What Turkey's crackdown on NGOs means for Syrian war relief Monitor


VALUES & IDEALS A surge in anti-Western sentiment that fed into President Erdoğan's campaign for broader powers is one factor behind the crackdown. Some NGOs have been closed and their workers expelled, though the need for war relief is undiminished.


JUNE 15, 2017 ISTANBUL, TURKEY—After two months of detention in Turkey, the four Syrian staffers from a Danish relief agency were released and expelled from the country, part of an escalating battle between the Turkish government and Western aid organizations that is complicating relief efforts for Syrian victims of war. 


The four were flown to Sudan, where Syrian nationals do not need visas. That was a bit of good news for DanChurchAid officials, who were relieved they were not forced to return to Syria, now in its sixth year of a brutal civil war. But the staffers’ extradition in late May came in the midst of an unprecedented period of uncertainty for international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), which have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid from Turkey to Syria, delivering critical food and supplies through risky cross-border operations. 


The Turkish hostility toward the international aid agencies is one byproduct of anti-Western sentiment that skyrocketed in the wake of last summer’s coup attempt and was perpetuated for months until the national referendum in April, which gave President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sweeping new powers. 


The challenge for aid agencies has been exacerbated by Turkish sensitivities over INGOs working in ethnic Kurdish areas, and the boldness of Turkish security forces under an on-going state of emergency, amid a campaign by pro-government media that has denigrated foreign relief workers as spies who should be expelled.  


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In recent months, as Turkey has targeted INGOs and their foreign and Syrian staff with closures and arrests, two US-based organizations are among a handful that have been expelled. Mercy Corps was shut down in March, and the International Medical Corps (IMC) was closed in April, with four foreign staffers expelled and 11 Syrians detained. 


The collision between Turkey and INGOs features a perfect storm of clashing motivations: in their desire to help, the big-budgeted INGOs have often bent the rules, arousing suspicions of corruption and running afoul of Turkey’s oft-changing legal requirements and its growing suspicion of foreigners on the border. 


“Why now? That’s a question mark, and just the Turks have the answer,” says a Syrian who works closely with the INGO community in Gaziantep, a hub for Syrian relief aid agencies on Turkey’s southern border, who asked not to be further identified. 

The Turkish crackdown makes little sense now, he says, with needs inside Syria as great as ever and several populations on the move, including from around the Islamic State-controlled city of Raqqa, where a US-led coalition offensive has begun to oust the so-called Islamic State from its self-declared capital. 


“Syria needs those NGO workers. How can the help go inside Syria without their work?” asks the Syrian. “The Turks can’t handle everything. It’s a lot bigger than their NGOs. Everyone is working Syria, even OCHA [the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] is not enough – we need everyone, because there are millions of people who are in need.” 

A tense history
Turkey has never been happy with the presence of the foreign relief community and their Syrian staff, whose work blossomed along its southern border as Syria’s 2011 uprising turned into the region’s most significant proxy war. The conflict pits President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, against a broad array of anti-regime rebel forces – some of them jihadists linked to Al Qaeda, as well as ISIS itself – supported variously by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. 


While Turkey grappled with an influx of 2.9 million Syrian refugees, and for years turned a blind eye to Islamist militants crossing into Syria to fight, it also became the most sizeable base for aid agencies helping Syrians inside rebel-held areas across the border. 


But Turkey’s calculations have been changing, aid workers say, with a surge of militant attacks last year by ISIS and Kurdish militants, the attempted coup in July, and the defeat of rebel forces in the northwest Syrian city of Aleppo in December. Then came the April vote on presidential powers. 

“From now on, we will not allow any Europeans who are spying in our country under various titles, whether it be individuals or organizations,” Mr. Erdoğan said in late March, during a heated referendum campaign in which he vilified Germany and the Netherlands as “Nazis.” 


Since the crackdown began, with police visiting offices to check registration documents and work permits, foreign and Syrian staff at some INGOs have been working from home or coffee shops, to lower their profile and avoid possible arrest. 

Turkey plans to cancel all existing INGO registrations and, under new rules, require re-registration within three months, according to an internal document from the UN’s OCHA leaked to Voice of America in early March. 

“There’s definitely an impact, where Syrians are getting less support than what they really, really need,” says a senior Western relief worker in Gaziantep. 

Before it was closed down, for example, Mercy Corps was assisting up to half a million Syrians inside the country, and another 100,000 refugees in Turkey. IMC claimed to support 100 hospitals and health facilities with medical supplies and salaries. Cutting off support has made other INGOs scramble to fill the gap. 


“It is a constant moving target of, ‘How do we see who really needs help?’” says the Western aid worker. Other INGOs “were picking up all these facilities that have suddenly lost all financial support.” 

Mercy Corps a surprise target
OCHA suggests the aim of the Turkish government is “to choose which organizations they want to keep in the country,” and notes that Turkey’s interior minister convened a meeting of all regional governors to discuss new rules, VOA reported. 

One of the largest non-profit INGOs in the world, Mercy Corps spent $34 million last year on Syria-related relief, much of it funded by the US and European governments. Mercy Corps was told abruptly that its registration had been withdrawn, leading to an immediate firing of 300 relief workers. 

Mercy Corps was a surprise initial target, senior aid workers say, because they were registered and had close ties to government in Ankara. Still, not all their staff work permits were approved for the districts in which they work – a rule rarely enforced previously – and they were heavily involved in Kurdish areas of Syria, despite Turkish disapproval. 

“We have been playing this constant game, especially after NGOs got registered, of the ever-evolving interpretation and enforcement of the various laws,” says the senior Western aid worker. 

ever-evolving :絶え間なく進化する



swingby_blog at 21:13コメント(0) 


キリスト教徒は原子爆弾をどのように扱ってきたか。 世界で最も一般的な宗教は原子力という恐ろしいものに対して矛盾した回答をしている。

How Christianity has dealt with nuclear weapons
The world’s most popular faith offers conflicting responses to the spectre of atomic power
Aug 20th 2017


WHERE have Christians stood in the debate about nuclear weapons? How have practitioners of the world’s most popular religion answered the moral dilemmas posed by devices that could bring all human life to a horrific end? Given that the controllers of the world’s two main nuclear arsenals both claim to be champions of the Christian cause, the question is topical, not just an academic brain-teaser. 

Given that:もし〜ならば
Christian cause:理念・信念・大義

And the best answer is that right from the beginning of the nuclear age, Christians have found themselves on both sides, often in rather dramatic ways. This month’s war of words over North Korea have brought reminders of that paradox. Soon after President Donald Trump issued his threat of “fire and fury”, a theological battle broke out through the medium of America’s leading newspapers. Robert Jefress, one of Mr Trump’s favourite pastors, stated that God had given the president authority to “take out” North Korea’s leader. Elaborating in an interview with the Washington Post, he said worldly leaders had been endowed with “full power to use whatever means necessary, including war, to stop evil.” 

right from the beginning:最初から
take out:殺す
endowed :能力を授けられた

The Dallas-based preacher didn’t explicitly urge Mr Trump to tee up his nuclear weapons but he heartily endorsed a presidential stance which did make that threat. An Episcopal priest, Steven Paulikas, shot back with an op-ed in the New York Times which described the Texan’s theology as “shockingly misinformed and dangerous”.

shot back:言い返す

As Mr Paulikas argued, Saint Paul’s injunction to respect earthly powers was not meant to be a carte blanche to use violence; rather it referred to practical matters like taxation. “A wiser spiritual adviser than Jefress would counsel the president that there is no conceivable argument to be found in Christian scriptures for threatening death and suffering on a huge scale,” the Anglican added. 

carte blanche:自由裁量権

When the nuclear era dawned, Christians were “on both sides” in a more literal sense. The American aircraft which obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki were crewed by Christian servicemen and counseled and blessed by Christian military chaplains. And Nagasaki, as it happened, was the main bastion of Japanese Christianity, a tradition which had survived harsh persecution between 1600 and 1850. 

in a more literal sense:より文字通りの意味で

Its Urakami cathedral was an early mega-church with 12,000 members, and it provided the bombers with a landmark that could be identified at 31,000 feet. It has been estimated that 8,500 of those faithful died as a direct or indirect result of the bomb. Worshippers attending Thursday morning confessions were annihilated instantly by the fireball which exploded 500 metres above the house of prayer. 


Then there were those who changed sides. Father George Zabelka, the Catholic chaplain of the American air force group which delivered the bombs, underwent a conversion to pacifism after the full results of the explosions became clear. He travelled to Nagasaki on the 50th anniversary of the bomb and made a tearful plea for forgiveness.


William Downey, the airmen’s Lutheran pastor, experienced a similar change of heart. In the Roman Catholic world’s intellectual stratosphere, meanwhile, there was a more gradual sea-change. After centuries of elaborating a just-war doctrine, a succession of popes and their brainiest advisers came to the conclusion that nuclear weapons had changed the ethical calculus over war. As early as 1954, Pope Pius XII seemed to foresee a time when the “evil consequences of adopting this method of warfare” would “pass entirely beyond the control of man.” 


A recurring theme of Christian reflections about the first nuclear explosions is the idea their murderous flashes form a grotesque counterpoint to the Transfiguration: the moment when Jesus of Nazareth is said to have appeared to three of his disciples in a blinding flash of light, giving them a new understanding of his divinity. The Transfiguration is celebrated by most Christians on August 6th, the anniversary of Hiroshima; Russians and some other Orthodox Christians marked the feast yesterday, the old-calendar date. 

counterpoint :対比的な要素

According to an essay by Nicholas Sooy, a young American Orthodox Christian scholar, both the Transfiguration and Hiroshima are remembered as moments when “there was a great cloud, and the light radiated forth brighter than the sun” and “there was a thunderous sound as if the heavens had opened..” But the first incident is presented as one of reassurance and inspiration, while the second one delivered a message of apocalyptic fear, one that disfigured the world through the ongoing effects of radiation. 


Mr Sooy is a leader of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, an anti-violence fraternity whose founders belong to the Russian Orthodox parish in Amsterdam. 


But plenty of other voices can be heard in the world of Russian Christianity. One of Russia’s nuclear bureaucrats has noted with approval that by organising conferences and stimulating debate in a patriotic spirit, the country’s national church had helped to preserve the nuclear arsenal and concentrate minds on the need for a strategic deterrent; this had been an important counterweight to the sloppy pacifism which maintained that Russia had no enemies.


Russian clergy are regularly seen blessing nuclear arms; they would defend that practice by saying the point of such blessings is to pray that the weapons will not be used. In other words, that the rockets will stay in their silos and do their job.

The one thing organised Christianity doesn’t seem to offer is a clear, unanimous answer to the dilemmas of a nuclear age. But its cacophony of voices does throw those dilemmas into even sharper relief. 




swingby_blog at 21:18コメント(0) 


Donald Trumpは大統領であることが何を意味するのかわかっていない。 180度の意見の変更、自己肯定、曖昧な言い方は必要な資質ではない。

Donald Trump has no grasp of what it means to be president
U-turns, self-regard and equivocation are not what it takes
Aug 19th 2017

Donald Trumpは大統領であることが何を意味するのかわかっていない。

DEFENDERS of President Donald Trump offer two arguments in his favour—that he is a businessman who will curb the excesses of the state; and that he will help America stand tall again by demolishing the politically correct taboos of left-leaning, establishment elites. From the start, these arguments looked like wishful thinking. After Mr Trump’s press conference in New York on August 15th they lie in ruins. 

lie in ruins:完全にダメになる

The unscripted remarks were his third attempt to deal with violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend (see article). In them the president stepped back from Monday’s—scripted—condemnation of the white supremacists who had marched to protest against the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general, and fought with counter-demonstrators, including some from the left. In New York, as his new chief of staff looked on dejected, Mr Trump let rip, stressing once again that there was blame “on both sides”. He left no doubt which of those sides lies closer to his heart. 


Mr Trump is not a white supremacist. He repeated his criticism of neo-Nazis and spoke out against the murder of Heather Heyer (see our Obituary). Even so, his unsteady response contains a terrible message for Americans. Far from being the saviour of the Republic, their president is politically inept, morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office.

saviour :救済者
barren :欠けた

Start with the ineptness. In last year’s presidential election Mr Trump campaigned against the political class to devastating effect. Yet this week he has bungled the simplest of political tests: finding a way to condemn Nazis. Having equivocated at his first press conference on Saturday, Mr Trump said what was needed on Monday and then undid all his good work on Tuesday—briefly uniting Fox News and Mother Jones in their criticism, surely a first. As business leaders started to resign en masse from his advisory panels (see article), the White House disbanded them. Mr Trump did, however, earn the endorsement of David Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

condemn :非難する
en masse:全体として

The extreme right will stage more protests across America. Mr Trump has complicated the task of containing their marches and keeping the peace. The harm will spill over into the rest of his agenda, too. His latest press conference was supposed to be about his plans to improve America’s infrastructure, which will require the support of Democrats. He needlessly set back those efforts, as he has so often in the past. “Infrastructure week” in June was drowned out by an investigation into Russian meddling in the election—an investigation Mr Trump helped bring about by firing the director of the FBI in a fit of pique. Likewise, repealing Obamacare collapsed partly because he lacked the knowledge and charisma to win over rebel Republicans. He reacted to that setback by belittling the leader of the Senate Republicans, whose help he needs to pass legislation. So much for getting things done. 

set back:進行を遅らせる
rebel :反抗する

Mr Trump’s inept politics stem from a moral failure. Some counter-demonstrators were indeed violent, and Mr Trump could have included harsh words against them somewhere in his remarks. But to equate the protest and the counter-protest reveals his shallowness. Video footage shows marchers carrying fascist banners, waving torches, brandishing sticks and shields, chanting “Jews will not replace us”. Footage of the counter-demonstration mostly shows average citizens shouting down their opponents. And they were right to do so: white supremacists and neo-Nazis yearn for a society based on race, which America fought a world war to prevent. Mr Trump’s seemingly heartfelt defence of those marching to defend Confederate statues spoke to the degree to which white grievance and angry, sour nostalgia is part of his world view. 


At the root of it all is Mr Trump’s temperament. In difficult times a president has a duty to unite the nation. Mr Trump tried in Monday’s press conference, but could not sustain the effort for even 24 hours because he cannot get beyond himself. A president needs to rise above the point-scoring and to act in the national interest. Mr Trump cannot see beyond the latest slight. Instead of grasping that his job is to honour the office he inherited, Mr Trump is bothered only about honouring himself and taking credit for his supposed achievements. 

At the root of it :その根本において
get beyond:彼自身を超える

Presidents have come in many forms and still commanded the office. Ronald Reagan had a moral compass and the self-knowledge to delegate political tactics. LBJ was a difficult man but had the skill to accomplish much that was good. Mr Trump has neither skill nor self-knowledge, and this week showed that he does not have the character to change. 


This is a dangerous moment. America is cleft in two. After threatening nuclear war with North Korea, musing about invading Venezuela and equivocating over Charlottesville, Mr Trump still has the support of four-fifths of Republican voters. Such popularity makes it all the harder for the country to unite. 


This leads to the question of how Republicans in public life should treat Mr Trump. Those in the administration face a hard choice. Some will feel tempted to resign. But his advisers, particularly the three generals sitting at the top of the Pentagon, the National Security Council and as Mr Trump’s chief of staff, are better placed than anyone to curb the worst instincts of their commander-in-chief. 


An Oval Office-shaped hole
For Republicans in Congress the choice should be clearer. Many held their noses and backed Mr Trump because they thought he would advance their agenda. That deal has not paid off. Mr Trump is not a Republican, but the solo star of his own drama. By tying their fate to his, they are harming their country and their party. His boorish attempts at plain speaking serve only to poison national life. Any gains from economic reform—and the booming stockmarket and low unemployment owe more to the global economy, tech firms and dollar weakness than to him—will come at an unacceptable price. 

paid off:うまくいく

Republicans can curb Mr Trump if they choose to. Rather than indulging his outrages in the hope that something good will come of it, they must condemn them. The best of them did so this week. Others should follow. 



swingby_blog at 22:46コメント(0) 


ベルルスコーニは復帰できたのか。 80代のイタリアのリーダーは来年の選挙で黒幕となるのかもしれない。

Could Silvio Berlusconi stage a comeback?
The octogenarian Italian leader may play kingmaker in next year’s election
Aug 16th 2017by J.H. | ROME


SILVIO BERLUSCONI’S position in Italian politics has been enfeebled since the ignominious end of his fourth government in 2011. He remains the leader of Forza Italia, the movement that was his springboard into politics 23 years ago. But the party currently polls less than half the 30% it mustered at the height of its popularity in the early 2000s. Mr Berlusconi himself has a criminal record: he was convicted of tax fraud in 2013. And in September, he will be 81 years old. Yet pundits increasingly see the ageing TV-and-property magnate re-emerging as a force in the country’s politics. Could Italian voters really hand power back to a man widely viewed in the rest of Europe as either a buffoon or a crook? 


Because of his conviction, Mr Berlusconi cannot stand for parliament until 2019. He has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, but the judges may not rule on his case before Italy's next general election, which has to be held by next May. So the chances of Mr Berlusconi returning to parliament, let alone government, are slim. But the law cannot prevent him from campaigning for his party, and in any case the real power in Italy often rests with party leaders who do not necessarily sit in the legislature or the cabinet. The current speculation over Mr Berlusconi centres on the likelihood of his playing the kingmaker—and true arbiter of his country’s fortunes—after the next election. 


Though it still lags the more radical Northern League, its rival for the right-wing vote, Forza Italia’s showing in the polls has improved. The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) is floundering and the Five Star Movement (M5S) is feeling the effects of a Europe-wide disenchantment with populism. But the real reason for Mr Berlusconi’s renewed strength is the failure of parliament to agree on a new electoral law. After modification by the constitutional court, the existing laws would allot seats to the main parties in almost exact proportion to their share of the vote. A recent projection suggested the M5S, which refuses to join a coalition with any of the mainstream parties, could occupy 185 of the 630 seats in the lower house. In such circumstances, a government of any kind would be hard to form. The most plausible outcome would be a coalition between the PD and Forza Italia, if Mr Berlusconi agreed. 


The prospect of Forza Italia’s founder returning to a position of authority is not the only sign that Italy risks slipping backwards. A fragmented parliament would lead to the sort of unstable, ideologically heterogeneous coalition governments that bedevilled Italian politics until the early 1990s. Some Italians, particularly older ones, might welcome their return: the country’s “revolving-door” governments, in which ministers often left only to reappear in the next administration in a different job, coincided with a period of healthy economic growth. But times have changed, and what the economy needs today is radical, structural reform. It will not get it from coalitions of diverse parties, especially if they are guided behind the scenes by an octogenarian who, despite his claims to be a liberal, never dared introduce liberal reforms when in office. 




swingby_blog at 20:47コメント(0) 


フィリピンの大統領の滑稽なアイデアは経済に害を与えていない。 雇用と投資ではRodrigo Duterteは破壊者というよりかは改革者だ。

The Philippine president’s zany ideas have not hurt the economy
When it comes to jobs and investment, Rodrigo Duterte is more reformer than wrecker
Aug 16th 2017 | MANILA

雇用と投資ではRodrigo Duterteは破壊者というよりかは改革者だ。


IN MATTERS of economics, as in other realms, Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, is more than capable of flamboyant, populist gestures. Earlier this month, to the astonishment and consternation of much of his cabinet, he signed a law abolishing tuition fees for students in state universities. When asked how the government would pay for the new policy, he replied “I don’t know, we’ll have to see.” By the same token, he has promised to restrict severely the sorts of temporary contracts under which around 30% of Filipinos are employed; he has pledged allegiance to China in exchange for investment in infrastructure; and, in April, he announced a plan to suspend imports of rice to help local farmers. 


Economists point out that abolishing university tuition will be more of a subsidy for the rich than the poor, since just 12% of students come from the poorest 20% of families. It could also cost anywhere between 30bn pesos ($588m) and 100bn pesos a year, according to different politicians. And it is causing alarm at private institutions, which fear a sudden slump in enrolment. But most of Mr Duterte’s radical economic policies get watered down or shelved by his underlings before they cause such upheaval, explains Filomeno Santa Ana of Action for Economic Reforms, a think-tank: “The economic managers usually neutralise the president’s populism.” For all the big talk, economic policy during Mr Duterte’s first year in office has been surprisingly sober. 


The Philippine economy is one of the peppiest in South-East Asia. Last year it expanded by 6.8%, overtaking those of Singapore and Malaysia in size. The World Bank expects it to grow at a similar pace this year and next. A large, youthful population at ease with the English language—a legacy, in part, of American colonialism—is a spur to growth. Filipinos working abroad as maids, nurses and waiters, among many other jobs, send back about $31bn a year—equivalent to more than 10% of GDP. Manila’s skyline, daubed with shiny new apartment buildings, shows where much of the money goes. 

at ease:気楽で

Western firms also outsource vast amounts of office drudgery to the Philippines. The country is a bigger player than India in call centres; its largest private employer, Convergys, an American telecoms firm, has 63,000 Filipinos on its lines. Others elsewhere have the unpleasant task of checking sites such as YouTube and Facebook for vile content, flagging videos of beheadings and orgies. In the past 15 years the industry of “business process outsourcing” has grown from nothing to about 9% of GDP. 


The cabinet and bureaucracy have so far dissuaded Mr Duterte from rocking the boat too much. When he said he would suspend imports of rice, officials at the National Food Authority, which is charged with ensuring an adequate supply of staples and with keeping prices stable, pointed out that all Filipinos eat rice, but relatively few grow it, so curbs on imports would hurt more people than they helped. In the end, Mr Duterte simply changed the rules on imports to reduce the role of the state. Similarly, the government’s labour-market reforms have been much less radical than originally promised, targeting only the most blatant abuses of short-term contracts. And the talk of aligning the Philippines with China has produced little tangible change so far—as well as little of the promised investment, alas. 

rocking the boat:事を荒立てる 

The goal on which the president and his more level-headed lieutenants seem to agree is tax reform, to pay for investment in infrastructure. Many businessmen and workers spend hours sitting in Manila’s traffic jams each day instead of making money. One banker says that when foreign investors come to town, she parks them in posh hotels and has local bosses visit in carousel to prevent the visitors squandering time and goodwill in traffic. Poor roads and rundown airports elsewhere in the archipelago present similar problems. Mr Duterte wants to increase spending on infrastructure from 5.2% of GDP last year to 7.4% of GDP in 2022 to sort things out. His plans include a new railway in Mindanao, a troubled southern island blighted by insurgencies, and the revamping of Clark airport, to the north of Manila. 

parks :一時的に預ける
carousel:荷物引き渡し場のコンベア 飛行場のホテルに泊まらせるという意味

Carlos Dominguez, the finance minister, has already raised the budget deficit from 2% of GDP to 3%, to support such investments. In the longer run, extra funds will come from a package of tax-reform bills, which is supposed to raise 375bn pesos a year by 2020. The first bill was passed by the lower house of Congress in May; the upper house is expected to follow suit by the end of the year. It raises the threshold at which Filipinos will have to pay income tax to 250,000 pesos a year, letting four-fifths of them off the hook altogether. 

follow suit:先例に倣う
off the hook :大目に見てやる

But the rate for those earning 5m pesos or more will rise from 30% to 35%. Taxes on vehicles and fuel are to rise too—a squeeze on richer Filipinos, given that fewer than one in ten owns a car. Taxes may also go up on alcohol, cigarettes and sugary drinks. The second bill would shrink the corporate-tax rate from 30% (high for the region) to 25%, while closing expensive loopholes. The third will focus on property taxes and the fourth on capital income, mining and perhaps junk food. 


Mr Duterte’s political star power should speed the passage of these reforms. But his unpredictability makes politicians, executives and investors wary. The peso is among the few currencies in the region to have weakened since the beginning of the year, partly because of the growing budget deficit and weakening current-account balance. Neither an ardent reformer nor a populist lunatic economically, the president inherited a prospering country. Almost a year later, the Philippines is still one. This suggests that for all his damn-the-torpedoes rhetoric, Mr Duterte occasionally also listens. 




swingby_blog at 21:12コメント(0) 



5 Reasons Why Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro Won't Last Much Longer
Ian Bremmer
Aug 11, 2017 Time


The writing’s on the wall, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is nearing the end of his four-year rule. Here, five reasons why:

1. He presides over an economy in the doldrums
Venezuela’s problems begin and end with its shambolic economy. As the possessor of the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela’s economy is disproportionately reliant on oil—95 percent of its export earnings are derived from oil; 25 percent of its GDP comes from oil and gas. Instead of developing its own industries and sectors, the country had been relying for decades on its natural wealth to import goods and services. Now it can’t afford them—800 percent inflation will do that. Since reaching a 5-year high in the summer of 2014, oil prices have tumbled more than 55 percent. Egregious macroeconomic management that included foreign exchange and price controls have made a lower-price oil environment that much worse.


Today, 82 percent of Venezuelan households live in poverty, 85 percent of medicine is nowhere to be found, and 87 percent of Venezuelans say they don’t have the money to buy enough food. 74 percent of Venezuelans have lost an average of 19 pounds in weight since last year.

2. He is no Chavez
Maduro isn’t helped by the fact that he succeeded the wildly popular Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela, a politician so talented and successful that he championed his own unique strain of leftist politics we now know as Chavismo. All you have to watch is a video of Maduro speaking to crowds to see he has virtually none of the charisma of his predecessor (a fact he sometimes tries to hide by salsa dancing. Seriously).


Say what you will about Chavez, but he delivered results for the Venezuelan people. He was able to cut the number of Venezuelan households living in poverty from 55 percent in 1995 to 26.4 percent in 2009. When Chavez assumed office in 1999, unemployment was at 15 percent; by June 2009, it was at 7.8 percent. Of course, it helped that Chavez’s tenure coincided with a commodities supercycle that propelled the price of oil to never-before-seen heights during the mid-2000s. When Chavez passed away in March 2013, oil was selling at about $110 a barrel; today it’s selling at about $50. Charisma and talent are obviously important to political success, but so is timing. Maduro has none of the three.

3. His bumbling attempts at authoritarianism
In addition to presiding over an oil-rich economy at a time when oil is nowhere near the profitable commodity it once was, Maduro has also compounded his problems with a series of ham-fisted attempts to shore up his power base. To be fair, when you have an approval rating hovering around 20 percent, drastic measures probably need to be taken.


Maduro’s unpopularity resulted in his political opposition winning control of parliament in 2015, the first time in nearly two decades the institution wasn’t controlled by Chavistas in one form or another. Using judges that remain loyal to him, Maduro has spent the last months trying to dissolve the legislature and sideline his opponents. The ensuing uproar and protests led to his latest gambit—holding elections for a “Constituent Assembly” to rewrite the country’s constitution, with vast powers that include postponing presidential elections and extending a sitting president’s mandate indefinitely.

Chavistas:A follower of Hugo Chavez. 
Constituent :憲法改正会議

Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held last week, and surprising absolutely no one, the results delivered Maduro the decisive victory he desperately needed. Maduro’s government maintains nearly 8 million Venezuelans turned out to vote, though international observers peg the number closer to 3 million and assume that many of those who turned up were the 2.6 million government employees who weren’t given much choice to abstain. In addition to the U.S. and E.U., more than 17 countries in Latin America have decried the election as undemocratic.


4. He and his government are all alone
The international furor over the Constituent Assembly is just the latest sign of Venezuela’s increasing isolation; this past December, Venezuela was temporarily suspended by Mercosur, the Latin American trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Last weekend, it was suspended indefinitely. You know your politics are dysfunctional when even Brazil thinks you’ve gone too far off the rails.

all alone:ひとりぼっち

Most worrying for Venezuela though is China, which Maduro has counted on as being its lender of last resort, come what may. Between 2007 and 2014, Beijing lent Venezuela $65 billion—Beijing’s #1 destination for development loans during that period. For China—the world’s 2nd-largest economy with a GDP valued at $11 trillion (2015 figures)—$65 billion is a statistical rounding error. But now even China is refusing to rollover or extend new debt to Venezuela, a sign that Beijing has grown tired of throwing good money after bad in Venezuela, especially to prop up a weak government as universally unpopular as Maduro’s.

 come what may:何が起ころうと

5. The country's elite is losing faith in him
And if the Chinese have noticed Maduro’s unpopularity, you better believe those charged with shielding him from that unpopularity have too. So far daily rolling protests have claimed the lives of more than 120 protestors and at least 8 officers, often putting the security apparatus in the difficult position of following orders from their superiors or cracking down on desperate Venezuelans with whom they share plenty in common. But it’s getting harder to keep security forces in line—on Aug. 6, a group of former and active mid-ranking military officials took over a major military base near Valencia and declared themselves in active rebellion, with additional uprisings possible. 

shielding :保護する
share plenty in common:多くを共有している

The attack was put down by government forces.Maduro has already detained more than 120 military personnel since the latest round of protests began in April, 30 of those for desertion and 40 for rebellion and/or treason. True, Maduro has gone to great pains to keep the military leadership on his side, personally promoting hundreds of Venezuela’s more than 2,000 generals and granting them special privileges. That includes handing many of them political careers; some 11 of the country’s 30 government ministers are current or former military officers. Unfortunately for Maduro, there aren’t near enough political posts in the country he can dole out to ensure his political survival. Watch this space.




swingby_blog at 21:44コメント(0) 



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