During these winter holidays, Global Social Justice will publish some photo’s of Mexico. A country where 43 students can just disappear, where, in the past eight years, more than one hundred thousand people were murdered and more than twenty thousand were disappeared. Where feminicide continues . Where impunity reigns. Where the President and Ministers can receive million Dollar houses from businessmen. Where thousands of ordinary people lose their savings because of fraud in a financial institution. Where the minimum wage has just been risen by 2.74 Pesos and now reaches … less than five US$ a day. Workers have lost 80 % of their purchasing power over the past thirty years.
People react. People resist. And yes, they get punished. But they continue. They march. They make music. They get help from artists. Life is full of colours. During two weeks, I would like to show you some of this sad but hopeful reality.
The path to implementing a tax on financial transactions (known as the FTT) was never going to be smooth. This week's announcement that the expected coalition between Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats in Germany will prioritise the tax's implementation, is a sign that the proposal remains on track. But any measure that taxes or regulates financial markets and banks will always meet concerted opposition.
On Wednesday, Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced the most profound change in relations between the United States and Cuba in decades.
Why now? What explains the timing of this historic change to a policy in place for over half a century? The short answer is that the decision to restore diplomatic ties between the two countries was driven by a surprising convergence of biology and technology. Biology dictated the aging of the Castro brothers and other leaders of their revolutionary generation in Cuba, as well as the graying of the Cuban exile population in Florida. This dynamic altered old political balances both inside the Cuban regime and in U.S. electoral politics. Technology—especially innovations in the extraction of shale oil and gas—allowed the United States to upend the world’s energy map and push down the price of oil, thus undermining the ability of Venezuela, a major oil-exporter, to continue providing a lifeline to Cuba’s bankrupt economy. Cuba needed an economic alternative, and the U.S. became one.