For Mexicans, the Double Curse of a Pushover President in the Face of Trump

Twice now since August, Donald Trump has treated the Mexican president with open contempt, and been met with shocked and feeble hesitation, writes the Mexico City daily La Jornada. A president and a political class which have somehow still failed to apprehend the kind of man they are now dealing with in Washington:

“When you don’t make a decision soon enough,” the old proverb says, “someone will make it for you.”

Return to the Ancestral Cave

A winding mountain gorge, immense temples and edifices carved into its narrow rock walls; a vast and complex water collection and storage system to wring an artificial oasis out of the desert: Petra can seem more like a fantasy than a real place. But this Jordanian valley, once the center of a desert empire, remained until the 1980s an inhabited town, its inhabitants living in homes carved into the rock among the two thousand year-old temples. And now they are coming back.

The people of Um Sayhun village in the Petra region have plenty of the same grievances of other underdeveloped villages in Jordan

In Sinai, the Arrested Mysteriously Reappear as Dead Terrorists

Fighting a remarkably unsuccessful war against Bedouin insurgents in the Sinai, the Egyptian state seems to have given up even pretending to adhere to the rule of law, as Heba Afify’s story from Mada Masr makes clear:

It was dawn on one of the final days of November when Suleiman was awakened to the flashing lights of a police car and then a military armored personnel carrier filling up the street where he lives.

Counsel for the Dead

An archaeologist obsessively excavating the catacombs of El Salvador’s endless unmarked graves, an attorney for the nameless victims of an undeclared war: a portrait of the solitude of a forensic investigator unlike any other, from International Boulevard’s Tomás Andréu:

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One night he reached out for help on a social network. It was nearly midnight, and he had so many bodies to identify that he didn’t know what to do with them all.

Turkey: Stop Worrying and Just Learn to Love ISIS

Is there a method to the bloody madness of ISIS attacks in Turkey? As International Boulevard’s Baris Altintas points out in this column, the group’s bloodbaths in Turkey seem carefully calibrated to avoid the full weight of the Islamist governing party’s wrath, targeting leftists, Kurds, and most recently the westernized elite: always minorities.

Thirty-nine people were massacred for celebrating the New Year at a nightclub in Istanbul in an attack which has since claimed by the Islamic State.

Trump – The View From Havana

What does the President-elect mean for Cuba? As with most things Trump, nobody can say quite yet. International Boulevard’s Mateo Jarquin did, however, happen to be in Havana when Americans cast their ballots, and thus got a sense of how Cubans viewed the election and its consequences for their future.

The first thing worth mentioning is that while Cubans remain unusually sealed-off from the rest of the world – they rely overwhelmingly on state-controlled media, and must pay an expensive rate of 2 dollars per hour for internet access.

God Alone Can Fix Turkey’s Schools, Apparently

Like a lot of the Turkish ruling party’s initiatives, it sounds like something ripped straight out of the Christian Coalition’s playbook: with the country’s schools in lamentable shape, Turkey’s Islamist AK Party has launched a school reform program that seems largely to consist of propping up religious schools and injecting as much religion as the constitution will allow into public schools.

Progressive segments in Turkey have been going through trying times.

If Brazilian Politics Were a TV Script, They’d Fire the Writer

Politics in Brasilia have not exactly hauled themselves out of the gutter since Dilma Roussef was impeached, writes Joao Sette Camara. Sleazy real estate deals and secretive dealmaking have already touched the new president, even as it becomes increasingly clear to Brazilians that the people who removed Roussef were actually trying to hide their own misdeeds.

Ever since the impeachment of former president Dilma Roussef, Brazilian politics has taken on the air of the script of a bad soap opera

Te Doy Una Cancion, Fidel Castro.

In a bar in Mexico City, Diego Fonseca learns that Cuba’s longtime strongman has finally died. A meditation on the passing of adolescent dreams, on revolution gasping out its life on a hospital ventilator, on how Fidel became Castro.

Now as an adult that song of my youth still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and makes me bite my lip and makes me raise my eyebrows and kick back with my hands behind my head as if it were not just a song, but all the Romantic revolutions that I could ever fight for.

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