Dialogue Online – No. 3/2015: “Swaziland’s Elusive Path to Democracy: What role for SA and the Region?” By Klaus Stig Kristensen

Just as with the South African struggle against apartheid, while internal pressure is essential, international solidarity, especially by the regional community, plays a key role in a potential democratic transition. In this article Klaus Stig Kristensen discusses the opportunities for South Africa and the region to support democratic transition in Swaziland in 2015.

Download PDF here: DO3of2015

Pope Francis Welcomes Renewal of Cuba-U.S. Relations

Prensa Latina, Havana, from the Vatican, Rome, 17 December 2014

Pope Francis welcomed today the first step for the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States, after more than half a century of the bilateral riff.

According to a communiqué released by the Holy See, the Pontiff is strongly pleased with the reestablishment of relations, to overcome in the interest of citizens of both nations, the difficulties that mark their history.

This declaration came to light minutes after Cuban president Raul Castro and his peer of the United States, Barack Obama, addressed their respective nations to inform about the new destinies of bilateral links.

In their speeches, both presidents thanked the Pope for his mediation in the dialogue.

From: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3377931&Itemid=1

Re-establishment of US diplomatic relations with Cuba

usa-cuba-handshake-flags

Wednesday, 17th December 2014

Today, US president Barrack Obama announced that the USA will be reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, with the opening of an Embassy in Havana and the relaxation of several trade and travel restrictions with immediate effect. Obama also negotiated for the immediate release of the three remaining ‘Cuban Five’ still imprisoned in America, in exchange for the successful release of American Alan Gross and a U.S. spy held in Cuba. These evolvements are the apparent result of a year of secret talks between the USA and Cuba, with the personal involvement of Pope Francis. While Obama has exercised his executive authority in making these calls, Congress alone has the power to officially overturn the economic embargo against Cuba which was adopted by Congress in 1960 and is upheld by 6 separate statutes. This is an historic moment in 21st century politics, after almost 5 decades of Cold War-foreign policy isolation.

(Picture taken from: http://unherald.blogspot.com/2013/05/steps-toward-new-beginning-usa-and-cuba.html )

US Senate report condemns CIA brutality – Al Jazeera

From Al Jazeera, 10 December 2014 – http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/12/us-releases-cia-torture-report-2014129122456718264.html

A US Senate report on harsh techniques employed to interrogate “terror” suspects post-9/11 attacks has condemned the CIA for brutality and deception.

The heavily redacted 480-page report – published on Tuesday – covered the treatment of around 100 suspects rounded up by US operatives between 2001 and 2009 on terrorism charges.
The full 6,200-page report remains classified. Ahead of the publication of the report, the US had tightened security at its embassies across the globe.
Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein said the techniques used by the CIA were “far more brutal than people were led to believe” and that “coercive techniques regularly resulted in fabricated information” from detainees.
“There are those who will seize upon the report and say see what the Americans did? And they will try to use it to justify evil actions or incite more violence,” said Feinstein. “We can’t prevent that, but history will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say never again.”
Summary: Key findings in CIA torture probe
The report said harsh CIA interrogations produced much bad information, including a fake story about al-Qaeda recruiting African-Americans. It said the interrogations were ineffective and never produced information that led to foiling of “imminent terror threat”.
The report followed a five-year investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee into the programme. The CIA maintained the harsh techniques were effective and foiled terrorist plots.
The report said the CIA misled the public and policymakers about the programme, much of which was developed, operated and assessed by two outside contractors.
Al Jazeera – http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/12/us-releases-cia-torture-report-2014129122456718264.html

SALO Board Member Bella Matambanadzo at the Harare launch of the 2014 Caine Prize for African Literature anthology, ‘The Gonjon Pin and other stories’.

Bella M

SALO Board Member Bella Matambanadzo, a Zimbabwean feminist activist and writer speaking at the Harare launch of the 2014 Caine Prize for African Literature anthology, ‘The Gonjon Pin and other stories’. The event was held at the Book Cafe, Harare’s premiere arts and culture hub, on Thursday 14 August 2014. Her story, ‘All the Parts of Mi”, is Featured in this eclectic, engaging and thought provoking collection of 17 stories by 17 African authors. The authors meld Satire, tragedy and magic realism to offer a dynamic body of work dealing with trauma, identity and nostalgia. In South Africa the anthology is published by Jacana Media. The late great dame of books, Nadine Gordimer is the Patron of the Caine Prize.

COMMON AFRICAN POSITION (CAP) ON THE POST- 2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

Common African Position

“Preamble:

We, Heads of State and Government of the African Union assembled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on 31 January 2014,

NOTE: The participatory approach that led to the elaboration of the Common African Position (CAP) on the post-2015 Development Agenda involving stakeholders at the national, regional and continental levels among the public and private sectors, parliamentarians, civil society organizations (CSOs), including women and youth associations, and academia. This approach has helped address the consultation gap in the initial preparation and formulation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);…”

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Natural resource geopolitics at centre of African conflicts – 9 August 2013

Natural resource geopolitics were at the centre of understanding why Africa had become a battleground affected by conflicts that were marginalising Africans and preventing them from reaching their full potential, Southern African Liaison Office (Salo) board member Richard Smith said last month at the Building Regional and International Consensus workshop, hosted by Salo, in Pretoria.

He noted that, Continue reading

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