What We're Watching: Post-election chaos in Belarus, Biden taps Harris, Bolivia's roadblock

What We're Watching: Post-election chaos in Belarus, Biden taps Harris, Bolivia's roadblock

Belarus' post-election fire rages on: At least one person has died and over 2,000 have been arrested in violent protests that erupted in Belarus after strongman President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory with about 80 percent of the vote — results deemed fraudulent by international governments. The opposition claims Sunday's election was rigged — as has regularly been the case in the country since Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe's last dictator," took over in 1994. Lukashenko, who some young people refer to as "Psycho 3%" for his denial of the coronavirus and low (unofficial) approval ratings, has shut down the internet and is blaming Russian agitators for the protests amid a recent fallout with Vladimir Putin, his long-time ally and fellow strongman. Putin wants to keep Belarus in Russia's sphere of influence and is wary of the country getting closer to his rivals in Brussels. Meanwhile, Svetlana Tikhanouskaya — the political unknown wife of a jailed opposition blogger who has defied Lukashenko's tight grip on power — has fled the country and is now in Lithuania. As the situation remains in flux, it's unclear how stability could return to Belarus anytime soon.


Kamala's the one: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden finally unveiled his choice for VP on Tuesday: California Senator and former California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, Harris is the first Black or Asian-American woman to be on a US presidential ticket. The choice of Harris, who is perceived as a relatively middle of the road Democrat, shows that Biden is banking on winning the White House by attracting moderates and independents rather than playing for the more progressive vote, which may be suspicious of Harris because of her prosecutorial record as San Francisco district attorney. Is Biden right? As the campaigns enter the homestretch we are about to find out.

Bolivia at a standstill: Protesters aligned with Bolivia's former leftist leader Evo Morales, ousted last year by the military, have taken to the streets in recent days calling for an immediate election. Supporters of Morales' Movement for Socialism (MAS) party have set up roadblocks and clashed with authorities because they say the country's right-wing caretaker government, led by Jeanine Áñez, is using the COVID-19 crisis to stall elections scheduled for September 6. Áñez, who has increasingly cracked down on indigenous voters that form the bulk of Morales' base, now says that fresh elections will be held on October 18, but angry demonstrators — many of whom presumably participated in last year's protests after Morales' ouster that gripped the country — show no signs of backing down. Bolivia is already plagued by recession, deep political division, and an under-resourced medical system crippled by a massive COVID caseload. Áñez, meanwhile, says that roadblocks are preventing ambulances from reaching hospitals and that she will use force to crack down on protesters. Critics, on the other hand, say that protesters are in fact clearing the way for ambulances and trucks carrying supplies. We'll be watching this combustible situation in the days ahead.

"I think there are certain times where you have tectonic shifts and change always happens that way."

On the latest episode of 'That Made All the Difference,' Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy at Patagonia, shares his thoughts on the role we all have to play in bringing our communities and the environment back to health.

For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

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In an interview with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, Nicolas de Rivière cautions against an overly halcyon view of the UN's history. The Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations explains that throughout its 75 years the organization has confronted adversity. This moment is no exception, but "we have no other choice" than cooperation in order to address today's biggest crises, he explains. Rivière also discusses the global pandemic response, a need for greater commitments to climate action, and a recent move by the US to push for renewed sanctions against Iran.

One of the biggest threats to 21st century international peace is invisible. It recognizes no borders and knows no rules. It can penetrate everything from the secrets of your government to the settings of your appliances. This is, of course, the threat of cyberattacks and cyberwarfare.

During the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks have surged, according to watchdogs. This isn't just Zoom-bombing or scams. It's also a wave of schemes, likely by national intelligence agencies, meant to steal information about the development and production of vaccines. Attacks on the World Health Organization soared five-fold early in the pandemic.

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Malaysian political drama: Malaysia's (eternal) opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he finally has enough votes in parliament to be appointed prime minister, seven months after the coalition that was going to support him collapsed amid an internal revolt that also forced out 95-year-old Mahathir Mohamed as head of the government. Two years ago, Mahathir — who governed Malaysia from 1980 to 2003 — shocked the country by running in the 2018 election and defeating his former party UMNO, which had dominated Malaysian politics since independence in 1956. After winning, Mahathir agreed to hand over power to Anwar — a former protégé with whom he had a falling out in the late 1990s — but Mahathir's government didn't last long enough to do the swap. Will Anwar now realize his lifelong dream of becoming Malaysia's prime minister? Stay tuned for the next parliamentary session in November.

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