will become the new leadership and will swear loyalty to those that anointed them . These , of course are the Cuban Gerontocracy and organized crime.. Venezuela will then become the first country in the hemisphere to experience an Anschluss in this century.
Teleworking and Telelearning are here to stay, even under these precarious current conditions. The return to the “new normal” will imply a higher proportion of work from home for executives and workers and a shift in the educational system oriented perhaps more towards what they call “inversion of terms”; do homework at school, with the assistance of “teacher-coaches” and learn at home via Google, Wikipedia, Kahn Academy, Cursera, etc. This is already being used somehow in some countries. There is no need to have to reinvent wheels. In the pandemic this experiment was a failure because countries were not prepared. But the system is in place and it is time to refine it.